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Caynon Creek on Front Street, Toronto: TERRIBLE

  • d

Had dinner with a client here tonight and felt compelled to advise all fellow Chow's how terrible the food was. My rant continues on about just how terrible Toronto is as a city with great restaurants. The food tonight was awful. The artichoke dip was watery, and had no flavour. The nacho chips were stale and greasy. The tomato salsa was terrible.. it was small pieces of tomato's but had absolutlely NO Flavor and was NOT FRESH..the tomato's were definitely going bad. My customer ate the entire loaf of warm bread with butter (the butter had sugar added to it.. go figure?!!).. He said that it was the only part of the meal worth eating. The chicken was again flavorless, and the potatoes cold, with over cooked beans and a piece of corn on the cob (crazy!). The caesar chicken salad was served in a black bowl that had more finger prints on it than a police station and was nasty - anchovy paste overload, non-fresh lettuce and too much 'warm' mayo type dressing. Fatty bacon bits and plasticy chicken made the rest of the dish really memorable. All in all.. 1/10.. (for the bread). Way to go Toronto.. another crap restaurant to write up about. I hope I get a transfer to Vancouver or the States soon!

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  1. I agree. That places stinks.

    But, you should have known. (I made the same mistake too, once).

    1. That strip of Front caters to people who are there for conferences or games and who don't know better. I can't think of any restaurent that is good there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Teep

        I may have just been in a good mood, but I thought the lunch I had at Armadillo quite a bit better than most other chains..the warm tortilla chips and nicely seasoned salsa at least better than Lone Star.

      2. Chain restaurants usually suck...no matter what city you're in!
        They are about mass production and mass consumption...not about attention to detail.

        Toronto is an amazing place if you stay away from the chains...

        1. I agree that restaurants in tourist areas are awful. I don't know why. Once, when my two older kids were away I decided to treat myself and youngest son to lunch at the CN Tower. I can't begin to describe how lousy (and expensive) the food was. Even my son, who was 11 at the time, said that we could have had a much better meal at our neighbourhood bistro. We ended up getting dessert from an ice cream truck! It is embarassing that tourists will see Toronto in this light. I also take my clients or out of towners to one of the fabulous restaurants you CAN find in this city.

          1. I'm not the least bit surprised. Chain restaurants and those in tourist areas are almost always terrible. I've eaten at bad touristy restaurants in food meccas like France and Italy as well, and I'm absolutely certain you will find their equivalents in Vancouver and the US. It seems a little extreme to bash the whole city and all its 2000+ restaurants based on a few predictably bad experiences at touristy mall chains like Canyon Creek and Baton Rouge.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Gary

              C'mon, at least you'll find much better than average ribs at Baton Rouge.

            2. In my opinion the responses show the general politeness of Canadians and i'm impressed! Derek bashed Toronto based upon one lousy chain restaurant experience...you ate at a chain in a big touristy area of the city and it sucked = big surprise! The city has soo much more to offer.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodguru

                I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. I have lived in and around Toronto for my whole life, and I have only eaten twice on that strip of chain crap (not my choice both times).

                What I don't understand is how Toronto is responsible for having poor restaurants. They are obviously flourishing... the reason being is that locals who do not know better, as well as unadventurous tourists, see something they know and feel comfortable with.

                I'm about to embark on a chowtrip to Southeast Asia.... should I blame Thailand for having a McDonalds or Starbucks? Nope! Blame the tourists and the locals who don't know better. You'll find me paying 50 cents for something I've never tried before at a streetside cart.

                Next time, be a little more adventurous and try one of the great finds this great city has to offer.... Bibiche, Batifole, Tutti Matti, Zucca, Perigee.... they're endless!!

              2. As others have said, Canyon Creek is a pretty poor measure of the food in Toronto as a whole.. By your logic, I could say that nowhere in the US has good food based on a poor experience at IHOP.

                Read through this board for advice in the future, and to avoid making the same mistake again.

                1. Interesting, as I thought their pork chop was one of the best I have ever eaten. Not a gourmet place, but servicable. This experience goes back a few years - has it changed as much as the foregoing posts suggest ? Or did I luck into the one good item on the menu ?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bigtigger

                    I agree! The pork chop served medium is TOP NOTCH! Really is one of the best. Charred finish, enormous thick, juicy, lean with a not too sweet glaze. The chophouse salad is very good too when the season is right. Avoid the steaks - they are good 10% of the time.

                    1. re: torontoeh

                      We second and third that pork chop! Chophouse Blue Cheese is too much for me though.

                      1. re: bestandworst

                        Ha ha ha ha ha. I was dragged to CC today for lunch and, having read this thread, ordered the pork chop (with lingonberry sauce, fries and horseradish mayonnaise). It was absolutely fine.

                        My poor friend had some kind of unappealing-looking salmon salad. Who the hell eats salmon at what's basically a steakhouse?!

                  2. Canyon Creek sucked.. you don't say?

                    1. why oh why would you go there? Bozo's chip truck would have been SO much more worthwhile.

                      1. We've removed a number of posts from this thread attacking the poster and calling him names. While you're welcome to disagree with his opinion or suggest better restaurant options, please refrain from personal attacks.

                        1. Ah, so that's why the replies have seemed so tame!

                          I'll just point out one thing. I went to NYC in August and spent quite some time reading the NYC boards. Even in a place that big there are lots of people ready to complain about the food situation and say it is better else where (including a discussion by a man who couldn't wait to get sent to Toronto again for all the food he can't find in NYC).

                          This seems to a grass is always greener situation.

                          T.O. has some great food -- probably a lot more great food than anywhere else this size thanks to our ethnic diversity (which also means that there is some really great food for really cheap prices). But, we also have a lot of crap -- especially chain crap. Just avoid it -- its really not that hard to spot.

                          1. In my opinion, finding a good restaurant is like finding a good tv show. There's lots of flash and money out there, but real quality is rare. You have to hunt and hunt and hunt, and when you find a good place, stick with it! Go back and support them and tell your friends. And also tell people about dogs like Canyon Creek. Thanks for the heads up Derek!

                            1. Well, well, well. Loads of feedback, yet oddly enough, very few suggestions on great great places to eat in this city! People, fellow chowhounds, listen to me.. please.. I'm begging for advice on truly good places to eat and spend my hard earned money. I live in the dwtn neighborhood of Front/Esplanade. Wouldn't it be nice to have a fantastic meal in my hood??? I have Spaghetti Factory, Bier Market, Scotland Yard, Cafe Nicole, Le Papillon, The Keg, Hot House Cafe, Sultan's Tent, Izakya and Spring Rolls to choose from.. all garbage. Jamie Kennedy's is ok, but again, not consistent. Terrible places to eat in my neighborhood. So, I venture out to Jack Astor's On Front once and while, it's not that far, and the food is consistently good - not great, but you know what you're getting. Fajita's are tasty, the spring rolls hot and delicious and beer ice cold. I thought about trying something different, so we went to Caynon Creek.. I was wrong, and I'm sorry for that. I did not know it was a chain. Forgive me. The food was really bad. This past Saturday, I took a friend to The Four Seasons Yorkville (Studio Cafe) for breakfast. It was $100 bucks for two of us.. $100 even.. taxes and tip in. The breakfast was almost perfect. But 100 bucks? In sane for eggs. At the Four Seaons Vancouver it's $28 for the best all you can eat buffet I've ever set eyes on - I ate at least $25 worth of blackberries alone last time I was there! And the eggs and all the fixings are perfect. Moving right along, I am on here as I want help. I went to Eggplant tonight which I usually like, again, hit and miss. The bread was hard as a rock, the butter too, the soup was cold (and no, it wasn't meant to be) and the mains were so so at best. The dessert even wasn't great. SO PLEASE, my unknown friends in Toronto, talk to me about really really good food in Toronto. Don't critizie me for making a bad choice, instead, talk to me about what's consistently a place to dine in T.O. with really tasty food. That's all I ask. Thank you. Derek.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Derek

                                Ok Derek, you make some valid points ($100 for breakfast...puhleeeezz). But your initial post was critical of a chain restaurant which you then seemed to suggest was representative of all Toronto restaurants. That's a huge stretch--one that offended a lot of Toronto Chowhounds.

                                And even in your newest posting you criticize a number of restaurants, lumping them all together, while in the next breath, you give praise to another chain--Jack Astors. I think people are shaking their heads and wondering exactly what it is you are looking for.

                                From this posting, it looks like you are in search of consistency, whether it's good or not.

                                There are hundreds of posts here on the Ontario (Toronto) Board. Many deal with individual restaurants/styles/cultures. Why don't you try some of the places that have been discussed, rather than have people guess what it is you really want. Good luck in your search.

                                1. re: Derek

                                  FYI, Canyon Creek and Jack Astor's are owned by the same company, SIR Corp. They also own Alice Fazooli's, Brasserie Frisco, Far Niente, Soul of the Vine, Reds, Armadillo, and Loose Moose...

                                2. Shaking my head...I live in the same general area and rarely have the problem of finding consistency.

                                  George St. Diner - great breakfast/lunch
                                  Toba - King East/Sherbourne
                                  Weezie's - King East/Power - yummy comfort food in a great room
                                  Beer Bistro - discussed many times over on this board

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: westhead74

                                    I'm also in this area and agree with all of westhead's suggestions. Have always enjoyed Toba, but the service has declined recently. May I also add in there the Richmond Rogue and Betty's for bar food, never gonna win awards but good, cheap bar food.

                                  2. If you want a good breakfast, you have one the better greasy-spoons in your neighbourhood. Go try the Patrician Grill for breakfast (it is a little bit pricier than some greasy-spoons -- but, were talking $20; not $100). The Patrician is on King east of Jarvis right beside Dinetz Restaurant supply. The Patrician isn't bad for other meals too. But, I usually only think of it for breakfast.

                                    Now, I will admit that you live in one of the worse neighbourhoods in T.O. for finding good food. Especially good food cheap.

                                    It's been ages since I was at Bravi, but I do remember good things. On Wellington between Church and Yonge on the North side.

                                    1. The Senator on Victoria is always great. Terronis is very consistent for great pizza - also order the mushroom/parmesean salad app. - funghi something er other.

                                      1. I will try the Sentaor and Terroni's.. thanks for the suggestions!