Resort Tapatoo near Parry Sound, Ontario
We decided to give the restaurant at this resort a try recently. I can't really comment on a lot of the food, because we walked out after about an hour-and-three-quarters, after having been served only our soup and salads. Why we waited that long is still a wonder to me.
The service was horrible, right from the start. When asked about a particular dish, the waiter disappeared and returned about 15 mintues later with a perfunctory reply, supposedly having asked the chef directly. After giving our orders over a half-hour after arriving, we sat and sat and sat and sat. Other tables seemed to be getting food. About a half-hour after ordering, we started to question our lost-looking waiter as to where our food was and whether we could at least have some bread (no, we hadn't even gotten a morsel of bread at this point!).
Said waiter returned 10 minutes (!) later to say our appetizers would be coming soon, and "the bread is not ready yet." Huh? We finally got the salads we'd ordered, which were minuscule but decently prepared. I had ordered the French Onion Soup, which the menu stated was full-bodied and contained a touch of maple syrup. Interesting, no? What I got was, in essence, a lukewarm liquid that tasted of 3 parts maple-tasting substance and 1 part water - no discernible broth of any kind, and sickeningly sweet - with dried out melted cheese topping. Needless to say, the soup went back, with a look of incredulity over my audacity from the waiter, rather than an apology.
A few minutes later, the bread arrives - warm, crusty, and FROZEN in the middle!
For some strange reason, we did not leave right then and there. We sat like idiots for another 20 minutes before finally asking for the bill for our drinks (which HAD been served promptly) and food so far. The management was shocked that we'd walk out, but we heard the waiter call into the kitchen, "Don't cook the mains" for table such-and-such. They hadn't even started on them???
People staying at this resort do so on the American plan, i.e., their breakfast and dinner are included. Did the fact that we were not staying there have anything to do with our experience? Did the fact that our waiter was obviously inexperienced and new at this, and perhaps not on buddy terms with the kitchen staff have any connection?
Has anyone else out there eaten at this restaurant? I'd love to hear about it.
That's really weird. It is "off season" and there may be problems with staff, but we've never had anything like this happen. From reading your post, you obviously got an incompetent waiter. I hope that's all it was, since it's the most pleasant place to eat in the entire area and it has been pretty much the best. (The Log Cabin on the highway has good food, but is pricier and doesn't have the view.)
We've been to Tapatoo for dinner (never stayed there) about five times over three summers, always during the Festival season (which might make a difference).
The service was usually amateurish, but not in a bad way, and has been mainly very friendly. We've occasionally needed to prod, but always got a reasonably paced meal and were out in time to make our concert without rushing.
The view is gorgeous. The bread was freshly baked and excellent. The food has not been spectacular, but has always been at least good; sometimes better. The fish chowder is delicious. We've had various fish, chicken, and beef dishes and were never disappointed. I love the potato croquettes.
We went to The Log Cabin Inn, as well, early in the summer. Although quite pricy for the locale, the dishes were well thought out and executed beautifully. I can't remember everything that we ate, but I do recall an exquisite feuillete of escargots that I had as an appetizer.
Log Cabin is definitely in a different league from Tapatoo. By the way, we went to Tapatoo on the Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend, quite a busy time.
Do you have any other suggestions in the Parry Sound area? We recently bought a year-round place up there and have been disappointed with most of the food. We've had decent meals at The Parry Sound Grill House, and mediocre ones at Bay Street Cafe, Wellington's and Trapper's (is that what it's called?). Christina's is fine when we're in the mood to go back in time.
- Bay St Cafe becomes worse with every passing year. Some food has been inedible on occasion. Their extensive menu way exceeds their ability to deliver and nothing is reliably good. The worst espresso I've ever had -- anywhere.
- Trappers Choice and Parry Sound Grill House are connected and serve more-or-less the same food. We both consider these places consistently mediocre, but haven't had a truly awful meal at either one.
- Wellingtons (assuming I've got the right place - I'm not 100% certain) is a local favourite that doesn't get much tourist business. We have found the food consistently pretty good; the service less so. We've been told by a couple of B&B hosts that the quality of any meal depends on how much the chef has imbibed at the time you order. I don't know if this is true, but it has been mentioned frequently.
Many locals love Don Cherry's. It's not our kind of place but, if you're in town and want pub food, you should probably try it at least once.
I can't think of anywhere else even slightly chowish.
Out of town:
The Log Cabin has been consistently good for several years, but it's not for a casual, moderate meal.
The big blowout place is the Inn at Manitou, about 1/2 hour from town on 124. The meals alternate between "bistro nights" and "classic cuisine" nights, though the price for non-guests is, I believe, the same for both. Manitou's meals are a real bargain compared to, say, Splendido or Perigee or Susur in Toronto, but they definitely aren't cheap. You likely won't go very often, but you have, at least, a chance at a spectacular meal. The problem is that you can't judge them as an "up north" place because they aspire to the heights of high cuisine. It's hard to live up to the expectations this positioning brings about.
In a more plebian vein, have you been to the Parry Sound Sobey's? I don't know whether they close half the store for the winter, but this place is amazing for a small northern town. It blows away any Toronto Sobeys - it's more like a big Loblaws and tends to be open 24 hours during the summer.
Thanks, embee. You certainly know your restaurants! We've been meaning to try The Inn at Manitou for years, but have yet to get around to it.
Don Cherry's really isn't bad for wings 'n things. And their burgers are pretty good.
Isn't the Sobey's amazing? The whole store is open year round, and they close at 9:00 p.m. in the winter (they close at 11:00 during the summer months). I have been quite astounded by the quality of the baked goods (in-house pastries with REAL whipped cream, etc.), meats and poultry. I even found fabulous fresh ducks there Thanksgiving weekend.
Talking about food stores, there is a great little natural foods store on Bay St., called Georgian Bay Whole Foods.
We stayed there one weekend the summer our daughter was born (that would be 1999). Admittedly, quite some time ago, but even back then the food was not very impressive. Nothing stands out whatsoever. However, the food wasn't that horribly bad either. To us, it was just a typical "up north" establishment. I'd hate to think you were treated that way because you weren't guests there. For our 12th anniversary, we tried to have dinner at Christie's Mill but were told that they weren't taking reservations for non-guests. How sad is that! We've been looking for a nice, reliable place to eat at when we're up north but so far, no luck.
Ugh - I totally agree! We stayed there for a w/e this summer for a wedding. The food and hotel were AWFUL and over-priced. One of the worst experiences I've ever had. The all-time low was the so-called camembert and fruit appetizer which was FRIED camembert in about 1 cm of breading and jam! ICK!! The breakfast buffet was also digusting. Everything was fried in oil that wasn't hot enough - greasy eggs (scrambled & greasy no less!), congealed home fries.....
The only food that was decent was surprizingly the buffet during the wedding reception. Not at all a buffet fan & it was actually not bad.
Over all though - spend your money elsewhere. The owners of Tapatoo need to actually have to try. The only way to make them is to STOP GOING!! I've told everyone I know to go elsewhere.