Best Toronto restaurants for Winterlicious 2016

Winterlicious begins January 29 and lasts until February 11. With over 200 participating restaurants, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make. This year, three-course lunch menus are $18, $23 and $28 and dinner three-course meals are available for $25, $35 and $45 (taxes and gratuities extra).After pouring through all the menus, here are my top 5 picks for Winterlicious 2016:

Morgans On The Danforth

1282 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1M6

These are two of the most enticing and original menus I’ve seen in years. Not only that, they're one of the only menus written with humour (Smokin' Hot Tomato Soup as a starter, and referring to the Chile Morita Patty Melt they write – “Is it a burger? Is it a grilled cheese?”). What fun. Peruse the menu and you’ll want one of everything - Mac 'n' Cheese Got Seoul (vegetarian) for lunch is “Mac 'n' Cheese made better. Pasta with Gochujang cheese sauce and housemade kimchi, topped with tempura sweet potato and Shichimi Togarashi.” And how you choose from these for dinner is beyond me: - Welly County Dark Lamb Shank En Croute - lamb shank, slow braised in Wellington County Dark Ale, with carrots and leeks and capped with pastry, served with chive mash and sautéed spinach - Southern Comfort Redux - 'Nashville Hot' style fried chicken supreme, BBQ beef ribs, pork belly collard greens and jalapeno corn bread - Cioppino - seafood stew inspired by the classic San Francisco dish. Mussels, shrimp, whitefish and scallops in a saffron, tomato and white wine herb broth, served with sourdough bread to sop up the sauce - Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd's Pie (vegetarian) - rich stew of lentils, portobello, cremini and shitake mushrooms, vegetables and herbs, topped with parsnip and yukon gold mash. That, paired with the fact that lunch is just $18 and dinner is only $25, makes it one of the best things you’ll do this year.

Tutti Matti Restaurant

364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1R7

Chef/owner Alida Solomon has been serving up traditional, authentic Tuscan cuisine, using only fresh ingredients from local farmers since 2002. Everything on the seasonal menu is made in house, including all pastas and desserts. The lunch ($23) and dinner ($35) menus share only a few of the same items – just soup of the day and desserts. Otherwise, the choices are wide ranging from Crostone (squash, ricotta, sautéed black kale) and Spezzatino (braised beef stew, turnips, rosemary polenta) for lunch, and Maremma Toscana (suckling Tamworth pig, tuna mayo, arugula, deep fried shallots, toasted country bread) and Guanciale di Vitello (braised veal cheeks, black pepper corns, parsnip puree) for dinner. Toronto is inundated with Italian restaurants. But nothing like this one.

On a cold, snowy Edmonton night, nothing says lovin’ like a cup of hot chocolate. It’s no surprise this drink was originally dubbed the “elixir of the gods.” Regardless of the variety you select, or whether you opt for the simplest hot chocolate on the menu, all I can say is ... don’t forget the marshmallows.
You don’t have to travel to Paris to have a true fine-dining experience; you can enjoy an upscale dinner, complete with a five-course meal and fine wine, right here at home. Victoria is a fine-dining destination with an excellent reputation – where talented chefs enjoy crafting delicious gourmet dishes from fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Paired with a nice cup of coffee or topped with a scoop of ice cream, pie is unbeatable comfort food. And yet it faces stiff competition from cupcakes as the city’s dessert of choice. Well, pie is fighting back with old fashioned deliciousness as well as new and tantalizing flavours.
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