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20 Summerlicious Reservations to Make Right Now

By Suresh Doss
June 15, 2014

Summerlicious returns July 4 to 20 with mouth-watering, three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at exceptional value, served at more than 200 of Toronto's top restaurants. Prix fixe lunch menus are priced at $15, $20 and $25, and dinner menus are priced at $25, $35 and $45. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made directly with the participating restaurants.

Since Winterlicious and Summerlicious launched in 2003, about 4.6 million meals have been served with more than $200 million in economic activity generated for the local restaurant industry. This year's diverse restaurant line-up has 21 new participants putting the total number of restaurants to over 200 across the city.

To make things a little easier for you, we've narrowed things down to our top Summerlicious dining picks for this summer. Remember, restaurants start accepting reservations on June 19. For the full list of participating restaurants go here.

  • For modern Indian: Pukka

    This year's Summerlicious boasts a record number of new restaurants that have joined the fold. One of them is this Midtown restaurant that specializes in upscale Indian food. Complemented by a carefully curated wine list, Pukka has been pushing the envelope on refined Indian cuisine. This will be a hot reservation so make it fast.  

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Chicken 65, smoked eggplant tartare, butter chicken

    778 St. Clair Ave. W.; 416-342-1906

  • For a Midtown brunch: Celestin

    Situated in a 1920s historic bank building, and serving modern takes on French classic dishes, this is one of our favourite brunch spots in the city. The room is great for a small group (no more than six diners).

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Seabream crudo, brased veal neck, roulade of hen, pavlova

    623 Mount Pleasant Rd.; 416-544-9035

  • For modern Asian: Bent

    It's acclaimed chef Susur Lee's first Summerlicious with Bent. The restaurant is offering an eclectic and modern Asian-themed menu. Lee is expecting to make a splash with $35 dinners, a bargain for diners that are itching to dine there on a budget. In typical Lee fashion, the menu is a mishmash of styles and ingredients with an Asian backbone.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Asian marinated strip loin steak, fried jerk chicken, dessert trio

    777 Dundas St. W.; 647-352-0092

  • For contemporary Canadian food: L'ouvrier

    The popular Dundas West bistro enters the Summerlicious realm with a dinner menu (no lunch) that highlights the restaurant's philosophy of showcasing contemporary Canadian cuisine. Local ingredients are predominant in every dish.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Welington county steak tartare, pan-seared lovell springs trout, pea and ricotta tortelloni

    791 Dundas St. W.;  416-901-9581

  • For a special occasion: Bosk

    Shangri-la`s beautiful restaurant will be making its 'licious debut this summer. The menu will give diners a good taste of what Bosk is all about, Asian-inspired flavors and techniques balanced by French cooking.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Marinated cucumber salad, soy glazed pork belly, lois lake steelhead salmon, citrus cake

    188 University Ave.; 647-788 8294

  • For a meal before a night out on King West: Weslodge

    Another new addition to Summerlicious, as if a reservation isn't already hard to come by for this American dining saloon. People love dark woods and leather accents, and the menu, while influenced by spice and global flavours, is very approachable. Expect tables to be snatched up fast.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Scotch egg, braised beef cheek, seared sea bass, instant cake

    480 King St. W.; 416-367-0505

  • For Portuguese: Chiado

    Very few restaurants can hold claim to being one of the best seafood restaurants in the city, year after year. But that`s exactly what Chiado aims to be, since they launched over 20 years ago. Their Summerlicious menu presents an impressive selection of seafood from around the world, presented with a deft Portuguese touch.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Grilled sardines, squid, pan seared skate, ginger bread cake

    864 College St.; 416-538-1910

  • For a crowd-pleasing dinner: Globe Bistro

    This seasonally themed restaurant best flaunts its colours during the summer months. A veteran to the 'licious program, Danforth's Globe Bistro is offering a prix fixe menu that, while strongly influenced by local ingredients, is globally accented. Both lunch and dinner menus feature the same items (smaller portions for lunch), so take your pick.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Go all fish with tuna and trout, Perth county pork loin, summer meze

    124 Danforth Ave.; 416-466-2000

  • For lunch with a view: Canoe

    When it comes to Summerlicious, Canoe will be the hottest reservation in town. The nationally acclaimed restaurant on the 54th floor of the TD tower is presenting absurdly affordable lunches for $25. Treat yourself to an afternoon with one of the best views of the city and food from a critically praised restaurant. Sit at the chef's rail for a killer view.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Aurora chicken terrine, bison bavette, lemongrass flan

    66 Wellington St. W.; 416-364-0054

  • For Franco-American fine dining: Cafe Boulud

    For Daniel Boulud's Toronto outpost, this is the first Summerlicious event. The restaurant will be presenting a $45 dinner menu that highlights the four various culinary muses of the kitchen brigade. Again, since the festival guarantees that you'll be able to stick to a budget, we expect reservations at this fine-dining outpost to go quickly. Finish off with a cocktail downstairs at D Bar.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Charentals melon salad, B.C. cod, Cumbrae beef brisket with wild leek kimchi

    60 Yorkville Ave.; 416-963-6000

  • For Midtown group dinners: Fabbrica

    We recently had a delicious brunch at this Midtown restaurant and realized how much we missed dining at Fabbrica. The menu playfully accents classic Italian dishes with contemporary flavours and ingredients. Fabbrica is a Summerlicious veteran now, and their $20 lunch and $35 dinner menus should please the pickiest diner.

    Menu
    Top dishes: Beet carpaccio, grilled shrimp with polenta, pizza campagnolo

    49 Karl Fraser Rd.; 416-391-0307

  • For a fun seafood dinner: John and Sons Oyster House

    If you're craving any kind of seafood then head to this Midtown Maritime pub for $20 lunches and $35 dinners. The theme at John and Sons during Summerlicious is to showcase seafood and plenty of it. Think oysters, crispy fried smelts and even spicy shrimp tacos.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Fish 'n' chips, crab cakes, smelts

    1 Balmoral Ave.; 416-515-0551

  • For something new: Splendido

    Summerlicious has always provided a great opportunity for first-time diners to check out new restaurants on a fixed budget. The ability to dine without breaking the bank at some of Toronto's top restaurants like Splendido continues to lure in hundreds of foodies from across the city. Chef Victor Barry has promised a stellar experience, $45 dinners where diners can expect to get a sense of Barry's penchant for creative takes with local and international ingredients.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Beef tong pastrami, rainbow trout, Yorkshire pork chop, strawberry clafoutis

    88 Harbord St.; 416-929-7788

  • For Italian food in a romantic setting: Ganzi Osteria

    Enveloped by the charm of a 120-year-old mansion, Ganzi Osteria is presenting two very affordable three-course meals during Summerlicious. The $15 lunch menu is a steal (and service is quick if you're in a hurry). The $25 dinner will hit all the right notes if you're a pasta or pizza fan.

    Menu

    Top Dishes: Any of the pizzas, grilled scallops, penne primavera

    504 Jarvis St.; 647-348-6520

  • For modern Thai: Linda


    Located in the Shops at Don Mills, the team at Linda continues to push the boundaries for what Thai food can be. Each new dish that debuts on the menu mixes traditional ingredients and concepts with a number of modern twists and influences. Their Summerlicious menus are very reasonable at $15 (lunch) and $25 (dinner). If you haven't had the chance to experience Wing Li's cooking yet, seize this opportunity.

    Menu

    Top Dishes: Tom yum garden salad, beef panang, golden vegetable curry

    11 Karl Fraser Rd.; 416-642-3866

  • For modern Filipino: Lamesa Filipino Kitchen

    Lamesa is doing Summerlicious right by presenting a menu that gives diners a proper introduction to all the crowd favourites.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Sisig platter, fried chicken adobo, ginataan gulay, halo halo

    669 Queen St. W.; 647-346-2377

  • For family brunches: Mildred's Temple Kitchen

    When the lines for Summerlicious reservations open this week, we suspect that weekend lunches will book up very quickly at this Liberty Village Canadiana restaurant. For two reasons, the restaurant is a gorgeous setting for daytime meals (if you're dining with a group, ask to sit at the kitchen table), and the menu is one of the most exciting we've seen at the prix fixe festival.

    Menu

    Top Dishes: Huevos monty, Mildred's roasted curried cauliflower, black olive caramel and coffee glazed beef short ribs

    85 Hanna Ave.; 416-588-5695

  • For vegetarians: Pangaea

    Chef Martin Kouprie is a veteran in the Summerlicious program. Each and every year his focus remains the same, to create a menu that is heavily driven by local ingredients. His latest menu sings of the seasons, as he presents summer ingredients and items from his extensive pantry. It's also one of the most vegetarian-friendly we've seen.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Candy beet salad, tuna tartare, duck breasts

    1221 Bay St.; 416-920-2323

  • For the David Chang experience: Momofuku Daishō

    Both Momofuku Noodle bar and Daisho will be participating in this year's prix fixe festival with great menus at affordable prices. The glass cube on the third floor offers a great view, and the space and menu is great for group dining. Although Daisho's 'licious menu isn't its usual large format style, all of the popular items are featured in smaller form. If you're looking to get a group out for a fun food-filled night, this place is it. Save room for the whisky cart and cocktails at Nikai. 

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Karaage buns, beef ribs, roasted rice cakes, somen noodles

    190 University Ave.; 647-253-8000

  • For a Sicilian culinary experience: Maialino Enoteca

    If you haven't had the chance to experience chef Roberto Marotta's modern Sicilian cooking through one of his monthly dinners, then here's your chance. The Parkdale restaurant is packaging the multicourse experience into $25 dinners for the Summerlicious program.

    Menu
    Top Dishes: Fennel and orange salad, housemade ravioli, white pizza

    1688 Queen St. W.; 416-551-5251

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