Now that unrenovated Leslieville semis are going for a million-plus, dining options are looking up east of the Don as serious restaurant investors follow the money—and lure standout chefs to follow them. My pick of the new crop is run by Jeffrey Bovis, last of Dundas West’s fish-focused Ufficio. Like many new neighbourhood spots, Wynona (the name was apparently a whim) fashions itself as a wine bar. There’s a good starter list with several natural and unfiltered vintages, which make smooth dance partners with a plate of plump Portuguese sardines and marinated red peppers, dreamily creamy burrata finished with honey and fennel pollen, and especially with Bovis’s handmade pastas. He pairs cavatelli with preserved lemon and meaty hen of the woods mushrooms, stuffs agnolotti with roasted beet purée, and weaves a tower of spaghetti with zucchini twists and stracciatella. The room is spare and refined (white-painted brick, blonde wood, vases of wildflowers), and every seat has a view of Bovis’s compact kitchen. Even on the coldest nights of this past winter, the place was full, the conversations keeping up with beats and the popping of corks. As good a sign as any of a neighbourhood with momentum.
Wynona, 819 Gerrard St. E., 416-778-5171, wynonatoronto.com