BEST AMBIENCE: AUBERGE DU POMMIER
Elegant French spot.
What you said: “Worth coming here for the extensive wine list alone. An excellent selection.”
Finalists for 2003: Centro, North 44°, Hy’s, David Duncan House, The Keg Steakhouse.
BEST BAR: PANORAMA
A sleek bar with a 51st floor patio.
What you said: “Great cocktails, great view….What more could you ask of an evening?”
Finalists for 2003: Hard Rock Café, Jump, Lobby Bar (192 Bloor St., 416-929-7169), Avenue, Esplanade Bier Markt.
BEST BREAKFAST/BRUNCH: HOT HOUSE CAFÉ
The weekend jazz brunch is popular, so be sure to make a reservation.
What you said: “This place is hoppin’ on Sunday. We went to town on the huge brunch.”
Winner in 2002: Hot House Café.
Finalists for 2003: Marché, The Pickle Barrel, The Old Mill, Over Easy, The Senator.
BEST CHINESE: LAI WAH HEEN
Internationally lauded for its divine dim sum. Chef Terrence Chan’s playful designs are a treat.
You said: “The best (and prettiest) dim sum I’ve ever had.”
Finalists for 2003: Pearl Harbourfront, Bright Pearl, Lichee Garden, Szechuan Szechuan, Dynasty.
BEST FAMILY DINING: THE PICKLE BARREL
Big, bold, family friendly haunt.
What you said: “Great for kids. Generous portions, too.”
Winner in 2002: The Pickle Barrel.
Finalists for 2003: Old Spaghetti Factory, Marché, Montana’s, Mandarin (1255 The Queensway, 416-252-5000), East Side Mario’s (151 Front St. W., 416-360-1917).
BEST FINE DINING: SCARAMOUCHE
One of the city’s most romantic destinations.
What you said: “My wife and I had a truly memorable evening. Thanks, Scaramouche!”
Winner in 2002: Canoe.
Finalists for 2003: 360 the Restaurant at the CN Tower, Canoe, The Fifth, North 44°, Susur.
BEST FRENCH: LE PAPILLON
Bright and airy downtown restaurant, serving a selection of classic French and Quebecois dishes.
What you said: “The Crêpe Jacqueline with apple and cheddar cheese is trés bon.”
Finalists for 2003: Truffles, Bistro 990, Auberge du Pommier, Marcel’s, Le Sèlect Bistro.
BEST GREEK: CHRISTINA’S
One of the Danforth’s most popular, authentic Greek and Mediterranean restaurants.
What you said: “The next best thing to going to Greece.”
Finalists for 2003: Pappas Grill, Ouzeri, Mezes (456 Danforth Ave., 416-778-5150), Pantheon, Penelope’s.
BEST HOTEL DINING: THE FOUR SEASONS
The jewel in the Four Seasons’ crown, and Toronto’s only Five Diamond rated restaurant.
What you said: “Elegant decor and stellar service. We were very impressed.”
Finalists for 2003: Annona (Park Hyatt), Senses (Soho Metropolitan), Epic (Fairmont Royal York), Café Victoria (Le Royal Meridien King Edward), Lai Wah Heen (The Metropolitan Hotel).
BEST INDIAN: BABUR
Authentic Indian restaurant makes itself at home on funky Queen Street West.
What you said: “Really good food, large portions and very cheap. Also lots of good choices for vegetarians.”
Finalists for 2003: The Host (14 Prince Arthur Ave., 416-962-4678), Kama, Indian Rice Factory, Little India, Dhaba.
BEST ITALIAN: SOTTO SOTTO TRATTORIA
Yorkville gem and preferred haunt of visiting celebs.
What you said: “Wonderful and romantic.”
Finalists for 2003: Leoni’s Italian Kitchen, Grappa, Terroni, Little Anthony’s, La Fenice.
BEST JAPANESE: BENIHANA
The Fairmont Royal York’s Japanese treasure.
What you said: “Sushi was really fresh. Watching the chefs prepare my meal was added entertainment.”
Finalists for 2003: Edo, Katsura, Yamato, Hiro Sushi, Nami.
MOST ROMANTIC: 360 THE RESTAURANT AT THE CN TOWER
High atop the CN Tower, 360 has a special atmosphere.
You said: “Gorgeous view, a great wine list and really creative food.”
Winner in 2002: 360 the Restaurant at the CN Tower.
Finalists for 2003: Scaramouche, Centro, Sotto Sotto, Auberge du Pommier, The Old Mill.
BEST SERVICE: RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE
An A-1 franchise with a high standard of service.
What you said: “The service is wonderful and so attentive. My waiter referred to me by name.”
Winner in 2002: Centro.
Finalists for 2003: Centro, 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, North 44°, Scaramouche, Auberge du Pommier.
BEST STEAKHOUSE: THE KEG
One of the most frequented spots for sizzling steaks.
What you said: “This is a place that really knows their steak and how to cook it right.”
Finalists for 2003: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Hy’s, Le Bifthèque, Harbour 60, Canyon Creek Chophouse.
BEST VALUE: OLD SPAGHETTI FACTORY
Lively and fun, the Old Spaghetti Factory doesn’t take itself too seriously.
You said: “My kids love it here. Good value for your money. Big, heaping platters full of food at a very low price.”
Winner in 2002: Old Spaghetti Factory.
Finalists for 2003: The Pickle Barrel, Marché, Filet of Sole, Fisherman’s Wharf, Hot House Café.
BEST WINE LIST: REDS BISTRO & BAR
Financial district staple for fine food and wine.
What you said: “So many great wines to choose it’s hard to know where to start. You could travel the world just by flipping through their wine list.
Winner in 2002: Reds Bistro & Bar.
Finalists for 2003: Centro, 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, Crush, Opus, Canoe.
LES CLEFS D’OR GOLDEN KEY AWARD: SOTTO SOTTO TRATTORIA
As voted by select members of the elite professional concierge association.