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No Joy at "JOY BISTRO" in Leslieville!

Hello All!

Yesterday I had a horrible restaurant experience at "Joy Restaurant" located on Queen St. E in Leslieville. I had planned to go to my favourite brunch spot "Pulp Kitchen" but it was so busy we decided to try something new...BIG MISTAKE!

Let me say for starters that the food was average, not horrible but not memorable. It was the service that was just pathetic.

We had a waiter that had the worst attitude I have ever seen. He sighed and rolled his eyes with every interaction with us, and I have to say we're very easy to please. When I made my order, an omelette with bruscetta filling ( which was ON the menu ) he simply said "NO!" in a very rude tone. He went on to say " I don't know why it's on the menu, I'll order salsa for you." And before I could argue he was gone. He also never brought us our coffee, and never returned to our table once during our meal which was served by someone else. He just stood by his computer, with his hands on his hips, looking around like he was irritated to be there. It also should be noted that the restaurant was not busy and he was responsible for about 4 tables.

At the end of our meal, he came by and filled my fiance's glass of water half full, and completely ignored mine. He didn't ask us if we were done, or if we wanted anything else he just took our plates, and later returned with our bill. As he placed the bill down on our table he sighed again and said an insincere "cheers" and walked away.

This was the first time that I have NEVER left a tip at a restaurant. We usually tip well for even average service. We will never return to "Joy Restaurant!"

Has anyone else tried "Joy Restaurant" and had this experience?

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  1. I ate at Joy Restaurant with my parents for brunch a few months ago. The place was packed. We had a female server, and she was extremely pleasant with us. My parents had just returned from a trip and couldn't stop talking about it, so the waitress had to come back to us a few times before they even looked at the menu to decide what to order. She was nothing but nice and accomodating, even with a full house.

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience there.

    1. I had a late lunch at Joy last week and found it to be a good experience. I found the food to be above par although not spectacular and the service was more than acceptable. The restaurant was busy although not packed and I will definitely go back.

      1. I had brunch there on the long weekend, and the female server was very pleasant. Food wasn't spectacular, but Barrio was closed which is why we ended up at Joy.

        1. My exeperience has always been favourable. Consistent good food and good prices. Nothing stellar. I like it there and the service has always been great.

          You must have caught that guy at the worst possible day.

          1 Reply
          1. re: deelicious

            ^ I agree.

            Sounds like you had a really really bad experience, i've heard nothing but great things about Joy.

          2. Ate there about a year ago.
            Found food just O.K.
            Definitely not a destination, but for a neighbourhood resto. O.K.
            Sort of remember swirled coloured sauces with each plate, and wondered why?

            1. We've had brunch at Joy a few times... although it normally gets great reviews elsewhere I find the food to be totally average. Haven't gone back in over a year, always seem to end up at one of the other (tastier) options in the area.

              1. It could be staffing changes. The chef there, David Chrystian, left a couple months ago for Chez Victor, where, depending on whom you ask, he's either wowing or sucking.

                1. It's good to know that this place is not always as bad as when I was there...however...what's done is done for me. I'm a stickler on service, and I cannot sympathize with the unprofessional server, no matter what kind of day he/she is having. How hard is it to be pleasant even if you're having a bad day? I know I have to fake pleasant sometimes at work, and I'm sure many of us do!

                  I can't wait to go back to "Pulp Kitchen!"

                  1. Had Brunch there a few months back - food was ok, nothing better than other options in the area. Service was typical indifferent Toronto style. The server spilled a plate on someone at the table next to us - she did not seem too distracted by it. No apologies or anything.
                    IMHO David Chrystian is mucho overated did not like his food at Patriot, the Drake and did not bring me JOY either!

                    1. Had dinner there about 3 weeks ago. We had pan fried pickerel and braised beef tongue. Both were good. Not spectacular, but nothing to complain about. Quite good actually.

                      Now for the bad parts:

                      Cranberry and Sprite was so watered down that it didn't even have any fizz or taste of cranberry. It was completely flat and actually tasted more like water with a splash of cranberry juice than anything else. Now how much do you have to water down cranberry and Sprite for it to taste like that? And why would you even water it down in the first place? We brought this to our waitress's attention but bizarrely got it back with exactly the same taste. It was as if they had some sort of prank going on.

                      Water glasses were never re-filled during the entire dinner.

                      One appetizer, scallops in a leek/bacon cream sauce actually turned out to be one medium sized scallop. ONE. If it was the most delicious scallop I'd ever eaten I'd be okay with the $12-$13 price tag. But $12-$13 for one medium-sized scallop that was good, but basically turned out to be nothing more complicated than a pan-seared scallop in a cream sauce with leeks and bacon is more than pretentious, it's a complete rip-off.

                      Re-arranging tables. I don't have a problem with this if it's to seat a party that's coming in, or to set things up to accomodate people who are coming in. But the staff re-arranged the entire middle of the restaurant just after we sat down, and by the time we left no customers had been seated at those tables and it really didn't look like anyone was going to be coming in for those tables either.

                      The waiters and waitresses kept on bumping into my chair, and me in fact. FIVE times. Not little bumps either and only once was there an apology. They couldn't see fit to take a different route or to move the table in behind me over to give themselves more room. No one was seated at the table in behind me for the duration either, so it's not as if they couldn't have made a little more room for themselves. But then again, it's not as if they couldn't have apologized.

                      The wait staff carried on their own conversation about dating, girls, boys, etc. in the dining room as if there were no customers in the restaurant. I don't expect them to be silent statues, but just because there are only 4-5 tables seated in the restaurant doesn't mean the staff should be carrying on their own conversation at the level of friends hanging out having a beer and a laugh in someone's backyard.

                      When we left, not a single person acknowledged us or thanked us. And that wasn't because they were in another corner of the room or didn't see us.

                      Although the food was decent, we felt the restaurant has a severe attitude problem. It definitely isn't "bistro friendly" and it doesn't offer bistro value. To top it all off, the wait staff are highly unprofessional and make the place quite a horror to eat in. One of the most unenjoyable restaurant experiences we've ever had. It's too bad, because the food itself is decent.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: herbs go karts

                        We went twice and vowed to never return. The service was horrible and the food pretty bad also. Actually the first time we left after standing at the door for close to 10 minutes waiting to be seated. They had empty tables but the staff were 'too busy' polishing glasses, making coffee, to bother seating us! We were acknowledged by no less than 4 people, each saying ' we'll be right with you' before we decided to take our business elsewhere. The second time we actually stayed for brunch and wished we hadn't. Their gourmet grilled cheese was so bad - like 2 slices of wonder bread with generic cheddar cheese - not even melted!!! When we complained the manager agreed and said it was actually coming off the menu. Like that was supposed to make us feel better. The place is a joke.

                      2. It is possible to get both delicious food and great service at Joy. Unfortunately, the poor experiences documented in some of the postings here are not uncommon. The owner really seems to care, but the crapshoot continues on, and on, and on....

                        As I've said elsewhere, at many Toronto restaurants, including this one and others with much higher aspirations, inconsistency is the only consistency.

                        Ted -- Are you, perchance, reading this?