Best pizza restaurants of 2012

CORRIENTES‘ Argentine pizzas are good, but they aren’t why it makes this list.

What I loved more were an empanada stuffed with beef, onions, raisins, olives and hard-boiled egg and a Cuban grilled sandwich of roast pork layered with ham, spicy mayo, provolone and pickles.

And even more, the Picado, which comprises six little appetizers, tops among them, that day, smoked chicken salad, a citrusy ceviche of pickerel and little strips of eggplant enfolding a purée of sun-dried tomatoes and feta.

Finish with the Gianduia — dense, velvety chocolate studded with hazelnuts. 137 Bannatyne Ave., 204-219-5398.

Pizza Argentine-style on Avenida Bannatyne

Choosing the best restaurants of the year isn’t always easy. Some years are crowded with good ones, making selections difficult; other years the pickings are few, which makes the choices even more difficult. And some years are just a nightmare, like the time the chef of my top choice disappeared at almost the last minute, and a check-up visit revealed cooking standards that had dropped at prices that hadn’t.

La Pampa (offshoot of Corrientes) - All the Flavours Were Fabulous

For days when you don’t want to cook but don’t feel like sitting down at a restaurant, high-end takeout and ready-made meals-to-go are good options.

Tucked into a strip mall near St. Vital Centre, La Pampa is an offshoot of Corrientes, the Argentinian pizza place in the Exchange District. This newly opened satellite specializes in empanadas, serving up 21 kinds, including vegetarian and vegan options.

La Pampa's Roxana & Alfonso Murray