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Why Cora's sucks...?

I've seen a number of people bashing Cora's which seems to be opening new locations in the GTA every few weeks. I've never been but one opened near me and I was thinking of swinging by, but for the harsh criticisms.

In particular I think someone mentioned that food there was pre-prepackaged and I was wondering if that could be clarified. Are the pancakes frozen? Do they use fresh eggs? Are some other menu items otherwise sent in mixes etc. from head office?

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  1. mixes from H.O., yes. The pancake and waffle batter in particular. I worked at one, very briefly.

    The eggs are fine and so is the average breakfast plate. They also have some nice fruit creations.

    1. I like it alot. There are a few orginal creations there that I enjoy. The crepe stuffed with omelette is pretty good and their skillets are good for your standard breakfast fare. I like them and don't see what the complaints are about.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Wil

        I was one of the people that complained about Cora's. But I have been to a downtown location, which was fine, and the Woodbridge location which was downright AWFUL. I believe that there are huge differences between locations, so perhaps yours will be ok. IMHO, I really do prefer the breakfasts at Pickle Barrel because of the price and quality. Again, that is my own experience at Cora's and that does not necessarily mean that you'll have a bad experience as well.

      2. I think most of the complaints are regarding the price. It is quite expensive for what you get.

        Breakfast for the SO and I there usually runs about 35-40 bucks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paper_bag_princess

          I find it annoying that they charge 50 cents for each package of maple syrup used. Unfortunately I really like the crepes so I make the sacrifice. I compromise by going for breakfast during the week and just going into work late (advantage of working one street over!). That way I can avoid the normal early morning crowd and get somewhat decent service.

        2. I once ate at Cora's in the west end (Mississauga?) with my family. It was fine. I wouldn't be quick to return, but the kids liked it. There's a lot of food, including fruit, but it's not prepared with much love. What do you expect from a chain?

          1. The plates can look quite spectacular and the fresh fruit is often fine. The simple breakfast foods are expensive for what you get. The more elaborate things on the menu can sound great, but tend to be boring assemblies of pre-packaged foods, tasteless sauces, and the like. No, it isn't prepared with love.

            In some communities I'll eat at Chez Cora. In Toronto, I can't see the point. But it isn't overtly "bad" food. Just not special.

            3 Replies
            1. re: embee

              It is also a bit hectic. It is a great tourist spot or when you are pumped up to start your day rather than slip into it.

              I find the pricing to be out of line.

              The coffee is average, but to be honest I havent been back since it first opened on Blue Jays Way by the dome. I would NEVER stand in that line.

              1. re: deelicious

                It's true - that line is hilarious. My husband and I used to pass by a lot on weekends and get all befuddled. Like, 'it looks like a typical chain (signage, decor, menu) - what are we missing that there's this huge lineup?!!'

                One day we happened to be in the suburbs where the lines are shorter; saw one and went in. It was fine - exactly what we'd have guessed - and nowhere near justifying those ludicrous lineups.

                1. re: spigot

                  Except sadly there are no choices within the immediate area...

            2. I agree, its VERY rushed. If you are looking for a leisurely breakfast this is definately not the place.

              1. Cora's isn't "bad" - its just really not worth the CRAZY line-ups! (I'm talking about the joint on Wellington and Blue Jays Way here that has 30 minute line-ups outside in the cold all weekend long). There are equally good alternatives around, and as stated, cora's is pretty pricey.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Tboy

                  We live close to the Wellington & Blue Jays Way location and have had the same issues with the line-up. We used to go to Cora's back when it first opened before it got crazy busy, but now it just isn't worth the wait. What do you think are good alternatives in the area?

                2. I think the pricing is absolutely out of line ( like double ) when you consider that a greasy spoon can do the basics far better, as well last time i was at the one on wellington i my server was so unattentive and unconcerned i don't think i'd ever return

                  1. Cora's is OK, there are many alternatives to the "regular" breakfast, that's what makes it kind of unique. Personally, I Only tried Cora's once in Ontario, and will probably just stick to Chez Cora in Quebec when im in that area. I dont find them as fresh or consistant since they moved into Ontario...is it just me??? My favorite thing to order (as someone mentioned above) is the omelette stuffed crepe covered in holondaise sauce....YUMMY. All in all, its worth a try, but as others mentioned, it is pricy.

                    1. One opened here in calgary, and they had a review of the place on the radio this morning strangly enough. The review was not favorable. But with all the maritimers moving here they have a good built-in client base. Must be an "eastern" thing

                      1. I've eaten at Cora's in Kingston and Montreal, both were just meh. I should be their target audience since I hate eggs and don't eat meat, but even with all the yoghurt, fruit and waffle/crepe options nothing stands out as great. And I think hubby got weiners instead of the requested sausage with his eggs. Service was slow, and their coffee was bad. I don't understand how a breakfast place can get away with bad coffee.

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: deelicious

                            I don't understand the tim hortons coffee craze, or starbucks for that matter. Their coffee sucks big time.

                        1. Maritimers??? There speaks a true westerner. As far as I know it's a Quebec chain.

                          1. The service in the Ottawa locations is spotty at best; surly at worst.

                            1. I went there, it was ok, the waffles were very filling, but their custard tasted like soap, and i had an odd taste in my mouth when I left.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: wifiman

                                They charge a lot of money for a ton of assembly-line food (much of which the small to average eater will leave behind), albeit attractively plated. The appeal for me is the freshly blended all-fruit smoothies. I was ecstatic to find a large fruit plate on the menu, but disappointed to find that much of the fruit was not ripe. I wound up only eating half, leaving behind unripe kiwifruit cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple, and a very sour apple. I definitely agree with the "no love in the cooking" comments, but at my location in Windsor, the staff are very friendly and attentive. The service is what makes the place appealing.

                                1. re: 1sweetpea

                                  That's my primary beef with the place, too: any restaurant with such a strong focus on fruit should at least provide stuff that's ripe. So much of Cora's fruit is unripe that the dishes become laborious to eat instead of pleasant.

                                  This place used to be a lot better years ago... now it's just expensively disappointing. I went to an Ottawa location a few months back with a friend, and both of us found the unripe fruit plentiful and the other toppings (e.g. custard) virtually non-existent. Also, the fact that they were charging for maple syrup on top of all that was a slap to the face that made it all unbearable.

                                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                                    See the problem is that the ordering schedule for most of its chain restaurants are weekly. The fruit is weekly so if you come in at the beginning of the week. Monday, Tuesday Wednesday you tend to get unripened fruit since its shipped unripened. Now if you come in Thurs, Fri, and Sat/sun you will get sweeter fruits cause they have had the time to sweeten up.

                                    1. re: HelloThankyou

                                      Twice I'm been on a Sunday (many moons ago) and both times much of the fruit were hard as rocks and flavourless.

                                2. Well I admit I'm guilty of eating at Cora's from time to time when I'm staying downtown Montreal; but I always leave feeling unsatisfied and thinking "Wow, I spent WAY too much on that meal".. Definitely would pick any other all-day-breakfast joint before it. Sunset Grill is kind of the same way

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: duckdown

                                    I agree with your assessment of Cora's. Too much money for crappy food and service is usually indifferent at best. However, I having been going to the Sunset Grill for years and find it aways a good value--for a greasy spoon breakfast joint.

                                    1. re: food_whiz

                                      I was underwhelmed once I got the bill. Out in Pickering you can't throw an egg without hitting a decent 'spoon that can do the same or better for less money. The value just isn't there.
                                      That said, I do like what they do with their homefries. There's a lemony taste that's very refreshing. Don't know what they do to it but that's the only thing that would bring me back.

                                      1. re: food_whiz

                                        Sunset Grill is an excellent alternative to Cora's. They provide solid, no frills, tasty breakfasts at a good price point.

                                        Cora's promises something it can't deliver and an excessive price point.

                                    2. One thing about Cora's is that it's much more family friendly than greasy spoons. Now that I have kids, it's a huge factor to have a place that is not cramped, has plenty of high chairs, and little things for the kids (coloring, balloons, etc)

                                      So far the new location at 16th/404 is not packed at all which is good, I can take my family for leisurely breakfasts!

                                      All the fruit is also good for the kids as well

                                      1. I like Cora's but their coffee is really blahhhh and that is enough to deter me from going
                                        as for the long lineups and the busyness
                                        the key is to get there early and then you don't even notice any of that

                                        Cora's Breakfast & Lunch
                                        240 North Service Rd W, Oakville, ON L6M2Y5, CA

                                        1. I personally hated Cora's because everything that had eggs was swimming in hollandaise, and everything that didn't (crepes, waffles, etc) was covered in custard. I hate hollandaise and custard, so not my thing. When ordered without, the dishes tend to be pretty dry and flavourless.

                                          It was a very dessert-y breakfast experience as a whole. One dish I did like was the peanut butter/banana/bacon crepe.

                                          1. we waited in a big line to try Cora's, only have to wait 40 mins for our breakfast. And it really wasn't worth the wait. Nothing great. Fancy fruit is nice, but I was not impressed and have not gone back since and I don't intend to. I'd rather go to another local breakfast place for less than half the price for a big breakfast.

                                            1. I do agree that it's expensive, but overall I love Cora's.

                                              There are few other places that give you the helping and variation of fresh fruit that they do as a side. I'm not a person to just order fruit (I want meat and eggs as well), so it's nice to get that without ordering it extra. I also like the home fries and am a fan of the coffee.

                                              1. We ate at one of the Ottawa locations....once. It was my daughter's birthday. The food was pretty awful. My son had a waffle with this horrible sweet topping that tasted like boxed vanilla pudding. My eggs weren't even seasoned, and there was zero effort made on the garnish front on my plate. Would never go back.

                                                1. I live in Woodbridge and I concur that the Cora there is awful. I used to live in Montreal and the Cora's there were far superior. I haven't been to any Cora's in Ontario (3 now, I don't go out of my way to find them though) that has been able to replicate the quality of food and service that I had in Montreal. I don't know why, breakfast fare is pretty basic to me. So our household doesn't really brunch out much anymore. Wish I could find a decent brunch place near. Sigh!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: BanhMi

                                                    i've never had anything that I really liked at cora's....

                                                  2. Never been so I won't say it's good or bad, but this article says that it's bad for you...


                                                    1. For breakfast, try Tutti Frutti at Latimer Drive (south of Britannia) in Heartland, Mississauga. Or Marish's Boulangerie at Lakeshore (west of Hurontario) in Port Credit, Mississauga. I wasn't impressed with the two Coras I've eaten here. The Cora in Montreal was better, but there were many other alternatives there.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: Tony8952

                                                        After unloading a good deal of Frank's Red Hot Sauce on my omelette, it had a little bit of flavour.

                                                        I go to Cora's once or twice a year, whenever my parents come to town for a visit. The first time, I thought it was okay. I liked the all-fruit smoothies and the fruit seemed pretty good. Each subsequent time, I've found that everything drops a notch in flavour. This past visit, it seemed the smoothie was watered down, both in flavour and in texture. The potatoes seem more boiled than roasted or fried. They tasted like they'd come from a can. The veggies in the omelettes look like they might have been previously frozen. There's just no attempt to cook with any seasonings beyond oil and sugar. The only person who seemed happy with his meal was my dad, who ordered porridge. I can't figure out why anyone ordering porridge also wants toast, but whatever.

                                                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                          It's expensive and the coffee is bad. I like the fresh fruit that comes with each dish. My biggest beef is with the eggs benedict. The English muffin always tastes like it is half defrosted. Absolutely disgusting.

                                                          1. re: torontobelly

                                                            Cora's is like any of the other chain breakfast joints(Boom,Eggspectaions,Sunset Grill)Overpriced pre fab food with a little fruit on the plate made by cooks with no love whatsoever.I'd rather spend my money at a Mom&Pop greasy spoon any day.

                                                            1. re: petek

                                                              I find its crazy overpriced for the predone food they offer.

                                                              1. re: kaymanti

                                                                In Cora's favour I must say that the sesame bagels I used to grab for breakfast from the Dufferin & Steeles branch were a life saver, they would toast them dark for me, and would throw in a bunch of fruit along with the cream cheese. $5 approx. Kept me sustained all morning.

                                                              2. re: petek

                                                                We've always amazed at the lineups at the downtown Toronto Cora's on the weekend. Even when the weather is bad there's always a lineup. I've been to Cora's several times in Montreal and Toronto. They're overpriced and just meh for food. We much prefer our nearby greasy spoon. Much cheaper, faster, less people and have never been dissatisfied with the food.

                                                        2. We've been to Cora's for the first time in late summer on Carlton St. We were there with in laws and a small child. I liked the fruit but I recall somebody had pineapple which was completely unripe. I'm still looking for a place where we can go for a late breakfast or brunch. Somewhere downtown or east of Yonge St. It's a lovely way to get to together for a relaxed Sunday.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: serbianbelle

                                                            I haven't been,but Lola's Commissary on Church south of Bloor gets a lot of love from Chowhounders

                                                            1. re: petek

                                                              I live in the hood and Lola's by far your best brunch option in the area. They serve until 3PM if that's late enough for you. You rarely have to wait for a table and the food and service are fantastic. Wish is another solid option but it can be tricky to get a table there during the brunch rush.


                                                            2. re: serbianbelle

                                                              In the same area as that Cora's I have had good breakfast at Daybreak (corner of Church and Carlton). Also the Rainbow Cafe further north on Church.