Susur / The Fifth
Though the Toronto Life food critic James Chatto seems to have something of an infatuation with the Fifth, everyone I know who has eaten there was left underwhelmed (though I have never eaten there myself). The consensus seems to be good (but certainly not exceptional) food, neat ambiance, but not worth the price nor the hassle (credit cards at reservation, fickle dress code...).
Having been to Susur myself more than once, and having also heard accounts of it by others, it seems like the better choice of the two. Some reviewers here and elsewhere have pointed to inconsistency of food (a mediocre course thrown in with 6 other top-notch ones, for instance), but my experience has always been positive, with wonderful and exciting food. And no matter how you slice it, Susur certainly has the "wow" factor.
On a completely unrelated note, I think the Fifth's Marc Thuet needs to loose the frosted tips :-).
I have eaten at both susurs and the fiftth. Hated the fifth. Found it pretentious and uninteresting. The worst thing was that it left us hungry. I went with my fiance and his parents and felt that our shoes got more attention from the staff than the food. meagre portions and nothing interesting going on..
I like bar italia on college much better.
I am one of the people who had had a less than perfect experience at Susur and I would be extremely reluctant to go again if I were paying (you can read my detailed review below). I think the faults were far worse than "one mediocre" course among the seven courses but you will see what I am referring to if you read my review. I ate at the Fifth some time ago and thought it was good, if unremarkable. I didn't have any service problems or attitude issues I experienced at Susur's either, so I am of the view that The Fifth is a "safer" choice. Susur might be great but it might be terrible and I personally don't find that acceptable with the kind of money you'll be spending there. I'm pretty confident you will at least had a good and perhaps great meal at The Fifth.
re: Jonathan C.
Both are losers unless you are intrested in show; The Fifth is a better show for less money. Please see my comments "Susur sour note" and the rest of the thread 09DEC03 (the URL link may work) and "Dad's 60th" re The Fifth 09DEC03.
The best meal in town (and at a price that is not high in Toronto) may very well be Edward Levesque's Kitchen on Queen St East. But warning: there is no show here. The room is a converted diner, renovated plainly and painted in non descript tan. The setting will impress no one.
If you're still interested - the Chef at the Fifth was fired a week ago.
And despite somewhat negative comments below, Susur prepares the most 'interesting' food in toronto. You'll either love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. I've yet to have the 'perfect' meal there but some of the individual dishes are among the best I've ever had.