HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


The Senator

  • b

Does anyone know if the Senator Diner is still open? I think the Top 'O The Senator closed, but wasn't sure about the rest of it. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The diner was still open last time I checked.
    The Torch Bistro has been replaced by the Savoy.
    It's supposed to be a bit more bistro-like than the Torch actually was, but I haven't tested that theory out yet. The third floor has been converted into a chi-chi lounge/bar, with a neat outdoor terrasse that has cool view of the skyline...

    1. w

      It's definitely still there - I had brunch there on Saturday. And it's still great. I tried a friend's blueberry pancakes - buttery with crisp edges, and fresh, sweet wild blueberries. Yum!

      1. I had the burger there recently after a friend told me it was one of the best in the city. His last burger there was mid-nineties and much has changed, I'm guessing. The patty was too small for the (stale) bun. It was something like $15, too.

        1. Stale bun at The Senator??? You saw a pig fly that day. Honestly, I've been eating there once a week lately, and have eaten there off and on for many years. There is not a more consistently fresh resto out there. The french toast is just as good as those pancakes if not better. The hervos rancheros is awesome. Always fresh chala bread and full fruit jams. The burgers are so good as is the basic BLT.

          True that The Senator is not cheap. But you get REAL everything; nothing fake...right down to the maple syrup.

          1 Reply
          1. Still open, still overrated.

            1 Reply
            1. I think the Senator is overrated also, and have not enjoyed a few instances of snotty service.

              Yes, the food has been good and consistent, but there isn't much value to be had, especially if they are very busy.

              1. It has an identity complex. "Oh, we're just a good old fashioned diner. Here's your $15 hamburger. Fries are extra."

                Give me a break.

                1. Wow. Thankfully enough people love it the way we do...so it stays in business for all these years. Frankly I dont know a single resto where service is always perfect. And although I never include them when asked about burgers in the city, I happen to like them, like most restos, some dishes represent better 'value' than others...and of course that is always in the eye of the beholder. I know people that won't spend more than 5 bucks on a pasta dish because "Do you know how cheap pasta is to buy?". Whatever.

                  1. To clarify:
                    The reason I don't find the Senator to be a good value has nothing to do with what I would source to buy for home cooking. Yes, the food is of a consistent and good quality. But I don't need to accept boutique prices in a cramped room as a requisite trade off.

                    More than once I had way haughty service, in what appears to be best described as a perfect Manhattan coffee shop movie set circa 1949. We don't go there anymore.

                    1. personally i'm a big fan of the senator.

                      i didn't find the service snooty at all. i'm pretty sure our waiter was the owner and he was lovely and very informative.

                      we liked the funky decor, the music was wonderful, and the food was delightful.

                      anyone who has told you this is an old fashioned diner is out to lunch. if you're looking for diner food this is not the place for you. if you're looking for fancy shmancy upscale this is not the place for you. if you're looking for funky in between, then it's a great place.

                      and yes, it's still open. *grin*

                      1. I work down the street from the Senator. It can be slow, but I've never found the service to be anything but friendly. I find that the food is consistently very good. If you had a bad bun or a mediocre burger, you should have complained. They do replace things, and at their prices, they should.

                        My one complaint is that there is just too much food. I'm not great at portion control. If it's in front of me, I eat it. There food is cheap per ounze. Some things like the CHicken Club and the Cobb salad are just too big. (that and the new colour. Hate the blue, miss the yellow)

                        Anyone been there for dinner? They've had it for about a year now.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: arugula

                          I just had the mac'n cheese. I didn't find the portions crazy big. But I didn't have a salad. The mac'n cheese had no flavor. Just parm, butter and cream with no salt or any other cheeses. I should have known better. My partner got the breakfast and it was tasty. The fries where kinda weird. Fresh cut but very airy with no substance and too crunchy. I like a good shoestring but these were'nt very good. The service was super nice even though they where packed busy. I always get a kick at how cheap some people on chowhound are. If a burger is over $7.00 some folks get all cranky about paying for a little quality. Overall the Sen is good but stick to the breakfast.

                        2. Sounds like it may be under new owenrs, what with the paint. Used to be owned by Bob Sniderman, son of Sam "the Record Man" Sniderman (and whoever said they thought the owner was serving their table can be guaranteed it wasn't Bob Sniderman).

                          Anyone know if it was sold?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: ognir

                            The diner is still owned by Sniderman; Bobby Sniderman, Sam's son. It is the Top o The Senator that they sold. I agree that the paint is an awful colour that casts a terrible hue. I sure hope enough people tell them.

                            Most likely, the guy that served them is someone who manages the place mosts days and who has been there for many years. Very nice guy.

                            I agree about the value per ounce.

                            1. re: bestandworst

                              Going to be downtown on Sunday and wondering if the Senator is still open for breakfast/brunch?

                              If not, can anyone suggest a good place for brunch in the downtown area. Coming down for Pride but figure all the restaurants on Church Street will be really busy.

                              1. re: BK67

                                Under the best of circumstances, one should avoid Church St food, most especially during Pride. Within striking distance of Church St, I'd go to the House on Parliament (partial to the eggs with smoked salmon), convenient and gay friendly. I don't know about the Senator on Sundays.

                                1. re: BK67

                                  Anything ~anywhere~ close to Church street will be really busy on Sunday. I'd suggest the Peartree on Parliment--great eggs benedict and very pride positive. You could also try some of the Leslieville spots--they'd be pretty close to Pride central, but perhaps far enough away that they won't be crazy-busy.

                                  1. re: BK67

                                    It's well worth the diversion from the Pride activities. 416 364 7517
                                    I'm pretty sure it's open on Sunday, better call and check.

                                2. re: ognir

                                  Trust me too... for sure it wasn't Robert (not known as Bob for a long time) serving...he's our cousin and he no longer owns any part of the Senator.