If there’s ever a time. . . .

If there’s every a time to indulge in some delicious food, sitting in a pompous restaurant – it is now.

Or rather, it is this Friday, when Toronto’s Winterlicious starts.

For those who don’t know, Winterlicious happens twice each year (though the other is called Summerlicious, because it takes place in the summer), offering foodies a chance to eat at a place that the otherwise couldn’t dream of affording. Some of the city’s top restaurants offer a three-course set menu for between $25 and $45. But, reservations are hard to come by, so make yours early.

So, I urge you – take advantage! It’s a great opportunity to find some hidden gems, and try out some menus that you otherwise couldn’t dream of tasting.

Now, if you can’t think of a place to eat at – fear not! Here’s my list of the places that I can’t wait to try!

 

5. Canoe

For a few reasons: first, it’s got a pretty relaxed name, but looks rather posh in the photos; second, who doesn’t love canoeing?

And third, everywhere I turn, every message board I read, and every passerby I ask tells me I need to eat at Canoe.

It’s located on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower on Wellington, offering diners a spectacular view of the city.

It’s menu is critically acclaimed, and the restaurant is frequently found in lists of the city’s best.

This is Canoe‘s $45 Winterlicious dinner menu.

 

4. Eight Wine Bar

As its name suggests, this restaurant is wine-centric.

During the Winterlicious period, it will be offering a delicious menu chalk full of food that begs to be paired with a nine ounce glass of wine (go on, treat yourself to the nine – you deserve it!).

What’s unusual about Eight Wine Bar is that it’s actually the house bar for the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which means that it’ll be putting its best foot forward.

It also means that if you’re going to meet a bello Italian, a hotel in the heart of the city is likely your best bet.

This is Eight Wine Bar‘s $25 Winterlicious dinner menu.

 

3. Banu

Located in one of the hippest, trendiest, and chic-est parts of the city, Banu plays on the pre-revolutionary Iranian feel, with its uber-mod, ultra-contemporary decor.

Oh, right, and its Middle Eastern menu and extensive vodka list.

Its menu is quite ethnic, and its among the more cost-effective restaurants at Winterlicious this year, which intrigues me even more than the really great music playing through the website. . .

This is Banu‘s $25 Winterlicious dinner menu.

 

2. Luma

What really attracts me to Luma is the fact that it’s located inside the Bell TIFF Lightbox theatre, giving diners an excuse to wander through the building and take in some of the history of one of Toronto’s most famous festivals.

The restaurant’s menu also tries to pay homage to the contemporary, yet multinational nature of the city.

Luma has also been known to modify its menu to flatter exhibits at the theatre, so even if you can’t make it out  during the Winterlicious season, it’s definitely worth a shot any other time of year.

This is Luma‘s $35 Winterlicious dinner menu.

 

1. The Bier Markt

The reason this is number one choice for Winterlicious, is because I didn’t even know that the Bier Markt could qualify for Winterlicious.

The yuppie-centric bar is known for having every single beer every created on tap (in reality, its over 100 kinds of beer from 24 different countries, which is still a heck of a lot), but they’re not necessarily known for their food.

But, the few people that I know who have eaten there have said its surprisingly good. And I can’t wait to be surprised.

This is The Bier Markt‘s $35 Winterlicious dinner menu.

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