Winterlicious 2018: My Top 10 Picks

Hey Toronto Foodies,

A little late this year with my Winterlicious list but it has been surprisingly frustrating getting reservations this time.

It was pretty hard to find a restaurant that 1) served Winterlicious lunch on a weekend, 2) I have not been to already and 3) had good reviews for the most part.

I have been to a lot of restaurants in the past so my search was definitely limiting.

Here are my recommendations:

  1. Ricarda’s
    • Note: Dined here for a Summerlicious lunch over a weekend and enjoyed myself. Tried a promotional flight of drinks too which was nice and included 3 glasses from options such as ice wine, white and red wines. I believe the TV show Suits filmed here as well.
  2. Carbon Bar.
    • Note: Only has Winterlicious dinner but reviews look good. I might check this restaurant out on a regular day.
  3. Biff Bistro
    • Note: I’ve been wanting to go to this restaurant for ages but it only has Winterlicious weekend dinner.
  4. Cactus Club Cafe
    • Note: I have been to this restaurant a few times and liked the butternut squash soup or duo (ask how many pieces you get for appetizer), feenie burger and chocolate mousse.
  5. Estiatorio Volos
    • Note: Again, another restaurant I was unable to book because they only do weekend Winterlicious dinner. Check in on your Yelp app for a free appetizer.
  6. The Queen and Beaver Public House
    • Note: Reviews seem good and it looks like a nice pub/brunch spot.
  7. Wickson Social
    • Note: Enjoyed the drinks here, have not tried food but it could be a more affordable casual option.
  8. Miku
    • Note: Never been but a coworker recommended it. Miku has good reviews as well on Yelp.
  9. Kasa Moto
    • Note: Tried dinner here before and its not bad. If you like their Winterlicious menu, give this place a chance. Usually on the pricier side so it would be an opportune time to try.
  10. Insomnia.
    • Note: A solid good brunch pick, I’ve been there a few times. I love the eggs benedict. Recommend!
  11. Bonus Pick – Noce Restaurant
    • Note: Never been to this restaurant but I will be doing my own Winterlicious lunch here. Not too many reviews but from what I read, most of them are positive.

Again, please double or even triple check that your restaurant choice is participating during the weekend if that is your availability. Looking at you Bar Buca! I once made reservations there for a Licious lunch and the staff said they do weekend when they don’t. Happened to not just me but another table who was sitting nearby.

Hope you find my recommendations useful!

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Summerlicious 2015 – Rosewater ★★★

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~ Winterlicious 2015: My Top 10 Picks ~

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Miga Korean & Japanese B.B.Q Restaurant ★★1/2

Price: $15+ depending on what you order

This restaurant would usually be out of the way for me but luckily I had a ride to get there. Went with friends who wanted to have Korean B.B.Q and arrived at the restaurant around 6:30pm.

Initially, we had planned to try the all you can eat advertised on their website for $26.95 but after arriving we were told it is only available for lunch. I guess they haven’t updated their website yet. Decided then to ordered the B.B.Q Combo #2 for 3 people at $59.95 instead. Combo includes 3 miso soups, 3 rice bowls and one miga salad or lettuce. We were provided 2 plates with L.A. beef short ribs, beef bulgogi, spicy pork and chicken, mussel, shrimp and mushrooms. I really enjoyed the beef short ribs and beef blugogi but I wouldn’t recommend their miga salad as I found it covered with a lot of dressing (perhaps too much sesame seed oil?). Also, portions for combo might not be enough if dining with just guys. I would suggest ordering separate dishes or just all you can eat lunch.

With service, servers were very nice and polite. They constantly changed the B.B.Q plate so smoke wouldn’t come up too much and  have a buzzer installed so you can ask for assistance too. They were so attentive, I think I only used the buzzer once to ask for a drink refill.

Overall, I would recommend trying Miga if you are in the area and in the mood for some Korean & Japanese food. Note – My friend did mention afterwards that they had a stomach ache but I am not sure why since they passed most of the food to me. Something done I think as their subtle attempt of not overeating and having the added benefit of fattening me up too. Grrrr, darn my love affair with meat! Haha

Dress code: Casual. Good for lunch and dinner with friends and family. Not really for work purposes though.

Website: http://www.migabbq.com/
Location: 2382 Dundas St.W, Mississauga Ontario L5K 1R7
Telephone: (905) 822 – 9200
Hours: Sunday to Monday: 11:30am to 10:30pm and Friday to Saturday: 11:30am to 11pm.

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Miga Korean & Japanese BBQ on Urbanspoon

Winterlicious – PURE SPIRITS Oyster House & Grill ★★1/2

Price: $30+

My apologies! With my vacation and just life in general, I was a bit preoccupied this month and my review of Winterlicious at Pure Spirits is long over due.

This was my second visit to Pure Sprits and I have to say I was a bit disappointed with them service wise. I had made reservations for Winterlicious 1-2 weeks in advance only to find out they had lost the reservation when I arrived. I had phoned and was told  it was written down so not sure how the miscommunication happened.

Anyway, my party and I were asked to sit by the bar in the meantime and while the staff often came over to reassure us a table would ready soon, it was a bit irritating since clearly that wouldn’t be the case. I would have appreciated the gesture more if not for the fact my party was starving and we were kept waiting for 30 minutes. I didn’t make a comment to the staff because I wanted to see how their customer service was, though my friends were tempted to. I felt like they should have given us a discount or free drinks/desserts at the end of our meal. Just something as a way of showing us they were sorry for the trouble. Note – I freely admit that when I’m hungry, I can get a bit irritable. Haha.

Now in terms of the food, I had the new england clam chowder with baby clams, back bacon and corn as an appetizer. I felt it was good, seasoned well and hearty but it could have been hotter instead of just warm. My main was yummy, filling and most importantly not dry! I had the grilled chinook salmon with Yukon gold potato and garlic mash. As for the dessert, I bravely tried the Chai tea crème brûlée with spiced almond biscotti. My previous experience with chai tea creme brulee wasn’t too spectacular but not to worry about that here, I loved it.

So in conclusion, liked the food but not the service or prices (regular menu is kind of expensive). If you can handle this and are in the neighbourhood, I would suggest eating in groups of 4 or 2. If its just 2, I would suggest grabbing a booth by the windows.

Best for lunches or dinners with coworkers, friends and family. Maybe even the boss if it was lunch and you work in the area. This place is kind of small, so make reservations and recheck a few days beforehand to avoid what happened to me.

Website: http://purespirits.ca/
Location: 55 Mill Street, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4
Telephone: (416) 361 – 5859
Hours:  Monday to Sunday (Lunch) – 11:30am to 3:00pm, Monday to Sunday (Dinner) – 5:00pm to 11:00pm

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Pure Spirits Oyster House on Urbanspoon

Richtree Market Restaurant ★★★ 1/2

Price: 10-15+

Similar to Marche, Richtree follows the same method using an individual card to add food costs to your bill so you can pay at a cash register afterwards. Depending on each location, there may be smaller restaurants such as the one located at Eaton Centre. There is no seating except in the food court and no need for individual cards to be used. Other locations I have visited are College Park and the one underground around Scotia Plaza, which has seating.

Good for lunches with friends and coworkers.

TIP: If you come 10-15 minutes before they close, they will sell any food made that day for 50% off!

Website: http://www.richtree.ca/
Locations: Various locations

Marche Restaurant ★★★1/2

Price: $10-15+

If you are not familiar with this restaurant, it provides diners with a unique market-style experience. Diners go in with a personal card and order anything they want. Food will then be charged on your card to be later paid when you leave. This allows you to pay for yourself with no worries on being charged the wrong amount if in a large group. Or if you are paying for both parties or splitting costs for one item, you can just charge on one card.

There are also separate stations where you can order meat, sushi, seafood, pizza, pasta, salad, dessert, tea, alcohol, even juice/smoothies! All freshly made right in front of you.

Great for lunches with friends, casual birthday parties/events. A place where you can come after work or during break-time.

Website: http://marche.moevenpick.com
Locations: Various locations. Review for Brookfield Place, 181 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5J 2T3
Hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 7:30am – 11pm
Friday & Saturday: 7:30 – 1am
Phone: (647) 350-6999