It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and we’re not talking about Christmas or the impending New Year. No, we’re all aflitter over the fact that Winterlicious is just around the corner – running January 31st through February 13th, 2014 to be exact. Raise the proverbial roof because we’re about to kick our resolutions to the curb and load up on eats like any tried-and-true foodie. So, without further adieu, here are our absolute best bets for Winterlicious 2014 (in alphabetical order, naturally).
The 15 Best Restaurants for Winterlicious – Reservations Begin January 16th, 2014
Aria’s $25 lunch may be a steal for Winterlicious 2014, but we’re more excited about their $45 dinner. Scallops to start, veal cheeks to continue, and cassata to end? Count us in!
Big Daddy’s Bourbon Street Bistro
Big Daddy’s is perfect for anyone heading to a Broadw… sorry… King Street show. For a mere $25, you can nab up some Creole mussels, catfish tacos, and the uber-yum Bourbon Street bread pudding. Stick that in yo’ pipe and smoke it, son!
Bloke & 4th
Get your ‘licious on at Bloke & 4th, where you can partake in some world-class nosh without ever leaving the city. Maple bacon dates with crispy halloumi? Gimme. Local port braised beef short ribs? Gimme now. Bourbon chocolate caramel pie? Gimme ten minutes ago!
The $20 Winterlicious lunch at Bodega seems like highway robbery… in that we’re robbing this charming li’l bistro! Calamari salad, duck confit, and classic vanilla creme brulee are but three of the 10 stunning dishes available on this menu.
Any excuse to dine in the glory that is Daniel Boulud’s Canadian outpost we’ll take. (Especially if it means we can save a li’l coin!) We’d go for the venison pâté (you know they have a fifth generation charcutier on staff, right?), followed by the braised beef shin (because we don’t actually think we’ve ever had that), followed by the coffee cardamom sundae (who can say no to an elevated childhood classic?).
Canyon Creek Chophouse
The Winterlicious 2014 lunch at Canyon Creek is a winter warmer if ever we’ve seen one. A kale and sweet potato salad anchors the apps, while Malaysian shrimp curry stands out in the mains. And for dessert? We’re totes ordering the chocolate pot de creme, baby!
We love that Czehoski totally represents for the Eastern-European brood here in the city. That’s why we’re standing behind ’em this Winterlicious. It’s an easy task when you’re eating housemade pierogies, bigos (a Polish stew that’s to-die-for), and raspberry mousse.
Go Greek – but, like, a refined and sophisticated Greek from a private island or something – at Estiatorio Volos for #LiciousTO. Sit in silence as you bite into the grilled calamari. Become a demi-god as you find strength in a loaded fisherman’s stew. And touch Mount Olympus with a fork-full of flourless chocolate cake. Divine.
We cannot even rave enough about this darling gastropub on College Street. We’re ready to dine on some marinated beef heart, mushroom gnocchi, and braised pear with Thunder Oak gouda. If you’ve ever been to Habits, you’d totally be down for that, too. (And if you haven’t, then freakin’ try ’em on the cheap during Winterlicious, fool!)
We l’ove L’Unita. The Winterlicious 2014 menu is pretty much a foodie’s wet dream. (That’s wet from drool, sickos!) Their arancini is a must. Same goes for the grilled Arctic char. The desserts… well… you’re on your own for that selection. We may or may not know the owners and therefore may or may not have to actually make a sweet choice.
Lisbon by Night
With Spanish food having made a comeback in the city, we’re hoping that the flavours of Portugal are next on the fanatical foodie world tour. Get a taste over at Lisbon by Night during Winterlicious, as their seafood-heavy fare goes down oh-so-well.
Don’t be fooled by the name: Little Anthony’s packs a bold punch. You simply must order the whipped truffle ricotta as your dinner starter, dahlings. And the veal piccata needs to make its way to your table for two reasons: it’ll be effin’ divine… and piccata is really fun to say. For dessert, Little Anthony’s tiramisu might cause you to ask for several extra napkins. (Interpret that as you will… but a full-on foodgasm can definitely get a li’l messy.)
Three cheers for Middle-Eastern-meets-Mediterranean cuisine! Order the shrimp falafel, because when have you ever had that? Follow it up with kufta, because it’s actually one of the best dishes in the city. And, of course, finish with the fig kataiv, because it’s stunning and not too sweet!
Pan on the Danforth
OPA! Pan on the Danforth has a Winterlicious menu that will make you think you have the Midas Touch. For $25 at dinner (and $15 at lunch) you get a full three-course meal fit for a Hercules. In keeping with these godly gourmand aspirations, we’re loving the sounds of the Olympus Chicken; a chicken supreme topped with feta cheese and button mushrooms for a decidedly Hellenic twist.
Rally Sports Bar + Smokehouse
Ladies, this is where you take your man if you want him to go for “sushi” later… he’ll be that happy with you. And, of course, his energy will be at an all-time high after loading up on smoked apple salad (dudes will eat anything that’s been smoked), smoked chicken leg, and a butterscotch nut (possibly available smoked if you ask politely).
Ooph! The Splendido Winterlicious 2014 menu has us chomping at the bit for a reservation. Roasted sweetbreads, hanger steak with sauce diable, and chocolate and peanut mousse make for a party in our mouths… and ain’t no one else invited. You actually shouldn’t go here; it’s probably above your palates. (Okay, go… but please just at least wait til we’ve booked our ten dinners here. Thanks!)
Tappo Wine Bar
Filling a nice ol’ spot in the Distillery District, Tappo Wine Bar is Italian excellence. Take for instance their papardelle con cinghiale (wild boar ragout atop wide ribbon pasta), or the arancini, or the pistachio cannoli. Classic Italian dishes marrying the north and south with culinary curiosity.
The 5 Best Winterlicious 2014 Events
For Winterlicious 2014, there are 16 uber-cool culinary events that range from totally traditional (high tea at Casa Loma) to cunningly contemporary (Guilty Pleasures Strolling Fashion Brunch at The Drake). Here are the 5 Winterlicious 2014 culinary events you’ll likely find us at… and if you do, feel free to ask “wassup?!”
Destination DYNE – February 2nd and 6th
A 7-course tasting menu that explores the roots of Spain, Portugal, and Asia’s cuisine? Ooh la la! We want in, Chef Andino!
Five Ways Dinner by the Group of Seven Chefs – February 10th
We’re more accustomed to three-ways, but we’re down for adding a couple more to our usual repertoire. Coolest part? Each chef is doing up a tasting menu, but you won’t find out which you’ll be eating til the night of. Now that’s suspense!
High Tea at Casa Loma – February 8th and 9th
It’ll feature a world record attempt for the world’s tallest tea cake stand. That’s reason enough to go. (Tea in a castle ain’t half bad neither!)
Breaking Bread with the Walshes – February 11th
Not to be confused with Breaking Bad, Breaking Bread sees O&B’s amazing Chef Anthony Walsh prepping a three-course meal with his wife and kids for all to enjoy.
An Aphrodisiac Adventure – February 13th
Hopefully the thrill of this meal will carry over onto Valentine’s Day… y’know… because that’s when the extra stamina will really count.