Was Winterlicious Worth It?

Winterlicious is supposed to be a great way to try great restaurants for great prices in Toronto, and this year, over 200 restaurants participated. But do you really save money? Or are you better off eating from the regular menu? I go out to find out.

The way it is supposed to work is that the restaurant puts out a fixed price menu for the duration of the event. To find out, I went out to the Momofuku Noodle Bar (a participating restaurant) to find out.

Now first I should mention I won’t be commenting much on the quality of the food, although I enjoyed it, I admit I’m not a good judge of taste. What I will say is that $25 for a three course dinner at a well known restaurant seemed like a good idea (some restaurants have higher price tiers). But then I saw the regular menu.

Compare the Winterlicious Prix Fixe Menu (Left) with the Regular Menu (Right)

Compare the Winterlicious Prix Fixe Menu (Left) with the Regular Menu (Right)

If you compare what I ordered (Pork Bun + Jaja Noodles + Chocolate Pudding) on each menu, the difference is basically the price of the dessert. So what does that say about the value? Well it was definitely cheaper to buy those three things as part of Winterlicious, but there are definitely cheaper ways to get dinner there. What if I had not ordered dessert, or shared my appetizer?  In a sense, it’s an upsell combo, just like getting fries and a drink in a combo for basically the price of the fries.

So if it’s not the cheapest way to get dinner out, what is the benefit of Winterlicious? What I like about it is that it makes the cost of eating out predictable. You can figure out the tax+tip cost of your meal beforehand and add it to your budget accordingly.

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