Before chef Jason Carter opened up Dandylion, he worked under some boldfaced names like Susur Lee and Marc Thuet. But that doesn’t mean Carter is keen to follow in their footsteps. Chef is far from being a name attached to a buzzy event; instead, he works his simple magic in his very own kitchen. The menu checks off all the boxes — local, organic, seasonal, veg-forward — and is short and sweet. Meals always start with Dandylion’s homemade bread, warmed just so and ready to smear with its soft fromage blanc. Starters like ricotta ravioli with sweet peas and basil speak to the vegetarians, and mains like bavette steak with lentils and fresh asparagus are for the meatheads. Carter is about the flavour, not the fuss. 1198 Queen St. W.
Holed up on an off-the-radar strip of Ossington, this contemporary Canadian restaurant turns out eye-opening fare. The level of respect chef-owner Justin Cournoyer has for the land, for the seasons and for the climate is palpable in every dish. All is local and seasonal, and the ethos permeates every aspect of the business. Asparagus is served with soured cream and fresh garden herbs, laid perfectly vertical on the plate. Turnips come with fermented apricot and pineapple weed, showcasing their simple glory. Not enough for ya? The joint recently nabbed the distinction of being the country’s most eco-friendly restaurant. Chew on that, vegans. This is more than a restaurant; it’s a life lesson in a meal. 971 Ossington Ave.