Where to dine in Toronto during Summerlicious 2017

Where to dine in Toronto during Summerlicious 2017

Summerlicious 2017 is back in Toronto. The annual food festival takes place July 7-23, 2017. From brunch to snack bars to cuisines from around the globe, there’s no question Toronto is a foodie’s paradise. To help you navigate Summerlicious 2017, we’re serving up our restaurant picks and a sample of the food you can expect, plus we’re sharing recommendations from Toronto foodies!

What is Summerlicious?

Summerlicious offers value to the Toronto diner looking to experience the top culinary offerings in the city. It’s the best way to taste your way through Toronto, with three-course prix-fixe menus at over 200 participating restaurants, including over 20 newcomers.

Restaurant menus change for lunch and dinner and range in price so you can go for a budget-friendly meal or high-end dining experience. Lunches are either $18, $23, or $28 and dinners are $28, $38 or $48 (taxes and gratuity are extra).

The Summerlicious website search filter allows you to filter restaurants by cuisine type, neighbourhood, price, whether the restaurant is accessible, vegan-friendly, vegetarian-friendly, and uses local ingredients. You may want to contact the restaurants directly to secure a table at one of Toronto’s hot spots. (The festival is produced by the City of Toronto but presented by YPDine where you can make reservations.)

Where to dine

Asian: Hawker Bar

Hawker Bar Laksa

Hawker Bar has been serving mouth-watering Southeast Asian street food in the Ossington and Dundas area for the past five years, inspired by the “hawker centres” or open air food markets of Singapore. Visit the intimate space to taste their famous Laksa (spicy noodle soup with chicken, shrimp or veggies) or other dishes on offer during the festival.

Address: 164 Ossington Avenue
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Asian: Spice Route

This Entertainment District restaurant/bar is a roomy space with a lounge feel and Asian-inspired decor. A romantic date spot, the refined Summerlicious menu includes samosas, lettuce wraps, pork belly, lemon chicken, singapore noodles, glazed salmon, garlic shrimp, palm sugar roasted pineapple, and other heavenly plates. Enjoy your meal on the gorgeous patio for a Summerlicious night to remember.

Address: 499 King Street West
Price: $28 Dinner

Barbeque: Liberty Commons

Liberty Commons Alberta Lamb Burger

In the mood for Southern BBQ? This Liberty Village staple owned by Oliver and Bonacini serves comfort food at its finest. Find mac n’ cheese, beer can chicken noodle soup, brisket and spare ribs, lamb burgers, and more at this contemporary brewpub. Wash it down with a craft beer from Big Rock Brewery and finish off your feast with an inventive dessert: S’mores Soft Serve, Me Mum’s Summer Trifle, or Beer-Ver-Tails. Yes, please.

Address: 42 Liberty Street
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Bistro: Peter Pan Bistro

Housed in a restored 1930s building at the corner of Queen and Peter, Peter Pan Bistro adds a dash of British and French influences throughout its seasonal menu of Canadian food. The charming bistro focuses on nose-to-tail cooking using local ingredients. Their patio was voted one of the best for Summerlicious by BlogTO. This year’s Summerlicious menu features some of their standard favourites: mussels on toast, roast chicken, risotto, and fresh baked madeleines.

Address: 373 Queen Street West
Price: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Brewhouse: Batch

Fried pickles, chicken wings, and house made pretzels are the appetizers of dreams and the ones you’ll find on the Summerlicious menu at Batch, made even better by a flight of their small batch beer to wash it all down. The brewhouse goes for the same small town feel as its sister company, Creemore Springs, but in big city Toronto. Order the chocolate glazed donut for a nostalgic treat and end your visit with some bottles of beer to take home.

Address: 75 Victoria Street
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Canadian: Canoe

Grass Fed Beef Strip Loin & Cheek served with caramelized onions, roasted carrots, buttermilk mashed spuds & herb crumb

Located in the Financial District of downtown Toronto, Canoe has been recognized as one of the country’s top restaurants, offering contemporary Canadian cuisine that showcases the best of local, seasonal ingredients. Indulge in a Quebec Foie Gras Parfait with torched niagara stone fruit or a Braised Ontario Lamb Shoulder, both odes to regional specialties. Or try another locally-sourced dish like the Heritage Pork Belly, Summer Berry Crumble, or Fennel and Green Tomato Salad while enjoying a view of Lake Ontario.

Address: 66 Wellington Street West
Price: $28 Lunch, $48 Dinner

Cajun/Creole: Southern Accent

Step into Toronto’s version of New Orleans at the corner of College and Ossington, where Cajun, Creole, and soul food are the stars. Southern Accent has been perfecting Louisiana cooking since 1984. Dig into their Gumbo, N’Awlins salad, Decatur Street mussels, Po Boy Shrimp and Crawfish Sandwich, French market jambalaya, Cajun dirty rice, and St Louis street BBQ ribs. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Club 1806 takes over the space for live music and dancing.

Address: 839 College Street
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Filipino: Casa Manila

Authentic, homemade, and delicious describes the cuisine at North Toronto’s Casa Manila, blending Spanish, Chinese, Mexican, Indonesian, and South Asian influences. They were the first Filipino restaurant to be featured on Food Network Canada’s “You Gotta Eat Here!” Take a cue from the show and visit during Summerlicious for their sumptuous spring rolls, pork skewers, crispy pork belly, garlic shrimp, vermicelli noodles, tofu vegetables…the list goes on. They even make their own artisan ice cream in a variety of flavours.

Address: 879 York Mills Road
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

French: Colette Grand Cafe

Celebrated for its elegant decor and traditional French cuisine, you’ll find Insta-worthy photo ops in this chic French eatery at the bottom of the Thompson Hotel. Part bakery-cafe, part lounge and part dining room, Colette Grand Cafe offers both upscale dining and a more casual cafe, great for brunch, lunch, dinner, and drinks. With a focus on seafood (there is lamb, steak, and chicken liver mousse on the Summerlicious menu as well), expect each ingredient to be carefully prepared with love.

Address: 550 Wellington Street West
Price: $28 Lunch, $48 Dinner

French: La Société

Bayonne ham, Lillet compressed melon, crème fraiche and verjus

Known for their fabulous brunch and lighter approach to classic French fare, La Societe is a trendy French eatery in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. Their Summerlicious menu features a choice of beautifully presented appetizers and entrees like a classic burger or flat iron steak frites, roasted steelhead trout and sweet pea risotto. Order the LS crème brûlée with fresh raspberries for dessert and thank us later.

Address: 131 Bloor Street West
Price: $28 Lunch, $48 Dinner

Gastropub: Prohibition Gastrohouse

With the mantra, eat well, speak easy, Prohibition Gastrohouse is the place for good food, drinks, music, and dancing. Find them at two locations in the city, offering a brunch, lunch, dinner and late night menu. Get your fill of Summerlicious pub grub at this social gathering spot. Their chicken and waffles, poutine, and pulled pork grilled cheese are stepped up a few notches. They smoke their own meats, bake their own bread, and offer a top-shelf booze collection to deliver a sophisticated pub experience.

Address: 696 Queen Street East
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Greek: Estiatorio Volos

Here’s a taste of what to expect on Estiatorio Volos’ Summerlicious menu: A healthy Greek salad, refreshing watermelon salad, and vegetarian dolmades are some of the vegetarian starter options. For your main course, choose from a juicy braised lamb shank, bright lemon chicken skewers, grilled whole Mediterranean sea bass, or crispy spanakopita, among other options, depending on whether you go for lunch or dinner. All the options at this Financial District eatery are delectable.

Address: 133 Richmond Street West
Price: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Indian: Ji

Restaurant classics like caesar salad, a chicken sandwich, or a beef burger are amped up with Indian flavours at Ji, a casual dining spot serving pub food paired with more traditional Indian dishes like tandoori chicken, fish curry, and lamb kebabs. The restaurant’s name is a Hindi word used to show respect or say, “yes” — and you’ll be saying yes to this Summerlicious fusion menu at first bite.

Address: 760 St Clair Avenue West
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Italian: Il Fornello

This King West restaurant has multiple locations and excels in all the Italian staples: antipasti, pizza, pasta and good wine. Their Summerlicious menu features a healthy dose of carbs: panino, pizza and pasta options complimented by a light soup, salad, antipasto plate, or mussels to start. And for dessert: tiramisu, panna cotta, sorbet, or an orange polenta cake. Delizioso!

Address: 214 King Street West
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Mexican: Los Colibris

Enjoy an upscale feast of Mexican specialties with white linen service at Los Colibris Cocina Mexicana, including tropical fruit ceviche, pulled chicken chilaquiles, enchiladas with poblano peppers and panela cheese, and other family recipes from Chef Elia Herrera’s hometown of Veracruz, Mexico. Churros are on both the lunch and dinner menu so you can end your dining experience on a sweet note.

Address: 220 King Street West
Price: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Patio: Kasa Moto

Nothing says Summerlicious quite like enjoying a three course meal on a patio with friends. Soak up the atmosphere of Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood from the rooftop of Kasa Moto and enjoy scenery as picture-perfect as the food. Inside the izakaya-style restaurant/lounge, the decor is even prettier. They’ll be serving Misoyaki Chicken, Flat Iron Steak, and Black Garlic Soba Noodles on the Summerlicious menu, to name a few.

Address: 115 Yorkville Avenue
Price: $28 Lunch, $48 Dinner

Pescatarian: Ufficio

This Italian restaurant is known for its seafood specialties (there are vegetarian options as well), its open kitchen, extensive wine list, and creative cocktails. Serving a Summerlicious menu for dinner only, order the cured swordfish or sardines to start, savour the grilled mediterranean sea bream or grilled octopus as a main, and finish your meal off with an Italian dolce. There are just 36 seats here so reserve a table in advance if Ufficio is on your Summerlicious bucket list.

Address: 1214 Dundas Street West
Price: $38 Dinner

Portuguese: Adega Restaurante

A seafood lover’s paradise, taste Portuguese and Spanish inspired dishes at Adega Restaurante, located on Elm Street near Yonge and Dundas. Adega means wine cellar, so be sure to sip on a glass from their Port wine selection as you delight in the likes of seafood bisque, grilled sardines, linguine with tiger shrimp, grilled squid, and pan seared fillets.

Address: 33 Elm Street
Price: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Sushi: Boku Sushi

If you’re a sushi lover, Boku Sushi in the Distillery District offers exceptional Japanese cuisine. From tempura and sashimi to sushi platters, maki rolls and udon noodle soup, every dish promises to be fresh. Order a Sake or craft cocktail with Japanese shochu and Kampai to Summerlicious1

Address:42 Gristmill Lane
Price: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Vegan: Tabülè

This Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant on Yonge Street, called Tabule Midtown, is the first of four in its family of restaurants, including Tabule Riverside, Tabule Bayview and Souk Tabule. Husband and wife team Chef Rony Goraichy and Diana Sideris reinterpret traditional dishes to deliver the flavours we love, with loads of vegan options like lentil soup, falafel salad, hallum salad, eggplant dinners, and combo plates loaded with all the good stuff.

Address: 2009 Yonge Street
Price: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Foodie Favourites

We asked some Toronto foodies for their Summerlicious 2017 picks. Here are their recommendations:

The Curious Creature
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The $18 Summerlicious lunch at Bar Buca will not disappoint. Tucked away on Portland St just south of King St., the Italian-style snack bar is one of my go-to spots in the city. Chef Rob Gentile’s creative menu and the quality of the ingredients used in his dishes are incomparable. Head here with a friend for a leisurely lunch on the front patio.

When I’m in the mood for French fare, I head to Café Boulud located inside the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. Chef Daniel’s bistro classics and contemporary cuisine always hit the spot. Inspired by his family meals in Lyon, the dishes are both delicious and approachable. The Summerilcious menu value is high, the service is exceptional and the brasserie has a warm, vintage-inspired ambiance. A treat for the family or a special date!

Travel Mammal
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Pan on the Danforth for go-to Greek dishes that you cant get anywhere else in the city. They create both modern and traditional Greek dishes where every bite seems to take you back to the old country.

Tabule has been a fave for years. Their tabule itself as well as their falafel are unbeatable.

Prohibition Gastrohouse has great mac and cheese, a solid burger and amazing drink choices with just as amazing prices making it an easy go to time and again.

Travelling Foodie
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My must-visit restaurant for Summerlicious 2017 is Loka! Loka is listed in my list of favourite restaurants last year. It’s one of the rare restaurants where the menu changes daily based on fresh local ingredients they receive daily. Dishes are always creative, done well with careful thought, and plated nicely for those Instagram photos. Take a look at Chef Dave’s Instagram, @chef_rouge, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. As they are known best for their extensive cured meat program focusing on whole animal butchery, I would recommend getting the Nduja toast and Maple glazed pork belly for Summerlicious.

Share your Summerlicious experience with us below!

*All photos were taken from the restaurant’s respective website or social media channels

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