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John's Italian Cafe @ Baldwin (WTF?)

chiujason Apr 22, 2007 02:34 PM

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.

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  1. p
    paper_bag_princess RE: chiujason Apr 22, 2007 03:15 PM

    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
      Moorepark RE: paper_bag_princess Apr 22, 2007 05:10 PM

      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
        Fwagra RE: Moorepark Apr 22, 2007 05:15 PM

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

        1. re: Fwagra
          BK67 RE: Fwagra Apr 22, 2007 06:25 PM

          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
            Full tummy RE: Fwagra Apr 22, 2007 06:52 PM

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

            1. re: Full tummy
              dlw88 RE: Full tummy Apr 22, 2007 07:43 PM

              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: dlw88
                oralfixation RE: dlw88 Apr 24, 2007 06:10 PM


                1. re: oralfixation
                  dlw88 RE: oralfixation Apr 24, 2007 06:23 PM


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

                  1. re: dlw88
                    oralfixation RE: dlw88 Apr 24, 2007 08:04 PM

                    Neat. I love that window.

                    1. re: dlw88
                      ziggystardust RE: dlw88 Nov 25, 2007 02:16 PM

                      Would that be the sign in Hebrew?

          2. re: paper_bag_princess
            chiujason RE: paper_bag_princess Apr 22, 2007 08:07 PM

            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. NovoCuisine RE: chiujason Apr 23, 2007 06:33 AM

            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. re: NovoCuisine
              Brain of J RE: NovoCuisine Apr 25, 2007 08:25 AM

              Is this them?


            2. i
              I like to eat out RE: chiujason Apr 24, 2007 08:10 PM

              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
                Googs RE: I like to eat out Apr 25, 2007 11:13 AM

                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. d
                ddelicious RE: chiujason Apr 25, 2007 09:26 AM

                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. vorpal RE: chiujason May 1, 2007 05:42 AM

                  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
                    Moorepark RE: vorpal May 1, 2007 07:14 AM

                    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. Food Tourist RE: chiujason Nov 25, 2007 11:58 AM

                    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
                    1. re: Food Tourist
                      Yongeman RE: Food Tourist Nov 26, 2007 12:28 AM

                      Ha! Land mines...good one, FT.

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