East-end eateries thrive during Winterlicious

As much as foodies look forward to Toronto’s two weeks of fine and affordable dining each year, some local restaurateurs are equally happy to keep up the annual Winterlicious tradition.

Vito Marinuzzi, co-owner of 7 Numbers Danforth, can’t keep the excitement out of his voice as he talks about his plans for this year’s festival of prix fixe lunches and dinners.

“We’ve always had great success with Winterlicious,” he says. “It plays into the family-style menu we offer.”

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For the two weeks from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13, the Greektown restaurant expects to draw 500 to 700 diners for its Italian fare.

“That’s about 30 percent more than normal for two weeks — and in a usually slow period,” Marinuzzi says.

Most importantly, new customers are introduced to 7 Numbers, which has been on Danforth Avenue for 17 years, he adds. “We usually gain some diners we haven’t seen in the past.”

More than 200 restaurants are hosting Winterlicious across Toronto. About 20 of them are in the east end area covering the communities of Riverdale, East York, Leslieville and Beaches.

Reservations can be made now online or by phone. (See the numbers for the local places below.)

Eateries are presenting three-course prix fixe lunch menus in their choice of $23, $28 or $33 categories, and dinner menus priced at $33, $43 or $53.

The fixed-price menus in the east end feature a wide diversity of international cuisine, including Italian, Mexican, Cuban, Brazilian, Greek Mediterranean, Spanish, French, American — and even Canadian. Local styles include traditional, vegetarian, tapas, fusion, gastrohouse, and more.

Marinuzzi says 7 Numbers, which is open only for dinner, will be offering its usual Winterlicious menu but with some revisions to accommodate changing tastes. He’s adding some vegan and vegetarian choices, as well as an octopus salad appetizer, and pasta fagioli (a pasta and beans dish), along with the restaurant’s usual specialities.

Here’s the list of Winterlicious restaurants in this area:

Danforth Avenue

7 Numbers Danforth, 307 Danforth Ave., 416-469-5183
$33 dinner, Italian and Vegan/Vegetarian

Il Fornello Danforth, 576 Danforth Ave., 416-466-2931
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Italian and Vegan

Mambo Lounge, 120 Danforth Ave., 416-778-7004
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Cuban

Morgans on the Danforth, 1282 Danforth Ave., 416-461-3020
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Bistro, Gastrohouse and International

Rodeo Brazilian Steakhouse, 95 Danforth Ave., 416-465-0969
$43 dinner, Brazilian

Sarah’s Cafe and Bar, 1426 Danforth Ave., 416-406-3121
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Bistro, Canadian and International

Soula’s Modern Greek Cuisine, 500A Danforth Ave., 416-778-0500
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Greek, Mediterranean and Seafood

Tapas at Embrujo, 97 Danforth Ave., 647-705-7880
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Spanish and Tapas

Queen Street East

Barrio Cerveceria, 884 Queen St. E., 647-352-0884
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Mexican and Tapas

Core Restaurant, 896 Queen St. E., 416-519-8101
$43 dinner, Canadian, Contemporary and French

Il Ponte, 625 Queen St. E., 416-778-0404
$28 lunch, $43 dinner, Italian

La Sala, 1975A Queen St. E., 416-694-0004
$33 dinner, Italian

Prohibition Gastrohouse, 696 Queen St. E., 416-406-2669
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Contemporary, Fusion and Gastrohouse

Veloute Bistro and Catering, 2343 Queen St. E., 416-696-7392
$53 dinner, French and Italian

Other East End

The Beech Tree, 924 Kingston Rd., 416-699-4444
$33 dinner, Bistro, Contemporary and Fusion

The Civic, The Broadview Hotel, 106 Broadview Ave., 416-362-8439
$33 lunch, $53 dinner, Canadian, Contemporary, International

Jawny Bakers Restaurant, 804 O’Connor Dr, 416-285-1165
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, American and International

Maple Leaf Tavern, 955 Gerrard St. E., 416-465-0955
$43 dinner, American, Canadian and Steakhouse

Via Mercanti Gerrard, 1501 Gerrard St. E., 647-352-2206
$23 lunch, $33 dinner, Italian

For information about Winterlicious in the midtown area (Leaside, North Toronto and Forest Hill), see the article and restaurant listings here.