Our Top Winterlicious Picks

6 tasty Toronto restaurants to try this year.

La Societe Bistro.

Are you as excited as us for Winterlicious? Toronto’s annual culinary celebration is back and is looks to be better than ever. Running from January 25 – February 7, 2013, Winterlicious is when dozens of the city’s best-loved restaurants offer prix fixe menus at lunch and dinner, as an opportunity to get more customers through their doors during this typically slow restaurant season.

We however, see it as that time of year when we can try a new restaurant we’ve been dying to check out, as well as dine at some high-end restaurants for a fraction of the price it would be if we were just walking in on a regular day. This year a total of 191 restaurants around the city are participating in the prix fixe menus, and on top of that are unique culinary events you can attend, including a cocktail creating class and pasta-making workshop.

With so many restaurants and events it can be a challenge deciding where to go, so we’ve selected our top picks for this year’s Winterlicious. Bon appétit!

La Société Bistro

Step through the doors and you’ll wonder if you were just transported to Paris. Designed to look like a Parisian-style bistro, the furnishing and decor are incredibly luxurious with a stained-glass ceiling, plush leather banquettes, mosaic floor tiles and boulevard lamps.

The restaurant is a great place to people watch, with a diverse mix of clientele from tourists in need of a shopping break, to Toronto society-types and personalities (think Galen Weston and Ben Mulroney). When it comes to the food, you’re in for a treat. We were salivating upon taking a peek at their Winterlicious menu, which has a fantastic variety of options for both lunch and dinner. For example your entrees for dinner are between Crisp Pork Belly, Pistachio Crusted Roast Ontario Chick Breast and Vegetarian Lasagna. Yum!

Menu

Lunch: $20, Dinner: $35

Where to Find:
131 Bloor St. West, Unit 211
Downtown/Yorkville
416-551-9929
lasociete.ca

The Churros at Frida Restaurant. Image via Renee S.

Frida Restaurant

The first time we tried this Mexican restaurant was during a Mexico press event and have been dying to go back ever since. A favourite restaurant of the tourism board’s Regional Director, who is from Mexico no less, we knew our tastebuds weren’t lying to us. Inspired by the spirit of Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, Frida Restaurant does Mexican refined.

For lunch there are delicious options including Vegetarian Enchilads, as a an appetizer, to Baja-Style Fish Tacos as an entree and the chef’s award-winning Churros de la Esquina for dessert (we’ve had them and they are TO-DIE for). Vegetarians will also be happy to know there is a veggie option for every course.

Menu

Lunch: $20, Dinner: $35

Where to Find:
999 Eglinton Ave. West
Midtown
416-797-2221
fridarestaurant.ca

Earth Bloor West

Earth Bloor West

With a tagline “Think global. Eat local,” the concept behind Earth is really all about serving up local and seasonal dishes. We’ve been here more than a few times (including their Rosedale location) and love the fresh food and sophisticated atmosphere.

Earth is offering quite a variety on their prix-fixe menu, with four appetizer options during dinner and five entree selections, including Short Rib, Cod Thermidor and Mushroom Papardelle. The dessert doesn’t vary during lunch and dinner, with the option of Caramel Pumpkin Pudding, Cherry & Apple Crumble and Fourless Chocolate Torte.

Menu

Lunch: $15, Dinner: $25

Where to Find:
2448 Bloor St. West
West End
416-763-2222
earthbloorwest.com

Grace Restaurant

Grace Restaurant

Any spot that prides itself on a Sunday dinner vibe, we’re pretty sure we’re going to love it. Grace has been a hotspot in Toronto for the past few years with it’s farmhouse style, cozy atmosphere, and traditional meals with a contemporary feel (think what your mom makes, but with a modern twist). We have yet to try Grace out, but we’re excited to give it a whirl for Winterlicious — and to try out their famous milk and homemade cookies.

Menu

Dinner: $35

Where to Find:
503 College St
Little Italy
416-944-8884
gracerestaurant.ca

Lee Restaurant

Lee Restaurant

Our top pick for Asian cuisine this season is Lee Restaurant. Headed by internationally acclaimed Super-Chef Susur Lee, his fresh take on small plate dishes are a mix of an Asian and French flair, that are perfect for sharing. We’ve been here for lunch (the salads are amazing), but are more than ready to head with a group of friend for a Winterlicious treat (we hear the cocktails are just as mouth-watering as the dishes).

Menu

Dinner: $45

Where to Find:
601 King St W
Downtown
416-504-7867
susur.com/lee

Pulcinella Ristorante Italiano

Pulcinella Ristorante Italiano

To get to this restaurant you’ll need to trek out to the Lakeshore, but it’s well worth the time and effort to get there. We’ve been here a few times and each visit left us wanting more. Winterlicious is a great excuse for us to make a reservation again. One of the few places in Toronto that makes a classic Pizza Napoletana (they’ve had a chef from Naples come and teach the chefs on the tradition), you’ll definitely want to order one of these thin-crust beauties.

Menu

Lunch: $20, Dinner: $35

Where to Find:
3687 Lake Shore Boulevard West
West Toronto
416-253-9959
pulcinellatoronto.com