Winterlicious is back, and while to most people that means scoring a savvy dining option for a song, for me, it’s another few weeks of not seeing industry pals, and maybe cocooning in and avoiding my favourite haunts while fourtops order water no ice and never stick around for coffee. Can you tell I was a server in a former life? Please, for the love of pete people, tip generously, be patient and check your entitlement at the door! /rant.
For those looking to explore our fair city, a world class dining destination in it’s own right, I’ve dug deep and come up with a few options that offer respite from the almost 200 options that weigh this program down. Bitter, party of one? Right here friends.
This Yorkville restaurant recently went under a massive renovation, not just a nip + tuck, including a living wall and waterfall, introducing a new era for the corner cutie spot. Their prix fixe menus will be offered both at lunch and dinner, with beefy options like the Canadian AAA 10oz Beef Striploin or Beverly Creek Farms Braised Lamb Shank. Leek and Mushroom Agnolotti keeps the peace for the plant based people. Lunch will set you back $28 for three courses, dinner, $43.
You’ll be feeling all the finer things in life after one meal in the sumptuous Café Boulud, nestled in the stunning Four Seasons Hotel. French food by the master Daniel Boulud offers sublime classics for both lunch ($33) and dinner ($53), like the Herbs Roasted Branzino, or Steak Frites. Tart au Citron cannot be missed. Book early to avoid being left in the cold!
Former Top Chef contestant and one of Toronto’s finest, Executive Chef Ivana Raca is bringing the heat to her pedigree of plates, known around town for being one of the best pescatarian restaurants in Toronto. Backed with Italian influences, fishy options like Risotto or Agnolotti can easily be adapted for vegans, making this $28 lunch menu, and $43 dinner menu a guaranteed sell out.
Gerrard is up and coming, and a lot of that credit belongs to Wynona. Hand made pastas and natural wines are thoughtful inclusions, and their $43 dinner proves they’re worth the hype. Grilled Branzino shines, but the Carrot Agnolotti with maple butter makes me rethink my choices.
He might be a celebrity judge on MasterChef Canada, but he’ll always be King Claudio in the kitchen. Creative and almost futuristic features like Roast Seabream or Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank with of the moment dukkah anchor the $53 dinner menu, while downtowners will dig the Duck Confit as a bold choice on the $33 lunch menu.
Cactus Club Cafe
Okay, okay, hear me out. Reliably delicious West coast import Cactus Club is always a hit, and for $28 for a three course lunch, your Bay Street buddies will be fighting to pick up the tab for this one. For $43 Rob Feenie (and his cohort Cory Vitiello) have pulled out all the stops, with Ocean Wise friendly options like the Mini Tuna Stack or Grilled Dijon Salmon.
Wood fired pizzas are tempting any time of year, but coupled with a Prix Fixe for both lunch ($28) and dinner ($43) means you’re pairing that carby wheel of amazingness with house made ricotta and washing it down with everyone’s favourite Tiramisu. Yes!
Auberge du Pommier
Open for *almost* as long as I’ve been born, this standout restaurant from O&B has been around for that long for good reason. Set in a romantic and cozy cottage just north of York Mills, this french restaurant boasts one of TO’s finest Malcolm Campbell ensures every plate is picture perfect, seriously, his Instagram is down right drool worthy. Offering both lunch and dinner, you’d think would net more options, but ADP is a popular pick so best to pitter patter. Lunch for $33 offers a bounty of French classics and dinner at $53 is a steal.