Best Bistro: Bistros often do well with comfort foods, but Biff's, 4 Front St. E. (tel. 416/860-0086), serves up modern takes on classic dishes; its setting goes beyond comfortable to luxury.
Best Italian: Il Posto Nuovo, 148 Yorkville Ave. (tel. 416/968-0469), serves fine modern Italian cuisine in elegant digs -- and the efficient, knowledgeable waitstaff makes everyone feel at home.
Best Portuguese: Standing alone on Italian-dominated College Street, Chiado, 484 College St. (tel. 416/538-1910), serves modern Portuguese cuisine. The seafood is flown in daily.
Best Greek: The cooking at Pan on the Danforth, 516 Danforth Ave. (tel. 416/466-8158), will convince you that Pan really was the god of food. This is Greek cuisine updated with panache.
Best Out-of-Towner: Talk about catching on like wildfire -- the new restaurant Wildfire, at Taboo Resort in the Muskoka region (tel. 705/687-2233), is a work of art. Give yourself over to the genius chef by having one of the 4-, 5-, or 11-course tasting menus.
Best People-Watching: Across from the Sutton Place Hotel is Bistro 990, 990 Bay St. (tel. 416/921-9990), where everyone in Toronto but me has made a celebrity sighting. (I'm too busy enjoying the delicious food.)
Best Value: First prize goes to Brassaii, 461 King St. W. (tel. 416/598-4730), a stylish bistro with excellent food, top-notch service, and wallet-friendly prices. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An honorable mention goes to Messis, 97 Harbord St. (tel. 416/920-2186), which has been a training ground for some of the best chefs in Toronto.