Best Bets for Summerlicious 2011

If there wasn’t enough to love about summer in the glorious city of Toronto, the three-week stretch of Summerlicious 2011 serves up amazing prix fixe menus from over 150 of Toronto’s top restaurants starting this Friday. Running from July 8th through the 24th, Summerlicious is a chance to take in some amazing culinary quests from establishments you may not get to frequent on a regular basis. The prix fixe menus – three or more courses for a set price – allow food-obsessed young professionals to sample the best dishes from the best restos. We’ve done the ground work to bring you 10 of our favourite entries on this year’s list, and what we’re planning on ordering when we go…

Benihana at the Fairmont Royal York$45 Dinner
Benihana is a unique Japanese steakhouse experience in the heart of downtown Toronto. Serving up some amazing meals right before your eyes, Benihana’s hibachi-style cooking is just part of the overall experience and atmosphere at this favourite spot.
What to Order
First Course: Spicy Avocado Roll with pineapple, cucumber, and chili-lime mayo; Second Course: Hibachi Steak; Third Course: Mandarin Orange Cheesecake with Grand Marnier Anglaise

Bodega on Baldwin$20 Lunch
Bodega on Baldwin is a quaint little gem that shouldn’t be missed. Delicious French cuisine awaits when you walk into this luxurious little space.
What to Order
First Course: Chicken Liver and Brandy Pate with cornichons and baguette; Second Course: Duck Confit with frites and wild blueberry vinaigrette; Third Course: Raspberry Sorbet

Cafe du Lac$35 Dinner
This adorable Quebecois bistro on the waterfront in Mimico is a bit of a trek from downtown but it’s so worth it. Enjoy a mouth-watering meal in a cozy atmosphere, and if you’re lucky you’ll get a spot on the beautiful patio.
What to Order
First Course: Mini Beef Poutine; Second Course: Quail wrapped in Prosciutto with peach chutney and wild rice pilaf; Third Course: Strawberry Shortcake

Canoe Restaurant$25 Lunch
Oliver and Bonacini’s Canoe is Canadian cuisine at its finest. Atop the TD Bank Tower, Canoe has an amazing view of Toronto’s skyline, the perfect backdrop to a restaurant that has routinely been called one of Canada’s finest.
What to Order
First Course: Ontario Bufala Mozzarella with sweet peas, celery, and honey-glazed walnuts; Second Course: Pan Fried Great Lakes Walleye with rutabaga slaw; Third Course: Lemon Thyme and Apricot Semifreddo with almond nougatine

La Maquette$35 Dinner
This gorgeous French restaurant is but a stone’s throw away from King subway Station. The beautifully decorated interior aside, La Maquette serves some of Toronto’s finest French cuisine, hands down.
What to Order
First Course: Creamy Pate of Duck with fresh fruit chutney; Second Course: Venison Osso Bucco with roasted garlic and chive mashed potatoes and vegetable medley; Third Course: Coconut Cream Mango Tartuffo with raspberry coulis

Lucien$45 Dinner
This little spot on Wellington East is an intimate and relaxed space that serves some amazing dishes with international influence.
What to Order
First Course: Braised Tamshire Pork with kimchi, cuttlefish, clam and sweet soy; Second Course: Ontario Bison with white corn, queso fresco, and arugula; Third Course: Chocolate Beetroot Brownie with cherry and black walnut

Noce$25 Lunch
Known for being one of Toronto’s top Italian restaurants, Noce’s refined and authentic Italian cuisine is both beautifully-presented and well-balanced.
What to Order
First Course: Le frittelline di caccala (cod croquettes with spicy tomato and caper sauce); Second Course: Gnocchi al ragu’ di vitello (homemade potato gnocchi in a veal ragu); Third Course: Strawberry Pana Cotta with wild berry balsamic

Reds Bistro$45 Dinner
Reds Bistro has been a mainstay on Toronto’s culinary scene for years. This Financial District restaurant boasts some amazing dishes and house-made charcuterie that’s as impressive as it is satisfying.
What to Order
First Course: Thai Curry Crab Cake in a spicy shellfish broth; Second Course: “Fish and Chips” (Lake Huron Perch) with kettle chips and garlic scape tartar sauce; Third Course: Chef’s Artisanal Cheese Selection with fruit preserves and toasted currant bread

Vertical Restaurant$25 Lunch
Vertical’s superb Italian dishes are that much more enjoyable when on the mezzanine patio overlooking First Canadian Place’s waterfall.
What to Order
First Course: Mackerel with potato pangrattato; Second Course: Linguine with passata tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella; Third Course: Strawberry and Rhubarb Crostata with creme anglaise

Watusi$25 Dinner
The atmosphere at Watusi is best described as cocktail chic – relaxed and informal with a bit of jazz. The food is a nice blend of classic and modern.
What to Order
First Course: Asian Sampler with roasted miso eggplant, leek potstickers, and spinach and pine nut sushi roll; Second Course: Jerked Cornish Hen with yam frites and summer squash; Third Course: Black Sesame Creme Brule