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Winterlicious menus are up

here we go again. winterlicious runs jan 25-feb sometime.

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

i know that not everyone on the board is a fan of this bi-annual event, but for kids on a budget like me, it's a great chance to hit some places that would normally be beyond our means.

the menu at Quince looks like a winner to me, for only $25, and Alize looks pretty good too. any others you'll be trying? or will we all be hiding for three week?

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  1. Pretty good line up this time around and the menus sound interesting. Thanks for posting LL!

    2 Replies
    1. re: millygirl

      yes, nice to see some new faces - GC's Spice Room and C5 among them. has Mistura been on in the past? the menu there looks good too.

      1. re: LemonLauren

        Yes I think Mistura participated last year although I've never been at that time.

    2. Quince 1000 times over Alize !

      1. This will be my first winterlicious, and I already have a list of the spots I want to make sure I get to. I was wondering, how far in advance are reservations needed for, if they are even allowed?

        1 Reply
        1. re: rindinella_k

          See http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/... to see when you can start calling for reservations. You can request for any time during the event.

          If Canoe in on your list, be prepared to dial 100 times before you get through, and be on hold for 20 minutes after that. And this is on the first day for AmEx card holders. See this thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/412995

          1. re: Googs

            Oh, i just saw that.... where's my eraser, gotta change my xmas list.

            1. re: Googs

              Hey thanks Googs for pointing this one out!!! I probably wouldn't have noticed it until it was too late. We just booked Splendido. We've been to Toque and loved it so it's sure to be a spectacular night. Can't wait!

              1. re: millygirl

                Wow, without too much detail, just by the manner in which my reservation was taken I know that we're in for a great evening at Splendido. I can tell that these folks do their homework and I'm already very impressed! I suspect I'll want to update my Top 5 after February 5th.

            2. I know there are many comments about 'licious experiences on many other threads, but a succinct list of good and bad experiences would be convenient here.

              My personal bias is that I want to sample the restaurant's best cooking (allowing for price point adjustments - I don't expect lobster, foie gras, and caviar at $25 for three courses). If I'm going to get mingy portions, indifferent food, and/or condescending service, I'd rather not go.

              I've noticed that many places downgrade their 'licious menus, and aren't worth the hassle, even when they are good at other times. I've also noticed that some posted menus do not represent a place's "normal" food or do not offer better value than the "regular" menu at another time. But I'm also aware of exceptions.

              Our one positive 'licious experience has been Batifole, who delivered wonderful food, good service, and great value on multiple visits. I'm looking for other places that have provided this kind of experience. I can't see the point in bothering with Canoe (not worth the hassle) or Pangaea (too many bad reports), for example.

              Where should we go? Where should we avoid?

              6 Replies
              1. re: embee

                Good idea to start this discussion. As a 'licious vet, I have a few tales to tell...

                My best experience was at the now-defunct Square (the space is now Lai Toh Heen). The service and food were exactly the same as if we'd paid $300, but we paid $70!

                I've had great food in good sized portions at Five Doors North, with not-so-stunning service, but these places are always so busy that you can't bank on fabulous service during 'licious. You get what you pay for. But at Five Doors North we had really great food this summer and it was only a $25 dinner, definately worth it, for a couples or girls night out.

                I've had great food in a very crowded and busy atmosphere, at Corner House last winter. The food was stunning, lots of variety on the menu, and since I was with a large party I got to try lots of it, but the place was ridiculously busy. Still, worth the $35 I'd say.

                I had a meal at Across the Road in summer that was excellent. The service was great and everyone was very happy with their meals. Nice for a "with the in-laws" sort of meal.

                Entirely unmemorable (good food, nothing stunning) were Boiler House (okay, the space is lovely) Herbs and Lolo (now Simple).

                That's my run-down!

                1. re: embee

                  embee notes the numerous bad reports re: Pangaea and Winterlicious, and frankly, I just don't get it. I've been there twice now for Winterlicious (lunches, both) - including during the current promotion - and aside from scattered service (which, as someone else noted below, is expected during extrabusy times such as Winterlicious), the food (at $20) is well worth it.

                  The parsnip & lemon puree with parmesan and a truffle foam was excellent, as was the braised lamb shank (served on a lingot bean cassoulet with mire-poix of root vegetables, ginger, and horseradish). While my dessert was just okay, my dining partner quite enjoyed the maple roasted apples with katifi, crème fraiche, maple pecans, and snap cookie.

                  Give it a shot, I say (although if your experience sucks, please don't hold it againt me!).

                  1. re: 2 cents

                    I tried Pangea this winterlicious for dinner. I thought the food was pretty good and would recommend it. Service was good in that they came around the tables at the right times but the waiter was a bit rude.

                    1. re: 2 cents

                      To be clear, I've had many bad reports from friends in addition to seeing bad reviews. I've not been there myself. A few people who ordinarily like the place have told me to stay away.

                      1. re: embee

                        I also have bad experience with Pangea before, don't want to go to detail again, but we left the restaurant even before the food come.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          I remember having a lunch there during Winterlicious. Never experienced such outright arrogance on part of the wait staff, adequate (but unremarkable) food and the bill brought far too prematurely without being asked.