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Summerlicious 2013: July 5-21 ... recommendations?

I'm always in Toronto in June and seem to just miss out on summerlicious, but not this year. In my current hometown of Miami the comparable event ("Miami Spice") is the entire month of July and August, but down here that is "slow season" so there is generally some really good deals. In contrast, Summerlicious is in the busier season in Toronto, so things may be different. So who is great and who is grudging?

My only experience was with Canoe, which was fantastic but has become impossible to book. I see lots of interesting alternatives: Splendido, Cafe Boulud, Daisho, Scarpetta (which has an almost identical menu to the one in Miami, which is amazing and great value).

Anyway, love it or hate it, summerlicious always deserves a thread for raves or rants, so let the games begin.

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    1. I wasn't happy with my Splendido 'licious experience last year but some other people I met at a party went and really enjoyed it...

      I haven't looked at the menu's this year but can't go wrong with Canoe or Auberger if you can get in

      6 Replies
      1. re: ylsf

        Anybody else have experience at splendido, especially in 2013 licious? I'm wondering how it stacks up to the regular menu in terms of value. I've never been there before and thought this would be a good intro, but looking for feedback on whether I'd be better served with the regular menu, or maybe adding an extra a la cart course (perhaps foie-based).

        1. re: non sequitur

          I wouldn't make your first Splendido experience a 'licious one - it's always a mixed bag with Licious. There menu prices have come down significantly in the last six months - so you're better to go and just have the regular menu one night. You could also have the prix fixe for $65/pp, which includes 4 courses.

          1. re: justxpete

            Which is why I was hoping someone had been to splendido summerlicious this year. I will look at the regular menu, or maybe add a course (which will immediately take me from $45 'licious price to $65 pf price), but was hoping the listed courses would be a good intro.

            Actually, just took a look at both the PF menu and the regular one, and they don't seem much more compelling (small menu, so maybe there are unlisted daily specials?). There is more choice at $45 than at $65!

            My reservation is already time-limited to 1.5 hours, so maybe switching isn't even an option.

            1. re: justxpete

              Went to Splendido (for the first time) for 'licious on the 5th, had a great experience, food and service were excellent. Not sure about value though, but I was certainly happy with everything.

              1. re: h3llbringer

                Yay - at last someone's been. Thank you.
                I will be there Saturday.

                1. re: non sequitur

                  Went on Saturday for dinner. No complaints. I could see that the service was Michelin-level, from white glove placesetters to purse chairs, bit there were many advance apologies during the evening ("half our servers are in wine country today", "we have a group of 30 tonight" and "you can't supplement summerlicious from the regular menu because the kitchen is cranking out 3x the usual number of covers during summerlicious", and not making the full menu").

                  So I can see why many 'hounds avoid dining at summerlicious participants, but I had fair warning here, and because of that I wasn't disappointed and would consider Splendido for a future spurge dinner (which is justification enough for any place to participate).

                  Our 3 courses were served in just over an hour, which is also not a bad thing necessarily but shows how efficient the operation was. And on our way out we were given a notice that a $45 3-course dinner will continue to be served until September 1, basically extending what is surely a money-maker for the restaurant.

                  Now if only I'd been able to secure some foie gras parfait...

        2. The 2012 discussion is also informative research-wise: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/858060

          1. Advance Reservations for Amex cardholders begins tomorrow...

            I'm going to try for Canoe and Splendido. I wish they would do this via opentable instead of the horrible phones.

            1. Luma is always GREAT for the whole experience, and their lunch menu looks particularly awesome this year.

              I always visit Quince uptown because the value is incredible for $25! They have a great variety on the menu, usually, and don't compromise on service or portion size. Similarly, 93 Harbord has also been good for value and service.

              This year I'm intrigued by the menu from the Drake with their new chef. I've heard raves for the Fried Chicken!