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Did anyone go to summerlicious 2009?

Im getting this impression from the lack of postings, that very few people went to summerlicious 2009? right or wrong?
I chose not to go for my first time in years and years and years.
Why? probably the same reason as everyone else. But Im curious to hear why others didnt attend.

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  1. We didn't bother this year for the first time since Summerlicious started. Quite frankly I'm tired of war dialing certain popular restaurants trying to get a reservation. I'm tired of the frequent only available early or late dinner reservations. Many restaurants put in a half-hearted effort with the food and the service. We're not one of those cheap types either who only order water with the meal. We usually order a good bottle of wine.

    Meh, whatever.

    3 Replies
    1. re: lister

      I dont't think there are any lines anywhere for summerlicious and many prime time reservation spots still available.. Between the recession and everyone in 905 thinking Toronto is one huge garbage dump because that is all that is shown on the news... it is also keeping many people away..

      Also they should have dropped the prices back down to $35 as many restaurants have dropped prices anyway for the recession..

      I say dial the places you want to go and I bet they will have plenty of seats for you...

      1. re: OnDaGo

        Last Sunday, I called Globe Bistro at 5:00 pm and got a reservation for 6:00 pm. When we arrived, it was probably 10% occupied. For most of the meal, at least 8 or 10 tables for 4 were empty. We had a great dinner and are going back on Saturday.
        I had the carpaccio appetiser, twice cooked skirt steak, and the "Eton Mess: desert.

        1. re: OnDaGo

          A lot of restaurants are $25 and $35, except for the high end ones.

          We tried MoRoCo Chocolat last weekend. We didn't mind going early as my husband had to get up at 3:30 the next day for work and the restaurant was pretty empty. The portions were really small...but then I had heard that about this restaurant's regular menu, so I wasn't surprised. Everything tasted great. The main course list seemed a little odd to me compared to other places I have been to for summer/winterlicious. Strawberry salad (you know, the standard strawberry, goat cheese, candied nuts), a roasted veggies club or a asiago stuffed chicken breast.

      2. I usually avoid the 'licious, because of the insanity alone. I've had hit-or-miss luck with resto's, so that factors in too.

        1. Went to bistro 990 this week, called the day before and got a reservation for the time i wanted. I don't think its as busy this yr, although the restaurant seemed full.

          1. I ordered the Summerlicious menu at the Drake this week. I was there for birthday dinner.

            I normally would order off the regular menu, but wasn't that hungry, and I'm trying to watch my weight, so went with the Summerlicious menu hoping it might mean smaller portions. Not the case at the Drake.

            Enjoyed the Drake maki, a tasty pesto spaghetti, and a generous portion of old cheddar with honey, nuts and apple.

            Great service- honestly, it was the best licious meal I've experienced.

            5 Replies
            1. re: phoenikia

              It's nice to see that others have had positive experiences as the Drake often gets negative reviews on this board. Haven't been this year (yet?) but I've dined there both for liscious and nonlicious menus and have never been disappointed with the food or service.

              1. re: tuttebene

                Glad to hear it, we're going to The Drake on Sunday night. We go there occasionally and always enjoy it. The regular menu is fairly reasonable so I don't think the 'licious deal is really so much of a deal there. But the menu they have pulled together for 'licious sounds tasty so we wanted to try them out.

                Also a good 'licious tip for those that want to bother, it's always good to try to swing it on an off night. Made a reservation for Drake on opentable and they had plenty of spots available on Sunday night.

                1. re: abigllama

                  I've been to the Drake twice in the last month and both times, it was terrific. I think the new chef has got things humming over there.

                  1. re: childofthestorm

                    We had a great meal at The Drake last night. The room was probably half full, service was excellent and far from rushed. Highlights were the iceberg wedge with buttermilk blue cheese, bacon and fried onions, and the excellent pesto pasta with mild cheese and veggies. They tag on an 18% gratuity to the tab, but the service was top notch as so we left a bit more.

              2. I had a great dinner at Trevor Kitchen & Bar last night. I had the ricotta gnocchi which I loved (it was my first time having gnocchi). The whitefish, which was cooked perfectly and paired with a vegetable medley that included my beloved brussel sprouts left me wanting more - not because it was a small portion, quite the opposite, really - but because it was delicious!

                creme brulee was smooth and silky with the tiniest, sweetest bunch of grapes I'd ever had the pleasure of eating - doubly good because it was a departure from the standard raspberry/strawberry garnish

                we were a party of 7 and there were nothing but full bellies and happy faces!

                1. We're going to Edward Levesque tomorrow night. It's in the neighbourhood and the menu looked good. We're looking forward to it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: SusanB

                    We had our dinner tonight at Edward Levesque and all 4 of us were really pleased. The appetizers were terrific. I had a salmon pate, husband had wonderful grilled calemari. I had skirt steak with chimichurri and a white bean hummus, he had a grilled lamb with eggplant. We both had chocolate polenta cake. Our friends were really pleased with their choices as well. They also had a couple of specials that weren't listed, but were offered as part of the Summerlicious menu. Service was good and I'm glad we went.

                  2. Last weekend we walked in on Lucien. There were only 3 or 4 tables occupied and they seemed really happy to have some customers. Service that night was merely ok but the timing was fine. Complimentary brioche and soft butter was offered.

                    We ordered the pork belly appetizer which was the star of the night and probably the best pork belly dish we've had. It came with a velvety and fresh tasting pea puree which complemented the pork perfectly.

                    My starter of snapper "sashimi" was an interesting salad combination including fresh jalapeno, salmon roe, lima beans and olive oil. I enjoyed the taste and combination of ingredients though the fish was overwhelmed.

                    For mains we had the beef with grits. This dish was 3-4 thick slices of meat, a square of fried grits (prepared like polenta), some corn garnish and a chipotle bbq sauce. The only complaint was the grits were too salty and the portion could have been a touch bigger.

                    The other main was the fish. It came with a super smooth garlic mash (too salty), fried fingerlings, fresh pea shoots and truffle. The fish was a good size and the skin was nice and crispy though i might have preferred it a minute or two less cooked. (It wasn't dry and likely the doneness preference of most.)

                    For dessert the strawberry shortcake was a hard biscuit with cream in a strawberry soup with some macerated strawberry. Not too sweet and refreshing. The blackforest dessert was an ice cream bar topped with a few spoons of chocolate couscous and crumbled honeycomb (the taste was like a deconstructed Crunchy bar!) a flabby, tasteless and gelatinous cherry mousse was on the plate too.

                    Overall, we were pleased with dinner and felt it was worth the Summerlicious price of $45. If we had paid regular price for the meal, I think the service would have needed to be more professional and the seasonings to be better worked out.

                    1. Going to Mistura tomorrow night. Place is always packed, don't expect tomorrow to be any different. $45 for a 3 course dinner at Mistura is a steal.

                      Most of the restaurants on the list don't warrant tripping over yourself to get a reservation to pay $35 for a dinner that would normally costs you $35-45 during a non-'licious time.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: JPJ

                        Both Winter & Summer 'Licious are the bane of retaurant owners' existances. Damned if you do, damned if you don't - participate that is. Both are held at the 2 slowest times of the year, with the noble purpose being to stimulate business for what is at best a difficult industry. This summer's event has been a bust for most participants. The city is deserted and even Summer 'Licious has not filled very many seats.
                        If you ask most restauranteurs (not all, certainly, but most) they'll tell you that they feel they have to participate, because if they don't, customers will just go to a participating restaurant. Then, at least 75% of the customers that do come are not regulars (the idea being that supposedly they'll come back at full price) and are never seen again. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but these people are looking for a bargain. To top it off, you get to sell prix fixe menus that you don't make any money on. The vast majority of restaurants do not make massive amounts of money - it's back-breaking work, and a labour of love. At best, the 'Licious events are a break even exercise. This year is the worst ever, not even close to break-even.
                        As a restaurant owner (and 'Licious participant from the beginning) when I find myself in a restaurant with a 'Licious menu I make a point of ordering off the regular menu. I cannot bring myself to order food that I know is costing the establishment more to serve that what I'm paying.

                        1. re: Prok

                          So are you saying that we shouldn't bother supporting any resto's for licious because it's a waste of time and money for the restaurant? I don't buy it. If the resto is in a break even situation, or worse as you state, losing money, then just shut down for 2 weeks and give your staff a vacation. Sorry to sound harsh, but either you're in our you're out. And if you choose to participate, I have to believe it's because it's a better choice than not to. And furthermore, do it well or don't do it at all meaning service. Licious is more expensive than some prix fixe menus out there; how do those places survive? In this economy, I think your thoughts garner little sympathy. It's not just restos that are hurting businesses in this city. I think that owners should be lobbying the city of Toronto to say stop this promotion if it's not in everyone's interest. Are you the voice of the majority of owners?

                          1. re: tuttebene

                            PS- coincidentally, I had a fabulous licious lunch at Globe Bistro today, where I dine on a fairly regular basis. At the last minute I decided to order from the regular menu (lobster nicoise salad) but alas they were out of lobster!

                            1. re: tuttebene

                              not the majority of owners, they have other concerns as well, but the staff can't afford the vacations you so generously would allow them at this time of year. licious brings out the cheapest people-plain and simple, restos only see them during these events, judge them on them and rant, rave about the poor service or selections and base the entire business on this one off experience. i'm glad to hear that most people this year are finding great service and product, but as all posts have stated, they are able to get the reservations they wanted and that the restos aren't as busy as usual...the economy continues to hurt this industry like many others

                              1. re: robgm

                                I think sometimes my thoughts (read tone) don't translate well in print. My remark about giving staff 2 weeks off really was a sarcastic one. Of course I am not insensitive to the fact that staff can't afford a vacation. I meant to imply that given a choice, Prok's staff would likely choose to work during licious, warts and all, than not take home any pay, especially during these hard times (in reference to his comments about how it sucks for the owners). Not being in the biz, I'm having trouble understanding how owners can begrudge the *cheepos* that will never return but at the same time lament about how they lose money during licious. I ask this sincerely and respectfully; without licious wouldn't the financial bloodletting be worse? And know that I am not without sympathy for how awful it can be to deal with the public but that as a customer, I have some horror stories of my own so when owners blame customers for how awful this whole thing is, I get a little defensive. Finger pointing drives me crazy!

                                1. re: tuttebene

                                  My tone, too, is often misinterpreted - the dangers of electronic communication. My intention was not to bitch about "licious, so much as to point out to people perhaps not in the business, some of the down-sides. I was trying to get across the double-edged sword of participating. (BTW - we pull out all the stops. We are not one of those that scrimp on food, nor service.) It's just very challenging to make it profitable. I appreciate your respectful comments, and the clarification that you are NOT in the business! I've read some posts below and I am appreciative of the fact that not everyone can regularlly afford fine dining. I would never begrudge anyone the opportunity to eat in a resto that they normally couldn't afford. We do our very best to offer a "licious menu that is in keeping with our quality. As a few have observed, though, it's basically app, main and free dessert. Mathematically, that's how it works. Every restaurant works on a food cost model, regardless of the menu price point. Cheap ingredients, cheap menu.
                                  As for my staff, if I enforced a mandatory holiday, I would have no-one left. And if you think we could afford a 2 week paid holiday for everyone (in addition to the holiday they already get), you really know nothing about the restaurant business.
                                  Someone made a comment about not deserving to stay in business if you couldn't make "Licious work. Not really a very knowledgable or accurate comment..
                                  As for tuttebenne's comment about dealing with the public - FYI - that's my favourite part, and why I'm in it to begin with! Man, if you don't like service, better find something else to do. Just me, just saying.

                            2. re: Prok

                              Any restaurant owner that cannot make a profit on a full house at Licous prices should not be in business... now this year as there are few full houses, restaurants should not lose money on the menu but the fixed costs like rent and insurance.. but like Prok said it is the slowest time of the year anyway so chances are they would be slow anyway...

                              1. re: Prok

                                I'm not sure the same critique will apply to every restaurant. Many menus I've seen and dined on have been clearly profitable, if not almost seeming flagrant in the lack of value for the price charged. Thuet comes to mind specifically in that regard.

                                On the other side of the coin, I've heard from industry folks that the licious programs have given them the number of reservations that justify opening on nights when they wouldn't otherwise, which is a good baseline boost. The places that seem to do it best understand the context. Make it boost the slow nights, but make the main menu more interesting than the prix fixe. That keeps the regulars happy, but gets the burbites (I'm trademarking that term) in.

                                When you try to concentrate on the format and focus on multiple seatings, you piss off the newbies, alienate the regulars, and burn out the staff. Zucca is probably the state of the art for working it correctly.

                            3. Went to Pangaea for lunch this week. Very good. Everyone at the table was pleased with the meals.
                              I started with the Charcuterie plate. the rillettes was very tasty. the salami was nothing to rave about.
                              Main was the Lake Trout Almondine. perfectly cooked. Good portion size. Tasty, and very little 'freshwater' taste that puts me off most lake fish.
                              Finished the meal with the cheese plate. Tho I should of ordered the Shortcake as my friend really enjoyed theirs.

                              Service was friendly. Great value for lunch at $20 a person


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: flying101

                                We had no trouble getting a reservation at canoe for lunch.
                                The service was excellent, as well as the food. Gave us a chance to experience the place without paying a big bill.

                              2. Drake, 6:30 pm (fine with us for after-work rendezvous). Maki roll, shrimp on lemon polenta, three-cream cake, $35, and every bite delicious. We added a liter of margs for $25, another bargain. No problem reserving on a Tuesday evening.
                                The Drake levies an 18% tip, fine with me.

                                Pitcher of margs. Great vibe and professional, skilled service.

                                1. Had lunch at the Rosewater Supper Club on Friday. Three courses; appetizer, main and dessert for $20. I had a spinich caesar salad, sirloin burger and sorbet. All were good, but not anything that blew me away. It was my first time in this storied place, and for $20 a plebe like me got to eat art food and as an added bonus, see a waiter use a crumb brush on the linen, I thought that was just in the movies. Honestly for that price it was a great experience and the only thing stopping me from going back is that I can't afford to eat there.

                                  1. I went to Didier and Quince this year.

                                    I was most impressed with Quince, where my salmon main was fabulous. My companions echoed similar compliments for the rest of the mains. I had the spring salad which wasn't special, but not bad. We all had the clafoutis for dessert which was a bit small but nice. I thought it was great for $25 and we didn't have any problems getting Saturday evening seats.

                                    I had higher expectations for Didier, as it was at the $45 price-point. The soup was elegant but not particularly memorable. I had the steak tartare which was nice, but not as great as I was hoping. The chocolate cake was light and tastefully not too sweet - I liked it.

                                    i would definitely recommend Quince since it was only $25. Didier not so much as it was pricier and not sure it was worth the extra $20 (they included a mandatory 15% tip).

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: blinknoodle

                                      WE passed on the licious meals for the first time ever, and will probably do so in the winter.


                                      We concluded that licious menus were basically two courses with a free dessert. And we don't need the sugar. Nor the inepitude of many desserts in T.O. which are commonly served.

                                      Two years ago, Mistura had a fab offering which included a cheese tray for "dessert"..We had that, and thoroughly enjoyed it....twice.

                                      It is so much better to go to Globe Bistro or Gallery Grill for lunch, and order just an app and a main each time -- any day of the year (Gallery Grill is closed during the summer, so more business from us to Globe Bistro).

                                      1. re: Dean Tudor

                                        I too discoverd the "free dessert" price structure about 2 years ago and it gave me pause to rethink the licious hype (because I'm not a dessert person). And I too have lost interest in the promotion (haven't been in over a year). I now focus on the restos that I already enjoy. I don't go out of my way anymore to eat out during the promotion but I don't avoid it either - I'm just more selective and appreciate that you can check the menus in advance. If my favourite places can pull off great food and service under these conditions, I go and tip well, and keep coming back because it shows they care about the customer and product . I'll be going to North 44 for a celebration next week (not my choice) and I sure hope they do better than my previous licious experiences. My licious experiences at Globe and Drake have been superior to a recent weekend dinner at Grace!!!! Mistura is one of my favourites but I've stopped going for licious, not because of the service, but because their menu doesn't interest me. It's one best left for special occasions.

                                    2. I went to Madeline's last night. Had never been there before. Looking at the regular menu, it appears the items on the Summerlicous menu ($45) are pretty well priced the same as on the regular menu. So no bargain here. The food was fine although it was slow to come out. Susur was hanging out there although he didn't schmooze with nobodies like myself. :) I enjoyed the alt-rock music they were playing, I've never heard the Smiths being played at a high-end restaurant (my dining partner, who hates the Smiths, did not appreciate this like I did).

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: kellybobo

                                        Wow, even Susur is doing summerlicious?

                                        I haven't been following but it seems like a lot of places that once thought they were above "summer/winterlicious" have now taken the plunge. Recession related no doubt...

                                        1. re: aser

                                          did you read the part where he said the summerlicious prices were the same as the regular prices? So I don't see any deal there.

                                          1. re: foodyDudey

                                            I wasn't implying any "deal", I was merely pointing out restaurants that formerly shunned "licious" are now embracing it in the new economic climate.

                                            1. re: aser

                                              I went there the other night with a group. Despite the whole licious thing, they brought trays of grilled veg, various olives and other nibblies before we ordered.

                                              The menu was divided into two sections, one being a la carte, the other being the $45 three course 'licious. The a al carte section had a few finger foods, a couple of apps, and a couple of mains. Not the regular Madeline's menu at all, much more scaled back.

                                              I had the 'licious menu, and enjoyed it. The place was full, with the patio and bar bulging, and the service was relaxed, but very attentive with the bevvies. The execution on the food was good, and I think most people felt that the portions were not limited. Definitely there was a lot of innovation in the way that they played with the eponymous molten chocolate torte.

                                              I think the success here is that they adjusted what was the regular menu to adjust to the pace of 'licious, and that didn't seem to create a conflict in the service timing, or priorities. They seemed to get it.

                                              1. re: Snarf

                                                Interesting, it was almost like you were in a different restaurant than when I went on Thursday night to Madeline's. We were not served any thing prior to ordering (no grilled veg, olives, etc...). I ordered the oysters because I was in the mood for them (3 for $9). They were good.

                                                I was not impressed by the food at all. Both my friend and I left hungry.

                                                I had the beet salad starter (which good). My friend had the penne/chorizo starter. She was not that impressed by it. I tried some and it was basically just penne in a butter sauce with a few peices of chorizo and a couple of spices. She found the sausage too fatty but I explained to her that is usually how chorizo is (I tasted the chorizo and it was acceptable but not anything special).

                                                I decided to order the fish for the main course (Halibut... they had replaced the grouper on the menu with Halibut). It was ok but again nothing special. The presentation was VERY simple but I guess nicely displayed. I liked the plates they used throughout the meal. The pickled daikon and radishes with the dish were probably the best part of the whole meal.

                                                My friend had the chicken roulade. I have never had a chicken roulade before like that but it was wrapped in some kind of skin/fat layer which in itself was okay but in the centre it was VERY fatty. I don't know if that is normal but my friend mentioned it to the manager who came by later in the evening to see how things were. He basically said that is how it was suppose to be as it used different cuts of chicken, etc.

                                                For dessert we both had the chocolate molten cake with vanilla ice cream and we both agreed it was teh best part of the meal. For $45 I felt like we overpaid considering what was delivered. Were were seated in this weird booth thing that had these BRIGHT lights on the side that became more annoying as the evening went on. It seemed like a cool spot to sit so I didn't say anything when we were seated but I would highly suggest to avoid that particular 2 person booth if you go (I think that was the only one in the restaurant).

                                                Anyway, Madeline's might be different at other times of the year but based on this one experience I will not be going back.

                                                Oh, and Susur himself did come out near the end of our meal but he talked to a few regulars then headed out to the patio.

                                                1. re: ylsf

                                                  The roulade was probably rolled in caul fat.

                                      2. with my wedding 6 days away, i didn't manage to get to licious this year, but i had really wanted to check out Amaya bread bar. I took some friends to 93 harbord on the Winter licious and for $25 i got them to try a place/kind of food they never would otherwise, which i consider what it is all about., as a regular there, i use Licious as a chance to bring others round. same with Quince.

                                        1. Had 2 summerlicious dinners last week. Boulevard Cafe and The Rosebud. Would have gone to either regardless of summerlicious.

                                          BC had regular menu available plus non-summerlicious specials. The patio was packed. I was the only one from our group that had s'licious menu and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. They were out of a couple of items by the time I got there. The appetizer: Humita - Fresh corn and basil steamed in a corn husk and served with salsa criolla was really good. Sort of like a corn chowder flavour without the chowder. sweet and comforting. The fish of the day was grilled tuna or cod. I had the cod, it had a light breading on it which I wasn't really expecting so I guess it was pan fried. Tasty nonetheless. I hadn't been there in a while and the bread is still my favourite in Toronto.

                                          The Rosebud will never fail to please - we both had the mussels in a saffron tomato broth for apps - the bread had a nice salty crust, then short ribs with polenta (dense, flavourful, rich) and salmon which was cooked perfectly with the most light crispy skin - wonderful. Both desserts were over the top delicious - creme brule (my favourite and this one was unbelievable) and a fruit cobbler.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: fivesensesreeling

                                            also, for the $25 at boulevard cafe and $35 at rosebud it was WELL worth it!


                                            1. re: fivesensesreeling

                                              we went to the boulevard cafe also and were very impressed, great value and the menu selections were similar to what they regulairly offer, on our night the fish was tilapia or mahi mahi.

                                              1. re: fivesensesreeling

                                                I love the Boulevard. I used to go there more than 2 decades ago, and hadn't been back for years. We went back there a few years ago during Winterlicious and have been back several times since then, and not just during Winterlicious / Summerlicious. So the Winterlicious promotion did what it's supposed to do - got us going there again.

                                                1. Finally took the plunge and tried a licious meal for the first time at Lai Toh Heen, also my first visit there.

                                                  A great experience all round -- the food, the atmosphere, the service, the value -- it was just all good.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: JamieK

                                                    So we ended up going to Tutto Pronto tonight. Didn't know that it was Summerlicious. However, the place was extremely hot, not sure if AC was working or perhaps because of Summerlicious it was packed. I had the Summerlicious menu, crab cakes (bland), pasta (bland), seems salt is a no no at this place. Dessert was Kahlua creme brulee, devastatingly sweet and rather inedible. Partner had grilled salmon from the main menu which was very good. I will give this place another go when it is cooler outside as well, no Summerlicious menu.

                                                    1. re: theresah

                                                      we've been for their regular menu and it was very good. appropriately salty. give them another try, it is a good neighbourhood spot.

                                                      1. re: ddelicious

                                                        I will give this place another go ddelicious because I have heard great things about it. Last night was an exception because of the heat and the Summerlicious event. Thanks again for the recommendation.

                                                  2. Went to Sen5es for lunch. Overall pretty good. High points were the apps, 2 huge scallops nicely grilled, and the quail with shredded duck confit. Low points were the scallop in my pasta which was lower quality by several degrees than those served in the app, and the tomato couscous timbale that tasted like it was seasoned by an instant noodle flavour pack!

                                                    1. I've been going to summerliious with friends for years now and this year was no different. A few notes on my impression of the program.
                                                      - overall it is a good way for our friends to get together and go somewhere different from our usual places
                                                      -I'm a little offended that in this day and age where everyone is watching their$$ more carefully that a restaurant would "offer" their meals at $45.
                                                      -I thought the spirit of the program was for people to have some fun, try a new place, sample what they can do.

                                                      This year we went to:

                                                      Amaya - always completely fabulous and well worth the $25 plus all the extras
                                                      Quince - Again, consistently great! well priced at $25 and offers dishes that are often on their normal menu. I love that spirit of participation
                                                      At both these places we felt it was top notch food, service and ambience.

                                                      Celestin- Ah the ridiculous reservation policy! What and difficult and insulting process. If the food wasn't good ( and there wasn't a strong sentimental reason to go there), we wouldn't keep going back. However, things couldn't be that great even for them,as midway through summerlicious week I recieved a mass email inviting us to come join them for a summerlicious meal.

                                                      Last and least,
                                                      Provence - we were there last week and sat through a lengthy evening (3hours and 15 minutes) with one waiter to twelve tables!!! How is that good or even passable service? The bread - when we finally got some, was the highlight of the evenings' sustinance. For a while that was all we thought we were getting. The mains could have been good had they been warmer when they arrived. The waiter was polite but honestly I would have appreciated a warning when we arrived that there was only one wait person. Then we could have made a choice as to whether we wanted to stay or not.

                                                      We'll always go back to Quince and Amaya - in fact we are regulars at both places, but the others need put forth a little more of an effort.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Jelly Belly

                                                        What's the deal with the Celestin reservation policy?

                                                        1. re: paper_bag_princess

                                                          So many years of trying experiences. I do believe they have lightened up a little this year however......

                                                          -one time we were physically in the restaurant trying to book a reservation for summerlicious and were told that they were not able to grant us a resrvation as they would only accept a reservation by phone. In those busier years it was hard to get through on the phone

                                                          - you must secure your reservation with a full credit card number and in the event you don't cancel within 48 hours you were charged for the cost of the meal

                                                          -at one time I also believe that if your party had less then the number of stated people there was also a charge.

                                                          -We were also booking through the AMEX front of the line. Most places just want to know that you have an AMEX card, some take the first few numbers. At the time I was booking I did not have the card with me (work/vs home)issue, and was told if I did not call back by 5 the reservation would be deleted from their system. UGH!

                                                      2. I went to Jump today for lunch since it is by my office and Canoe and Bymark were booked. I had the thai beef salad and the snapper. Both were good but not great. The taramisu was meh. I couldn't taste any marscapone as it seemed like it was all whipped cream, and I think they soaked the cake in grand marnier because I could taste some orange flavouring that was not appealing. For $20 it was average but I expected a bit more. My companions had the mushroom soup, which I've had before and did not recommend to them. They should have listened as none of them were overwhelmed. They also all had the ravioli as a main, which was good, but again not great. The chocolate torte was excellent, super rich, and the panna cotta was definitely better than the taramisu.

                                                        1. Went to Mildred's Temple Kitchen last night. Summerlicious menu was $35 and well worth it. Everything was excellent. They had three options for each of starter, main and dessert. My party opted for either the mixed greens salad or chilled buttermilk and preserved lemon soup for starters. The soup was particularly good. Light and fresh and distinctly lemony, yet not overly sour. Flavours were well balanced. A really nice surprise.

                                                          For mains, we had either grilled arctic char or braised veal brisket. I had a taste of the fish and it was nicely done. I ordered the veal and thought it was fantastic. The meat was tender and the jus was rich. It was served on a bed of kale which benefitted from immersion in the veal jus.

                                                          For dessert, I had the strawberry shortcake, which was delightful. It had chunks of rhubarb cooked to just the right consistency - not too hard or mushy. The level of sweetness was perfect for me, although I tend to like things a tad on the tart side. The cake portion was actually more of a pastry. I'm not a huge pastry fan, but the portion of pastry didn't overwhelm the fruit. It was a good balance. The others in my party had the profiteroles and crepe; both were well received.

                                                          The presentation of each course was very appealing. I've been to some 'licious meals where it seems as though the food was carelessly slopped on the plate. This wasn't the case at Mildred's.

                                                          The service was very attentive, although they did neglect to add our bar tab to the final bill (which we rectified). All in all, it was one of the better 'licious meals I've had. And the restaurant ambiance is great too. The room is really well styled - the hanging lights create a beautiful starry effect at night - and the chairs are fantastically comfortable. I've been for brunch outside of the 'licious offerings and I also had a great experience then. I would highly recommend it

                                                          1. I tried out the Focaccia summerlicious meal. $25 for an appetizer of grilled calamari with a great pesto and a bit of a garden salad with a great dressing. Some focaccia bread and corn bread that tasted like cake. Then came the main course - I had the penne grilled chicken with rose sauce which was truly delicious. Our amazing waiter Larry called it Italian Kraft Dinner. My date had the lamb - which I regretted not getting myself after tasting it - totally delish.

                                                            For dessert, I had the chocolate cake - it was just okay. My date had the creme brulee and that was okay as well.

                                                            But loved it and had a great experience there overall.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: racheljenna

                                                              Glad to hear you had a good experience at Focaccia. They offer the same $25 prix fixe from time to time throughout the year. It looks like a great deal but if you match prices against the regular menu, even with dessert you end up saving around $2 - $5 off the meal. Not a complaint but more of a compliment on them serving solid food at a good price point. All of the mains are in the $15 area.

                                                            2. I went to the Host in Yorkville, without a reservation, forgetting that it was Summerlicious season. My dining companion and I ordered the Summerlicious menu.

                                                              After 15 minutes of waiting for a table (fine, we had no reservations) another 10 minutes of waiting for menus, and 45 minutes of waiting for our orders to be taken, we received our first course. Mine was wrong (I ordered samosas, but got a salad). I didn't bother correcting for fear of another half hour wait.

                                                              My DC's soup, a Mulligitawny, wasn't bad. The salad was ... fine.

                                                              The mains: I ordered saag paneer. It was a little too bright green, and didn't have any depth of flavour. My DC ordered butter chicken. The sauce was yum (but not outstanding) but the chicken was dry and overcooked. The naan was ample and delicious.

                                                              For the finale, I had the ice cream (kulfi) and my friend had the gulab jamin. My friend aptly described his dessert as reminiscent of extremely old, deyhydrated ice cream.

                                                              Apparently due to a death, the restaurant was understaffed. Service issues aside, the food was a let down.

                                                              My first time, and last time, at this restaurant, for sure.

                                                              14 Prince Arthur Ave, Toronto, ON M5R1A9, CA

                                                              1. I tried two places for lunch this year, Chez Victor and Bymark. I've never been interested in McEwan's food. It strikes me as soul-less and corporate. This was my first time at any of his restaurants. I was impressed with the menu. For $30, the portions were generous and well executed. I still think the food is a business statement and not a personal one, but I would return. That is until I saw the regular prices. At licious prices, for the experience and quality, Bymark was a deal.

                                                                1. I took my boyfriend to North 44 for his birthday this year. I usually take advantage of Summerlicious to give him a fancy dinner without breaking the bank, and we've never had a really bad experience; I find it's not more uneven than my normal "let's try a new place" experience the rest of the year.

                                                                  North 44 was quite nice; we both had the steak main, which was incredibly tasty. The appetizers of soup and salad were nicely executed, although nothing extraordinary. Dessert was fantastic -- I had a cheesecake and he had this amazing pudding tart. The service was attentive, although we found the restaurant overall a bit noisy, even when seated in the upstairs dining area. All in all, it was a pleasant experience at $45. I think for the winter we'd return to our old favourite Mildred though; they offer a comparable experience at $10 cheaper.

                                                                  1. We went twice and had a GREAT experience at one, and a terrible experience at another.

                                                                    GREAT - Lolo on Yonge, North of Eglinton. We went for our wedding anniversary. I had the caesar, a steak, and creme brulee. Husband had Shaved beets, leg of Lamb and flourless chocolate cake. All for $25 each. The meals were amazing, my steak was incredible, the service excellent and great atmosphere. I can't say enough great things about this place. I think they have extended Summerlicious so worth checking out.

                                                                    NOT SO GREAT - 7 Numbers Danforth. Husband and I have long been fans of the Eglinton location, and I decided to use Summerlicious as an excuse to visit the Danforth location. So disappointing. The summerlicious menu didn't look so 'licious, but I ordered from it anyhow, while the 3 other women ordered off the regular menu. My main came 15 minutes before theirs, and I was told it was how summerlicious works (not so) the service was horrendous - could not get a drink let alone our bill. The food was so-so at best. I won't be going back.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: shannonm

                                                                      i'm glad you had a great meal for your anniversary, but i question your husband's choice of liciousing for such an important date....shaved beets and leg of lamb sound great!

                                                                      and sorry about the not so great-but i have never been to 7#'s.