100 Top Restaurants: #44 – Atlas

Doug Penfold doesn’t holiday; he goes on gastro tours, eating his way through countries in the name of research. It was on a trip to Spain that he took a side trip to Morocco, and promptly fell hard for slow-simmered tagines of lamb or seafood, kofta fragrant with paprika, and semolina pan breads smeared with sweet pastes made of ground nuts and honey. They’re all on the menu at Atlas, named after the mountain range, along with buttery phyllo packets stuffed with mixed mushrooms; bright salads of fennel, feta and quinoa; and pretty little tarts that are decidedly French but take their flavour cues—dates, pistachios, rosewater—from north Africa. The room is intimate, only 24 seats, and the servers are warm and meticulous. They’ll remember you after your first visit—and they expect you’ll be back. 18 Dupont St., 416-546-9050.