This year’s must-try spots for Summerlicious in Toronto

Each July, this Toronto food festival rolls into town, inviting chefs of top-of-the-line and beloved-by-locals restaurants to create prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. With over 200 restaurants participating, the selection process can be overwhelming. So we took on that burden for you – our Toronto City Editor drooled, sampled, and sipped to get you The List. Check out these guaranteed delicious spots for Summerlicious 2015.

Cluny Bistro and Boulangerie

1
35 Tank House Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4

Classy meets accessible at this sprawling French bistro and boulangerie in the historic Distillery District. Industrial cement beams juxtapose a baroque-style decorative ceiling and stained glass skylights, while overhanging orb lamps resemble old-school Parisian street lights and cast a romantic hue upon the tables. The posh atmosphere is paired with classic French fare with a breath of modern taste and process (read: it’s a little lighter than traditional butter-cream-cheese-heavy French cooking). Start with a ricotta caprese salad or smoked trout rillette (code for open-faced sammie), and on to a triple cream brie and grilled asparagus crepe or Moroccan-style pork shoulder.

The Tempered Room Ltd

2
1374 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L7

The Parkdale patisserie became an instant fixture on the West Queen West strip when it opened, drawing crowds with their gorgeously crafted gourmet desserts. This year, Summerlicious launches its inaugural culinary events portion of the food festival and got the Room’s head chef Bertrand Alépée in on the international-inspired fun. For $45, you can join the party at the industrial-meets-romantic spot, which will host sweet and savoury tapas and signature cocktails (Alépée teams up with Beast chef Scott Vivian for the fete), all of which pays tribute to the 41 countries competing in the Pan Am Games.

Hawthorne Food and Drink

3
60 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C 1N8

Enjoy nouveau-Canadian flavours and locally sourced ingredients at this downtown hotspot for a taste of a little something they like to call “South Ontario cuisine”. The economic pricing as well as the ingenious menu scored this Entertainment District tough-guy-bistro a spot on our list of go-to faves. Among a smattering of internationally inspired offerings, local smoked pork ribs with buttermilk corn bread cosies up to roast brisket and endive, rounded off by chicken skin tacos garnished with carrot kimchi and an intriguing cheddar ice cream.

Nuit Social

4
1168 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J5

A wonderfully economical option, this hybrid resto on West Queen West takes on the $25 menu, the most affordable tier of the Summerlicious offerings. In part known for their intensely bloggable charcuterie boards, Nuit Social takes it up a notch with house-smoked salmon and fried artichoke heart appetizers, while mains are distinguished by their comfort-food aesthetic (think gnocchi, P.E.I. mussels, and balsamic glazed pork ribs served alongside a smoked mozzarella mac ‘n’ cheese). The cozy space is warmed by a glowing stained glass bar and subtle hanging pendants, making the intimate spot a perfect stop-in for date night.

Fabbrica

5
49 Karl Fraser Rd, Toronto, ON M3C 0E5

Don Mills hosts this rustic Italian restaurant, currently scoring cross-city attention with its authentic menu and stunning modern space, complete with futuristic pendant lighting and a gorgeous bar of stainless steel and white marble (maybe the sexiest spot in Toronto to sip on a Negroni). Thin-crust pizzas are slung from a wood-burning brick oven hailing from Naples, while those looking for a heartier meal can tuck in with a rhubarb-accompanied bacon chop or putanesca-inspired chicken piccata. Finish off with a tiramisu ice cream sandwich (go ahead and read it again, you did not imagine that), or a quintessentially Italian cannoli.

America Restaurant

6
325 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5H 3C2

A chance to dine on the 31st floor of the Trump Hotel? Why not. Velvet tufted booth tables and stunning architectural lighting provide the VIP vibes in this purple-hued nightclub-esque spot, while the updated American classics on the menu set you up for a hearty-meets-chic dining experience. Start off with the fried chicken and matcha waffle appetizer or sweet corn chowder and jerk pork belly, followed by locally sourced beef strip loin and BBQ brisket, or a lighter salt-baked King salmon. The standout dessert star is the American cheese and chocolate board, which includes lavender crisps and pistachio bark.

Our talented brewmasters are among the most beloved makers in the city, having carved out Toronto’s status as a destination for award-winning craft beer. Although the culture is home-grown and goes way back, post 2011, a slew of new spots have popped up across the city. Here are the stories behind both our famed microbreweries and innovative newcomers on the scene. [Photo credit: Celine Kim]
From second-storey terraces to canopy-covered courtyards, 2016 has been a good year for Toronto’s patio game. We’ve got the goods on the brand-new brewery on Roncesvalles and the Lakeshore’s most recent party-worthy spot. East to west, these resto-bar newcomers have created inspired outdoor spaces so you can start patio season off right. [Image credit: iStock.com/Sean Pavone] 
On Sunday May 1st 2016, the Artscape Wychwood Barns hosts TO’s largest festival for gluten-free foodies. With workshops led by gluten-free experts and over 65 food vendors to sample from, this event is a must-attend for wheat-sensitive Torontonians. From cupcakes to malt beer and cider tastings, the Gluten Free Garage is where to snack up and stock up this weekend. [Photo by Franco Deleo; courtesy of the Gluten Free Garage]
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