Best ten dishes of 2012

Obviously not every restaurant makes it onto my annual Top 10 list of the best restaurants of the year, but some dishes of 2012 were so sublime they deserve to share some of the winner's spotlight. Of course these dishes may no longer be available, but their artistic merit and elevated culinary calibre survives even if, heaven forbid, they've been removed from the menu.

Michael's On Simcoe

100 Simcoe St, Toronto, ON M5H 3G2

Lobster Ravioli: Any kitchen could screw up every dish on the menu and still get a full pardon after serving this plate of seafood. The Lobster ravioli ($29) in a buttery velvet saffron sauce are textbook perfect, al dente handmade pasta pockets stuffed with so much lobster it defies reason and profit margins, as is the need to top it all off with chunks of poached lobster tail.

John & Sons

56 Temperance St, Toronto, ON M5H 3V5

Creemore Battered Nova Scotia wild Caught Haddock: I've never been a huge fan of fish and chips. There, I've said it. Batters are most often too thick and greasy with a subpar-quality filling, that is, if you can find any fish at all inside the heavy coating. But this Creemore battered Nova Scotia wild caught haddock ($19) with a homemade slaw demonstrates that even something as pedestrian as this pub food staple, when done right, can display some real culinary might. They had me at Creemore, but the light and airy batter of two moist and flaky fillets never falls away from the fish. In one multisyllabic word, exceptional. Oh, and by the way, you'll never finish the fries.

The Oxley

121 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 1C4

Rabbit and Potato Raised Pie: Good old fashioned English pie is a speciality at this Yorkville pub. But it's a rabbit and potato raised pie ($17) that numbs us with awe. The crust alone looks like it popped out of a Rembrandt still life, with layers of beautifully spiced bunny and perfectly tender spud slices.

Farmhouse Tavern

1627 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M6P 3S8

Pork Confit: The complicated and laborious process to make a pork confit ($10) would have even Julia Child saying, "F this, why bother?" Chef hand butchers different cuts before cooking them in their own fat and lightly working them over with herbs from his garden. The result is a pulled pork-like pate to marvel at. But when it's paired with an inspired salad of Ontario radish, celery, parsley, lemon, and an incredibly sophisticated potato side blended with pork jus atop a swab of honey mustard and a side of onion jam, well, you'll fall to your knees and weep at its beauty.

Momofuku Daisho

190 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5H 0A3

Harrison Co-op Chicken Ball: A Harrison Co-op chicken ball ($26) is a highly seasoned bird rolled and pressed like a pork roast and dotted with sheets of mole, a liberal egg daubing and purple-edged carrot petals, making this exquisitely beautiful plate look just like the Thanksgiving dinner the Romney's must have. Chicken never looked so gosh-darn fancy.

Richmond Station

1 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H 3W4

Boffo Burger: The winner is a boffo burger ($20) with a side of rosemary fries. Beautifully stuffed with short ribs, aged cheddar and a beet chutney, this exquisite patty is further enhanced with a brioche bun. I wouldn't be surprised if this kitchen had to test many buns before deciding on one that's pillowy soft yet sturdy enough to soak up all the overflowing juices.

On a cold, snowy Edmonton night, nothing says lovin’ like a cup of hot chocolate. It’s no surprise this drink was originally dubbed the “elixir of the gods.” Regardless of the variety you select, or whether you opt for the simplest hot chocolate on the menu, all I can say is ... don’t forget the marshmallows.
You don’t have to travel to Paris to have a true fine-dining experience; you can enjoy an upscale dinner, complete with a five-course meal and fine wine, right here at home. Victoria is a fine-dining destination with an excellent reputation – where talented chefs enjoy crafting delicious gourmet dishes from fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Paired with a nice cup of coffee or topped with a scoop of ice cream, pie is unbeatable comfort food. And yet it faces stiff competition from cupcakes as the city’s dessert of choice. Well, pie is fighting back with old fashioned deliciousness as well as new and tantalizing flavours.
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