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Who's Been To The Sultan's Tent / Cafe Maroc?

m
Moorepark Apr 11, 2007 12:37 PM

I'm taking a friend out to dinner for his birthday next week and he suggested we try The Sultan's Tent. Because of its location in the middle of the Front Street tourist strip, I'm a bit apprehensive about the quality of the food and general experience.

Anyone have any first hand experience with this place?

  1. diesta Apr 11, 2007 01:12 PM

    I found the food to be below average; underwhelming flavours, poorly cooked (on one plate something undercooked, yet something else overcooked) and a place with flavours not representative of the middle east.

    Service was abysmal and inconsistent; up to an hour between courses, and no communication about why things were so slow despite asking several times--I don't like to be rushed in my meals by any stretch, but this was an extreme.

    Personally, I will not venture back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: diesta
      j
      jcanncuk Apr 11, 2007 05:01 PM

      Sultan's Tent is just scary. I ate there once last year - we were too late to get into JK Wine Bar (2 hr wait) and we were starving. Couldn't think of anything else in the 'hood so off we went. I felt like I was eating at a resto in Epcot Centre at Disneyworld. Need I say more?

    2. Mike from Hamilton Apr 12, 2007 05:11 AM

      I found Sultan's Tent to be a poor approximation of Moroccan Food, but of the two locations I would suggest Cafe Maroc as you can order EXACTLY what you want and not have to contend with the "prix fixe" menu with upgrades. It should be noted that the "prix fixe" at the Sultan's Tent (and I use quotations for a damn good reason) can reach up to $80 a person with upgrades and drinks, despite the initial $40 price tag.

      There are other Morrocan Restaurants in Toronto with better quality food...but I suppose you won't get the "ambience" of the Sultan's Tent...

      1. vorpal Apr 12, 2007 05:55 AM

        I ate at the Sultan's Tent in January, and it was very disappointing. The food and drink, with the exception of the maftoul and Moroccan tea, was poorly prepared: the meat was overcooked and the flavourings badly matched. The bellydancing sounded like a good idea in theory but made both me and my dinner guest uncomfortable in practice, at least in our case: the dancer (there was only one when we were there) kept coming right up to our table and if we looked at her, we felt like we were ogling her. I would not recommend this experience to anyone. You could do a lot better.

        1. f
          Fetter Apr 12, 2007 10:42 AM

          Ok, this isn't exactly the same type of food, but my friend who is Morrocan actually loves this place (over Sultan's)... THE RED VIOLIN 95 Danforth Avenue - 416-465-0969
          It is Brazilian style food. He loves the atmosphere and the way the food is served.

          It's worth looking up online and seeing if it might interest you and your friend.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Fetter
            Mike from Hamilton Apr 12, 2007 11:44 AM

            It looks like several threads about this place have been removed from the Chowhound archives. Suffice it to say, if you like heavily salted, garlicked and overcooked meats in abundance, buffets that look like they have sat out for hours and eating in a dance studio, you'll love this place!

          2. orangewasabi Apr 12, 2007 06:43 PM

            The food at Sultan's tent is bland and incredibly over priced.

            If you must go, be sure to have the tea, its' the only redeemable item on the menu.

            1. h
              hellohellokitty Nov 6, 2007 01:27 PM

              I went to the Sultan's Tent last Saturday night for my friend's birthday party. I haven't been to the restaurant in a couple of years so I was pretty excited about eating there again (Yes, I have had positive experiences with both the service and the food in the past) and writing a mini review here! We were a group of 10 and had a reservation in the Tent section for the 4-course prix fixe menu...

              Atmosphere: I love the way this place looks - the drapes, candles, and cushions. Cozy, inviting, and very sumptious. I would, however, suggest wearing a short sleeved top as I always find it gets warm in there.

              Service: Our server was a friendly and amusing fellow. He was also quite knowledgeable about the menu, helping the first-timers by making suggestions and recommendations. I have read some reviews about how slowly the food came out - we did not experience this problem -our food came out one course after another in quick succession, the dining area was packed but I do keep in mind that we sat in the 10:30pm seating...

              Food: I have always enjoyed the food at the Sultan's Tent. Not so much this time. I started off with the Harira - a spiced lentil and bean soup. I was a little disappointed as I thought that it tasted like a warm, slightly bland, watered-down version of the rich and fragrant soup that I had on my previous visit. A friend concurred.

              I added the B'Stila to my meal for an added cost. DO NOT ORDER THIS. When our server said that some people found it was a little dry in the centre, he underexaggerated...it was completely dry! It was stuffed with dry shredded chicken but little else. I don't think that I've seen so much powdered sugar as a plate garnish! I ate a bit of it (washed down with a glass of water), gave a piece to a friend and left the remaining half on the plate. Another friend ordered the crab cake and didn't like it at all. I tried some and found it a little too moist for my liking (I wasn't sure if it was totally cooked through...).

              For my main, I had the Cous Cous Royale which consisted of a lamb chop, 3 merguez sausages, chicken supreme, morrocan root veggies and cous cous with tangine sauce. I really enjoyed this dish - the chicken was meaty and juicy, the sausages were tasty, and the lamb chop, though a little small, was really quite good. I was pretty full at this point so I didn't bother with the mound of cous cous on my plate. There were rave reviews about the lamb shank. I must say that if you go to the Sultan's Tent, you can't go wrong with the lamb! According to the server, they've won awards for having the best rack of lamb in the city. One of our party is a vegetarian (who could eat chicken and fish but prefers not to) and was disappointed that there was no vegetarian option on the menu...

              For dessert, I chose to have a creme brulee. It was delicious. A couple of our party ordered what is called the Chocolate Oasis - described by our server as "a spoon of flour and the rest chocolate...". It sounded decadent...but tasted like a heavy dense chocolate pudding - waaaay too rich to have more than a spoonful.

              Food aside, I would say that we had a pleasant time at the Sultan's Tent. Our bill including alcohol, surcharges, taxes and gratuity came out to be approx. $80 per person. It is quite a novel experience to eat inside a tent and to be entertained by a bellydancer - and fun if you're with a group of people. But, if it's the food you're after, stick to Cafe Maroc (the a la carte version).

              1. c
                City_West Nov 6, 2007 01:35 PM

                Just don't go to this place, it's soo bad. The first and only time I've been was with a group of friends. It was a bad night, I think the low point was our waiter talking about how it was a "great job serving there because it's prix fixe, kind of expensive, and not even fine dining". Just don't go, please for me.

                1. t
                  torontokeywest Nov 7, 2007 07:08 AM

                  Bad. Just bad food, bland, few choices. We went there because my sister is a vegetarian and there were a few interesting sounding choices for her...unfortunately, even the addition of meat couldnt bring any flavour to either the with or without meat courses. The belly dancing was awkward. Unless you were totally wasted, the sight of a near naked woman shimmying down the isle was just silly. Sitting on cushions and low seating in a draped area sounds romantic but when you are sharing that area with strangers sitting 2 feet away from you, well, more awkwardness. It was like checking into a Morrocan themed Holiday Inn and finding someone else sleeping in your bed. One expected to see the tour buses pull up at any minute. Scary place, overpriced, bland. A comical stereotype of a lovely culture. It's actually embarassing. Avoid.

                  1. s
                    Snarf Nov 7, 2007 07:37 AM

                    I think that there is a reason it's located where it is. Mainly for the tourist crowd. The last time I went was approximately ten years ago, and the descriptions here don't sound any different. If you're going for the experience, or with kids, maybe you might get something out of this. If you're interested in the food, try 93 Harbord. Much has been written here about the great quality, knowledgeable service, and innovative menu.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Snarf
                      e
                      ekammin Nov 7, 2007 09:54 AM

                      If you want North African food, what about Boujadi?

                    2. a
                      apple_pie Jan 29, 2008 01:00 PM

                      a bit hesitant due to all the negative reviews
                      what can i order if i HAVE to go here? (friend's birthday party, and she's planned it here)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: apple_pie
                        vorpal Jan 30, 2008 04:19 AM

                        I can't speak on mains, as I didn't like mine much, nor did I enjoy my dinner companion's dish. (Lamb and salmon, I believe.)

                        The maftoul appetizer, though, was absolutely delicious. I plan on visiting Cafe Marco in the future just for a few orders of those.

                      2. a
                        Apple Jan 29, 2008 04:01 PM

                        I would rather not eat at Sultan's Tent again. The first time I thought the food was bland. We tried it again several years later thinking that it was worth a shot. It's not. It is over-priced (anything you think you want to eat is an upgrade on the prix fixe menu) and then the food arrives and you realize that the food is bland and dry tasting. I would rather eat at Wendy's close by.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Apple
                          Charles Yu Jan 29, 2008 04:14 PM

                          I concur! Ate there only once. Found the food very salty and 'overcooked-dry'. Never again!

                          1. re: Charles Yu
                            1sweetpea Nov 16, 2008 12:38 PM

                            I went to the Sultan's Tent with my parents and boyfriend. Our experience was that seating and performance times were tight, so our meal service was uncomfortably rushed. One of my dishes was whisked away before I had taken my last bite, in order to make room for the next course. There was no time for chit chat or enjoying any aspect of the meal, with such a pace set by the kitchen. Food was arriving during the performance, so we were struggling to peer around the pillars and curtains to even see the dancers while simultaneously shovelling food in our mouths. The food quality was poor. I've been to Morocco and had some outstanding meals and some not so great ones, but everything at the Sultan's Tent completely paled in comparison. I had a better meal at Boujadi, but even it is not without its flaws. I would like to recommend the harira at Millie's Bistro on Avenue Rd. I have a love-hate relationship with that restaurant. The servers can be obnoxious, the mains so-so and the food is pricier than it need be, but the harira is really nice. Their harissa is mind-blowingly hot, which I've twice underestimated, then used too much and nearly destroyed my tastebuds.

                            1. re: 1sweetpea
                              s
                              stonedtoronto Dec 1, 2008 11:16 PM

                              I couldn't agree more with most of the posts here. I went there twice in the past year. It's like I didn't learn my lesson the first time. I went the second time because I knew there were some vegetarian options that my friend might like.

                              She said she enjoyed the night, atmosphere, and food. I didn't have the heart to tell her that the food was very bland. Our bill came to $190 including taxes and tip, which would be acceptable if this was fine dining, but it's not. Don't let the prix fixe fool you.

                              The atmosphere is good though. That's why I went again. The belly dancer although awkward to some, is entertaining to others, especially my friend, who proceeded to take a crack at it.

                              Our server completely forgot an entire course! Seriously, how does that even happen? But other than that, our server was attentive. Although my friend complimented on the food, she doesn't do fine dining often. I took her to Scaramouche a few weeks later. I think she realizes now what good food should be.

                              I won't be going back to Sultan's Tent again. The atmosphere is great, but the poor food brings it down too much. I'll take my $190 elsewhere next time.

                        2. Sooeygun Dec 3, 2008 09:30 AM

                          I have been once with a group of friends and wouldn't go again. The food was overpriced and unremarkable. The waiter was pushy and kept trying to upsell.

                          One of the girls that usually joined us on these dinner outings wouldn't come. She is in a dance troupe and said the dancing at the Sultan's Tent was appallingly bad and not particularly authentic.

                          1. f
                            FrenchSoda Jul 10, 2009 11:47 AM

                            I was at the Sultan's tent for a company event recently. While I have to agree with most of the posters here on the overpriced, not-so-great food (fortunately it wasn't my dime!), I'd like to put in a word for the absolutely stellar service we received.

                            Two people in my group are deathly allergic to shrimp, including myself. The staff was so careful with our dishes to the extent that the two of us actually had our own separate waiter in case his hands had touched another plate. They were amazingly sensitive to the situation and helpful.

                            Sadly given the food I won't go back, but kudos and thanks to the team.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: FrenchSoda
                              w
                              withinyourken Jul 15, 2009 12:40 PM

                              My wife and I ate from the Summerlicious menu. $25 pp is average for a 3-course meal in DT TO, so I wasn't expecting 5 star food. Results: Mixed. Beef ribs: good. Mango glazed salmon: fish was done well, but the mango glaze was not sophisticated. Dressing in smoked duck salad was too strong. Basmati rice was slightly tough and lacked flavour. Desserts were fine. Service was good. Overall, the savory foods were good, but they need work on the sweet stuff. Also, they should warn you if the recommended wine-by-the-glass is $12.75! Sticker shock!

                              I think that if I was flexible about location, there's better and less expensive Moroccan food out there somewhere than they served us.

                              1. re: withinyourken
                                Ediblethoughts Jul 15, 2009 01:45 PM

                                I ate there also for Summerlicious for lunch and quite enjoyed it (Cafe Moroc). The veg harrisa soup was nice if a little sour; the salmon with sweet potatoes was very nicely cooked; the creme brulee was very good. The people I went with had been to Summerlicious there the year before and enjoyed it then; in particular they liked the "cigars" for appetizer (ground meat, philo, some spices) and the fries with interesting seasoning with the beef main. The service was very friendly but it took forever to get served--probably the noon lunch on Friday affect. Still, a very cosy atmosphere and good food.

                                1. re: withinyourken
                                  GoodGravy Jul 17, 2009 09:38 PM

                                  I ate from the Summerlicious menu as well. The duck breast salad was a little dry and the braised lamb needed more spicing and flavor. It wasn't bland, but wasn't as flavorful as I would've thought something braised would be. The creme brulee was nice though.

                                  1. re: GoodGravy
                                    d
                                    dimsumyum Jul 19, 2009 02:08 PM

                                    went last night, and am planning to never go back.

                                    the service wasn't too shabby, however, the 4 course meal is a complete farce. with a 39.99 price tag for the bare bones meal that is terribe and simple not very good, this is definately a place that uses its novelty (e.g. belly dancing and eating under tents) to bring the people in the door.... only to never return.

                                    1. re: dimsumyum
                                      m
                                      monazike Jan 15, 2010 01:30 PM

                                      I heard about that place (mostly bad) but I know for sure that the Moroccan cuisine is on of the bests in the world, so I went there last week and guess what? I and 2 friends ordered 2 different entrees and we didn't even get to the second bite, we paid and left.
                                      The place is nice but the food is not Moroccan (?)

                                      -----
                                      Sultan's Tent
                                      49 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E1B3, CA

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