$250 Gift Card Nota Bene Restaurant Giveaway (Closed)

Did you know that Aeroplan members could make advance reservations at Summerlicious participating restaurants a day before the general public? I didn’t! This perk is a brand-new benefit for Aeroplan members that’s handy for scoring prime-time reservations at a top restaurants such as Nota Bene during Summerlicious, Toronto’s summer restaurant promotion. To celebrate, one of our lucky readers will get to enjoy dinner at Nota Bene thanks to a giveaway for a $250 CAD Gift Card from Aeroplan. Not yet a member of the Aeroplan Loyalty Program? It’s easy and free to enroll here. Then read below on how to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the $250 Gift Card to Nota Bene Restaurant Toronto.

Aeroplan members enjoy opportunity to make restaurant reservations for Summerlicious before the general public Credit Aeroplan

Aeroplan members enjoy the opportunity to make restaurant reservations for Summerlicious before the general public Credit: Aeroplan

Aeroplan is the Premier Sponsor of  Summerlicious taking place from July 7–23, 2017.  If you’re not familiar with this popular food festival, it’s a two-week event promoted by the City of Toronto featuring more than 200 of Toronto’s top restaurants offering three-course prix fixe menus at one of three price categories: Lunch: $18 | $23 | $28 or Dinner: $28 | $38 | $48

When Aeroplan generously invited me to check out the advance reservation system with dinner at Nota Bene restaurant, it took me exactly two seconds to clear space on my summer calendar. Nota Bene is helmed by Executive Chef David Lee, who built a stellar reputation at hot spots such as Centro, Splendido and Carbon Bar. Nota Bene opened in 2008  and quickly vaulted to several “Canada’s Best New Restaurant” lists. The interior has since been remodelled and the menu has evolved, but it continues to be beloved by food fans due to its exceptionally-prepared contemporary cuisine and fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

Nota Bene Restaurant Toronto

Sleek and contemporary, Nota Bene is located in the heart of Toronto on Queen St. W at University

With our Aeroplan reservation in place at Nota Bene, we breezed past the Saturday night crowds on busy Queen St. West and were whisked to our reserved table for two. It was hard not to gawk at the glam decor. The sleek yet welcoming design channels a zen vibe through a creative mix of  textures, colours and light harmoniously imagined by  +tongtong  studio (known for projects such as the W Hotel Hoboken, The Drake and Cafe Belong). Our plush seats offered views of the modern open kitchen, the glossy indigo-hued ceiling with reflections evoking the night skyline and an airy collection of tumbleweeds, affixed on the ceiling for a splash of fun.

Create your own Gin and Tonic at Nota Bene restaurant in Toronto

Create your own Gin and Tonic by choosing your gin, your tonic and garnishes at Nota Bene restaurant in Toronto

We began our meal with Nota Bene’s Build-Your-Own Gin & Tonic menu. Guided by our knowledgeable server, our choice of gin was Whitley Neill, featuring nine botanicals including Baobob fruit and cape gooseberry from Africa. The gin was paired with a Mediterranean tonic and served with a DIY garnish of grapefruit, cucumber and hibiscus. Despite our enthusiasm for dropping hibiscus flowers into the cocktail to watch it morph into a pretty shade of pink, we didn’t manage to destroy our creation and our G & T  turned out to be a deliciously refreshing and ideal for a summer evening. Definitely put Whitley Neill gin on your must-try list!

Unable to resist the lure of the Tunisian Octopus on Nota Bene’s regular menu, my dining companion opted for selections from the main menu while I explored the Summerlicious offerings. I only veered off-menu briefly when I learned of the special appetizer option, a dish of Ontario white asparagus, itself such a rarity at the end of asparagus season in Ontario that I had to have it. I wasn’t disappointed with my choice, it was beautifully prepared and tasted as fresh as a spring breeze.

white ontario asparagus at Nota Bene

Beautiful white Ontario asparagus makes a brief but special appearance each spring

Our memorable Nota Bene dining experience continued with a side order of the shoshito peppers, slim hot peppers blistered in oil and sprinkled with sea salt, a snack that reminded of Pimientos de Padron, one of my all-time favourite dishes from Galicia, northern Spain. Not only do the shoshito peppers at Note Bene offer the same sizzling bite of flavour with unexpectedly hits of heat every 10th pepper or so, but they are just as addictive as their northern counterparts.

Tunisian Octopus served with miso-gochujang sauce Nota Bene

Probably the best octopus I’ve ever eaten was this Tunisian Octopus served with miso-gochujang sauce at Nota Bene

My choice for a main from the Summerlicious menu was Ragu Bolognese — prepared with rapini, olives and pancetta over a tender Pappardelle pasta — a dish that instantly transported me back to Tuscany, Italy. I was also impressed by the forkfuls of the Tunisian Octopus I was able to spear from my companion’s plate. It was incredibly tender and delicate tasting.

Memorable cuisine at nota bene

Our dessert choices were Ontario Strawberry Trifle featuring fresh-picked sweet local strawberries and a cheese plate including Bleu d’Élizabeth, a mellow, earthy blue cheese from Quebec. It was an evening of exceptional cuisine with dishes presented in a contemporary way, without the distraction of molecular embellishment, an approach that really allowed the ingredients to shine. Nota Bene’s Summerlicious menu is a taste of summer with a dash of global flair. It’s also fantastic value at $48 (plus gratuity)

Craving a chance to sample Nota Bene’s cuisine for yourself? Aeroplan has generously offered to give one lucky A Taste for Travel reader a $250 CAD gift card to dine at Nota Bene Toronto. You can get an opportunity to win this giveaway by entering below. Just leave a comment letting us know which dish on the Summerlicious menu you would like to try and then complete the Rafflecopter entry form to record your entry.You can earn extra entries by sharing through social media. Rafflecopter will choose the lucky winner by random draw.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to read the fine print on the Rafflecopter entry to see the rules of eligibility. You can also return to this website daily and enter until the giveaway closes at 12 am EST on July 17th. The name of the winner of the Gift Card will announced on this website on July 17th. Aeroplan will contact the winner directly to arrange delivery of the gift card.

Thank you Aeroplan!

The Complete  $48 Summerlicious Dinner Menu at Nota Bene Restaurant in Toronto for 2017

Nova Scotia Lobster Tom Yum Soup
coconut milk, Thai chilies, lemongrass
Bigeye Tuna Tartare
soba noodles, wakame, watermelon, shiso
Ontario Tomato & Goat Gouda Salad
shoshito peppers, sunflower seed vinaigrette
Crisp Duck Salad
green papaya, cucumber, fish sauce, chilies, Asian herbs

Charcoal Grilled Flat Iron Steak
chimichurri rojo, sweet corn succotash, rosemary-thyme ash
Arctic Char Filet
wilted greens, coconut broth, coriander, pineapple & jicama salsa
Perciatelli Pasta
farmer’s market tomato sauce, burrata pugliese, basil
Ragu Bolognese, Pappardelle Pasta
rapini, olives, pancetta

Ontario Strawberry Trifle
Victoria sponge, Hewitts’ cream
pineapple compote, coconut tapioca pearls
Artisanal Canadian Cheese
buttermilk crostini, fruit compote

Travel Planner

Aeroplan: I usually use my Aeroplan reward points to book travel to sun destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean which means I often forget about the other important benefits of being a member of the Aeroplan Loyalty Program. For example, there’s the Aeroplan Member Donation Program which allows members to donate reward miles to Canadian-based charities. Aeroplan members can also redeem  Reward Miles to shop for Activities and Merchandise from luggage to sporting events. Plus, there are many more benefits waiting to be explored. Join the Aeroplan program at www.aeroplan.com

Visit Toronto and Ontario Travel Tourism: Pick up free maps, tourist booklets packed with information and get advice at the Tourism Toronto and Ontario Travel visitor information centres.

City of  Toronto Summerlicious: Reservations are a must for this popular summer food celebration. Browse restaurants and get contact details on the Full List of participating Summerlicious Restaurants in 2017. 

Nota Bene: One of Toronto’s top restaurants, Nota Bene is located at 180 Queen St. West at University Avenue,. The nearest TTC subway station is Osgoode. Be sure to make a reservation if you’re hoping to dine during Summerlicious. Dress is smart casual to elegant. Nota Bene is also planning a Tasting Menu for $79 during summer 2017 so check the Nota Bene website for details.

For more suggestions on what to do in and around Toronto, check out these posts:

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Toronto

Plunge into Winter at Le Scandinave Spa, Blue Mountain

A Food-Lover’s Guide to Muskoka


Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 51 comments
  • Pat Capo

    Wow, I’m an Aeroplan member but didn’t know of all these benefits. I haven’t (yet) attended Summerlicious but this looks like a good year to start. Nota Bene’s menu sounds delicious, especially that Nova Scotia Tom Yum soup.

  • Joanne

    I’d love to try that ragu at Summerlicious!

  • Eat All The Things

    The Ragu bolognese looks amazing!

    • Michele Peterson

      An excellent choice!

  • Ali

    Perciatelli Pasta!

    • Michele Peterson

      It does sound delicious – good luck!

  • aninetyfour

    I’d love to try the Tunisian Octopus at Nota Bene summerlicious!

    • Michele Peterson

      It was incredible – a fabulous choice!

  • Sarah Q

    I’d try the octopus for sure!

  • Vanessa L.

    I would love to try the Crisp Duck Salad. Sounds like a great appetizer!

  • Shay A

    Dying to try the octopus!!

  • Sherel Purcell

    I’d love to try the Arctic char

  • Kristy

    The Ontario Strawberry Trifle sounds amazing!

    • Michele Peterson

      There’s nothing better than fresh Ontario strawberries!

  • Marlene Cashin

    Despite all the fabulous-sounding dishes, I’d have to say the Tunisian Octopus.

    • Michele Peterson

      Yes, it was impossible to resist!

  • Yong C.

    I’d love to try the Tunisian Octopus.

  • Yanhua T.

    I would love to try the Crisp Duck Salad.

  • Lori Henry

    The Nova Scotia Lobster Tom Yum Soup!

  • Donna Janke

    The menu sounds wonderful

  • Kaila I

    I would love love love to try the Perciatelli Pasta! MMMM

  • em

    i would try the Big Eye Tuna Tartare, Cavatelli Pugliesi and Ontario Strawberry Trifle

  • Reena B

    I would love to try Arctic Char Filet
    wilted greens, coconut broth, coriander, pineapple & jicama salsa!

  • Stephen Chin

    100% I would try the Tunisian Octopus. It’s such a difficult meat too cook and I would love to see how it differs from the typical asian styles.

  • Cheryl K

    Omg! Everything looks amazing! I’d love to try the lobster Tom yum soup followed by the filet or Arctic char and for dessert I would go with the sorbet since I’m lactose intolerant. Please pretty please choose me. This menu looks incredible. I also love octopus and white asparagus.

    I’d be so happy if I won and so would the new guy that I’m dating. He’s a foodie at heart Please send us

    • Michele Peterson

      Thanks for entering Cheryl! Remember to return to tweet a message daily to earn extra entries for you and your date!

  • Stephanie M

    The octopus sounds great!

  • Lina

    I’d love to try the Ontario Strawberry Trifle!

  • Sarah Smart

    Perciatelli Pasta for the win! Sounds delish!

  • Davindra Ramnarine

    That Arctic Char Filet has my name written all over it!

  • Erika

    I would try Perciatelli Pasta!

  • Sid Friedman

    Ragu Bolognese, Pappardelle Pasta has my name all over it!!!

  • Tanne

    dessert ~ Ontario Strawberry Trifle, yum!

  • Sophia

    The Bigeye tuna tartare paired with soba noodles, wakame, watermelon and shiso sounds absolutely divine!

  • Mike D

    I would love to try the crisp duck salad

  • Andrew

    I’d love to try that big eye tuna tartare. Love a good tartare and also a big fan of soba noodles

  • Jen

    I’ve heard amazing things about the crisp duck salad. I would try that.

  • Evekyn Hannon

    Time spent in Italy during the summer would be Summerlicious. Next best thing would be Ragu Bolognese. Where? At Nota Bene, of course:)

  • Christina D

    The Tunisian Octopus would be really cool to try.

  • nicoleroannef

    I would love to try the Ontario Strawberry Trifle.

  • Tracey

    What a delicious menu! I would love to try their Perciatelli Pasta with farmer’s market tomato sauce, bur rata pugliese and basil.

  • Jody

    I too would like to try the Ragu Bolognese! Great review – thanks.

  • Vanessa Pike

    Bring in some Atlantic cod or moose dishes!

  • Lushka Smith

    The Artic Char

  • Jackie M

    I would want to try the Arctic Char Filet!

  • Paul A

    I’m down to try Cumbrae Farms Beef Brisket Burger on their regular menu!

    • Paul A

      Summerlicious I would try Charcoal Grilled Flat Iron Steak!

  • Eliz T

    I’m a sucker for dessert! I’d be getting the Ontario Strawberry Trifle for sure!

  • CL Chin

    I want to try the Arctic char and the sorbet!

  • Lisa penney

    The Ontario tomato and goat gouda salade sounds divine!

  • M

    I’d like to try the Ragu bolognese!

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