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Ulla chef Brad Holmes (Gold) delights with well-composed dishes that celebrate exemplary ingredients and perfect technique. Judges singled out gnudi with pickled chilies and ethereal scallop boudin blanc to start, and any of the half-dozen mains, arranged by ingredient and riffing on a few careful iterations, to follow.
Zambri’s (Silver) continues to make sophisticated, rustic magic from first-rate, largely local ingredients; try the spaghetti alla chitarra with sage, brown butter, and pecorino.
Sean Brennan nails classic bistro fare at Brasserie L’École (Bronze): definitely sample duck confit with lentils and bacon.
Honourable Mentions to Cafe Brio for Lawrence Munn’s hearty West Coast/Italian menu, and stylish Veneto, a cocktail bar with small plates and sharing boards in the renovated Hotel Rialto.