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How to get the most out of Winterlicious

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Winterlicious 2018 (a.k.a. the only reason to abandon your warm room) is almost here!

The annual Toronto prix fixe celebration runs from January 26 to February 8, giving you affordable meal options at some of the city’s best restaurants. Each three-course lunch is priced at $23, $28 or $33, while the dinner menus range from $33 to $53. And with over 200 popular restaurants participating in the food festival, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices — but don’t get too freaked out, we’re here to help! Here’s how to navigate Winterlicious like a pro:

Book early

We spoke to a number of hostesses at some of Toronto’s busiest restaurants (including LeeLos Colibris and Cluny) and they all agreed that the earlier you make a reservation, the better chance you have of getting the time slot you want. Weekend (both lunch and dinner) tables are usually in high demand, so if you’re planning on coming in a group of more than three, be prepared with at least a few time frames, just in case the one you were hoping for is fully booked. Start looking at your calendar ASAP!

Dare to eat differently

It’s your cheat day and your mouth has been watering all week for that juicy steak, but why not try something a little out of your comfort zone? While most dining establishments offer their take on the good ol’ standbys of steak, roasted chicken or salmon, we assure you that the other options are just as delicious and filling. We recommend the delectable aburi sushi plate at Miku and the savoury jambalaya at Southern Accent.

Treat Yourself

You work hard for your money and you just paid off your Christmas bills, so it’s officially time to splurge on yourself. Most of the top-rated restaurants on TripAdvisor are taking part in Winterlicious, which means that you won’t break the bank trying out some of their (usually pricey) meals. And as an added bonus, you may be able to spot a celebrity or two. Meghan Markle has been known to frequent Café Boulud, while Laurence Fishburne and Keanu Reeves had a Matrix reunion at Momofuku Noodle Bar. The elusive Dave Chappelle also gave his stamp of approval to Italian eatery Bar Buca.

Chef Ryan’s dream came true! ✨✨✨✨@ryancampbellbuca @davechapelle

A photo posted by Rob Gentile (@rob_gentile) on

Eat local

No, we don’t mean that you should try new restaurants in your area (although, you should definitely do that if you haven’t already). Try eateries where the menu items are locally-sourced and grown, such as Nota Bene and Thoroughbred Food and Drink. Not only are you supporting local farmers and businesses, but you’ll get all the added health benefits as well.

Drink up

Sure, there are a lot of deals to be had on the best food in the city, but there are also lots of cocktail bargains too. Don’t be shy to ask your server about specialty drink menu items — many restaurants also lower their prices on alcoholic beverages for Winterlicious.

Tonight we introduce our new Winter cocktail menu at Buck-A-Shuck Mondays. World, meet a new cocktail on our menu. It’s called “Rudolph’s Slow Season,” adapted from a cocktail recipe we found named after Rudolph Valentino, a famous actor and lover, whose death caused “mass hysteria” amongst his female fans. We didn’t like the sound of Mr. Valentino so we named it after another famous Rudolph and garnished it with antlers and a shiny red nose!! Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Cherry Brandy and a dry sparkling wine spritz. Goes well with $1 Oysters, but really, what doesn’t? . . . . #liciousto #foodie #foodiegram #toronto #torontofoodie #photooftheday #picoftheday #art #nom #nom #the6ix #blogto #dineto #bars #barsoftheworld #restaurants #yum #yummy #food #foodphoto #foodporn #I #cooking #photography #nom #homecooking #soulfood #cajun

A post shared by Southern Accent (@southernaccentrestaurant) on

Bon appétit!

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