Bar Piquette

At this rate, wine bars might soon outnumber pubs. The best of the incoming class is a prime draw for Queen West next-gen yuppies craving a plate of Spanish olives and a glass of wine before returning to their loft-condo and Netflix queue. The chalkboard list of wines gets updated daily; they’re curated—with an emphasis on artisanal, personality-driven, small-scale makers with a natural, low-intervention bent—by two of the city’s most interesting sommeliers, Nathan Morrell and Ellen Shrybman, who between them have built the lists at Bar Isabel, Quetzal, Bar Raval and Tennessee Tavern. That should be a clue that this is a Grant van Gameren establishment, his ninth, which means there’s also a thoughtful menu of quietly trendy, Mediterranean-inspired sharing plates. It’s hard to make a bad choice, but some of the recent standouts include boat-like baguette toasts smeared with ’nduja and stracciatella; kampachi crudo with slices of fall apple and pickled celeriac; a fatty, pistachio-studded country pâté; and a simple but maximal-impact salad of shaved fennel, radishes and bonito tossed in a lemony tonnato dressing. Do they make desserts? Who knows? There were too many curiously interesting wines to try instead.

Bar Piquette, 1086 Queen St. W.,

Grant van Gameren (centre) with Ellen Shrybman and Nathan Morrell
Pistachio-studded country pâté is a standout
Piquette’s wine list is hyper-focused on rare grapes and small producers
The Mortadella on a Bun, inspired by the many such sandwiches Shrybman had in Italy, comes on a brioche bun from Petite Thuet. It’s topped with ribbons of shaved fennel and finished with a dollop of garlicky mayo