I would like to dedicate this post to On The Fly (http://www.restaurantdiscountwarehouse.com/blog/). For those who are curious, my blog here has been selected as “Toronto’s Top Food Critics and Bloggers” and in response I am writing a guest post for them. This is a major milestone for me and I would like to thank all my readers once again. Now let’s dive right into Winterlicious, I promise everyone a very in-depth review. By the way I upgraded my phone so the pictures should be pretty good now lols.
Winterlicious is an event brought together by the City of Toronto and takes off around January of each year. It is most known for its list of prix fixe restaurants where prices for most meals are significantly reduced so that it caters to the general public. In other words, restaurants that you would not dare to visit like Canoe becomes reasonably priced for two-weeks’ time. What most people don’t know is that Winterlicious also offers culinary events but it is not widely advertised.
The prix fixe restaurants are separated into 2 time periods: lunch and dinner; with each restaurant charging different prices (which is usually relative to their usual prices). For example, the restaurant we will talk about today charges $25 for their dinner menu. On average, their entrees are anywhere between $20-30. If you are thinking why restaurants would charge so little to include an appetizer, entree, and a dessert, the answer is advertising. Some restaurants boast quality that is beyond our imaginations, but many are too scared to try.
One thing I do want to note (based on personal experience) is that your experience may differ from those who order from regular menus. Let’s be serious here, you are paying 1/3 of what everyone else is paying, do you really think the quality is going to be top-notch? So, please go in with an open mind. I had negative experiences in the past but not to the point where I barfed or hated my waiter.
Le Papillon on Front
69 Front St E
Downtown, Old Town
It can be reached by foot, public transportation, or even by car. The location is central to all your needs and is a quick 20 minute walk from Eatons Centre. If you are looking at parking, you might find it easier to locate a Green P parking lot.
If you read all my notes from above, you would know that my expectations are lowered for both food and service. Much to my surprise the service was actually okay. Our waitress checked in with us after each dish and I was impressed by those who delivered our food. Almost all of them smiled and for a moment there, I felt welcomed. The place offers a casual atmosphere but unfortunately it is not that “french-like”. My boyfriend thought it was really missing that special touch.
I could go into the details of each dish but let me give you the general scoop. Everything was fine, no surprises, no disappointment. For $25 it was worth it, no doubt. The problem is, my boyfriend would not come back. Only some of the pictures will have detailed comments…
This is the type of appetizer that you would find at a french restaurant. For those who don’t know, you are spreading a layer of chicken liver pate (a mixture of meat that becomes a paste) on the croustini.
Filet of salmon (?)
I don’t remember what it was called but I swear it was stuffed salmon (though the site states otherwise). To begin, the sauce is awesome – in fact, it’s the most important thing on this dish. The rice itself has enough flavours but there were a few grains of rice that were not fully cooked. I really liked the shrimps and mushrooms that one can find in the middle of that stuffed salmon – it had more taste than the salmon itself lols.
The veggies are the same as the previous but wow, I was impressed by the duck. It was not salty (that’s key) and even without the sauce, it could have been fine. It’s too bad that the duck portion was small but still satisfying.
My rating: 7.7/10
It probably deserves: 8/10
I believe this place could do better. I am almost 90% sure that we didn’t order their signature dishes because really they weren’t that “French” lols. I’m okay with coming back though my boyfriend disagrees. For a winterlicious menu, this is absolutely worth it. Many restaurants will reduce the portions AND quality. Our waitress was pretty funny, kept asking if we were full. One thing I did not like is how they suggested that the expected gratuity should lie between 18-20% because of their reduced prices. I prefer to make my own judgment on what the service is worth.
Winterlicious is always a great event though I prefer to visit restaurants with their regular priced menus. Don’t be mistaken though, you can always try their regular menus. Keep in mind that most restaurants are quite busy and booked around this period. Book ahead of time and if you miss out, there is always summerlicious =)