A painting of me

Centro vs. Centro

   13 February 2008, early morning

Sometimes I wonder who actually benefits from Winterlicious and Summerlicious. I’ve been to several restaurants during the events and am usually pretty disappointed with either the meal or service. ByMark is probably a superlative restaurant, but I can’t imagine going back after the lackluster time I had during Winterlicious. Similarly I have mixed feelings about Monsoon. I can’t even recall the name of the fusion place on Wellington my friends and I went to, it was that lame. There are a few places I’ve been that actually did a wonderful job during these events: Canoe, Jump, and Tundra come to mind. Those are places I’d go to again.

I went to Centro again on Monday for Winterlicious. Shima’s friend got reservations. You may recall that the first time I was there, I thought the place was amazing. This time — during Winterlicious — it was OK: the service was alright, but you could tell the waiter was frazzled; food didn’t come out all in one go; steaks were over cooked; etc. I can’t imagine anyone else at the table would go back if there only experience of the restaurant was that night. I still think that first time I went to Centro was one of the better dining experiences I’ve had in the city. The difference between my evening on Monday and my evening a year or two ago is so stark.

What’s the point of Winterlicious? Who wins? Patrons are offered up sub-par food in over crowded restaurants by on edge waiters and waitresses, while being told they are participating in a fine dining experience. Restaurants are going to get two sets of patrons: for people like myself who are inclined to eat out at places they probably shouldn’t, this event rarely ever sells a place; people who are out because it’s a deal also won’t come back again. As a restaurant I suspect it is very rare this event earns any new business. (Presumably they make money on volume or something like that.)



  1. I’ve had mixed results too.

    Though, the last place I went was Nectar (on wellington) and the food & service was top notch but the fact that they gave us a 6pm reservation and the place was still empty when we left is kinda ghetto. Oddly enough, seems the place closed.

  2. That’s the lame place on Wellington I couldn’t remember. Hah. It was very so-so the day we went.

  3. I know it’s silly to judge places based on my Winterlicious experience, but when I think about restaurants I’d like to go to again, i’m probably going to give preference to ones I know are good rather than ones that might be good if I just gave them another chance.

  4. I am a ‘licious hater. I had a mediocre experience at Trevor. Food was so average. Met up with some friends at The Rosebud for a birthday celebration and the first thing out of the waitress’s mouth was that we had one hour. She wondered why we didn’t even bother ordering drinks. Who wants to guzzle a couple of bottles of wine.

    I have found that there is a small cluster of decent restos that are opting out of the ‘licious events such as the Niagara Street cafe, Cowbell & Amuse Bouche.

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