2010: A City of Epicureans

For a long time, both locally and globally, French fare has been perceived to lord over other cuisines as the pinnacle of culinary excellence. Fortunately, perceptions are changing as people have started looking to other cooking styles.

The first half of the year saw Mexican joints springing up, with the likes of Casa Latina, Spruce Taqueria and Tomatillos—the latter two fashioned with fuss-free street grub in mind (reminding us that some of the best Mexican we’ve ever had was off a cart on the streets, often eaten standing up).

However, the revenge of the Spanish was swift—presenting itself in restaurants such as The Club Tapas, Octapas Spanish Tapas Bar, Sabroso Tapas Wine Bar and Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant’s Dempsey outlet, and not forgetting Santi by Michelin star-studded chef Santi Santamaria.

Moving beyond cuisine, a dining concept that has really flourished is that of communal eating. While it’s not at all unusual in Asian cuisine, when applied to Western food it certainly makes for a less typical dining experience. If you’re feeling generous, head to The Disgruntled Chef (European), Cocotte (French), Ku Dé Ta (fusion), Roast at One Rochester (European) or Stellar at 1-Altitude (international). Remember, sharing is caring.

The theme of steakhouses seems to be especially hot, with Parisian bistro L’Entrecôte, Argentinian Salta, Meatworks and Hippopotamus all setting up shop. One of the most notable openings on that front, is Wolfgang Puck’s Cut.

For those with a chronic sweet tooth, 2010 saw the arrival of even more dessert parlors. We’ll throw a few names out there just to jog your memory: Pavé, 3 Inch Sin, Dessert Ministry, Let’s Sweets and Flor Pâtisserie, not to mention the frozen yogurt craze with Swirl Art, Sogurt and Miki Yo!

Another notion that we’re hoping to see more of is guerilla dining. Things are just starting to heat up with lolla’s secret suppers, Social Candy and The Ping’s Illegal Diners Club, but only time will tell if this is going to be as big a thing as we hope.