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If you can only (and have to) choose one , Susur or Splendido?

Xmas for three, one of them is vegan who can't have any garlic or onion, and another one is
vegetarian. We are looking forward to see what high scale restaurants can come up with when asked to do a different tasting menu.

Susur guarantee creativity, but also -- well, i'll just say the possibility of bad service.

Spendido seems to promise an overall wonderful dining experience, but...what if we are just satisfied with the food, not thrilled?

Vegetarian or not, any suggestion, opnion or past experience will help.

p.s. Three of us are all chinese, so we would especially love to know what other Asians think of the dishes in Susur, but again...any suggestion is welcomed. It's already Dec 7th, and time is running out!!!

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  1. I've been to both restaurants and am Asian, so I guess I fit your profile! But I do have to caveat that I went there about 4, 5 years ago so things might have changed.

    If I would pick one, I would go for Splendido. Susur did not wow me because IMO his fusion food weren't that exciting. I did not think that the dishes were very creative, and it definitely had something to do with the fact that I was so familiar with the Eastern ingredients. For instance, the starter I had was a spicy seafood soup which was very delicious. However, having had Thai tom yum soup like thousand times already, I did not find the soup very interesting (but it was very delicious tastewise).

    Splendido, on the other hand, is purely food done right. The dishes and ingredients, though not very creative, were excellent. I enjoyed my meal there very much.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kobetobiko

      Thank you so much for your two replies.

      "having had Thai tom yum soup like thousand times already, I did not find the soup very interesting"

      This is exactly what my concern is. Maybe that's also why i never really like fushion cuisine --- or at least not enough to pay 200+ for it.

    2. I, too, have been to both restaurants a number of times. I would go to Susur for artfully executed dishes with unexpected (but spectacular and memorable) flavour combinations. And I have always had impeccable service.

      Splendido is also excellent, but I have been underwhelmed there (considering the amount of money I was paying for dinner), which has never been the case at Susur.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Full tummy

        "And I have always had impeccable service."

        oh wow, i must say that i'm surprised. I don't usually see "good service" and Susur in the same sentence, not to mention "always".

        I have read similair comments about Splendido. It is one of the reasons that I have not made a decision of going there for xmas dinner.

        Mind if i ask you a question? What is your personal experience in Canoe?

        Thanks!

        1. re: shinian

          Alas, I haven't eaten at Canoe.

          The last time I ate at Susur, Kelly was our waiter. When one of the servers knocked over my glass of port (which was, I think, the cheapest they had on offer), Kelly rushed over, apologized, removed the glass, covered the area with a fresh cloth napkin, and promptly brought me out a glass of vintage port on the house.

          Maybe I have been lucky with service when I've gone.

          The first time I went to Splendido was for a Toronto Life food & wine event, and the meal was amazing. This prompted me to make reservations for their special Valentine's dinner, which was $120.00 or so, per person. Unfortunately, my husband and I left feeling that it just hadn't been that special, on a day when we had hoped (and expected) it would be.

          Either Splendido or Susur is capable of excellence, but maybe only if their mojo's really working that evening.

          1. re: shinian

            I have been to Canoe a few times at lunch and the service is exceptional there. The food is very good too.
            I have not been to Susur or Spendido, however, I have been to Lee and I really enjoyed (no, I'm not Asian). I think if food is done really well, it doesn't have to be foreign to you to be a great experience and to blow you away. The service, by the way, was very good and we had a part of 8. There was not a lot of alcohol ordered and I don't feel like they held that against us at all. We were not rushed, however, that may have to do with the fact that our reservation was at 9:15.

        2. I have been told (by my parents who have been to both) that while Susur has slightly better food, in terms of surprising and clever ingredients, and unusual taste combinations, Splendido's has the better overall dining experience. The service is excellent, and the sommelier humored my dad's interest in wine. By the way, if you are into wine, the sommelier at Splendido's is very knowledgeable and personable, and that might significantly bump up the experience for you if that's what you're into.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ascendance

            thanks for sharing!
            One of us is very interested in wine. I'm sure he will find your post very helpful in terms of deciding which one to go.

          2. I too am Chinese and is fortunate to have eaten in a number of Michelin Star restaurants all over the world. To me, Splendido is the closest 'Michelin star caliber' restaurant in town, with food, wine, service and ambience to match. Susur's food could be spectacular at times, but too 'Chinese', in terms of ingredients used and taste, for my liking. Furthermore, Splendido will guarantee to offer you a much better 'food and wine pairing' experience! Unless you would like to spend some 'mega-bucks' on some 'glorified' modern Chinese fusion and potentially inconsistant service, I would definitely give Splendido the thumbs up!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Charles Yu

              Thank you for your post. I'm not crazy about east-meets-west type of food, but Susur himself is from and had worked in Hong Kong, so i assume that he has enough knowledge about handling eastern ingredients. I'd like to see how he incorporates Asian flavor into western dishes, but at the same time, i don't make enough money to spend it on bad service.

              There is one one sentence i don't fully understand in your post:

              "To me, Splendido is the closest 'Michelin star caliber' restaurant in town, with food, wine, service and ambience to match."

              Does it mean that in your personal experience, Splendido has Michelin star quality, or that among the restaurants in Toronto, it's the closest one?

              1. re: shinian

                Based on my experiences eating in Michelin star establishments in France, London, New York, San Francisco..etc as well as other culinary stalwarts in Hong Kong, Tokyo... I would rank Splendido a 'good one star', similar to say, a Daniel Boulud in New York or Fleur de Lys in San Francisco. I would also like to add that, no matter what Michelin claims about their star system being focus entirely on food quality and presentation, secretly, they definitely consider wine, service and ambience in their evaluation criteria. Consequently, Susur's 'kitchen' may be of Michelin star standard but, in my opinion, not the 'whole' restaurant. On the other hand, the complete package of ( food,wine,service,ambience ) offers by Splendido would definitely propels it to star status. I hope I have answered your queries.

            2. "p.s. Three of us are all chinese, so we would especially love to know what other Asians think of the dishes in Susur"

              What difference does race make to the taste of food or quality of service?

              2 Replies
              1. re: andreas

                Hi Andreas,

                Please don't get me wrong. I do not think that race will make a difference in taste of food or quality of service. Rather I think it is the food that you are accustomed to that may affect your opinions on food. Don't get me wrong, I think both Susur and Splendido served very delicious food and both had quality service. But people often associated Susur with creative, "fusion" cuisine by incorporating Eastern ingredients into fining dining. When I had dinner at Susur, these ingredients are things that I grew up with and therefore not too intriguing to me. For instance, when chefs first incorporated Litchi or Schezhuen peppercorn or miso or lemongrass into Western cooking, people found them to be creative, exotic, and exciting. To me, it wasn't something very special at all because I am so familiar with these ingredients. The much hyped sashimi with jalapeno in NOBU was underwhelming to me because it is not that different from what I have everyday.

                That's what I felt about Susur's dishes. When Full Tummy put this comment: "I would go to Susur for artfully executed dishes with unexpected (but spectacular and memorable) flavour combinations". That is exactly what I think would make a difference if you are accustomed to Eastern ingredients. People who are less familiar with Eastern flavers may find Susur "unexpected flavour". To me personal, it is just not too special because I have this kind of flavor everyday when I grew up.

                So in conclusion, I think it is not really about race, but more about more types of food you are familiar with and your expectation of Creativity based on your profile.

                1. re: andreas

                  It changes the meaning of creativity.

                  For example, up until just a few years ago, that green paste called pesto was very, very, very, very exotic to me.