It is no secret that I love my wine. At the end of the day, I crave a nice crisp glass of white to soothe the day’s stresses and food is just not as good when it’s not enjoyed with wine. That said, I am no sommelier, and while I do enjoy a good pairing, I often find prices of wine in restaurants over-the-top. I’m from Montreal where the big trend is BYOW at little to no corkage fee. Their thinking is to serve fantastic quality food at higher prices, but to let their patrons save money on the wine by offering low corkage fees. In Toronto… not so much. Why is that?
I know that Torontonians love a good bottle of wine and the city has an exuberant amount of foodies, so you’d think this trend would have spread over to us. In reality, most restaurants in the city will allow you to bring your own wine, however it doesn’t come without a substantial corkage fee and I suppose restaurants don’t promote this because there isn’t a huge demand for it. But if more restaurants offered affordable corkage fees, would we jump on the BYOW wagon? I know I would… For now though I look for places that offer deals on corkage fees and I stop into my dad’s wine cellar on the way!
Here are five of my favourites…
Free Corkage on Sundays and they also offer a special table d’hote menu for only $32.00 per person. These menus change weekly and offer some of their favourite dishes as well as special items you will only find on Sundays. Great excuse to go out on a Sunday night!
Just last month the famous fish on Ossington launched an awesome program called Whatever Wednesdays. Bring your own wine on a Wednesday night, and enjoy a free corkage fee. What’s the catch? (No pun intended.) They ask for a minimum donation of $2 to Ocean Wise. First, I love this because it’s not a Sunday or Monday, and second, I love this because I am actually doing something good by drinking wine!
Live uptown and don’t feel like cooking? The little neighborhood gem on Yonge Street offers a no corkage fee deal every Monday and Tuesday. The food is deliciously comforting and the LCBO is just across the street. I can’t think of a better pairing to start off the week.
The Wine Bar
Even Toronto’s wine bar encourages you to enjoy your favourite bottle of wine! While their wines are exceptional and their tapas style menu pairs very well with their list, every Monday night they encourage you to bring in your own.
Love tapas? Here is another tapas style restaurant that serves up small plates with big flavours, and Sunday night you can enjoy your own delicious bottle of wine without paying a corkage fee.
The above list is my go-to, but my question is, when will a restaurant offer no corkage on a Thursday night? If you know of a place, let me know in the comments below!