Get your bibs out because Summerlicious is back, running from July 8-24, 2011. The food festival is one of the most popular Toronto events in July, drawing crowds to local restaurants that diners might not otherwise be able to afford. Summerlicious initially started with 35 participating restaurants offering discounted prix-fixe meals, but has ballooned to include 150 Toronto restaurants. So if there’s a restaurant you’ve been dying to try (read Canoe), this is your chance! If you can’t get reservations at Canoe, which books up quickly during Summerlicious, you may want to try the following restaurants for dinner. (Note: These restaurants also offer a Summerlicious prix fixe lunch menu.)
Since opening last year, this Yorkville Mediterranean restaurant has been receiving consistently rave reviews for its food and atmosphere no doubt due to the owner having been executive chef at the former Prego Della Piazza. The dimly lit cavern-like room exudes charm and warmth and the Summerlicious dinner option should be great value. The $35 prix-fixe dinner option includes among other items seared Pacific salmon or prosciutto-wrapped cornish hen with maple glaze.
Prime, Windsor Arms Hotel
Why Prime? Because this is the Windsor Arms Hotel, a Toronto landmark whose name is synonymous with luxury and high standards. Plus you may not be able to afford the regular prices at this deluxe Toronto steak house. The Summerlicious dinner special is $45 and includes a 10 oz. rib-eye steak.
At $25 for the 3-course Summerlicious dinner, you’ll want to include this upscale Middle Eastern restaurant just west of U of T on your list. The mouth-watering Summerlicious dinner special at 93 Harbord features seared shrimps with Turkish fig salsa, onion and sumac-stuffed children breast or apricot and walnut roasted lamb.
Didier, 1496 Yonge Street
If classic French cooking is your weakness, you’ll definitely want to experience Didier Restaurant, operated by well-known Toronto chef Didier Leroy. Leroy was most recently head chef at The Fifth before opening his own restaurant. Didier is offering a $45 Summerlicious dinner prix fixe menu that includes among other items marinated salmon on blini as an appetizer, and duck confit or steak tartare.
Biagio, 155 King Street East
This Italian restaurant has been part of the Toronto landscape for over 20 years due to the well-executed meals and Biagio’s location in Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Hall. Biagio has a lovely back patio with soothing sounds of a waterfall. The $35 Summerlicious prix fixe dinner special features lobster bisque as a starter, and stuffed quail or marinated venison.