Winterlicious 2016: My Top 10 Picks

Hi Foodies, New year, new restaurants and a new Licious list for my foodie followers. Wanted to get this out earlier but I’ve had a crazy busy week. My new list is totally different because I wanted to recommend different restaurants and just … Continue reading

Summerlicious – PROHIBITION Gastrohouse and Oyster Bar ★★1/2

Price: Over $15+ I went with a group of my foodie friends for a $15 Summerlicious lunch at PROHIBITION Gastrohouse. Decided to try this place out after seeing the popular reviews on Urbanspoon. It was a bit far for me … Continue reading

Summerlicious – Stock ★★★1/2

Price: Over $30+ Decided to try a new restaurant with some foodie friends this year and after a vote, settled on the $25 lunch menu at Stock in Trump International Hotel & Tower. Right as I walked in, I noticed … Continue reading

~ Summerlicious 2013: My Top 10 Picks ~

1) One
Price: $25 Lunch/$45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/HIAit
Note: Good reviews and has a nice patio. Owned by McEwan Group who also owns Bymark and North 44. 

2) Nota Bene
Price: $25 Lunch/$45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/OdNgE
Note: Good reviews and very well-known. Ex- Prime Minister Jean Chrétien dined here! 

3) Parts & Labour
Price: $35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/uneiZ
Note: Hearing buzz about it. Low-key atmosphere and has a dance floor downstairs. 

4) Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/POh5f
Note: I’ve meant to check this place out for the longest time but it’s a bit far west of central downtown area. I would still recommend checking it out though, they host many foodie events and have good reviews as well. 

5) Stock
Price: $25 Lunch/$45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/db9CU
Note: Located in Trump Tower, this would be a good chance to check it out! A friend went and mentioned it wasn’t bad. Interior looks really nice as well. 

6) Prohibition Gastrohouse and Oyster House
Price: $15 Lunch/$25 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/Ucnc0
Note: Located a bit far out east of central downtown area..this resto seems very popular and has good reviews. 

7) Rosewater
Price: $20 Lunch/ $35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/YZV3a
Note: Misjudged this place! A relative told me they had a mediocre experience so I have been kind of avoiding this resto for a while. However, I gave in and visited for Winterlicious and on a regular evening as well. Food was good and service wasnt bad either. Love the interior. I would recommend this place, especially since $20-35 is very reasonable for 3 courses. Only placing this low on my picks because I have already tried it. 

8) Splendido
Price: $45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/4pVf0
Note: Another resto I have been meaning to check out and on my wish list for the longest time. I am not too excited about the Summerlicious menu but if you like it, be sure to try this place out. Reviews are still pretty good. 

9) Canoe
Price: $25 Lunch/ $45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/MqhfC
Note: Only low on my list since I’ve been there so many times. If you haven’t and like the menu, move this to the top of your list! I definitely recommend it and suggest a table near the windows. 

10) Biff Bistro
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/CxWsz
Note: Haven’t tried this one yet but I think it is a solid resto under Oliver & Bonacini..their reputation speaks for itself.  

RUNNER UP PICKS

1) PURE SPIRITS Oyster Bar
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/Hqvaq

2) Sassafraz
Price: $25 Lunch/$45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/nl8x2

3) Le Societe
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/wTo8b

4) Domani Restaurant & Wine Bar
Price: $25 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/cRpTs

5) Rodeo Brazilian Steakhouse
Price: $35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/YQl4d

~ Summerlicious 2012: My Top 10 Picks ~

1) Canoe
Price: $25 Lunch/$45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/fRC6C
Note: What is a -licious event without Canoe? A must visit!!

2) Lai Wah Heen
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info:  http://goo.gl/hbhnU
Note: Lots of buzz. Been meaning to go…

3) Bymark
Price: $25 Lunch/$45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/nifYF
Note: Located a few floors below Canoe, heard good things.

4) Kirei Sushi + Bar
Price: $15 Lunch/$25 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/CtXed
Note: Lunch option looks like a good deal.

5) Colborne Lane
Price: $45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/AnENR
Note: Buzz with some mixed reviews. Might be worth a visit..

6) The Wine Bar
Price: $15 Lunch/$25 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/col5p
Note: Surprisingly popular

7) Lucien
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/huxzf
Note: Consistent good reviews

8) Grappa Ristorante
Price: $25 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/wiRDR
Note: Like the Italian menu, Spaghetti alle Vongole anyone? 

9) Zucca Trattoria
Price: $35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/MqhfC
Note: Good reviews but order the Italian dishes

10) Anonna
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/RBsx8
Note: Good buzz but not popular. Possible unfound gem? 

RUNNER UP PICKS

1) ViBo
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: Info: http://goo.gl/uk5QL

2) Sassafraz
Price: $25 Lunch/$45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/nl8x2

3) Luma
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/4jsHD

4) PURE SPIRITS Oyster Bar
Price: $20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/Hqvaq

5) Ruth Chris Steakhouse
Price: $45 Dinner
Info: http://goo.gl/mFGfs

Summerlicious – July 6 to 22nd, 2012

Summerlicious is here again! For anyone new to the event, it is about restaurants providing three course prix-fixe menu’s at a more affordable price.

I strongly support this event because it attracts new customers for restaurants as well as let foodies visit new restaurants they might not have tried before. I have done Summerlicious and Winterlicious events for the past 3-4 years now, so it’s a definitely a ritual with my friends and I.

Keep a watch on my blog as I will also post my top picks! I base my decisions on various factors such as online reviews, buzz, personal references, restaurant appearance, cuisine and location.

Reservations start June 21st. Check here for more information and restaurant listings:

http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/summerlicious/2012/index.htm

 

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

Winterlicious 2012 – Canoe Restaurant

Canoe is one of my personal favourite restaurants, which is evident from my previous review.

However, I recently ate here on the first day of Winterlicious and I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed with the food this time. Maybe it was because this was the first day of Winterlicious or the menu itself but I found the food somewhat bland in taste for certain dishes.

My starter was fine, I had clover roads duck rillette with gribiche, pretzel bread & forbes’ wild flavours. With the main dish however, I had braised Alberta lamb pappardelle with walnuts & mill st. coffee porter sauce but felt the noodles were a bit undercooked? My dessert, birch syrup pudding with bacon caramel & ginger foam was good but the portion was incredibly small. I’m usually one not to complain about portions because I know most fine dining restaurants don’t offer you large portions like more main stream restaurants. However, this was a bit too small for even me. As for drinks, I enjoyed the Winterlicious special pear and cranberry non-alcoholic drink. It was very fruity.

Overall, I did enjoy myself at Canoe. Even if sometimes I felt it was hectic (there were 2-3 people coming to our table, the waiter and 2 staff members), who were very nice and friendly but came too frequently for me to fully enjoy my meal with friends. I also felt a little rushed at the end to leave but our group did stay for almost 3 hours, so its understandable. Would still recommend visiting here.

Website: http://www.oliverbonacini.com/Canoe.aspx
Location: 66 Wellington Street West, 54th Floor of TD Tower, Toronto, ON M5K 1H6
Telephone: (416) 364-0054
Hours: Monday to Friday: 11:45am to 10:30pm, Saturday & Sunday: closed for private events

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Canoe Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Winterlicious: Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar ★

Price: 40+

I tried going here once during winterlicious but despite having reservations, had to wait over an hour for a table. Luckily my friends and I decided to go to another restaurant that was also partaking in the event. Wildfire actually called us when we were about done our meal, saying they were now “available”, so I think we made the right choice.

However, my friends and I decided we should try again another time since we were curious how good it could be to have such a long lineup of people willing to wait. I found it to be a disappointment, not worth the hassle of walking blocks to get there from the subway.

I did find the interior and live jazz band to be kind of nice but the tables felt overcrowded. The service was slow but staff was relatively friendly. Food was a bit mediocre to be honest, I had crab cake as an appetizer and filet mignon as main. Crab cakes were dry and a friend told me they tasted like the ones you buy at the grocery store, frozen and tasteless. Disappointed with filet mignon as well, I asked for medium rare but got rare instead.

I also felt kind of rushed by the servers and since a party next to us was celebrating someone’s birthday, we didn’t get much attention. Overall the restaurant is just too out of the way, so I have no idea why people hype it or would even wait over an hour to patron here. Dress code is business casual to dressy. For dates and dinners with friends. Not sure about business though since it might be too loud.

Website: http://www.wildfiresteakhouse.com/
Location: 3438 Yonge St., Toronto M4N 2M9
Telephone: (416) 483-4800

[Will try to find pictures]

Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon