Food and Wine

Best Restaurants of 2011: #3 Town

Town’s salted caramel ice cream piled high with whipped cream, peanuts, and caramel corn. Photo by Lalonde.

If Town were a freshman, he would be that adorable, smart, funny kid who has endeared himself to absolutely everyone — the artsy types, the jocks, the nerds, the cool kids. Even the parents are smitten. They say his taste in music makes them feel young again.

This is eager-to-please food that reaches out and hugs you. You’ll find things here you never even knew you were craving. Like a stunning classic Italian summer salad of prosciutto and fresh melon with arugula and little goat cheese fritters, the plate drizzled with honey. I bet all the other chefs in town are kicking themselves that they didn’t think of that one.

The featured flatiron steak was pink perfection, cooked under vacuum (he’s a bit of a science geek too) and topped with watermelon salsa. So good, it’s hard to believe the sides stole the show — we’re talking silky-smooth puréed mascarpone potatoes and quickly sautéed kale, its lacy leaves tasting of smoked bacon and butter (okay, it’s not that hard to believe).

So let’s see now: soulful creative cooking, fresh ingredients, great music, great vibe, excellent service, not a trace of attitude, and sane prices. At least dessert was a dud, right? No, it was incredible: a magnificent mess of salted caramel ice cream piled high with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a tower of peanut and caramel corn. Town travels the line between frivolous fun and serious food and welcomes everyone to join the ride.

296 Elgin St., 613-695-8696,

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