At a time when half-empty restaurants bring gloomy headlines to mind, the irrepressibly buoyant Tosca banishes them. For over a decade its destination-dining status has been as assured as its casually elegant northern-Italian food, as throngs of patrons thrill to the operatically high ceilings and the aroma of the wood grill. Tosca shuffles its menu with the seasons (a silky early-corn risotto and lamb piatto specials are recent standouts), but consistently matches its high prices with high quality.
RUNNERS-UP: Solstice, Square Café
LAST YEAR: Square Café