Illustration by Brian McLachlan/Torontoist.
It’s that time of year again—the time when those who love to hate average food start writing snobbish soliloquies about the pitfalls of Summerlicious. (We should know; we wrote one about Winterlicious last year.) Some say Summerlicious menus pale in comparison to the participating restaurants’ non-Summerlicious fare. Others claim that patrons are treated unfairly; servers subliminally imply that Summerlicious-goers are somehow inferior to those who request the “regular” menu. We hear you, and, um, ourselves, but we’re not quite ready to give up on our fair city’s prix-fixe fests just yet. Summerlicious, now in its eighth year, begins on July 9, and concludes on July 25—reservations start today. And if you’ve never tried it before, or if you’re thinking of giving it another go, we’ve decided to share with you our reasons for giving Summerlicious a second chance. (See, we can be nice.)
Because You’re Tired of Eating Rotis All The Time. Gandhi’s, we love you. Really, we do. But sometimes we get the urge to cheat. To eat a three-course meal—and one that we didn’t prepare for ourselves. Can we normally afford to go to Noce? No. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen? Rarely. Auberge du Pommier? Never, no. But with Summerlicious’ prix-fixe menus, we can at least entertain the idea of eating out at a restaurant that provides us with cloth napkins.
Because Maybe Your Complaints Have Been Heard. Hark, all ye whiners! Perhaps you’ve done us all a great service; perhaps your complaints (be they about portion size, table service, or overall food quality) have been heard. When we tried The Rosebud‘s Summerlicious menu last year, we found it unimpeachable. The risotto (minted pea) was perfectly cooked, and by the time our dessert—a simple, earthy (and slightly tart) fruit crumble—was placed in front of us, we were stuffed. Everything we wanted in that dining experience was provided: good food, decent-sized portions, excellent service, and a price tag we could handle. So maybe, just maybe, Summerlicious’ restaurants are taking heed of your complaints. And maybe, better yet, they’re actually doing something about them.
Because Other Restaurants Try To Compete. Competition can be good, right? As we reported last summer, Summerlicious tends to inspire swaths of copy-cat prix fixe menus throughout the GTA. And we’re more than okay with that. We like having choice—and we’re pleased to see that non-Summerlicious restaurants are making it easier for us (budget-wise, at least) to sample what they’ve got on offer.
For a list of all 150 participating restaurants (and their Summerlicious menus), go here.