Summerlicious 2015 is fast approaching with reservations for the annual prix fixe festival being accepted as of today, Thursday, June 18. The citywide restaurant promotion runs July 3 to 26 this year having been extended an extra week in celebration of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
More than 210 restaurants will participate in Summerlicious this year offering three-course lunches priced at $18, $23 and $28, and dinners for $25, $35 and $45. Reservations are advised, especially at the most popular venues, and can be made directly with each restaurant or via OpenTable (when available).
Here are my picks for the top restaurants to try this year at Summerlicious.
NEW THIS YEAR
This year's lineup of restaurants includes 22 first-time participants, including notable newcomers like the following.
- Nuit Social (menu) - Look forward to fried artichoke hearts, potato gnocchi, and P.E.I. Mussels from this first timer.
- Thoroughbred (menu) - The multi-level restaurant in the Entertainment District is offering highlights including brussel sprout caesar salad and mushroom wellington.
- Peter Pan (menu) - The newest incarnation of this iconic Queen West restaurant participates at dinner.
- Mata Petisco Bar (menu) - This Parkdale snack bar will debut a little South American flair.
Considering usual prices and popularity, you might want to book your table ASAP for these highly sought-after spots.
- Canoe (menu) - Snag a highly coveted reservation at Oliver and Bonacini's 54th floor hot spot.
- The Fifth Grill & Terrace (menu) - The rooftop grill offers an elevated dining experience.
- Splendido (menu) - Expect luxe dishes like foie gras parfait, and salmon sashimi from Chef Victor Barry's restaurant on Harbord.
- Cluny (menu) - If you haven't checked it out already, now is the time to enjoy this French bistro in the Distillery District.
Popular restaurants returning for another year include these well-versed eateries.
- Bymark (menu) - Mark McEwan's restaurant in the Financial District is a pretty sure thing.
- Marben (menu) - The Spanish inflected restaurant on Wellington boasts a patio as enticing as its menu.
- Chiado (menu) - This upmarket Portuguese restaurant will be serving up plenty of seafare.
- Momofuku Daisho (menu) - Look forward to Asian fusion on the top tier of the Momofuku complex.
Meatless eaters can partake in this year's prix fixe program too.
- Tabule (menu) - The Middle Eastern restaurant on Yonge can accommodate vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike.
- Pukka (menu) - Modern Indian cuisine on St. Clair offers almost entirely veg-friendly apps and desserts, plus select entrees.
- Banu (menu) - The Iranian restaurant on Queen West will offer a predominantly meat-free menu.
- Aprile Bambina Cucina (menu) - Expect at least a couple veg-friendly options for each course at this eatery on Gerrard.
CHEAP BUT GOOD
Here are some top picks in the most reasonable Summerlicious price range of $18/$25 (for lunch and dinner, respectively).
- Pizzeria Via Mercanti (menu) - The Elm St. outpost is serving up hearty pizzas and pastas in part of the promotion.
- Lamesa (menu) - This Queen West kitchen celebrates Filipino favourites at dinner.
- The Chefs' House (menu) - Dine at this relaxed bistro run by future culinary stars at George Brown College.
- SpeakEasy 21 (menu) - The resto-bar in the Financial District is offering a menu including Bloody Mary gazpacho, and potato cheddar pierogi.