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Question: Best Food Reviewers

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Margaret Jul 23, 2004 08:50 PM

There are so many food reviewers in Toronto. What I want to know is who in your mind is the best of the best in Toronto? Who has their recommendations right?

Thanks,
Margaret

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  1. t
    TexSquared Jul 23, 2004 11:09 PM

    That's an easy one. Ignore anybody who reviews in NOW. Toronto Star's reviewer is questionable as well. James Chatto at Toronto Life is probably the best of the bunch.

    Link: http://www.torontolife.com/magazine/i...

    1 Reply
    1. re: TexSquared
      m
      Miguel Jul 24, 2004 08:44 AM

      See I think it depends on your tastes and predilections (and of course your feduciary status!.)

      As a 24 year old student, I think Chatto is a bit of an insufferable Haute Cuisine acolyte who actually thinks Rain is one of the top 10 meals in Toronto and not a silly exercise at obtaining NY trendiness. But then he writes for Toronto Life, and that demographic just eats him up.

      Stephen Davey at Now frequently goes crazy for some questionable restaurants but is good at digging up small ethnic treasures.

      The lady at Star doesn't review enough for my tastes and I don't like her writing style.

      My vote? Right here at chowhound with Estufarian. I have been visiting this site for over 3 years now and he is the reason why I became so interested in the awesome food scene in Toronto.

      So in short, different strokes for different folks and all that.

    2. p
      Pixelchef Jul 24, 2004 02:54 PM

      I've found Alan Vernon (toronto.com) to be the most reliable -- at least, to my specific tastes.

      I tend to usually agree with toronto.com's reviews. Obviously there are exceptions, but I feel they get it 'right' more often than any other Toronto critics.

      Link: http://food.muvment.com

      11 Replies
      1. re: Pixelchef
        p
        Paolo Jul 24, 2004 05:02 PM

        I'm not sure about toronto.com. Their reviews are always positive, and any criticism is minimal. The website seems more of a promotional tool, and thus it does not seem to me a place that would level negative critiques.

        (Unless you are talking about actual users comments. martiniboys.com has some usefull user comments too.)

        1. re: Paolo
          t
          TexSquared Jul 25, 2004 03:25 AM

          Toronto.com has put out some negative reviews too, but I see your point (you always get the impression they give the paying advertisers the best ratings). Check out these to see some lower-rated restaurants there:

          http://www.toronto.com/feature/12796/
          http://www.toronto.com/feature/13027/
          http://www.toronto.com/feature/12928/

        2. re: Pixelchef
          s
          susan Jul 25, 2004 07:34 PM

          Toronto.com reviews are poorly written and it seem he doesn't understand the restaurant business. Many reviews by him start and finish with the same lines, it get's a tad tiresome, and very caddy. NOW magazine should stick to reviewing the cheap ethnic places and stay away from anywhere that uses linen. The star's reviewer has the worst writing style of the lot. Richler at the Post knows his food at the fine dining level but can be very mean and sarcastic. Which can be entertaining over an A.M. coffee.Kates at the Globe is fairly consistant but has her favorite boys from the 80's & 90's. That leaves us with Chatto at Toronto Life. Very well versed in the culinary world and tries to say nice polite things whenever possible. It seems food writers these days are really trying to write about themselves and not about the actual place they are reviewing. If they only knew what's really involved in the business, they'd be speechless.

          1. re: Pixelchef
            s
            susan Jul 25, 2004 07:35 PM

            Toronto.com reviews are poorly written and it seem he doesn't understand the restaurant business. Many reviews by him start and finish with the same lines, it get's a tad tiresome, and very caddy. NOW magazine should stick to reviewing the cheap ethnic places and stay away from anywhere that uses linen. The star's reviewer has the worst writing style of the lot. Richler at the Post knows his food at the fine dining level but can be very mean and sarcastic. Which can be entertaining over an A.M. coffee.Kates at the Globe is fairly consistant but has her favorite boys from the 80's & 90's. That leaves us with Chatto at Toronto Life. Very well versed in the culinary world and tries to say nice polite things whenever possible. It seems food writers these days are really trying to write about their own knowledge and not about the actual place they are writing about. If they only knew what's really involved in the business, they'd be speechless.

            1. re: Pixelchef
              s
              susan Jul 25, 2004 07:37 PM

              Toronto.com reviews are poorly written and it seem he doesn't understand the restaurant business. Many reviews by him start and finish with the same lines, it get's a tad tiresome, and very caddy. NOW magazine should stick to reviewing the cheap ethnic places and stay away from anywhere that uses linen. The star's reviewer has the worst writing style of the lot. Richler at the Post knows his food at the fine dining level but can be very mean and sarcastic. Which can be entertaining over an A.M. coffee.Kates at the Globe is fairly consistant but has her favorite boys from the 80's & 90's. That leaves us with Chatto at Toronto Life. Very well versed in the culinary world and tries to say nice polite things whenever possible. It seems food writers these days are really trying to write about their own knowledge and not about the actual place they are writing about. If they only knew what's really involved in the business, they'd be speechless.

              1. re: susan
                m
                Maureen Jul 26, 2004 09:49 AM

                There are other food reviewers around besides those you mention.
                Amy Pataki in the Star
                Steve Davey in NOW

                1. re: Maureen
                  t
                  TexSquared Jul 26, 2004 01:19 PM

                  NOW is the worst place to look for a review. Read my post elsewhere in this thread for explanation. As for the Star, I hold a neutral opinion with them. What I will say about the Star is, if you're looking for restaurant suggestions don't read that useless Rita Zekas's "Star Gazing" column with all the celebrity photos. If you do you'll start to wonder if the only good restaurants in town are Bistro 990, Joso's, and Sotto Sotto. Far from the truth obviously.

                  1. re: TexSquared
                    m
                    Maureen Jul 30, 2004 09:25 AM

                    Good to hear your opinions.
                    I wasn't commenting on their value. That is up to the individual reader to decide.
                    I was pointing out that they exist.

                2. re: susan
                  m
                  Maureen Jul 26, 2004 10:00 AM

                  There are other food reviewers around besides those you mention.
                  Amy Pataki in the Star
                  Steve Davey in NOW

                  1. re: susan
                    w
                    westsider Jul 26, 2004 07:05 PM

                    Some of the very best restaurants around (in Toronto and elsewhere) are operated by people who do not understand the restaurant business!

                    Passion for good food has nothing to do with the restaurant business. I don't see a single reason why a good food writer needs to know "the biz".

                    Granted, such restaurants may not last a long time, but that is precisely the reason why reviews and boards like Chowhound are around - so we can share in the passion while it lasts!

                    1. re: susan
                      m
                      Miguel Jul 27, 2004 01:37 AM

                      I disagree completely. Does a movie critic need to know the foibles and trials that went into making a certain film in order to evaluate it?

                      All that matters to me as a consumer is the end product, and I am only interested in the back story of a meal when the server is detailing some techniques or key ingredients related to it.

                      A restaurant critic should not be writing reviews for the sake of people working in the industry. If he/she is, something has gone terribly wrong.

                  2. t
                    TexSquared Jul 26, 2004 08:33 PM

                    I should have included this in my original answer but I forgot so I will do it here. I know the Chowhounds despise the Zagat Survey, so I will go on to say that one of the worst source for reviews in Toronto is Zagat's locally-made copycat, PATRON'S PICK.

                    Let me tell you why. Unlike Zagat, which compiles new results every year, Patron's Pick has been RECYCLING THE SAME REVIEWS AND SCORES FOR YEARS. I should know this; I did some reviews for them until about 5 years ago, and guess what, I still see my comments from the 1999 book appearing in the 2004 edition. As if restaurants don't ever change chefs, waiters, menus, attitude, prices...

                    So, if you're going to purchase a restaurant guide, save your money, and don't spend the $16 to buy this ripoff work. You're better off sticking with this website!

                    Link: http://www.patronspick.com

                    1. j
                      John Jul 28, 2004 02:35 PM

                      I miss Cynthia Wine.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: John
                        s
                        susan Jul 29, 2004 10:30 AM

                        Me too! She was a great food writer. Her replacement is a terrible writer, and a real know it all, in her own mind that is

                      2. s
                        Stewart Jul 28, 2004 03:35 PM

                        I search out unique restaurants that serve up good, cheap easy food.
                        Check out the reviews on CBC Radio One. There is a regular feature called "Beyond Burgers".
                        Pretty cool stuff.

                        Enjoy

                        (If I have pasted the link properly; check it out.
                        More likely I messed it up and you will need to go the CBC Radio One website and dig around for it.)

                        Link: http://toronto.cbc.ca/metromorning/fe...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Stewart
                          m
                          Maureen Jul 30, 2004 09:22 AM

                          Good link. Thank you

                        2. m
                          maki42 Jul 28, 2004 08:49 PM

                          as an unabashed, obssessive, food fanatic, I appreciate and devour any and all food related news/reviews, no matter who the author - i try to get past the writing style to the meat of the review... these gustatory matters being highly subjective anyways, i consider any review to be merely a starting point for my own explorations and ultimate conclusions on a place/platter. i've found myself in agreement and disagreement with all the toronto reviewers at one time or another

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: maki42
                            m
                            Maureen Jul 30, 2004 09:15 AM

                            Well put. I agree

                            1. re: maki42
                              o
                              Overcast Jan 29, 2005 12:03 AM

                              Crikey! Take a stand! This board is so soft sometimes.

                              James Chatto knows his stuff.

                              1. re: Overcast
                                e
                                estufarian Feb 2, 2005 12:41 PM

                                he also knows most of the chefs/restaurateurs too.

                                1. re: estufarian
                                  s
                                  Sui_Mai Jan 14, 2009 01:44 PM

                                  I prefer Joanne Cates.

                            2. c
                              chef_vagabond Jan 14, 2009 07:58 PM

                              Good food reviewer Toronto, do four words qualify as an oxymoron?

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