At the end of January 2013, Toronto will once again transform into a culinary dreamland. The twelve days of the biggest winter food celebration starting from January 25th will feature 191 of the best local restaurants offering prix fixe menus. Since the first seasons of Summerlicious and Winterlicious in Toronto, there have been 3.7 million meals served and these two festivals have generated $166 million in economic activity for the local restaurant industry.
The decade-long tradition of summer and winter culinary events in Toronto has gained enormous popularity and to be able to try out the most prominent restaurants yourself, you should make your reservation as soon as possible. Prix fixe reservations are accepted beginning in January.
The eleventh season of this mouth-watering festival will be the largest to date, and therefore the City of Toronto produced a map with which you can zoom in to your neighbourhood and find the closest restaurants. After locating your desired restaurants, you can create a personal list that you can then share with your friends using the Sort List tool.
The prices for this fine-dining experience are around $15 to $25 for lunch and $25 to $45 for dinner per person, plus taxes and gratuity. Lunch and dinner menus include a starter, entrée, and dessert.
Even if you don’t manage to make a reservation at your desired restaurant, you don’t have to worry because Winterlicious is the perfect opportunity to discover new hidden gems that you’re likely to return to again and again.
This year’s Winterlicious features 14 special culinary events offering unique food experiences and diverse cuisine. Here are some events worth visiting. If none of them suits you, try to choose from the Winterlicious Guide Book. Tickets for these exceptional culinary adventures have been on sale since December 13th, and to purchase some, contact each event producer directly.
Take The Highland Way
The Chef’s House located at 215 King Street East will, on Friday, January 25th, serve an exclusive, five-course Scottish dinner as an ode to Robbie Burns day. The event called “Take The Highland Way“, features Scottish-born Director of the Chef School, John Higgins, who together with a graduate of GBC and local haggis maker Kyle Deming of the Sausage Partners and other culinary experts, teaches the art of making haggis, providing both a recipe and a sample to take home.
An Egg and a Crust of Bread — Brunch and a Tour of Josef Sudek Exhibition
Frank Restaurant and the Art Gallery of Ontario will feature on Saturday, January 26th an event called “An egg and a crust of bread,“ brunch and a tour of the Josef Sudek exhibition. It begins with breakfast hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail at The Young Gallery followed by a guided tour of Josef Sudek: The Legacy of a Deeper Vision, which exhibits more than 175 pieces of the artist’s diverse work. Furthermore, after the tour, guests will enjoy a Czech-inspired prix fixe brunch created by Executive Chef Anne Yarymowich.
Pasta Knowledge with Mama Rosa
Mama Rosa, owner and chef of popular Italian restaurant 7 numbers, is holding a special pasta-making workshop on Monday, January 28th from 7:00 to 10:00 P.M. She will be teaching how to work with traditional birch boards (which you can keep after the class) and revealing some of her secrets. The pasta workshop continues with Mama Rosa preparing a three-course meal as she shares stories about each dish’s rich history. Moreover, guests can look forward to a nice selection of locally produced Fielding Estate wines.
The Art of the Cocktail : Cocktails and Canapés
Rosewater, an elegant restaurant in the centre of Toronto, will be hosting a special event dedicated to the art of the cocktail. Guests will have the opportunity to learn the process of making three signature drinks and to enjoy a custom tasting menu prepared by Executive Chef Dale Meek. After this entertaining Thursday evening (January 31st), guests will receive a recipe book with the featured drinks and food recipes.
Culinary U Turn
Origin Liberty has prepared an event featuring an eight-course tasting menu prepared by Claudio Aprile, chef and owner of Origin and Colborne Lane, and chef Rene Rodriguez from the highly acclaimed Navarra restaurant in Ottawa. The two will travel back in time and revisit the dishes that awakened their passion for food. The event will take place on Monday, February 4th and Tuesday, February 5th from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M.
This season of Winterlicious will be bigger than ever, including 191 restaurants participating in prix fixe menus. Here are a few tips for those planning to go but who haven’t yet decided where.
131 Bloor St W
$20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
La Société is a stylish Parisian bistro located at the Colonnade on Bloor run by Charles Kahbouth, a Toronto enterntainment mogul. The unique atmosphere of La Société somewhat overshadows their food; however, it;s worth a visit. They serve authentic French dishes, which can also be enjoyed from their Winterlicious menu.
1150 Queen St W
416-531-5042 ext 1
$20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
The Drake is one of Toronto’s most classy and popular hotels and is a great place to have dinner. It opened on Valentine’s Day in 2004 and since then has been providing delicious cuisine and terrific services. If you’ve never been to The Drake, you should definitely try it, as their Winterlicious menu seems delicious.
499 Church St
Byzantium is Toronto’s first official martini bar and one of the best places to get shaken or stirred in Canada. The place has a classy and relaxed atmosphere, and their cuisine is made from only the freshest market ingredients. Their menu suggests that Byzantium could be one of the most positive surprises of this year’s Winterlicious.
45 Colborne St
Colborne Lane’s chef, Claudio Aprile is regarded as one of the most innovative and creative chefs in Canada. His restaurant offers one of the best food experiences in Toronto with flavours and combinations you won’t find anywhere else. Their innovative menu promises that Colborne Lane will uphold its high standards during this year’s Winterlicious.
330 King St W, 2nd floor
$20 Lunch/$35 Dinner
Luma is an upscale Oliver and Bonacini restaurant whose menu showcases global and Canadian artisanal cuisine made from the finest local and regional ingredients. The original and inventive cooking of Luma’s executive chef Jason Bangerter is accompanied with top-notch services and an amazing atmosphere. You can’t go wrong if you choose Luma’s Winterlicious menu.