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Eat & Drink

20 restaurants to eat at during Summerlicious 2014

Posted by Liora Ipsum / June 18, 2014

summerlicious restaurants 2014Summerlicious 2014 will take place July 4th to 20th, and even though it's still a few weeks away, it's not too early to start drooling over three-course prix fixe menus - the reservation lines open tomorrow (Thursday, June 19th). Now in its 12th year, the celebration has become a way to experience old favourites at a discount, or discover newcomers to Toronto's diverse culinary scene without taking an expensive risk.

Here's a round-up of what to expect from Summerlicious 2014.

HOW IT WORKS

Over 200 restaurants will participate in Summerlicious this year offering three-course prix fixe meals for lunch (priced at $15, $20 or $25) and dinner (which comes in at $25, $35 or $45). Reservations, handled directly through each restaurant or via OpenTable (when available), are a must at the most popular venues, though walk-ins at lunch can sometimes be squeezed in

NEW THIS YEAR

This year's lineup of restaurants includes 21 first-time participants, including notable new additions like:

HOT TICKETS

Considering usual prices and popularity, you might want to book your table ASAP for these highly sought-after spots.

  • Momofuku Daisho (menu) - Inspired Asian fusion on the third floor of the Shangri-La Hotel.
  • Canoe (menu) - The Financial District culinary hot spot from Oliver and Bonacini.
  • Cafe Boulud (menu) - A contemporary French dinner menu from renowned chef Daniel Boulud.
  • La Societe (menu) - A French bistro with a prime patio overlooking the Mink Mile.

OLD FAVOURITES

Popular restaurants returning for another year include these well-versed eateries:

VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN OPTIONS

Meatless eaters will find the prix fixe program especially tantalizing this year thanks to a slew of menus that make vegetarian and vegan fare more than just an afterthought:

  • Grasslands (menu) - The vegan restaurant on Queen St. West wades into Summerlicious for its first time this year.
  • 93 Harbord (menu) - An upscale Middle Eastern restaurant that excels at meat-free options.
  • Windup Bird Cafe (menu) - The College St. cafe named for a Murakami novel will offer at least two vegan entrees on its prix fixe.

CHEAP BUT GOOD

Here are some top picks in the most reasonable Summerlicious price range of $15/$25 (for lunch and dinner, respectively).

  • Momofuku Noodle Bar (menu) - Another member of the Momofuku family specializing in ramen.
  • Tabule (Yonge) (menu) - Look for deals at this Middle Eastern restaurant's midtown location.
  • Milagro (Yonge) (menu) - A midtown cantina that celebrates the culinary traditions of Mexico.
  • Museum Tavern (menu) - Looking onto the Royal Ontario Museum, this tavern boasts a delectable menu and prime view.

Did we miss any? Add your favourite Summerlicious picks to the comments below.

Discussion

17 Comments

I avoid it / June 18, 2014 at 01:15 am
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I find Summer and Winterlicious to be a bit boring now; so many restaurants are either part of it, or pretending to be that it dilutes the whole experience. The meal cost has stayed the same for years and often the meals presented are mediocre as the restaurants are not keen to lose money trying to attract new customers, when clearly many diners appear to only dine out twice a year. To me it is one of those things that filled a need after SARS, but has had its day.
so true replying to a comment from I avoid it / June 18, 2014 at 10:23 am
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Couldn't agree more.

The "Licious" have been become very stale.

There used to be a buzz about it, people found it exciting, new, etc.

Now its just very ho-hum.

It needs a complete re-branding in some shape. I dont know how it can be revamped, but its current state has run its course.
mar replying to a comment from so true / June 18, 2014 at 10:42 am
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You guys are so ahead of the curve...

How about its just great meals that are usually expensive for fair prices? An opportunity to check out a place you may not try otherwise. Try not to over think it...
THI replying to a comment from mar / June 18, 2014 at 11:03 am
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We all agree it is what it is.
But even things like that need to be freshened up at some point.

And its not like these restaurants are impossibly expensive, that one could never eat there unless it was during summer/winter-licious.

Plus the menu you are getting inst the best dishes they have to offer anyways. The menus are middling at best. Easy to prepare, get them in and out the door.
S / June 18, 2014 at 11:21 am
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It used to be great BUT most restaurants create a cheaper menu for this (no deal). In addition service is poor due to a full house & most likely cheap tipper. So....what are you really experiencing? A knock off experience at a great restaurant. No thanks! I'll save and have the real deal.
thereinliestheproblem replying to a comment from mar / June 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm
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Thats the problem, as many have point out, you are not getting great meals.

They come up with entry level menus, with nothing truly exciting and try and pass it off as though you are experiencing this great restaurant. Which you are not. You are simply taking up a seat they would prefer to give to a better paying customer.
kjr / June 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm
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Not a big fan...I am "over" this promotion. In my experience, restaurants don't welcome you as a potential new customer, they treat you like an inconvenience and I have often received sub-par service. When I mentioned it to management at one restaurant, he went on to tell me how this promotion just costs them money and is incredibly inconvenient for them. Oh. So yes, I am that person that never returned to your restaurant as you didn't give me any reason to want to!
mona / June 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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I agree. Rebranding would be a good idea.
Echen / June 18, 2014 at 01:52 pm
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What's the restaurant that serves the dish that I used as the picture up there???
Grace replying to a comment from Echen / June 18, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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Hey Echen, a reserve google image search says it's from Lamesa Filipino Kitchen! :)
Big Norm / June 18, 2014 at 03:14 pm
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Yup its Lamesa Filipino Kitchen!!! Krispy Fried Pata w/ pickled chayote, house made hot sauce, Sasawan Sauce & spicy vinegar.
He's Baaaak / June 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm
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Steak Queen...hands down.
Linda / June 19, 2014 at 12:49 pm
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The shore club is my fave when it comes to summerlicious!
mag replying to a comment from I avoid it / June 28, 2014 at 07:09 pm
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response to I avoid it:
just live life and try not be so bored and negative.
so unattractive

Rayray / July 3, 2014 at 10:11 am
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My problem with the licious events is that the menus need to be changed; the items are usually pretty boring and bland and not a great way to showcase the restaurant.
Jose Nayari / July 4, 2014 at 05:49 am
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Toronto Hamilton is the place to eat for gastronomic food with goodsize portions at great prices. I dont see the point of eating micro sized meals and paying 1%-5% less. Most often the summerlicious prices per portion are the same as the regular menu; pricing is always based around foodcost, no resto owner in their right mind will discount food prices for an event. Like I said, Torontos culinary scene is pretty lame and most of the recommended restos on this list are spoonfed rusffund child owners with little creativity and atrocious culinary knowledge (copying others is NOT a form of flattery).

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