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This was Pino Posteraro’s year,” declared one judge. The chef behind Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca (Gold) travelled to Bologna this year (at Moët & Chandon’s invitation) to cook for Formula One drivers; here at home he maintained his leading position in the industry. Whether because of the room’s “slam dunk” wine matches (Posteraro’s palate prowess is enormous) or the impeccable service or the uncompromising dedication to classic techniques and intricate flavours, Cioppino’s remains in a league of its own. It is, as one judge had it, “the only Vancouver restaurant guaranteed to elicit pleasurable moans bite after bite.” La Quercia (Silver) delivers heavenly stuffed pasta (try the agnolotti di Guido, packed with veal, chard, and ricotta) and a serious Italian wine education. The $50 seven-course meal may be the best upscale bargain in town (and did we mention the kitchen will build those courses around your wine choice?). CinCin (Bronze) can hold its own in the pasta ring, but judges this year were steadily grateful for offerings from its wood-fired oven: roasted whole sea bass, tenderloin of beef, and king oyster mushrooms (and, for late-night snacks, there’s always that prosciutto and parmesan pizza at the bar).