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Best New Restaurants of 2010

Muskoka: Taste

A picturesque dining room overlooking crystalline water provides the perfect setting for a regionally inspired meal at Taste, the restaurant at Touchstone on Lake Muskoka. Last July, executive chef Guy Bedard took the helm in the kitchen at this 30-acre resort, which serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. A cozy, wall-length banquette, dark wood bar and glass showcase of wine bottles sets the tone for an intimate fine dining experience. Chef Bedard dubs his fare “contemporary cottage cuisine”; his seasonal offerings have included butternut squash and pumpkin roasted soup, lobster and sweet potato bisque, bison burgers, and, for dessert, maple crème brûlée and pumpkin molasses cake.

1869 Muskoka Rd., 118 West, Bracebridge, ON; 1-866-928-1098 or 705-764-5353; www.touchstoneonlakemuskoka.com/taste

Ottawa: Town

At Town, the casually hip atmosphere is as much a draw as the tasty fare. Bare bulbs light the cozy space, the menu is written on chalkboards, and decorative items like flowers, candles, and other knickknacks perch high on a glass shelf along the wall, adding a touch of whimsy. The same care and attention to detail is applied to the dishes. Here, it’s quality over quantity with a menu that boasts a choice selection of small and large plates. Classic dishes are kicked up a notch with unique twists, such as meatballs stuffed with ricotta, and rice pudding served with pistachio brittle and sundried cherries. The menu is adjusted often, but seeing what inventive nibbles are on offer at this trendy eatery is half the fun.

296 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON; 613-695-8696; www.townlovesyou.ca

Halifax: Fujiyama

The latest in the wave of Japanese restaurants taking over Halifax’s dining scene, Fujiyama is also one of the most popular. Relaxed but stylish, it specializes in sushi and hibachi. The intimate subterranean dining room on Blowers Street is the home of the legendary night spot La Cave, but a graveyard for new restaurants ever since. Fujiyama seems set to break the curse. Rich menu (the oft-overlooked sashimi and teriyaki are sure things too), cool setting and warm vibe—Fujiyama has elbowed its way to the front of a competitive pack of hot Japanese spots in the city.

5244 Blowers St., Halifax, NS; 902-492-1133; www.sushifujiyama.ca

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