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Hello everyone.
Had the pleasure today to finally read this years NOW Best of Toronto issue.
It amazes me that the readers seem to always choose the chains (Mandarin, Mr. Greek, etc..) as the best in Chinese, Greek, etc..
With all the superior choices I am always surprised by this list. I thought NOW catered to the supposedly "world class" urban Torontonian. This is a list that would make both chowhounders and foodies cry.

I guess the good side of this is that all the outsiders will continue to go to these "best" places and leave the truly best for those that can appreciate them!

I wonder if there was ever a CHOWHOUNDERS BEST OF TORONTO LIST? and how that would differ. Best Seafood would not be Red Lobster I bet!

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  1. Hi Alex,
    I was surprised also to see the Keg, Mandarin,etc on the list. It's ridiculous to list those kind of places on a "best of" list. I thought Now was read by people who apprecited more "alternative" choices.Their food critic would be the last one to endorse these chains.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Maureen

      Cannot rely on magazines anymore. When Now first came out, restaurant reviews were just that, so honest! I think anything going on now at NOw has more to do with advertising. Toronto Life magazine also used to do a fair job, but it certainly is just advertising. Obviously, Chowhound being opinion oriented is a far superior method of truly communicating info!

      1. re: jar

        I agree that this board is the source for an unbiased, 'real' review...It would be naive to think that any newspaper of magazine, even a weekly 'alternative' paper, would be free of bias due to advertising, or magazine availability (get your free copy of Now at Pizza Pizza!), etc.

        There are also two other reasons why the chains prevail...More people are aware of and have tried, say, Pizza Pizza( to pick on them again), with 50 locations rather than a superior mom+pop shop such as Gerrard Pizza on the Danforth. Also, I suspect the 'votes' are sent in as some form of a contest, and they just scribble anything down to win a NOW backpack or bumper sticker...By the way, I wonder if Mandarin took Ohio?

    2. The Now list always annoys me. Not only are they not necessarily the "best" places - like Pizza Pizza, Starbucks, etc., they are the same every year! I think it is a complete waste of time.

      1. t
        The Berserker

        You have to submit a large number of nominations to NOW if you wish to qualify for a prize. I suspect many, many people just fill in the first name they can think of in categories they know little about in order to reach the magic number required to qualify.

        1 Reply
        1. re: The Berserker

          Yeah, I think that's the problem. If they got rid of the contest, perhaps people wouldn't vote in categories that they don't really have an opinion on. I figure they do the contest to get people to place some votes. Maybe they should just do a draw for anyone who enters and not place a minimum number of votes as a restriction to enter.

        2. f
          Frances in Toronto

          I wonder if those chains make it to the Now Best of Toronto listing because they pay to get on those lists, kind of like advertisement... because a lot of times the "Best of" places suck!

          Glad to know that we Chowhounders can see right through their phoney list.

          1. Thank god for Chowhound hands down!

            1. Does Anyone agree that Now's food writers need to stop being so ignorant? They rarely do any articles on Restaurants north of Dupont, west of Landsdowne and East of Church! Whenever they do a review on a restaurant in a more upscale area they insult the patrons and the neighborhood. For example, when they reviewed Sado Sushi on Eglinton west they referred to the area as being old and boring and lacking innovation. Eglinton strip has some wonderful foodie spots! They lack elegance and use the same adjectives to describe every dish...spiked, flecked etc. They are worse then Joanne Kates for christ's sakes and that's bad. I do agree with some of their recs but they need to get out of their college st. film and entertainment industry bubble and truly discover some great finds in this dynamic city.

              1 Reply
              1. re: food face

                This is largely true, however, it should be noted that Now offices are on Church St. I agree with food face - they should stop making stupid little comments about the restaurant's neighbourhood and stick to the establishment. They keep contradicting themselves, too... by, for example, referring to the Church/Wellesley area as a "culinary wasteland" in one review of Slack's, but then naming their top resturant of 2006 Kaiseki Sakura, which is at, you guessed it, Church and Wellesley.

                The reviews themselves are hit and miss at best - I think some of their restaurant critics do have a clue, but it's not easy to tell who reviewed which resturant.

              2. The topic in the original post was NOW's reader-chosen Best Of list and I agree with many other posters, that is, it is not for me. The solution is quite simple, don't fret over it, just don't read it. Some posters have switched to a discussion of NOW's regular reviewers Almost always their names appear with the original review) and I generally enjoy reading what Stephen Davey has to say. His selection is different from the Toronto daily papers and I think his coverage of restaurant types is quite good. I will not comment on the geopraphic uneveness in the selections, I haven't looked at this.