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Winterlicious at Canoe

Is it fixed? Has anyone actually ever been?

We've been trying to get a 'licious reservation at Canoe ever since the program started. Never been able to get anything other than a busy signal or "sorry, we're all booked up."

My wife and two of her colleagues started calling at 10 o'clock this morning, when they allegedly started taking reservations. None of them got through.

Is this like a radio contest, or is it all a big fraud?

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  1. I too tried calling today with my amex and no cigar. All I can say is that it's likely that most of the people in the nearby office towers who normally would never even think of Canoe as a lunch spot were busily booking team lunches.

    I should go over there tomorrow in person and give it a try.

    1 Reply
    1. re: spades

      I tried to go in person to book winterlicious couple of years ago since I work in that area and they said they only take reservation by phone ??!! Keep calling, eventually it will get through.

    2. I've gone twice for a winterlicious lunch in the past few years, but only because I have persistent and *lucky* friends with Amex cards. Although the second time the menu didn't really appeal to me so I ordered a lobster sandwich a la carte. Afterward, I decided to not even bother trying, as it seems to be more about hype, competition and bragging rights ("that's right, I got a winterlicious reservtion at Canoe once!"). I would suggest just going for lunch on a regular day and save yourself the aggravation. There's plenty of other reservations in the sea!

      1. I got through but I had tried from 10am to about 11:30am, with only a busy signal for the hour and a half. Then by fluke my mom picked up the phone to dial the number around 12 and it rang. Then that put me on queue for about 20-30 minutes before someone actually spoke to me and took my reservation. Surprisingly there were a lot of time slots left on what I had thought was a prime night (Saturday). And ironically, while frustrated with Canoe in that first hour and a half, I randomly dialed Auberge's number and got through and made a reservation with them as well, just in case Canoe didn't pan out. So now I have 2 reservations. It's really all pure luck. Good luck!

        1. I intend on showing up for lunch at the bar as usual and asking for the Winterlicious menu. We'll see.

          1. i have gone to a canoe winterlicious and i personally wasn't all that impressed. the service was good but the food was just ok. a bit bland and nothing entirely impressive about it. however, all the aromas wafting from every other dish on the regular menu were to die for.

            i think they just hype themselves up by not answering the phone. i also wouldn't be surprised if they did tried to make themselves "rare" so that they could also save some seats for any regulars or businesses.

            1. After being foiled by the busy signal in previous years we finally got 'licious reservations last summer and again this year. Last time I went it was well worth it; excellent food, exceptional service.

              As Cinderella said, it's really just luck. Give it some random stabs today (and tomorrow; they hold non-Amex tables for Thursday).

              1. According to the "rules" of Winterlicious... if you go to any of the participating restaurants they HAVE to present you with the option of ordering the Winterlicious menu or they will not be invited to participate the next year. So just make a regular reservation and ask for the menu!

                1. i worked at canoe for a year and a half. the winterlicious wait time on the phones is NOT to build up hype. we had to turn over three phones lines and designate 3 staff members strictly dedicated to handle the volume of calls during the 'licious times of year.

                  i do agree though, that you're better off saving your money and eating at canoe during non-'licious. winterlicious is awful, for the industry, for the dining public, and for the food and service that you get for your money.

                  i hate it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vox

                    I do agree that winterlicious does not give you the real experience of a restaurant. The items on the winterlicious menu usually cannot be found in the regular menu, it is usually cheaper food.

                    Most of the top restaurants does not even participate in the 'licious' events.

                    Winterlicious only give you a feel of the atmosphere of the restaurant, this is what I see it.

                  2. Try makeing your reservation online with Opentable.com

                    Or to the Oviver Web site

                    1. Why does everyone want to go to Canoe?? Get over it! There are over 80 restaurants participating. If you really want to go to Canoe so bad....dont go to any liscious restaurants, and save your $200 for a nice 'real' night out at Canoe after the event is over!

                      1. I got in last year with a little bit of luck.
                        We wanted to go on a Sunday for an early dinner (like 5pm) so that helped.
                        My take? It's a really nice place with a great view but probably not worth the hullabaloo.
                        I'm happy we went because it was nice and I can cross it off my list and not have to try again. It wasn't as good as Auberge du Pommier.

                        But the toughest reservations I've ever tried for where there and Bymark and, frankly, it's not worth the hassle in the end.
                        I think it was Canoe that had a separate phone line and you could only call between 1 and 3 or something odd like that for 'licious reservations.
                        If you REALLY want to go there, just splurge and go there one day when it's not Winterlicious.
                        Otherwise find somewhere else. Booking dinner shouldn't be like trying to get U2 tickets.


                        1. I'm still not sure why Winterlicious gets such a bad rap. I've enjoyed it the last 2 years, and will go and enjoy it again this year. I'm hardly rich, and it gives me the chance go eat at some of the places I can only usually dream of.

                          1. I was just told they are fully booked up, but may be releasing some lunch space later today or tomorrow. Not sure it's worth the hassle anymore.......

                            1. I think that some restaurants are just as "cheap" if you order a la carte 3 separate menu items, which is not supposed to be the idea of winterlicious/summerlicious. As for Canoe, I tried all morning and kept getting a busy signal, that's why I'm trying Jump. Eventually I guess I'll get to go to Canoe, but it probably won't be for the Licious times.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sexyaznboy

                                hi all. i have winterlicious reservations at Canoe this Friday at 2:15 pm, but can't make that seating. does anyone have Canoe reservations that they are willing swap? cheers.

                                1. re: jp888

                                  I went to Canoe for Winterlicious lunch this year, never having been there before, and it was incredible! The shrimp pate appetizer was amazing. Very fresh and flavourful. My friends had the lobster bisque, which they enjoyed but couldn't really taste the lobster. I chose the pork as a main, as recommended by our server. Very tender and juicy! My friends had the salmon and really enjoyed it. It was very fresh and soft. For dessert, I had the expresso torte...nothing spectacular but decent. The bread was good too! Overall I highly recommend it! It was worth the effort it took to get a reservation.

                                  Other restaurants I went to this year:

                                  1) Truffles - pretty terrible. The beef gave me a stomach ache. - over salty and tough!
                                  2) Vertical - not bad but not worth the $25
                                  3) Sassafraz - very good...almost as good as Canoe, except for the lemon dessert, which was a bit dry and hard. The cod main was small but delicious, and the soup was pretty good too.