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Why no Summerlicious?

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Hi everyone,
I'm just curious as to why nobody seems to like Summerlicious. Is it because of the reservations or are the restaurants not very good?

I'm interested in trying some out (based on the menu), but it doesn't seem recommended.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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  1. i have absolutely no quams with summerlicious.

    actually, no, that's not true.

    i think it's a great way for restaurants to pick up new loyal patrons, people who would otherwise not have thought about going to a particular restaurant. For example, I went to Zucca for summerlicious last summer ($25 dinner), and I've been raving about it ever since. i am looking to try out Tutti Matti ($25 din), Fred's Not Here ($25 din), L'Escargot ($25 din), and Embrujo Flamenco ($25 din) this summer.

    on the other hand, i've also seen some restaurants take this opportunity as a one-time fleecing of new patrons, making no new fans (to the point of making anti-fans). jump ($35 din) was simply awful (6 mushroom, chopped to the point of being unrecognizable, stringy beef stew), la bruschetta ($25 din) was mediocre and cheap (-half- a tartufo for dessert? c'mon, really.)

    i know it's a strain on the wait staff -- unfortunately, "fixed price" borders on "bargain prices", and patrons can sometimes skimp on tips.

    i think it's good for the restaurants, if they take truly engage in the spirit of summerlicious -- that is, as an opportunity to showcase their food & ambience to a wider audience.

    just be wary of restaurants that are in summerlicious for a quick jump in revenues.

    past summer/winterliciouses, auberge du pommier ($30 din) & edo ($20 din) were bland/blah, byzantium was average ($25 din) .. boulevard cafe ($25 din) was great, but are not on this year's list.

    just my two cents.

    2 Replies
    1. re: moo

      Thanks everyone for your quick responses. It's nice to know there are some restaurants worth trying then. Maybe Zucca or North 44, as I haven't been to either of them before.

      1. re: Amanda

        i'll be honest, zucca's menu doesn't look "that" appealing time around -- and at $35, i think i can get "better value" with their "zuccalicious" prie-fixe menu ..

        that said, the service is always excellent, the ingredients fresh & seasonal, so you can't go wrong either.

    2. Summerlicious is hit and miss, just like dining at vaious restaurants at any other time of the year. In my opinion, there are 2 kinds of restaurants who participate in this promotion; those who just want a quick cash flow during a slow time and resent the patrons, and those whose always high standards in both service and food persist. True class is demonstrated by not treating the Summerlicious tables with contempt. In the latter category are North 44, Smalltalk, The Drake Hotel, and Auberge de Pommier. If you look at the menus posted, you can usually tell which establishments make an effort.

      1. s

        I don't particularly like it because I'm not a huge eater. To have an appetizer, entree and dessert and wine is way too much for me.
        I find that at most places I can purchase an appetizer and entree for $35 and I don't have to stuff myself with dessert, and I get to go on a night that is not crazy busy and pick from a regular menu.

        1. I like Summerlicious. We went to the Boulevard during Winterlicious and really enjoyed it. I hadn't been there in probably a decade or more, so it was a great opportunity to try it again. I notice it's not on the list this summer, but I'm planning to go in August for my birthday (already told my husband) so the advertising really worked.

          1. As others have said, some (often big name) places don't show you their best during summer/winterlicious. Mind you, it may still be worth going if you want to check out the ambience of someplace you might never spring for at regular prices.

            Some of my best experiences have included Mistura, Boulevard Cafe, North 44, and Batifole.

            My general suggestion would be to pick a relatively unknown resto as I think they are more likely to be making a real effort to acquire new customers.

            1. p

              dont' want to rehash what some have said here, but yes, a lot of the bigger names don't treat their summerlicious customers very well. they really should just drop out of it though. i've found that with the bigger restaurants that do treat you well, the service is wonderful and the food is good but they don't have the time to offer you something entirely innovative so it's not a real measure of their kitchen. here's my quick rundown of places i've been to. i realize though that some of these places my not be on this year's list.

              haute kitchens with good service:
              bymark (fantastic)

              haute kitchens with terrible service and changed the menu at the last minute to be anti-vegetarian:
              rosewater supper club

              the converted, would go back:
              fred's not here (menu choices are limitless)
              tutti matti

              not terrible but not tempting either:
              rosedale diner

              this year i'm looking forward to:
              czehoski (i think this is the winner of the bunch, $25)
              corner house
              caju (looks like i'm eating up the c's!)

              as a note: thuet offers a prix fixe throughout the year that he took off the website.... no doubt that it's actually a little cheaper if not the same as summerlicious with more choices.

              another note: if you dont' like chicken, a haute cuisine restaurant isn't going to magically make you like chicken. base your choice on the menu a little more than the restaurant because that's the true limiting factor.

              Link: http://tongueandcheek.ca

              5 Replies
              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                Actually Thuet is part of Summerlicious this year..


                $35 Dinner

                Melon soup with Port and aged balsamic orbet
                Veal terrine and heirloom tomato salad, gribiche vinaigrette

                Summer navarin of lamb with hand rolled potato gnocchi
                Choucroute of Icy Waters artic char with basil emulsion

                Peach Biana
                Trio of ice creams, chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream

                Link: http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/se/restaur...

                1. re: Rob

                  sorry, might not have been clear but that's pretty much what i meant.

                  normally thuet has a prix fixe as part of his bistro side of the restaurant year round. but i noticed that since summerlicious has been up, it's not on his official website anymore. i think he just substituted his prix fixe with summerlicious.

                  it's really similar to moo's comment about zucca.

                  Link: http://tongueandcheek.ca

                2. re: pinstripeprincess

                  The two best overall experiences we've had were at Across The Road and The Brasserie. Good friendly service and the food was very good too.

                  This year we'll be going to Corner House, Czehoski, Thuet, L'Escargot, Five Doors North and 1055.

                  No Caju since my girlfriend works there. We can eat there anytime. :-)

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    I dunno about Czehoski.. I hear a lot of people wanting to go there since its their debut this year in Summerlicious. But I just took a look at their menu, and wow, lunch is mostly vegetarian, and dinner has no vegetarian items for main. Seems very discriminating to vegetarians...

                    1. re: jennjen18

                      don't judge a summerlicious restaurant a la its vegetarian menu. why? because not all of them do one at all. check out the main site which denotes a carrot for vegetarian options: http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/se/restaur...

                      i've eaten there before on a regular night and enjoyed it thoroughly, which is why i'm excited to do it again for a ridiculously cheaper price than the norm. some of the best sweetbreads i've eaten.

                      my problem with the rosewater was that they were listed to specifically have a vegetarian menu and decided to change their minds the day we got there. not smart at all.

                  2. What do you guys think of Urban Restaurant for summerlicious? I just made reservations for that restaurant.