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SUMMERLICIOUS 2014

Summerlicious 2014 begins July 4th and continues until July 20th.
Please tell us about your experiences, both positive and negative.

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  1. In the past, 'Breast of Chicken and Salmon' dominated the menu scene and took up half the choices offered. Those few establishments offering slightly more adventurous dishes were usually hard to get reservations in. Service, in general, were bad and overly rushed. Most establishments handing out time restraints since they wanted to add additional seating to compensate for the 'affordable' menu price they are forced to charge?! Food were usually mediocre and portions inadequate. Over cooked dishes were the norm and most common of complaints. Of course there were exceptions but usually they were hits and misses and far and few! A game of chances?!

    Ever since its inception, I've tried out about five but none of them were good enough to shout about. Most of the 'Best' were 'years ago'! One was at Celestine when Chef Roubaud was at the helm. Food was inventive but unfortunately the excessive surcharge on the miniscule Foie Gras supplement spoiled the evening. Another one was at Senses in the Metropolitan Hotel, with the menu designed by Patrick Lin, the Gold Plate winner. Duck was served. Food was decent for the price. But I left still hungry. Most recent one was at Bymark. However the piece of Beef Short-ribs was far from fork tender, tasted one dimensional and dry.
    Hearing more horror stories than praises, I have not attended one for the past three years.

    Personally, looking at what are being offered, I will not take the risk of traveling all the way from up north for yet another 'take your chance' dining experience!

    My personal two cents worth!

    { I'm sure other fellow hounds will have more recent, better or worse experiences to share?! I guess this is one event that truly reflects 'one gets what one pays for'?! }

    5 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      It has changed since years ago. Even the upping of prices shows the true purpose behind the 'licious events has been abandoned.

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Charles -- thanks. My faves over the past few years have been lunches at Bloom, Quince, Pangaea, Chiado, Frida, I don't do dinners.

        1. re: Dean Tudor

          I have always found the $15 lunches at Lil Baci and Quince to be very good value.
          Also liked Jump and Far Niente.
          In the past, thought the restaurant at CN Tower was fun as well but you do have to pay extra for the elevator ride.
          Went to Momofuku Ramen today. Very pricey and underwhelming. Never been and kids wanted to go.
          Service was good and efficient. Had the fried chicken, summer ramen and ja jieng mein. Were still hungry afterwards even though we ordered extra food and pork buns,e tc. We all concluded we much prefer Santouka.

          1. re: caitlink

            I decided to check out Momofuku's lunch offering since I work nearby. The salmon crudo app was amuse-sized and lacking contrasting (or really any) flavours from the microscopic garnishes. The fried chicken was ok, but I'm glad I tried it this way because I can't see planning a group meal out around it. I was done eating 20 minutes after I arrived, which was fine since I was alone and pretty crowded. Other chatty parties did get slower pacing. They were accepting some walk-ins and weren't full when I left at 12:30.
            Anyway, ok for a financial district quick lunch, but nothing more.

            1. re: julesrules

              At least you don't have to worry about calories after that meal!

      2. I had a great Summerlicious lunch at Nota Bene last year.

        1. I had an amazing 3 course $15 lunch at the O&B Canteen at the Tiff Lightbox Friday. It was cheaper than any solo sandwich or lunch dish on the menu! Pureed avocado soup with chill oil - nice mixture of sweet and hot. Grilled octopus on a bed of tomatoes, black olives and greenery - nicely presented, not overcooked. Amazing pannacotta for dessert, large, perfect texture and garnished with strawberries.
          Had a super waiter who actually was pumped about Summerlicious and treated us really well. Couldn't recommend the whole experience highly enough,

          4 Replies
          1. re: rsvp7777

            Nice to hear 'positive exceptions' still exist!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              O & B offer better value during 'Licious than most places. I was impressed by a dinner at Jump last winter, and Luma a couple summers ago.

              1. re: prima

                Luma is always the best deal. SO GOOD.

                1. re: prima

                  Had lunch at Jump Wednesday and really enjoyed the carrot and lemongrass soup, and the sea bream with succotash, popcorn and jalapeƱo. Lots of flavour and good portions for $20.

            2. I went to Bosk for a Summerlicious lunch and I would say it a great value and experience as well. It definitely wasn't perfect but considering we had 2 pre-schoolers in tow, it was as great as it could be.

              The menu was not imaginative or creative but it had good quality items done well. To be honest, that was the type of fare we were looking for to introduce our young ones to 'finer' dining. The wait staff seemed to be a bit surprised at first when we brought in the 2 ankle biters but they turned on the charm with the very elongated water jugs that have quite a bit of flare. They gave us the best table in the room that was the window corner that could see everything inside and out. They thoughtfully placed 2 paper 'colouring book' style place mats on the 2 kid settings and even gave them special adult size chairs with no wings for easy entry and exit. Nice noticeable touches. The kids menu was available but my kid would have none of it and wanted to order off the summerlicious menu.

              Food was nicely presented and though there was a bit more lag between appetizer and entree, everything else flowed nicely. The kid menu is very smartly priced (at least half price of adult) but the portions are definitely adult sized. The Summerlicious pricing is a great value as the total lunch is about the same cost of 1 entree. The seared tuna was done nicely and not chewy at all. The table essentially ordered the pan seared salmon. It was nicely done to have a crisp top but nicely medium well interior for my presechooler. Dessert was a lovely presentation. Desserts were inhaled instantly. I will say the in house made chocolate ice cream is a worthwhile detour! Nice balance between milk chocolate and dark chocolate... it was very creamy so a low overrun.My mango pudding with coconut tapioca harken to my Hong Kong fine dining child hood memories.

              Aside from the small service snafus of longer wait between appetizer and entrees and the delayed delivery of requested crayons, it was a successful Summerlicious. I think what would have made it delightful if the service staff attempted to bring along the young ones by interacting with them. As weird as it sounds, a simple acknowledge and 1 question to each child would have captivated them. We had a wonderful experience on the Go Train with the Train Engineer and that just stuck with them throughout the entire day.

              1. Splendido today was a great $25 lunch, but I get the feeling it is hard to get into, as it was pretty full on my way out at 1pm. Everything tasted amazing, but the portions were such that if you are used to a big midday meal, you may want to supplement. I started with a salmon sashimi, then agnolotti (delicious, but only 8 small half-raviolis as a main was a little small). The other option, a sea bass, was equally good (and equally small).

                The Desserts reminded me how you shouldn't fixate on menu descriptions in fancy restaurants (fancy menus go into lots of details on what sounds like a side, but turns out to be a dot from a squeeze bottle). Here this was magnified: the panna cotta portion of that dessert was the size of a twoonie. Same with the apricot mousse, so don't stress much over the dessert choices, they are all fine, and there is just as much ice cream (a spoonful).

                Everything came with lots of herbs or greens and decoration, so it is absolutely worth it for the theatre and quality, but just don't skip breakfast if you go for lunch.

                1 Reply
                1. re: non sequitur

                  To their credit, Splendido issued a warning on the lunch menu online about smaller lunchtime portions. I think most of the dinner menu is available at lunch, but smaller in size.