Winterlicious 2010: the list of restaurants is out

Winterlicious 2010: the list of restaurants is out

(Photo by John Hritz) 

It’s that time of year again, when sniping begins over the dozens of menus featuring new (and often unexciting) ways to prepare house salad, chicken and a trio of sorbet. That’s right: the Winterlicious list is out, and it’s 150 restaurants strong.

Which will be the hot spots? Those with agile redial fingers—and who are willing to eat dinner at 5 or 10:30—might land tables at such popular spots as Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Bymark and North 44°. But looking at the list, we see that there are plenty of goodies to be found at the inexpensive end of the Winterlicious spectrum. Opting for these can be risky, but the cheaper restaurants ($15–$25) often represent the best value (Seven Numbers, Caju). Notable mid-range restaurants include Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, which usually has a lunch that provides an accurate taste of its menu ($20), as well as The Rosebud, which comes in at $20 to $35 but is being modest about its quality and is worth a visit.

These days, $45 is the new $30—the old Winterlicious maximum price was inflated by $15 last year and is even more common this time around. The pricier ticket may be a fair compromise for higher-end restaurants that want to participate and provide quality without going into the red. But there are certainly restaurants (Oro, Reds, Tundra) where a side-by-side comparison shows that Winterlicious amounts to not much more than a coupon for $5 to $10 off. Quiet and classic Noce is in the upper price bracket but appears to be serving up dishes off its posh regular menu.

Daily Dish will be slowing down for the holidays but will be back in full force in early January, complete with our full list of picks for the best restaurants of Winterlicious. Stay tuned.

• UPDATE: Torontolife.com’s “Best of Winterlicious” list is out. See it here »