Winterlicious 2020: 5 Best Restaurants To Visit

Winterlicious 2020: 5 Best Restaurants To Visit 1

Every Torontonian eagerly awaits the two magical weeks of winter that bring us the annual Winterlicious festival. The summer and winterlicious events are arguably Toronto’s biggest food festivals ever, and Winterlicious 2020 was no different!

While the Summer and Winterlicious festivals have come and gone, we can’t help but eagerly await the best annual food festival season. Everyone loves Toronto’s Winterlicious festival, arguably even more than the highly anticipated Summerlicious event! Winter is the best time for Toronto eateries because who wouldn’t want a warm, comforting meal in the bitter cold? The Winterlicious festival is the best way to combat the harsh bite of Ontario’s winter months.

Winterlicious 2020

With this sumptuous annual festival comes a seemingly impossible question for foodies all over the city: ‘which restaurants should you book first?’. With over 200 options, planning a two-week food can be an impossible task. If you are confused as to where to begin your food pilgrimage, then look no further! Let us rank the best places to eat this Winterlicious 2020!

What Is Winterlicious 2020?

Winterlicious started in 2003 as a way to boost the restaurant businesses during the slow period at the beginning of February. From January 31st to February 13th, restaurants drop their rates and serve prix fixe menus (set price menus) during lunch and dinner hours. The lists are limited (not all the offerings of the regular records fall under the prix fixe) with drinks and gratuities costing extra, but the low prices are enough of a lure for most residents of Toronto. 

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Winterlicious 2020 saw over 200 restaurants drop prices for the bi-annual food festival. While there may be a few months to go before the next Winterlicious, it is never too early to start planning your reservations as tables sell out in the blink of an eye! To figure out which tables to book for next year, it is worthwhile to take a look at the best menus of Winterlicious 2020.

The Best Menus of Winterlicious 2020

Auberge du Pommier

If you love fancy fine dining and classic french cooking, then you should book a table at  Auberge du Pommier today! This restaurant has been a favorite for many Winterlicious festivals, and Winterlicious 2020 was even better! The lunch and dinner menus included stunning french favorites (with a modern twist!) like dill-cured salmon, high-quality striploin, fresh Greenland halibut, and squash gnocchi.

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Price: with a 33 dollar lunch and 53 dollar dinner menu, Auberge du Pommier fell on the higher end of the Winterlicious 2020 offerings! This was to be expected, however, from the upscale restaurant. The average price of dinner before the festival discounts was 125 dollars per person, so the 53 dollar prix fixe menu was a steal!

Vegan options: vegan options at Auberge du Pommier were limited, but what they did serve was utterly moreish! Options are usually limited in set menus, so the lack of choice was not a bother to most (especially when the only choice tasted so good!)

Location: Auberge du Pommier, 4150 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M2P 2C6.

Try out this Winterlicious 2020 restaurant before next year’s festival.

Babel

Babel is the new Mediterranean hotspot from the famous Oliver and Bonacini family. This restaurant’s charm comes from its live-fire cooking and vibrant atmosphere. Their Winterlicious 2020 menu featured Arabic staples like seared salmon, green tabbouleh, chorizo hand pies, beef ragout, rapini, smoked peppers, and date pudding with orange blossom, allspice, and honey, from classics like kibbeh and fattoush to fusion flavors like the signature Babel fries.

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Price: The prix fixe for Babel’s Winterlicious 2020 menu was 28 dollars for lunch and 43 dollars for dinner. This made Babel’s price point some of the most attractive of the whole festival.

Vegan options: Babel has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options in their à la carte and set price menus. Nutritious salads, hearty soups, and elegant entreés – you won’t be hard-pressed for choice at this restaurant!

Location: Babel Restaurant, 305 York Mills Rd. Unit 19, Toronto ON, M2L 1L3

Try out this Winterlicious 2020 restaurant before next year’s festival.

Miku

Switch up your Winterlicious food pilgrimage with Miku’s modern Japanese cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for signature sushi, sashimi or veggie sashimi platters, or mains like miso-baked sablefish – Miku has a menu for you. Their Winterlicious menu had an ingenious fusion of fine dining and modern Japanese eating with offerings like the signature Aburi sushi plate, Saikyo miso baked sablefish and butter-poached lobster ravioli, and soy braised beef-shank and pan-seared foie gras!

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Price: a 33 dollar lunch and 53 dollar dinner may seem steep, but the sumptuous food justifies the price entirely! Upon tasting the delicacies that Miku has to offer, the costs will seem too right to be true.

Vegan options: limited. Japanese cuisine can be very hit or miss for western palates, and the lack of variety could be a turn off to some. The options are perfect, however, to those with a seasoned appetite.

Location: 10 Bay St 105, Toronto, ON M5J 2R8, Canada

Try out this Winterlicious 2020 restaurant before next year’s festival.

Planta Yorkville

Vegans look no further! This plant-based restaurant was one of the newest additions to the Winterlicious 2020 docket. The establishment’s main appeal is its sophisticated yet quirky ambiance and trendy lunch and dinner menus. Their Winterlicious 2020 list had millennial-friendly, Instagram worthy treats like potato gnocchi in a cauliflower cream, Tuscan kale chips, vegan beet-pepperoni pizza, chicken-fried mushroom burgers, and spaghettoni with walnut pesto. The perfect modern Italian restaurant for 2020 foodies.

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Price: at 23 dollars for lunch and 33 dollars for dinner, the rates are incredibly reasonable (especially given the gentrified area it is situated in). The restaurant is worth a visit even without the discounted prices!

Vegan options: It would be tragically ironic if you could not find good vegan options at a plant-based restaurant! Worry not, however, David Lee’s eatery does not disappoint. There are more vegan and vegetarian choices than you could ever imagine.

Location: 1221 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5R 3P5

Try out this Winterlicious 2020 restaurant before next year’s festival.

Mark

Mark has a reputation for being the hotspot for sophisticated business people and their briefcases. It is usually an unattainable ideal for the average Torontonian. Still, the beauty of the Winterlicious 2020 festival is that you can experience the life of a Wallstreet hotshot for no more than 53 dollar piece! Experience the life of the rich with ahi tuna tartare, seared salmon, Kimchi steak tartare, duck confit, and Mark McEwan’s signature dry-aged burger.

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Prices: the discounts at Bymark during Winterlicious 2020 were mind-blowing! A 33 dollar lunch and 53 dollar dinner menu are unbelievable rates from a restaurant who’s average dining prices range from anywhere between 83 and 120 dollars apiece! If you want to make the most of the festival’s discounts, you must book a table at Bymark!

Vegan options: Bymark offers satisfactory vegan and vegetarian options in their menus. The pasta and Thai curries are divine if a little scant on choice. The creativity and variety in the nonvegetarian menu can overshadow the vegan options significantly! Nevertheless, the vegan menu’s offerings are still equally as moth watering as any other plate in the restaurant.

Location: 66 Wellington St. West, Toronto, ON M5K 1M6

Try out this Winterlicious 2020 restaurant before next year’s festival.

Things To Remember About Winterlicious 2020

Although Winterlicious 2020 ran from January 31st to February 13th, reservations opened as early as January 16th. Places can sell out fast as the Winter and Summerlicious events are the hottest food festivals of the year.

It is important to remember that you should only make reservations by calling the restaurant or booking a table online from their websites. Third-party websites are not to be trusted during this high turnout festival! Avoid scams and fraud by booking directly from the restaurant.

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You may also have to call and confirm whether the Winterlicious offers are available on the day that you are booking a table. Some restaurants don’t offer the prix fixe set menus on Saturdays and Sundays. Some end the offers early or begin late, and some don’t provide lunch menus. That is why you should always call and confirm your experience is what you expect it to be

You may also want to try out the restaurants before booking them. If you are going to enjoy a night out on a budget, then you should consider the ambiance of the place in conjunction with the menu. If Winterlicious is not a food Mecca for you, then you should undoubtedly reserve seats at expensive, luxury fine dining establishments as those are guaranteed to give you a polished and opulent experience. By Mark and Auberge du Pommier come to mind for that sort of occasion.

If you are a real foodie, the limited menus at fancy restaurants may not be very appealing to you. If good food is the primary concern of your Winterlicious experience, then you would probably enjoy booking seats at smaller establishments without all the bells and whistles of fine dining. These new, trendy restaurants usually have varied and plentiful menus to choose from, unlike high-end eateries. You may even want to sample these restaurants now, before the next Winterlicious festival. Planta Yorkville and Babel are currently doing take away menus, perfect for those of us that like to analyze our food in the comfort of our own homes!

The Winterlicious and Summerlicious 2020 events were a smashing success, thanks to the 200 plus restaurants that participated. There was something for every taste, be it new fusions ar classic cuisine. New trendsetters hit the scene while old favorites ramped up their creativity. Winterlicious 2021 is set to be just as amazing as this year’s event, so start scouting now!

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