HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

John's Italian Cafe @ Baldwin (WTF?)

So I just called there asking for a reservation, and the guy who picked up the phone just asked me how many people the reservation was for. I said 2, and he just said "Just come any time", and hung up.

WTF? That's just plain rude, and if you're not going to listen to your prospective customer, why even bother asking how many people? Just tell them that you don't want their business.

I want to have a nice evening out with my wife at an Italian place, so is too much to ask for that there be seats reserved for me when I get there?

Learn some manners, seriously.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. If you want a nice night out at an italian place definately do not go there, its awful.

    Terroni is much much much better. Not even in the same league really.

    10 Replies
    1. re: paper_bag_princess

      I have been to John's Italian Cafe several times, almost always because other people insist on going there and I have never had a positive experience. The food is mediocre at best, the service surly and the ambiance at best questionable. On a street full of neat places like the Matahari Grill, it is amazing to me that they are still in business.

      1. re: Moorepark

        I would like to add my name to the list of detractors. John's Italian Cafe is not good at all.

        1. re: Fwagra

          I haven't been there in a few years but always thought of it as more of a lunch time, grab a slice of pizza, kinda place.

          1. re: Fwagra

            And I agree, too. Hearty portions, but if it doesn't taste good, wtp?

            1. re: Full tummy

              I think they've fallen on hard times, and are simply frustrated with how empty the place is these days. I know that the real John has had nothing to do with this place for a few years now. I used to love their minestrone, antipasto for two, and potato pizza. The food is nothing like it used to be even four years ago. I still go by from time to time, as my family used to own the original creamery they took over next door.

                1. re: oralfixation

                  Mandels

                  The original sign is still in the window as a historic landmark.

          2. re: paper_bag_princess

            I walked in there off the street once, and the food was okay, so I thought it'd be a nice night to sit on a patio and enjoy some Italian. Looks like a few others have confirmed what I thought. I'm glad I didn't decide to go there after all.

          3. I really tire of places giving me attitude when I call to ask if they accept reservations; hey, if they don't have a website, and I have never been there before, how should I know?

            1 Reply
            1. My husband and I dropped by this restaurant for lunch today, the patio was about half full, the inside of the restaurant was empty. We asked to eat inside and were offered the table for two right at the entrance. We asked to seat further in the back (all tables were unoccupied) and were told they were reserved for tables for four persons. I did something I have never done before refusing to sit at the table we left. We had a great lunch at a cafe across the street, too bad for John's

              1 Reply
              1. re: I like to eat out

                By the cafe across the street from John's, do you mean Bodega? I quite like the place. Pretty decor, casual atmosphere, polite service, decent food.

              2. I think you might be expecting too much from this place. Sure, the guy should have been more polite on the phone. However, this is an extremely casual restaurant, and you don't need a reservation for 2. They have a great patio and the food is reasonably priced and decent. Nothing spectacular but decent and good value for the money, and the patio in the summer is lovely.

                1. John's is definitely hit-or-miss. The first time, a friend and I who usually end up eating at Thai Paradise or Matahari decided to give it a try to see what all the fuss was about, and we both had (and very much enjoyed the lasagna). I took my family back a few weeks later and while my parents loved it (they live in the country and anything edible to them is good food), the veal parmigiana was easily *the worst* I've ever had in my entire life: ugly, tough as nails, and unappealing in every way.

                  I don't know why this place is so popular; it seems packed to me when other gems on the street are virtually empty at times. I suspect it's because of the patio.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vorpal

                    I think you are right about John's patio. It's well located and picturesque.

                    On a warm, sunny day in Toronto, a cold beer outside on a patio covers up a multitude of food and service sins.

                  2. Without first consulting my trusted CH, I suddenly remembered that James Chatto or someone at TL had recently done a sweeping review of Baldwin Street, and I've never eaten in that 'hood, so I decided to finally chowhound there. Arriving at 9:30 pm on a Wednesday at Matahari to find that it was closing early, I then faced a food tourist's worst nightmare...too many choices, no internet nearby.

                    Again, going from a very limited memory, I walked purposefully into John's Italian, hoping for the best. All I can say is that my dimly-lit food was rustic, in a bad way. Soup of the day (pumpkin) lacked oomph and tastiness, even the accompanying pizza-style bread was lacklustre. Gnocchi with pesto and red peppers was drowning to death in garlic and oily sauce. I won't be back. I really should have read this board first! It doesn't pay to be a trail-blazer in well-travelled territory filled with landmines.

                    1 Reply