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Best New Restaurants 2012: No. 3 Aria

Best New Restaurants 2012: No. 3 Aria

Aria offers a much-needed master class in seduction, dazz­ling us with set dressing before the food even arrives. For starters, the ceiling— three storeys up and adorned with monumental sphere chandeliers—dwarfs diners. And the wine list is the size of a small-town phone book, chronicling a cellar worth $750,000. Chef Eron Novalski’s classic Italian menu doesn’t compete with the room for ostentation. It appeals to palladium cufflink–wearing titans as well as the hoi polloi who stop in for pasta before a Leafs game next door, and he executes most of it beautifully. Luscious chunks of buffalo mozzarella from Capua, for example, are served simply with oven-dried tomatoes and spicy pesto. Hand-hewn bigoli tossed with chunky roasted tomato–garlic sauce and delicate air-dried mullet roe are a humble evocation of Sardinia. Waitresses in black mini-dresses pour grappa at the meal’s end. Glamorous yet approachable, rustic yet refined, Aria reclaims fine dining for our post-recessionary city. 25 York St., 416-363-2742. See our listing for more information »

(Images: Raina and Wilson)

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