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Xacutti - on College

  • t

I decided to have dinner with a friend at Xacutti on Friday - what a disapppointment! I am so tired of eating out in this city to consistently bad food. And to be clear, the food was not bad at Xacutti, it simply had NO FLAVOUR. Last week I ate at Lee on King West - great presentation, but again, the food had absolutely no taste! At Xacutti we had the yam fries- they were nicely prepared, but frankly, fries at Mcdonald's are 10x tastier! They lacked flavour, plain and simple. Then, we had some type of vegetable ball that sat on thousand island dressing. Nicely presented, but no flavour whatsoever. For dinner my companion had a chicken tikka - hard to go wrong - the waitress could not verify if it was white or dark meat. It appeared to be both when it arrived. This was by far the most flavourful dish. Then again, it's tough to go wrong with coconut milk, spices and sugar! That is what the sauce tasted of! I had the steak which came with a wet and overly salty deep fried onion ring, (no taste, just grease) and the steak, (*which I ordered med-well), was Medium (I should have returned it) and since it was Filet cut, was tender, but lacked any flavour. TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT! 140 bucks later we were at Starbucks laughing about how crummy the restaurants are in Toronto. I recently went to Brassie for breakfast on King after finding it on Chowhound. For service, consistency (been back 5 times) and food that is GREAT.. all priced right (*and folks, I care not about price if the food is good.. Brassie is cheap!).. you can't go wrong. So there you have it. Tell me where I can get CONSISTENTLY great food that is full of flavour! Thanks.

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  1. So you like flavour? Ok, here's where to get it in no particular order:

    1. Lalot (modern Vietnamese) on Bathurst at Queen
    2. Maroli (Malabari, Indian) on Balliol
    3. Linda's or Salad King (Thai) near Dundas Square
    4. Cuisine of India on Yonge north of Sheppard
    5. Lin Garden (Hakka) in Scarborough
    6. DiPamo's or Phil's for BBQ (I like both)

    There's tons of flavour in Toronto. The above doesn't even scratch the surface. We have numerous restaurants of every nationality here; many of them are very good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Fwagra

      I've eaten at Cuisine of India - worst Indian buffet in the city. Salad King is mediocre at best.

      1. re: Todd

        When Cuisine of India opened up around 1990, it was my favourite place for Indian food and the buffet on Sundays was very good. I used to eat there maybe once a month since I lived nearby. Unfortunately, the food went downhill sometime after I moved away. But I'd be surprised if it was now the worst Indian buffet in the city.

    2. One place I always end up going to over and over is Silver Spoon.

      It is always consistent and fairly priced.

      Give it a try you won't be disappointed.

      L

      1. I've been to Niagara Street Cafe a handful of times now and with varied groups and guests in terms of budget and food sophistication/ adventurousness. Niagara has always exceeded expectations. The service is knowledgable and just the right level of attentiveness, menu is shorter but enough variety - makes you feel like they focus on what they do well. Cheese plate is always well explained and good selection. I can't say a bad thing about this hidden jem!

        1. Agreed on your review of Xacutti. I was there for brunch on Sunday, April 22. They absolutely DO NOT deserve kudos for being a great brunch place. The food was OK - but for the price, not a good value at all - and if you have to wait in line, you're much better off at any number of places offering brunch at a far better value on College - Aunties & Uncle's, Maggie's, Utopia, Bar Italia etc. etc.White tablecloths and napkins cannot make up for the slow and lousy service when the frustration of such poor service impacts your meal. I'll tell you why there's a line outside every Sunday - it's because every time you ask your server for something, it needs to be done in triplicate. I kid you not - we had to ask our server 3x for EVERYTHING - menus, water, coffee, even the bill...even when there was a clear line up outside. I will never go there for brunch again but when I walk by on Sundays to come, I'll smile at the unsuspecting waiting outside as I know the experience they're about to have will be sub-par and that in 2 hours (if they're lucky), they'll understand exactly what I've been talking about.

          5 Replies
          1. re: dble_c

            OK - let me get this straight.
            There's a line-up every week for brunch.
            It's not good value.
            The only reason there's a line-up is that the service is so slow.

            And yet there are still line-ups every week. I guess you can fool all of the people all of the time. Or just possibly there are other explanations for a line-up.

            1. re: estufarian

              There's no telling why people go back for sub-standard service and mediocre food - but unfortunately it happens all the time which is why the existence of these blogs are so important. If you've eaten at Xacutti and can enlighten me on why you think people are willing to stand for this, I'm all ears. There's no shortage of fantastic restaurants in our city - why would you settle?

              1. re: dble_c

                I'm up for 'unusual' food experiences (also weird - but that's another story).
                At Xacutti, my favourite part is the wine flights they offer, so I can try different tastes (of the wine) with the same dish, to understand (I hope) why different flavour profiles work, or not.
                Of course, the Brunch isn't the ideal time for that approach. But my evening meals there have all been, at least, interesting, and sometimes excellent. I'd prefer slightly larger portions and a little less attitude from some of the servers but, for me, the food surpasses those issues, and let's face it the 'small plates dining' trend is so common in Toronto now, that maybe their portions can be considered regular sized.
                I also enjoy their ability to marry 'Indian' (I mean the subcontinent) spices with fairly classical European techniques. Again this gives some unusual flavour profiles.

                1. re: estufarian

                  Always a fun night out at Xacutti...never been much of a brunch person, but I can say that the few brunch places I have been dragged to over the past few years have ALL involved massive line-ups and terrible service. Maybe Toronto is just not built to be serving brunch! Or, perhaps we should all start making brunch at home and avoid the line-ups and terrible service at your favourite neighbourhood spots.

                2. re: dble_c

                  I may expose myself as a 'foodie' by saying this but sometimes I'll value the atmosphere, look and feel of a restaurant as well as the food and presentation.

                  Xacutti may not have great service but their brunch menu is really big and unique so it's fun to go often. The presentation is also a slight cut above many other places in the area and I do enjoy the restaurant's decor. Yes there is better brunch food available but it's a nice enough place to go, especially for people-watching.

                  So there's some perspective I really enjoy Sugar, Boom, Niagara Street as well in the area for brunch...

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I've enjoyed Xacutti the two times I've been there, one time with a large party of people who were born in India (my wife included), and they really enjoyed it too. Indians tend to appreciate strongly-flavoured food, which is understating the case.

                Best restaurant in the city, no, but there is a reason for its popularity. And I've had the "thousand island dressing" dish described...um, that wasn't thousand island dressing AT ALL.