Winterlicious 2015 is fast approaching, and while the two-week-long, city-wide prix fixe festival doesn't kick off until January 30, 200 participating restaurants have already released enticing menus. Reservation lines will open tomorrow on Thursday, January 15 - start planning now.
Here's a primer of what to expect from Winterlicious 2015.
HOW IT WORKS
Participating restaurants will offer three-course prix fixe lunch menus (priced at $18, $23 or $28) and dinner menus (priced at $25, $35 or $45). Reservations are strongly advised, and can be made directly with each restaurant.
NEW THIS YEAR
There are 25 first-time participants this year, of which a few are particularly noteworthy. They include the following:
- Cluny (menu) - Decadent French fare in the Distillery District.
- Luckee (menu) - Susur Lee's new dim sum palace at the SoHo Met.
- The Saint Tavern (menu) - A modern take on the classic American tavern.
- Marben (menu) - Modern Canadian cuisine with a dash of Spanish influence.
- Hawthorne Food & Drink (menu) - Hearty and heartwarming dishes with a focus on local and sustainable ingredients.
Considering the usual prices and unwavering popularity, these are the places you might want make reservations at - pronto.
Seasoned participants returning this year include these highlights.
VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN OPTIONS
Meatless eaters can partake in the prix fixe menu program, too. Here are some of the standout vegetarian/vegan-friendly options.
- Grasslands (menu) - All-vegan options on Queen West.
- Banu (menu) - Iranian cusine highlighting veg-friendly fare like nan o paneer or eggplant stew.
- Osteria dei Ganzi (menu) - Italian fare that'll bring meat-eaters and vegetarians together.
- Pukka (menu) - Forward-thinking Indian cusine including ample vegetarian options.
CHEAP BUT GOOD
Here are some top picks in the most reasonable Winterlicious price range of $18/$25 (for lunch and dinner, respectively).
- Insomnia (menu) - The Annex restaurant will feature brunch instead of lunch, and comfort foods at dinner.
- Lil' Baci (menu) - The bustling eatery on Yonge will showcase hearty Italian fare.
- Momofuku Noodle Bar (menu) - Pork buns and ramen grace this prix fixe menu.
- Bindia (menu) - The Indian bistro in St. Lawrence Market goes above and beyond the norm with a choice of at least half a dozen mains.
- Destingo (menu) - Casual Italian dining on Queen.
The Winterlicious Culinary Event Series offers 15 ticketed food experiences designed to educated and indulge. Tickets are already on sale.
- Speakeasy at the Palais Royale - A roaring twenties-inspired evening featuring champagne cocktails and a four course meal.
- Celebration of the Black Truffle - Rosewater's Supper Club presents a five course menu featuring the Diamonds of the Perigord.
- The Tin Chef - A friendly "secret ingredient" cook-off at Mildred's Temple Kitchen between a roster of foodies, none of whom are professional chefs.
- Street Market - Food stations at Spice Route will recreate the vibrant sights and alluring smells of a South Asian Street night market.
Did I miss any? Leave your Winterlicious picks in the comments.
Photo of Marben by Jesse Milns.