Best Casual Dining

TIE: The B-Line / Feast

Readers Pick

We love how B-line creates a whole experience, not just a meal. We remember the months it took to prepare the space before it opened, every detail exquisitely designed and crafted. The food matches the décor: hip and urban and expertly prepared. It's fun to sit at the counter facing Fourth Avenue and people-watch. Save room for dessert; the pastry team knows their stuff. The fruit pies are good enough to stand in for dinner: The crust is extraordinarily flaky and delicate; the fillings are pure and unstarchy with a perfect acid-sugar balance so the flavor of the fruit comes singing through.

Feast is a five-star restaurant made affordable by its simple setting. Chef Doug Levy's creative menu reflects a sensitivity to season, a willingness to seek out local ingredients and a sly sense of play. For example, last fall: a plate of three rosy little Willcox apples on sticks, dipped in homemade caramel, with sprinkles! Everything is available to take out, but the convivial dining area invites you to linger. If you're eating alone, sit at the 10-seat community table and enjoy your meal in good company with other friendly interesting foodies like yourself. Feast has everything you need for a seductive picnic to go, including the wine.

Runner up:

3. The Cup Café, Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., 798-1618, www.hotelcongress.com/cup

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