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Special dinner in etobicoke - merlot vs. vibo?

  • c
  • chica Apr 12, 2006 01:46 PM

I need to pick a good spot for my birthday dinner this sat. I'm quite fussy on resto's and haven't had the best luck at finding places since moving out of downtown to south etobicoke. I've seen a lot of recommendations on Vibo, and recently went for dinner but our party wasn't overly impressed. PIano was way too loud, the menu didn't offer a lot of choice for me as a vegetarian, and they were out of the fabled eggplant parm by 7:30??. Anyway, I'm up for giving it another shot (in a quieter section), but just saw a positive review for Merlot in TOLife. Would appreciate hearing thoughts from anyone who's been.

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  1. I haven't been to ViBo but have only heard good things from the locals. Merlot IMHO is over-rated and overpriced for what they offer. The owners are lovely, but the service can be spotty. Similar or better French inspired cuisine can be found in the city without the high price tag. I don't think you would fare any better in finding vegetarian selections at Merlot. Overall, there are few good dining choices on the Kingsway. Friends swear by the Green Mango (vegetarian choices), but I would suggest you consider leaving the hood for more and better choices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: geebee

      don;t know when you were @ Vibo but they have recently installed sound absorbers (??) in the ceiling throughout the restaurant for the noise. I would recomend to ask for the middle or front section.

    2. I have found dinners at VIBO to be inconsistent. Some days they are good, other days the food is very poor especially for the price. Merlot is a lot more consistent with the quality of their food. However, as a vegetarian, Merlot's Bistro menu would also be very limited. You may want to consider Casa Barcelona as another restaurant to try that has very good food in Etobicoke.

      1. VIBO is probably more suited to a special dinner than Merlot. Merlot is typical bistro with great bistro food but if full very noisy. Stay away from Casa Barcelona it's awful. Not being a vegetarian can't comment on that food choice but I suspect that the recommendation to go downtown is best.

        1. Have you considered Via Allegro? It is excellent and has lots of vegetarian options.

          1. h
            Hondapendragon

            Personally, I like ViBo. I think the food is good and the service very friendly. Also, a great wine selection. They have a private room upstairs.

            I drove by Cru (on Royal York north of Bloor) last night, and it looked very pretty inside. Very intimate which might be nice for a birthday. Can't comment on the food as I've never been inside.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hondapendragon

              I've been a few times. The first couple of times the food was very good and the service attentive(but not annoyingly so). The last time both of our mains ( a shrimp with pasta and coq au vin) were extremely salty. In hindsight we should've said something.We were too mellow(it was my Birthday and I didn't want to). Could have been an off-night. Would still go back and give it another shot. Very pretty room(and as a side note they had( in 2005) a three course prix-fixe for $35!! Call and check...it was only offered mid week. Enjoy.

            2. Went to Merlot recently and had an excellant experience.
              Prices were great, selection wide and portion size large.
              Began with the country pate and which was delivered with a giant bottle of house made cornichon and a dollop of Dijon. Very nice.
              Ordered the sweetbread special. Was excellant. Sides are simple but generous.
              Great desserts and fun service.
              Pricing is great with lamb rack under $20!
              WIll be putting Merlot into regular rotation.
              Great experience.

              1. Merlot is overrated , to busy for there own good. Anything but Merlot.

                2 Replies
                1. re: FlyingChef

                  Agreed. Merlot is so mediocre.
                  You know what I did like though? Pulcinella on Lakeshore Rd. W

                  Ah here it is:
                  3687 Lakeshore Rd. W
                  www.pulcinellatoronto.com

                  1. re: 26Marushka

                    Totally disagree on Merlot. I consider it one of the best west end restaurants that's typical of a French Bistro. On the other hand Pulcinella is excellent. Last month when I was there I think I was the only one there that the staff didn't know. Obviously pleased customers. Another one which I found to be very good is Luci on the Queensway. http://www.lucirestaurant.com/