One-hundred-and-eighty-one restaurant kitchens across the city are in full onslaught mode with Summerlicious now in day six—but of course, not everyone is on board with the annual foodie festival. Criticisms lobbed at the popular city-wide fête include hurried guests and hastily thrown together food as restaurants work overtime to deal with the influx of low-tipping and no-showing diners. This year, as in past years, a handful of restaurants have taken matters into their own hands, crafting rogue prix fixe menus outside the parameters of the official program. “We want our customers to avoid any unnecessary fees for small portions,” Sarah Eddy of School restaurant explained. “For us, we offer a full value with large portions for our Schoolicious menu. We want our new and everyday customers to experience our full dining experience and know that when they come back a second or third time that it’s still the same great experience.” Graham Culp, owner of Simple Bistro expressed a similar logic: “We want to offer our clientele a break while still maintaining our integrity.” See the lineup of this year’s rebels below:
- Simple Bistro is offering a $35 “Summer Break” menu from July 1 until the end of August. Available for dinner only, guests can select a three-course meal from anything on the regular menu: that’s seven to eight appetizers and main courses and five desserts to pick from.
- Between July 10 and August 30, School will be holding its very own Schoolicious, running Tuesday to Thursday during dinner hours (5 p.m.–10 p.m.). For $35, pick a regular-sized starter, entrée and dessert off their prix fixe menu.
- For the duration of Summerlicious, Alsatian restaurant Elle M’a Dit is offering a three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menu, at $17 and $24 respectively. Choose between three appetizers and entrées, and two desserts.
- Splendido will offer a “light and lively” five-course summer vegetarian tasting menu, kicking off this week and running through to the end of August or so. At $75, this isn’t the low price one would expect from a traditional Summerlicious prix-fixe—but it is a significant break from the cost of Splendido’s regular fare.
- Cuban-inspired bistro Delux is running a three-course, $35 prix-fixe dinner menu from July 6 to the end of the month. The menu is set to change every few days, but last we checked, it includes a fried oyster appetizer served with yucca chips, avocado, lime aïoli and grilled pineapple–red onion salsa; a pan-seared Pickerel, charred corn and chorizo chowder main; and watermelon sorbet for desert.
- Trevor Kitchen and Bar is actually a participant in Summerlicious, but hear us out: the $35 dinner menu (featuring potato-crusted crab cakes, buttermilk fried chicken and surf ’n’ turf, among other options) is available for home delivery from Orderit.ca. A Summerlicious-priced meal, without the Summerlicious crowd? Sounds delightful.
- Until the end of July, Florentia, a Mount Pleasant trattoria, is offering a three-course Tuscan prix fixe for $32.
Know of any other special prix-fixe offers competing with Summerlicious? Let us know in the comments.