Let’s be honest for a second; January and February are dreary. It’s cold, it’s dark, we’re all living in constant fear of being snowed in – it just makes the days a little heavier. But you know what makes the mid-winter blues less, well, blue? Some good old comfort food. That’s why, here in Toronto, we’ve got Winterlicious!

For those who don’t know; Winterlicious is Toronto’s annual winter food festival. This year’s eatery extravaganza takes place between January 31st and February 13th, and includes 204 Toronto restaurants (can you say WOW?), complete with a prix-fixe promotion.

Reservations are now open, which means it’s almost time to eat. Now, its’ probably impossible for you to dine at all 200 eateries (and if you can… we want to know your secret), so you’ll have to narrow down your options a bit. We don’t have favourites, but we do have recommendations! If you’re looking for good grub, delicious drinks, and unique ambiance, these restaurants in Old Town won’t let you down.

Batch House

Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find at Batch House. It’s classy, but comfortable. The food has all the simple goodness of a home-cooked meal paired with downtown decadence. Plus (and this might be the piece de resistance), they feature several signature beers brewed lovingly in European brewing tradition, a craft which they honed in charming Creemore, Ontario. In short, Batch House has you covered for every occasion, and we strongly encourage you to add them to your Winterlicious list.

Biagio Ristorante

Located in the historic St. Lawrence Town Hall, right across the street from St. James park, Biagio Ristorante is serving up all your Italian favourites. Risotto, osso buco, Mediterranean style grilled seafood – you name it, they’ve got it. Not only that, they do it deliciously. Pair your Italian favourite with a selection from their extensive wine list (vino lovers, you’ll be in heaven). Bonus tip; this is a great place for a romantic Valentine’s Day date. Just saying.

The Chefs’ House

The culinary students at The Chefs House always aim to impress

This is a dining experience three-in-one. Proudly hosting Toronto’s finest student-run restaurants and event spaces, you’ve got options when visiting The Chefs’ House. There’s the Restaurant, which boasts a seasonal menu created under the budding expertise of George Brown’s culinary arts students, complete with international wines, craft beers, and house-made cocktails. There’s the café, if you’re looking to grab a pastry and a gourmet tea en route to your next Winterlicious destination. And, finally, there’s Chef on the Run, where you can pick up any of the fabrications from that week’s culinary classes, ranging from pastries to handmade pasta to Middle-Eastern lamb kebabs. The Chefs’ House is your pick for a varied dining experience that supports the food experts of tomorrow!

Hawthorne Food and Drink

You’ll settle in immediately at Hawthorne Food and Drink. Between the airy, open space and tons of natural light, it’s the kind of place that just makes you take a deep, relaxing, yoga-breath. What’s even cooler is they’re doing their part to give back to the industry by providing free training opportunities for those facing barriers in entering kitchen and restaurant positions. Building on that, they are also members of the Hospitality Workers Training Centre! Dine on local, food-to-fork dishes knowing you’re supporting people who are working on behalf of the community.

East Thirty-Six

Beautiful cocktails and gourmet burgers are sure to satisfy

We’re going to come right out and say it; after a night out, East Thirty-Six is the perfect place to finish off your evening. A cocktail bar located near the St. Lawrence Market, foodies will delight in the elevated bar food while drink enthusiasts sip at creative in-house cocktails that are almost too pretty to drink. Not only that, there’s a private dining option available for your next event (just throwing that out there). With the lively but intimate atmosphere, East Thirty-Six allows you to relax and unwind or keep the party going as you please!

Nami Restaurant

This one is a must for lovers of Japanese food. And even if Japanese cuisine isn’t really your thing, we bet Nami can change your mind. They combine all the best elements of classic and modern in both their aesthetic and their dishes. Considered one of Toronto’s finest Japanese restaurants for over 30 years, their menu features expertly crafted staples like sukiyaki alongside modern twists like the sushi pizza. Get a booth, or a private room, or sit right up in front of the Sushi Bar and watch the masters at work.

Still peckish for more options?

Here’s the full list of Old Town Toronto restaurants participating in Winterlicious:
Batch – 75 Victoria Street
Biagio Ristorante – 155 King St. E.
Biff’s Bistro – 4 Front St. E.
Bindia Indian Bistro – 16 Market Street
Bodega Henriette King – 234 King St. E.
Café Nicole – Novotel – Toronto Centre 45 The Esplanade
East Thirty-Six – 36 Wellington St. E.
Hawthorne Food and Drink – 60 Richmond St. E.
HotHouse – 35 Church Street
Kramer’s at the Cosmo – Cosmopolitan Hotel – 8 Colborne St.
VIV – Cosmopolitan Hotel – 8 Colborne St.
Le Papillon on Front – 69 Front St. E.
Nami Japanese Restaurant – 55 Adelaide St. E.
The Chefs’ House – 215 King St. E.
The Sultan’s Tent & Café Moroc – 49 Front St. E.

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