You have to be odd
to be number one.
Dr. Seuss

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summerlicious TO at Sassafraz

I have lived in Canada for 5 years now, and this is the first year I have been to or even heard of Summerlicious. HOW? I don't know. But it's a fantastic deal, one I just couldn't refuse. If you don't know what Summerlicious is, it's a fixed price dining experience wherein restaurants all over Toronto from all different price points compose three-course meal menus for lunch or dinner and offer them at reasonable prices ranging from $15-25 for lunch and $25-45 for dinner. It's a great opportunity to try a restaurant that would otherwise be over budget so although Summerlicious 2013 has passed, I highly recommend signing yourself up for Winterlicious, which is in a few months' time, or Summerlicious when it comes around again next year.

One of my best friends and I knew we wanted to go for lunch at the highest price point, and eventually decided on Sassafraz, a very popular, highly rated option in the heart of Yorkville. The ambiance in this place is spectacular - the exterior holds a lot of character as the restaurant is set in Victorian-style rowhouses, but the interior is very fresh, modern, and classy with crisp brightness and whiteness. We were sat right under a sunroof so there was definitely a lot of light coming in, but almost too much I would say because it got to the point where my friend and I had to don our sunglasses so as not to be blinded. If you decide to visit Sassafraz on a sunny, clear-skied day I would recommend requesting a seat away from the sun. Aside from that, service was amazing and so was the food. Their regular menu is on the pricier side, so overall I, personally, would only go to Sassafraz for a special occasion or fancy girls night out. If you want to know my thoughts on the specific dishes we tried out, keep reading on!

*First dish - friend's; Second dish - mine

Our server gave us a small basket of warm bread and butter to start, which was really lovely. There's not much to say about bread but I do love when a restaurant serves it fresh and warm!

Blood orange iced tea
- This was not my cup of tea (hehehe) at all but my friend did enjoy it so we ended up trading drinks. The blood orange flavouring (or syrup?) was just way too strong and tangy for my taste.
Regular unsweetened iced black tea
- Your bog standard iced tea. You can't beat a classic! My friend got it unsweetened but you could also ask for them to sweeten it for you if you would like.

Tomatillo gazpacho
crème fraiche / chipotle saffron oil / basil cress (vegetarian)

- I had never tried gazpacho before so this was a new flavour sensation for me. It was a nice, smooth soupy consistency with a strong kick of zing! For that reason it wasn't my favourite dish, it was a little too 'zingy' for me, but my friend did like it a lot.

Watercress and rocket
cumin cashews / grapefruit / toasted coconut / rhubarb citrus vinaigrette (vegetarian)

- I opted for this watercress salad which I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved that it had a variety of flavours in one - some sweet from the grapefruit and coconut, some earthy nuttiness from the cashews, and just the right amount of citrus from the vinaigrette.

Harrison Co-op artisan chicken breast
white quinoa pilaf / summer squash ratatouille / natural reduction (local)

- I wish I had a photo of this dish but unfortunately my friend forgot to snap one. This dish was phenomenal. I don't think I have ever taste chicken that was cooked so perfectly! It was tender, juicy, and ultra-flavourful especially with the accompanying quinoa and ratatouille. I only had a bite as it was my friend's entree, but after having a taste I half-wished I ordered it myself! Loved it!

Ontario asparagus and green pea risotto
marscarpone / Parmigiano Reggiano / tomato emulsion (vegetarian/local)

- I said half-wished because I did really enjoy my entree as well. I love risotto and so was naturally drawn to it on the menu, but was a bit wary because I've never had asparagus or pea risotto. In the end I decided to go for it and I'm really happy I did because this dish was delicious! It was cooked perfectly, as anyone would expect from a topnotch restaurant, but I was seriously impressed because they made such meh ingredients (to me at least!) taste so amazing and flavourful! It was not at all bland or plain! 

Gotham City Cheese - exclusive to Sassafraz
- We decided to forgo the third option, a chocolate cake, and choose the two most unique desserts. One of them was a small platter of Gotham City Cheese drizzled with a sweet syrup and topped with a few dried fruits (tasted like dates or raisins, maybe?). It was good to have a few bites or pieces, but too dry to have the entire dessert on your own. There were a lot of strong flavours on that plate and nothing to tone it down a notch. Still enjoyed it, nonetheless.

Mango and mint bavarois
oat crumble / spiced raspberry coulis

- I definitely preferred this dessert which was nice and cold and refreshing after the first two courses of our meal. I would describe it as a mix between ice cream and frozen yogurt. There was variation in texture, and lots of fruitiness which I love! I was a bit scared I wouldn't like the mint (I typically do not like mint in desserts) but it wasn't at all overpowering so it was all right.

I seriously enjoyed lunch at Sassafraz and would recommend their delicious French-Canadian dishes to anyone!

In case you're wondering, this was my outfit that day. It's a flowy sheer chiffon dress in this gorgeous cornflower blue from H&M's Garden Collection a couple of years ago. I paired the dress with my favourite strappy sandals to make the overall look a little less fancy. Sassafraz has a smart casual dress code, but they're not all too strict with it. I saw some people dressed quite casually. But you all know I take every opportunity to dress up!

I leave you with this very typical Asians-taking-pictures-of-food photo!


  1. aahhh everything looks so noms... Was not in TO this summer for summerlicious. I look even more like an asian when I bring my DSLR to take food photos :P

    1. It was the nommiest. :9 Awww don't worry, it'll come around again! Hahaha yeah I decided to keep it cool and subtle with my iPhone. :P

  2. the blood orange iced tea looks delicious and gotham city cheese is the coolest name for a dessert!
    isabela from

    1. You should really try it out if you're in Toronto! It's a great place!

  3. The food looks so yummy! and you look lovely in that dress xo



 photo s_03.jpg  photo s_04.jpg  photo s_06.jpg  photo s_08.jpg  photo s_09.jpg