Restaurants across the city will be preparing special menus for Winterlicious PHOTO COURTESY OF WINTERLICIOUS

A Rye guide to Winterlicious

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By Sydney Hamilton

Winterlicious is back in Toronto and over 200 restaurants are participating in this years city-wide event. That’s a lot of options. But we have gone through and picked out a few that are close to campus and suitable for those of us who are living off a student budget.

Bangkok Garden

Located at the corner of Elm and Yonge Streets, this authentic Thai restaurant is only a five-minute walk from campus. Bangkok Garden’s Winterlicious menu is part of the $15 lunch/$25 dinner prix fixe (meaning a multiple course meal with a fixed price). Considering the regular menu prices, this is a good chance to eat Thai food in a fancy restaurant without dipping into that off-limits, only-for-groceries section of your wallet. This restaurant combines Thai cuisine with a luxurious setting. “It’s very traditional and the atmosphere is definitely upscale,” said Britwin Dias, Bangkok Garden’s senior manager. If you’ve never experienced Thai food before, Bangkok Garden is a good place to start because it is one of the first Thai restaurants to open in Toronto.  “We are just steps away from Ryerson and the price point is very appealing to students,” Dias said. Convinced? Definitely give it a Thai.

Peter Pan Bistro

This cute little restaurant is a 20 to 25-minute walk from campus, but the bread they serve before your meal make it well worth the trek though these frigid temperatures. Peter Pan is a small restaurant on Queen St. W. It’s is a good place to hit up this week because it was one of the first restaurants to participate in Winterlicious when it began back in 2003. “We have a very long relationship with Winterlicious,” said Mary Jackman, owner of Peter Pan Bistro. The restaurant is part of the $15 lunch/$25 dinner prix fixe, which is much more affordable for students. The menu also offers many vegetarian options, which is refreshing for those who aren’t carnivores.

The Blake House

The Blake House is a pub located in an old building on Jarvis St. with dim lighting and a whole lot of history. It was built in 1891 and still has some of its antique features — like a real wood-burning fireplace. But it’s not all old-fashioned. The pub combines historic architecture with modern furniture. “It’s got that contemporary edge,” said Jimmy Vasilakakos, owner. “It’s not stuck in its time.” The menu is mainly composed of gourmet pub food, so kind of like the food you can get at other pubs, but classier. The Blake House is about a 10 to 15-minute walk from campus and its Winterlicious menu is under the $15 lunch/$25 dinner prix fixe. This price gives students the opportunity to eat pub food in a very sophisticated grown-up setting. Nothing against cafeteria food, but it’s definitely a nice change.

The Hot House

This restaurant at the intersection of Church and Front Streets is hot. Right by the St. Lawrence Market, The Hot House is taking part in the $15 lunch/$25 dinner prix fixe and only a 15-minute walk from campus. The menu showcases mostly Italian food, but has a very broad range of choices to tickle the fancy of pretty much anyone. For Winterlicious, they’re offering more options. While most restaurants give a choice of three entrées, The Hot House is offering five. The restaurant has been getting jazzed up (quite literally) for the occasion. Not only has it been renovated over the past couple years, but it is also known to have jazz musicians on site. The Hot House is all about its casual atmosphere. “It’s more than just good food, it’s the ambiance,” said Andrew Laffey, owner. So there’s no need to get dressed up (but don’t let anyone stop you from wearing a suit and tie if you want to).

Winterlicious runs from Jan. 31 – Feb. 13.

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