A summerlicious weekday lunch break with coworkers. A nice dining space with elegant yet modern decor. A very open spacious restaurant so you don’t feel crowded with other diners, with a nice glass patio for those wishing to soak in the sun and people watch the financial district streets. For a high-end global hotel chain’s restaurant, I was looking forward to great things here, however the quality of the food fell short for me in this meal, especially in the main courses. My steak was severely dry and hard to chew, and others at my table mentioned their food being overly salty or just plain bland. What an unfortunate thing and hopefully we can just chalk it up to the busy season of licious in the summer, but now I’m not sure if I want to take my chances here again.
Good bread was provided at least!
The corn soup was fresh and full of strong corn flavours.
Good and pretty, but the ingredients were nothing special and had nothing more to it than what you see.
A tasty appetizer but also what you expect and no surprises here.
Terrible – the cook on it looked a medium rare, but it ended up being dry and impossible to chew apart. A plate that I did not actually want to finish eating. No flavouring either.
The tuna and couscous was very bland with no sauce to help it out.
Large portion but pasta was overly salty. It’s like they forgot to flavour everything else and then decided to go all out here.
Oh thank god for desserts because this was probably the best part of the meal and was actually tasty, interesting, and well sized to make up for the lack of appetite in the main course.
Hmmm… looks like a pile of melting poop but turned out to be tasty as well for those who like their desserts on the darker side. Presentation definitely needs work though haha. Adding a flower petals does not make poop suddenly pretty.
Decided to take the seafood loving parents here to try it, after having a good run with the food during their Winterlicious opening (review also available). They definitely worked out their seating with not being overbooked this time, however I felt they didn’t deliver as well on the food aspect. It could be their menu items seemed a little weaker than last time as well. Instead of focusing on their forte which is seafood, they brought in more generic things that you could really get at any other restaurant all around. Wasn’t as worth it this time, and hopefully they will stick with their stellar seafood dishes on the norm.
A simple but tasty gazpacho soup. Could maybe be a bit less watery in texture though.
Good but seems a bit skimpy to only provide 1 little fried oyster… could probably use 2 – 3 as an appetizer as it wasn’t that large. I think they tried to give it an asian twist with the sauce but unsure if they went well together.
This was probably when the avocado toast hype JUST started surfacing, so when I think about it now, it’s really just a bunch of veggies on smooshed avocados on a piece of whole wheat toast. Of course it was tasty but I could make it at home yes.
Had to throw this in for the lack of strong seafood items on the menu, something fresh and tasty for a summer meal!
This was a nicely cooked thick cut of tuna. Quality was definitely there, but lacking a bit in terms of uniqueness since I feel like a lot of other nice restaurants serve this exact thing.
This pasta dish overall was not the best – you can see the sauce was a little too watery and drowning it out. I did find the crunchy toppings an interesting touch and the flavours were there, just not well put together as a whole dish.
I’m not really sure what happened here, but they really should stick to their seafood. Would not have ordered this if we didn’t want to try one of each, but the meat was quite dry and the dish itself was boring in flavours – not the place to get something of this style (try a carribean or jamaican restaurant instead).
Quite a simple fruit based dessert – what you see is what you get here.
The combination of the honey, cream, and fresh fruit actually made for a great ending to this summer meal.
Chocolate cherry cake in a jar basically! Tasty and fun but nothing to get excited about. Their previous licious menu was definitely better.
Restaurant: The Chase Fish & Oyster
Licious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Recommended Attire: Casual
I’ve always wanted to sit out on the patio at Auberge and I finally got the chance to do this during this licious meal. The patio area is so well fenced in and decorated that you would have no idea the restaurant is actually in the middle of a typical corporate business park in the city. You just feel like you’re transported to a peaceful quiet garden on a lovely sunday afternoon. Service, as always, was impeccable. And food, as always, was top notch. I don’t think I’ll ever not love to dine here! No patios in the winter, but cozy interiors to be had I guarantee you (check my older winterlicious reviews if you’re curious)!
Soup’s croissant was super buttery and flaky – bakery perfection! The soup had a good sourness to it with a bit of a kick. Very refreshing and summer appropriate.
The croquette’s tartar sauce was very tasty and went well with the very soft pork meat.
This was cooked to perfectionnnnn. That is all.
The lemon was very subtle, pretty much non-existent in flavour. A very veggie-full dish for sure. Felt light but also very filling as ravioli normally is. The salty crunchy stuff was a great addition to mix up the textures and tastes.
A super refreshing dessert with minty coolness and a citrus heavy sauce.
Although it looks like a pile of soil, this was pretty much your typical dark chocolate mousse underneath. Simple and good.
Restaurant: Auberge du Pommier
Licious: $25 Lunch // $45 Dinner
Reservations: Definitely required.
Recommended Attire: Business / Cocktail
The Chase F&O was a newcomer to licious during the Winterlicious 2016 event, and a rather new restaurant in Toronto as well. It was a bit confusing at first because there’s two parts to this restaurant. The Chase itself is actually located upstairs in the same building. However, winterlicious was only running for The Chase Fish & Oyster – the seafood specialized restaurant that’s on the bottom floor. The two restaurants actually have entirely different menus too. So I think a lot of people were confused about where they were eating when booking for licious, including myself, thinking I was going to The Chase and not knowing this one was a little different! However, the menu looked just as good and there’s a lack of seafood specialty restaurants on the licious list anyway, so was very excited about trying this place out.
The problem with being new to anything, is that sometimes you aren’t prepared for what’s to come. I definitely think they overbooked themselves during this event and didn’t realize the sheer amount of people who show up to licious events. We made and confirmed our reservations for our group long before our licious dining date, but they were clearly running behind that night. There was a lot of people waiting, and we ended up waiting a full 30 minutes (at least) before we could be seated. That’s unfortunately the worst situation you could put in front of a bunch of hungry foodies after they get off work. To make matters worse, their kitchen was likely backed up too, and everyone was busy… so it was a slow night of dining… a lot of waiting… and food coming out slowly. However, being the professional restaurant that they are, we were kindly offered complimentary cold dishes to help ease our wait a bit. And let’s have the full food review:
Love the vibe and decor – perfect for a seafood restaurant while still keeping it classy.
Our drinks were the typical cocktails served at restaurants. A little refresher to start off the long night of waiting xD
Because they knew the food was taking forever, we were offered a complimentary seafood dish of cold items that we would gladly accept! These don’t require much prep and no cooking so they were a good idea to keep diners happy while waiting! Some nice BC and PEI oysters, with some snow crab legs too! What a nice freebie!
I can’t remember if we ordered these due to hunger or if they provided more food for us while we waited. But these seafood nachos had aioli on half, and something else on the other half because we had an egg allergy in the group. Tasty nachos! I think of it as a high class version of nachos because of the ingredients XDDD Very asian inspired version of nachos too with the taro chips which are some of my fave!
Another extra food item which was a seafood version of a classic pub dish. Again taking the cheap dishes loved by all and making it classier and “fishier”! Thoroughly enjoyed their rendition of the slider! Bite size (a couple of bites for me) of crunchy and tasty deep fried oyster in a baby burger!
The soup was quite tasty, but also spicy! It was a bit on the more oily side, but very flavourful and nice and warm.
The salmon tartare was super delicious! Can’t go wrong with cold raw salmon right? The bread was a bit too thick and hard for this dish’s accompaniment though! Would have liked something thinner so it doesn’t take away from the tartare main affair.
The char was a tad bit overcooked, but still a tasty cut of fish with a strong buttery flavour on it. The vegetables accompaniment was light and went well with the fish by adding something a little different.
The brisket was very soft and tender, and I especially enjoyed the crispy stuff! Very happy that this restaurant doesn’t only do seafood, but does their meats well too!
The bananas drenched in toffee caramel is very tasty of course! The ice cream is just regular vanilla scoops of plain normal “peasant” ice cream though. lol.
What can I say? This is a bowl of fruit… rather berries… for the vegans :D
It appears that I’m missing a photo for a Chocolate Cake dessert on the menu, but I have notes that the cake was very dry and dense… more like eating a stale-ish cupcake. But the peanut butter ice cream that went with it was delicious!!! I guess the cake wasn’t good enough to deserve to make it into my photos… haha whoops.
The donut was kinda like a regular Tim Horton’s donut, but with an apple filling! Another incredibly filling dessert item!
Missing attire pic again :( Was too dark and cold after the long table wait.
Attire: Business Casual
Although this restaurant seemed to have a bit of trouble with their first licious event, their food was still very tasty and kept up to the standards. They made up for their issues by providing complimentary dishes to keep everyone happy which is an extra plus for them for incredible service! The seafood is at a high quality and I would definitely come back to enjoy their food again. There’s a good portion of food and the environment is so nice and modern. I would love to try their sister restaurant upstairs which is well known too. They are quite pricey but it doesn’t seem like they’ll be joining the licious scene. In the meantime, The Chase F&O have figured out their overbooking issues in licious events since then, and the novelty seems to have worn off so you can dine more comfortably without such a long wait now! Highly recommend this place for a good seafood pick!
Restaurant: The Chase Fish & Oyster
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Reservations: Seemed like they were overbooked at their first licious run. Definitely put your’s in early as they are popular.
Recommended Attire: Business Casual
Considering the disappointment I had with their service at a previous licious event, this restaurant would normally not be on my list to return to. However, sometimes the family has plans of their own and you just kinda get dragged into it =_=”. At least I figured, it can’t be any worse and I already know what to expect of their food, which was pretty decent even with the poor service. They’ve been around for a while and know what they’re popular for – their lobster bisque and their steaks. Their menu during this licious review period was quite something though. There were over 5 – 6+ different options for each course, when most places usually just provide 3 – 4 to keep things simple. Let’s see how everything went this time around:
Previous review of this place has better restaurant photos :P
Where’s the butter…… I think they gave us those pre-packaged butters, but it was like that last time too.
Their famous soup but I feel like they changed the contents a bit. Hmmm. The pastry puff on top could be a bit more burnt for that browning crust that makes it much crispier and tastier. The soup had lots of pepper, but the seafood flavours were still strong and came through. Wish they had a bit more seafood chunks in there though.
This salad was a typical plate of kale, but the sauce was quite nice and refreshing. It was more on the tart side, so the sauce held the dish together… otherwise just lots of kale!!!
A ciopinno is actually a fish stew that originated in San Francisco as an Italian-American dish. The seafood in here, particularly the fish, was a little too dry for my liking from being boiled for too long. It was a bit too watery to be able to dip the toast in and get anything out of it. The soup base was full of good seafood flavours, although the stew felt over-peppered again like the soups :(
As expected from this steakhouse – their steak was once again perfectly cooked. It was a solid cut of meat, except there was just no sauce to go with it!!! Sometimes it’s nice to have a little bit of sauce accompaniment especially if the steak is not the juicy kinds. The fries were pretty standard frites with a nice crispiness to them.
We got a very good quality cut of duck. Each slice had a bit of the duck skin, then a small layer of fat, then the duck meat. The skin was quite salty, and unfortunately the duck itself was a bit dry. It probably needed a bit more plum sauce or their “l’orange”. The rice was actually a bit hard so it needed to be cooked a tad longer.
The sorbets were pretty regular – more on the sour side.
The cheesecake was a soft and creamy one. The standard kind of cheesecakes you’d pick up at a store.
Unlike the last time I had this, they really did it right this time! The bread pudding was the star of the desserts. Super tasty with perfectly melted chocolate in a proper consistency for bread pudding. Just the right softness with a bit of spongey give. The sauce was a delicious one too!
No outfit pic – too dark and late :P
Attire – Casual
Overall, I didn’t mind dining at this restaurant again this time. The service was definitely MUCH better than last time… felt more like a normal dining experience at the restaurant. A little bummed about the overly peppered food, but their meat dishes continue to be stellar. They’ve kept up their name as a steakhouse that can deliver good steaks. The seafood I’m still not so sure about (many other better dining choices for good seafood dishes elsewhere), but it is catered to a more western way of seafood dining and it’s not really their specialty here. The restaurant itself seems to be pretty consistent of what you can expect with their food, so it is definitely predictable. A great dining choice for having good steak if you don’t feel like splurging a bunch for the quality higher end steakhouses in area.
Thanks for rEATding,
Restaurant: Fred’s Not Here
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Reservations: Call a couple days ahead of time and you should be able to get something.
I know… it appears I’ve gone to this restaurant for every single licious event… but their food is just spectacular, consistently tasty, and different every time. There’s always something on their menu that I want to try and it’s always different than all the other menus out there. What’s more, there’s always somebody that wants to try the good food at this restaurant together as well. So it all works out that I get to go here again! However, with the latest crazy politics that’s been going on south of the border, I think I’ll give them a bit of a rest this year haha! But here’s their 2016 winterlicious lunch review:
There really isn’t anymore new restaurant pics that I can take that I haven’t already taken in my 749583745 other reviews lol. I always love their gorgeous menus.
All these drinks were very tasty. The special cocktails were very candy-like. One was like a sweet candy drink, while the other was more of a sour candy drink!
As always, their cornbread is still my favourite cornbread EVER EVER EVER. Their butter is also so super soft and warm too :)
First of all, I need to give them major props for actually waiting for me to return to my seat before serving my food when I had gone to the bathroom. Instead of making the other guests wait, or leaving my food sitting out, they actually kept my food warm in the back and brought it out for me when I had gotten back to my seat. What impeccable service and that’s why I love coming to this place again and again!
This was a super interesting dish and we all couldn’t wait to see how it would come out! The dish was absolutely delicious and everything went together very well!
The soup was tasty and had some sour veggies, but it didn’t take away from the potato soup itself. It actually literally tastes like a baked potato but in soup form! All the flavours in a deliciously filled baked potato were all there!
The crispy beef was very interesting as well! The meat inside was nice and soft and not dry at all. The crispy parts were just enough to add texture to the meat to create a unique meat appetizer. All the fine details in every little accompaniment was just right and made for a fun experience pairing it altogether! The accompaniments are another thing that America consistently does a lot of and does it well!
The pasta dish was the most normal out of all the dishes in the entree section, but nonetheless it was a very tasty dish with a delicious sauce and well cooked meats. The pasta was a good al dente level. Absolutely nothing to complain about!
The meatloaf dish was also done very well. Again the sauce and accompaniments were all done right and the meat was cooked deliciously! A huge filling meal!
I have to say this is probably one of THE BEST licious dishes on my list. First of all, I don’t like mushrooms, but I do love potatoes. This glorious block was created with thin, smooth, creamy layers of potatoes stacked atop one another. If I had to describe it, this would be the perfect softness and tenderness of a delicious cake except in savoury form! The sauce was also so tasty and perfect. I think I wanted another one of this already after taking one bite. Perfection.
This dish was very interesting and unique indeed, but not my favourite. Only due to personal preference of not being a spicy food person, and also not being a wild rice kinda person either. Also maybe because the ingredients reminded me a lot of the asian cuisine I commonly have, but not made in the same way. Mind you, the tartare was still tasty, and the wild rice cake was crunchy and airy as you’d expect, but a little on the hard side). The combination didn’t come together as perfectly as the others for me though.
Another one of my favourite sections to look forward to at this restaurant as they always come up with new and tasty desserts every time! And their presentations are always top notch, just like all their food presentations too though.
A delicious tart…err…block for the chocolate lovers! What else to say but tasty, tasty, tasty! Full of smooth chocolatey-ness!
When you think of cheese, this is definitely not what you would think of! First time having cheese in this form and type I think! It was super light, almost like having whipped cream but it was cheese! I thoroughly enjoyed it and it wasn’t too stinky for me!
I was expecting this cake to look much crazier for some reason, but it definitely delivered on the taste in terms of the expectations. A solid cake that wasn’t too hard nor too soft, with a yummy pear flavour that came through without being too strong. A very well-made upside-down cake! Wish I had a bigger slice :P
As always, America provides complimentary chocolate at the end of each meal when you pay for the bill. This time they were coffee flavoured chocolates for everyone! A sweet and happy way to end the meal!
This place is so elegant in a trendy way, and the service is so high class that I would feel disrespectful wearing anything too casual.
As always, America restaurant delivered to the high standards that I’ve always held them at for licious events again and again! The licious price tag is definitely worth every bit of the excellent food experience you get here. This restaurant continues to be at the top of my recommendation list, and continues to impress me with its unique and delicious food. There’s always something great to come back to and they haven’t skimped on anything over the years. I hope they will continue to provide this great service and amazing menus at such a high quality. Silly enough, its name and location is a bit of a laugh right now, but hey, good food is good food and if they consistently deliver that, then they deserve the praise as an excellent restaurant in Toronto.
My food does not represent my political opinions,
Restaurant: America Restaurant
Winterlicious: $28 Lunch // $45 Dinner
Reservations: Definitely do so since they are not a super large restaurant. Dinner services are always full. However, I’m not sure if they are still as popular right now due to its location and politics… hehe.
Recommended Attire: Business / Cocktail
Rosewater has been hovering on my licious list to try for a while since it was so close to work, had gorgeous photos of tall booth seating, and seemed to have a pretty good review for their food menu. So we booked a lunch outing to try this place with some foodie work friends! To our surprise, the place was empty when we got there for lunch, and didn’t really fill up completely even though it was in a core business area. For some reason, the place also didn’t seem as grand as I had pictured it to be from their website and online galleries. Not sure if it was a due to the fact that it was a lunch service, but it definitely felt quite casual from the decor placement to the wait staff attire and attitude, as opposed to the very fancy vibe you get from their marketing material. An interesting first impression, but here goes the review:
We sat right behind this interesting rose glass panel.
Snuck a quick shot of those super tall booths I was excited about. But it didn’t seem as grand in person – seemed a bit old and fading compared to the fancy looking photos online! Also… we didn’t get to sit in one since we were a large group… we just got regular chairs at a regular black wooden table in the center :'(
I think I expected something fancier for menus and placement sets too… I think I was just deceived on my expectations the whole time.
Everything came out really hot – which is nice because cold bread is always a bummer. Enjoyed their interesting pointy crunchy crisps things that you don’t normally get at restaurants!
The food also all came out really hot. A little too hot I’d say to be ready to enjoy. Got a warning from a fellow diner at the table to be careful not to burn yourself by being too excited to eat your food! The toast here was a bit hard, but the dish had the right flavours of what you would expect to get. The sauce was an Asian style sweet and sour sauce that kinda reminded me of cheap spring roll dipping sauce. The fanciness is really going out the window at this point.
Also came out a bit too hot for people. The soup was not very dense nor heavy as butternut squash purée normally is expected to be. The flavour wasn’t very strong either so this is preferable for those looking for a lighter butternut squash soup.
A nice solid plate of pasta here, although a little too peppery for the guests that had it. Good al dente texture and a good balanced mixture of sauce.
The pie was quite tasty but a bit too greasy. There was a good amount of filling to be sure to make you full. The salad was pretty normal.
Unfortunately the fish was a bit bland, but the artichoke purée was very tasty! The fish was cooked well too, but just wished there was more seasoning to accompany all of it!
The pie was VERY MUCH banana cream flavoured above anything else. For once I think it overpowered the white chocolate component completely. It felt more like a buffet-style cloned dessert to me so it wasn’t anything special in experience, but just a regular dessert of sorts with heavy banana.
This dessert was my favourite of them all. It was a great bread pudding consistency for me, and had a yummy mix of fruity flavours. Everything was a complement and nothing overpowered in this one. Yum! Except the extra random fruits thrown in on the side… those can go in terms of being useless for plating and for accompaniments. lol
The only thing anyone could really say about this one was the sorbets were just… really really hard. I mean they look a bit iced over even in the photo, so maybe they needed some more time for them to sit so that it’s actually edible and not teeth breaking. Otherwise… it also felt like they threw together a random mix of things to make a “dessert” dish.
Missing wardrobe photo as it was a work lunch
Attire – Casual
Overall consensus with the group was that this place’s food was good enough, but it wasn’t amazingly great at the usual licious level. For the price, it might make more sense to just drop in for a regular meal on any day or night and just order the things that interest you for a cheaper price rather than a full set course. And definitely the place is not as fancy as you perceive it to be. Mind you, the environment is still pretty nice, and I think maybe at night everything looks a bit grander, but it’s also a fine casual dining place as well. The desserts were subpar for me. Would I come back? Probably not for licous and not that interested in returning for the food after this time. But by all means, it’s not a bad restaurant at all! I would just put them more on the average level given my expectations (which may have started a bit higher than expected unfortunately). I think they would need to keep up a bit with the more modern food palate and better presentations that restaurants are focusing on nowadays, in order to stay relevant and fancy.
We Dine On,
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Reservations: A known but not a very popular restaurant for licious, so they still had openings especially during a weekday lunch.
Recommended Attire: Casual / Business Casual