Let’s be honest: only a three-course prix-fixe menu can pull snug Torontonians out of mid-winter hibernation. Luckily we’ve got an amazing selection from which to choose during Winterlicious 2017, the foodie fest produced by the City of Toronto, with YP Dine as the presenting sponsor. Here’s a list of just some of the great Winterlicious spots that will make leaving home totally worthwhile.
Alleycatz Restaurant Jazz Bar
$28 dinner. Think party bars and gourmet dining don’t mix? After a bite of Alleycatz’ eggplant cannelloni and braised beef short ribs, you’ll be whistling a new tune. For a real showstopper this Winterlicious, try their “orgasmic penne” with roasted chicken, portobello mushroom, asparagus and pesto cream sauce. This will set the stage for the grand finale, your choice of either a New York style cheesecake, tuxedo truffle mousse cake or classic chocolate ice brownie – trust us, you’ll want an encore.
Parts & Labour
$38 dinner. Parts & Labour chef “and all-or-nothing kind of guy,” Matty Matheson, has a penchant for creating delicious carb-laden comfort foods, and his Winterlicious menu is no exception. Think, fried chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy and coleslaw or the P&L Burger with dill mayo, bacon onion jam, Monterey jack cheese, iceberg lettuce, egg bun, and of course, crispy fries. It may not be exactly what the doctor ordered, but we could all use a little extra insulation this winter (am I right?).
$28 lunch; $48 dinner. Vegans will feel right at home in this cozy Living Room. Nestled inside the posh Windsor Arms Hotel in Yorkville, the former steakhouse offers an expansive Winterlicious menu including gourmet vegan options. On a cold winter afternoon, melt into a plush oversized Chesterfield with a warm bowl of wild mushroom and pearl barley risotto. Just be sure to save room for their vegan truffles and chocolate.
Against The Grain
$18 lunch; $28 dinner. Off the beaten path in the Corus Quay building, at Cherry Beach, this hidden gem boasts breathtaking waterfront views and a surprisingly creative Winterlicious menu. For a mouth-watering trip on the wild side, we recommend their wild boar bacon pizza, with Brussels sprouts, roasted garlic, thyme cream, caramelized onion and balsamic reduction.
Five Doors North
$28 dinner. Looking for a Winterlicious menu that will knock your socks off? For midtowners, this long-standing neighbourhood joint consistently delivers with their premium Italian cuisine and mom-and-pop style service. Heads up: with a wide selection of starters and entrees to choose from (5 each) there are tough decisions to be made. We suggest the crispy pork belly (local) to start, the pumpkin seed crusted salmon for your entrée and the banana chocolate chip bread pudding for dessert.
$23 lunch; $38 dinner. Tucked away on Charles St. (just east of Yonge), this rustic, cottage style bistro is a tranquil hideaway from its bustling neighbours. White plush pillows, pale walls, painted shutters and beachy whitewashed décor invoke an unpretentious ambiance despite its Yorkville reputation. Lunch with the girls or a romantic dinner for two, these Winterlicious dishes are fit for any appetite. And let this be a warning, their Nutella pudding takes no prisoners.
$18 lunch; $28 dinner. If you’re a fan of authentic Thai, a visit to Bangkok Garden this Winterlicious is a must. Trailblazers in Toronto’s Thai food scene, this 35-year-old downtown hotspot is the real-deal. Chow down on their famous spicy shrimp Pad Thai or tamarind goat curry in an exotic atmosphere featuring a wood interior, hanging lanterns and lush artifacts imported from Thailand.
$38 dinner. There’s really no better time to visit the south than during a Toronto winter – and Big Crow is as close as you’ll get to southern style dining in the 6. Communal picnic tables, campfire smoke and paper plates, the ultimate backyard cookout experience. This Winterlicious, get your hands dirty with some good ol’ grub like their smoked drums with Alabama white BBQ sauce and buttermilk potato salad. And for a salty sweet delight, y’all have to try their peanut butter and ruffles marshmallow squares.
$23 lunch; $38 dinner. Located inside the AGO, Frank’s Winterlicious menu is nothing short of a masterpiece. One of the best prix fixe deals on this list, their extensive lunch and dinner menus are carbon copies of one another with the exception of the “not so philly” cheese steak (lunch) and milk braised pork shoulder (dinner) options.
$38 dinner. On trend with the nose-to-tail style dining experience, Loka “focuses on whole animal butchery with a zero waste policy” – which can only make for a boldly exciting Winterlicious menu. You may want to keep Google at arms reach for some of the more obscure items like the shaved lonza, maple crema, and chicharron (aka shaved pig loin). Vegetarians will be treated to an equally contemporary farm-to-table style menu with items like the pickled arctic char, watermelon remoulade and crispy leeks, or the pan-roasted mushrooms with truffle potatoes and deer lichen.