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DEER + ALMOND

Chef and owner Mandel Hitzer’s hip, rustic Exchange District eatery boasts a stunning menu of small plates for sharing. Blond wood, oversized filament bulbs, and local art by the likes of Kenneth Lavallee and Takashi Iwasaki match the neighbourhood’s casual, artsy flair. Hitzer, a self-taught chef who molded his sensibilities after San Francisco’s Mission Chinese Food and Copenhagen’s Noma, crafts dishes that blend local and global. Beets (dressed in tahini) and deer (a tartare, with blueberries) share the menu with imports like grilled halloumi and octopus with tamarind chutney.  Second location newly opened in EQ3 at Polo Park.