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allen's on the danforth

  • c

anyone been? ...and?

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  1. Godd selection of beer and irish whiskey. Noce patio. Expensive food that is, IMHO, not worth it.

    1. For a drink ... o.k.
      But the food is dreadful. Spend your hard earned cash elsewhere..... alas, that "elsewhere" is becoming more and more elusive.... it may turn out to be your own home.

      1. I've heard this before, about lousy food. I have had very good fish and chips there -- haven't tried anything else.

        1. Has a great patio out back, one of the best in the city. Good selection of beer and wine. The food is ok, but ridiculously overpriced for what you get. Go for a couple drinks on the patio but eat elsewhere.

          1. f
            Food Tourist

            I disagree with the previous posts re the food at Allen's. Although a bit pricy ($8.95 for 8 wings, $8.50 for cheeseburger with no fries), the food was delicious and very good. Personally, I found the beer expensive ($10.95 for a bottle of Bellevue Kriek, which is triple the normal LCBO cost).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Food Tourist

              Tried Allen's again for dinner last Thursday. They actually ruined a perfectly good Cumbrae pork chop. I'd stick to wings and burgers there! My favourite raspberry Mort Subite was $14 so I passed. Chocolate guiness cake borders on awful, but the sour cream icing is delicious.

            2. Was there last night. The patio is great, best on the Danforth.
              Had the pizza for about $12.

              Can't believe they need to use a frozen crust, and not a good one either. Toppings were fine, but really for 12 bucks for an appetizer pizza at least throw together some pizza dough.

              Beer only on the patio. That's the way to go.

              1. I've always found the food to be beyond decent, and often very good. The burger is excellent, as are the wings (though pretty heavy on the worcestershire sauce). Other items, like the steak salad or the curry, have been serviceable, but not amazing. Prices are fine for food, IMO, but the drinks list can be pricey. Still, the selection of beers and whiskies is huge, and their commitment to VQA wines is commendable. Though it gets busy inside, their back patio is a delight, and I'm glad to have it in the 'hood.

                1. Stick to the burgers, don't even bother with ANY of their sides to go with - they're not worth it.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: julesrules

                    You dont like the potato salad JulesRules? The spicy potato salad?

                    1. re: deelicious

                      It's not bad but basically just potatoes and mayo - I was expecting some other veg - and such a huge serving - I ate less than half. Who really needs $8 worth of potato salad? I just would really prefer if for 3 or 4 dollars they gave you the option of some sides with your burger, in a reasonable side-dish portion.

                      I would probably like the fries, baby greens or the potato salad just fine if I didn't have to order them separately and pay top dollar. So I am resolved to "beat the system" ;) and just order exactly what I want - the burger, with fried onions and blue cheese.

                      DH btw said the potato salad tasted primarily of carbon (it's blackened). He sorta had a point.

                      1. re: julesrules

                        Go with another person - then you can have one order at 4.00 each to save some money. Personally we enjoy them a lot and when at Allens we choose to not look too closely at the bill...

                  2. Hadn't been to Allen's for some time (at least 6 months) but went back last weekend... had the burger and it was as good as I remember. Glad to know my craving for an Allen's burger is justified!

                    1. Well, this is an old post, but...

                      You are paying for the upscale New York saloon ambiance. This is NOT a cheap restaurant, but the food isn't a ripoff either. Some of the food is delicious and most of it certainly better than that at the average pub. But it IS a pub, and the fancy food is not their strong suit. There is a great vibe overall. Some of the customers can be quite pretentious, but management definitely is not. Their patio is one of the best in Toronto. Service can be very slow when they are busy (which they often are).

                      As to the food, I contend that their burgers, as they claim, are by far the best of any Toronto resto, as are the condiments served with them. The wings (not Buffalo style) and the salmon-crab cakes are also way above average. Fries are great if ordered well done. I've enjoyed the Guiness beef stew and the seafood chowder, and I found the fish & chips (I have only had this once) exceptional, though double the going Toronto price. Salads are good quality, but expensive for what you get. I've never been tempted to order curry or pizza.

                      Many people go just to drink. The beer selection, in particular, is extraordinary, but alcohol prices are very high across the board.

                      We like Allens. There aren't many other places like it in Toronto, and it's very unusual for this part of town. If you hang out in sports bars or the chain pubs, yes, it is more expensive. But the simpler food is in a very different class.

                      1. I'll defend the food—I've eaten there just once, last summer, and I thought the cooking was pretty excellent. But I can say without hesitation that I've never been treated with such contempt by staff as I was at Allen's. The way the patio hostess looked me and my dining companions up and down was as if we were covered in turd, or we wore big "pedophile" signs around our necks. We very clearly weren't worthy and she didn't bother trying to hide it. I will never, ever go back.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: pimentdespelette

                          I know what you mean... the reason we were on a 6 month Allen's ban was due to the ridiculously terrible service we received when we went for Brunch. While it was admittedly quite busy, the server's overall lack of interest in our table was very off putting to say the least. When you feel like you are being a bother to the wait staff in a restaurant something is definitely wrong. I'll still make an effort to go for the burger alone, but it can't/won't be during a busy period again.

                          1. re: Vise

                            Perhaps I should have worded my post along the lines of "management isn't pretentious but some of the customers, and servers, definitely are".

                            As at many places, some servers fawn on tables that they think will be exceptional tippers, while ignoring others. But most servers are both friendly and competent. However, Allen's often seems to be busier than the duty staff and/or kitchen can handle and, at these times, things become terribly slow for everyone. I've never been there for brunch.

                            We dress down when we go there and seldom have more than one drink, but we have never felt overtly snubbed. But, then, we aren't exactly young. On one recent visit, a very young, quite scruffy looking foursome was seated just ahead of us. They checked out the menu for a while and then left. As he was seating us, the manager said he had felt fairly certain they would find the menu too pricey, but he had learned long ago not to make assumptions based on personal style or dress. On the other hand, the server for that station quite clearly snubbed them and made sure they were aware of it.

                        2. I used to like Allen's but, in my experience, the food and the attitude have gone way downhill. Last summer we went for dinner and I ordered short ribs, which sounded and looked great but were tough and stringy -- undercooked, undercooked, undercooked. And lukewarm, like they had been dashed out of the fridge and into the oven for too short a time. I find the wings have really lost their zip, and it seems that the sour cream that accompanies the sweet potato fries has lost its generous goosing of stilton (now it seems to be a much more ho-hum danish blue).

                          Having given up on the food, we agreed to meet some friends there for beers and snacks and were told that if we weren't ordering meals, we could only have the table for 45 minutes! I was deeply confused -- this being a bar as well as a restaurant!!

                          1. Five words: no business being in business.

                            1. Allens used to be one of the best pubs in the city. The patio is great, but the food is mediocre on a good day and the service aspires to mediocrity. If you go in, sit at the bar and stick to draft and one of their many scotches.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sloweater

                                Sorry to belabour this, but I have to ask, if a restaurant clearly has lousy to openly contemptuous service, and the food is mediocre , why go in at all? Why support that with your money, even if only for scotch or beer? The city has no shortage of drinking/eating places that actually treats its customers as if they're happy to see them, doesn't it?

                              2. I must say very over priced, for the food. Although they do make a great burger! Tour boi

                                1. I'm fascinated by this thread. The range of experiences is SO extreme that it sounds like we're talking about two different places. But even the comments at odds with my own seem genuine. The only consistent decline I've noticed is the sweet potato fries and their dip.

                                  (Though I accept no disputes about the burger -- unless it has changed in the past week.)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: embee

                                    I live in the neighbourhood and have been going consistently for years. Now, every time I go I vow it's the last time I will set foot in the place. I keep expecting things to change, like I'm going to awake from a bad dream. I have many fond memories of the place, but they are being devalued every time I go now.

                                    Where do I start? The food is hit and miss... love the wings, the burger is usually good. After that, it's random: great, crisp fish and chips one night, soggy the next time we go. Dip for wings... where's the blue cheese? Last time I went, ice cold fadge (potato cake) with the brunch. It took 5 minutes to get a waiter's attention to remedy the problem. That's enough with the food.

                                    To me, a good restaurant/establishment takes pride in its appearance. The waiters at Allens look sloppy. Service is indifferent. I feel like I'm a burden when I walk through the door. At one time, the servers were attentive and looked polished. It ain't like that there anymore.

                                    There is no reason for simple pub food to be poorly prepared except that they don't care. There is no reason for bad service except the servers don't care. What more to say...

                                  2. I've lived in the neighborhood for 7 years and have tried to fall in love with Allens. However, for me it has never lived up to its hype. For good pub grub and atmosphere, I usually head to the House of Parliment. The prices, food and atmosphere are all better than Allens IMHO. But because it isn't as close, I don't go often enough to be an expert.

                                    1. My wife and I tried Allens a few times in 2004 and 2005, and each time the food was terrible. We went back about 4 times in total, thinking that the previous visit was not typical. We concluded that the food and service is bad at Allens. I did have a burger there once which was passable, but I doubt it's one of the better ones in the city. I'm not sure why some people keep going back, the prices aren't good for the overall experience they provide.

                                      1. that attitude is lame, especially for a pub when the whole idea is supposed to be a refuge or home away from home. I was looking forward to going in sometime when i was around that neighbourhood but i think i'm gonna have to skip it based on this board...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dannyboy

                                          I wouldn't let the commentary here dissuade from at least trying them out at least once... it seems to be hit or miss depending on how busy they are, but like I said I'll still go back for a burger every now and then.

                                        2. Go to the Auld Spot, further east on Danforth. The food is better than decent and they have good draught beer and scotch selection. Nathan, the owner, is friendly, present and down to earth.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: thenurse

                                            The Auld Spot was very good until the female chef left sometime in October. The waitress will tell yopu that nothing changed and that the current chef worked with the old one and knows how to prepare the food just as well but that's not the case.

                                          2. We've loved all of out trips to Allens! Great service, great food, great beer choices...My only complaint is that we usually drink too much and it ends up being quite pricey!

                                            1. Visited Allen's this past summer. I was looking forward to the "beautiful" patio in the back, but there was a Scottish wedding going on so we couldn't go back there. Friend and I sat at the tiny front patio, and got a great view of the males in the wedding party lining up across both lanes of traffic on the Danforth and lifting their kilts up for a photo op.

                                              But the food! I found half of it quite good. This was after a few pints, mind you. The buttermilk fried chicken was great. We also ordered a starter of fries, and they were gigantic wedges of potatoes that I didn't enjoy very much - soggy, tasteless. The food was indeed overpriced. Selection of beers kept me more than happy.