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Linda ..has gone down (review)

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BF and I went to Linda's (aka pricier version of Salad King) last night and I am sorry to report that the quality of the food had dropped considerably comparing with the meal i had there 2 years ago.

to start off with, the service was just not on the same par. we arrived around 8:30pm, without a reseravtion, and was transfered to 3 different tables, because "the server didnt know the table was reserved".

we shared a bottle gewuistraminer from chili for $40, a less than satisfying botttle, albiet the price.

the appetizer was the worst part of the meal. we shared a pan seared scallop at 8$: it was HORRIBLe. the Worst app i 've ever had in toronto. two tiny pieces of scallop with an over-tangy vinegratte: it tasted really bad. The two pieces of peppered crusted scallops was jus t Nasty, yes, Nasty. they were starchy, over-salted, and flavorless.
(during the quality check for the appetizer, our server "Linda", after hearing our comment for the appetizer, said "o really?!" and walked).

i had the golden tofu, which was very delicious, except that it costs half the price to have the same dish downstairs. BF had the cripsy duck, which was Dry and skimpy. the 'crepe' that came with the cripsy duck was So small and flavorless, and also way too tough. So what if the duck legs were deboned table-side? our server looked like he didnt want to be there, and the food was just way worse than what I had two years ago.

What a shame.

maybe I will give salad king another chance. but Linda....definitely a miss for us.

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  1. Sorry you were disappointed. This has been one of my favourite places ever since it opened and it was excellent when I was there last week.
    I usually order a Gewurztraminer from Alsace for about $40 or a riesling (slightly higher). The Chilean gewurtz is pretty mild - I though it was around $35.
    Our appetizer was the phenomenal Mieng Kum - a sort of do-it-yourself leaf wrap with around half a dozen small pots of different ingredients to add to your taste (we had originally asked for the lettuce wrap but Linda suggested this as an alternative). She also suggested the crispy duck, but that's not my favourite dish there (I far prefer the smoked duck breast in red curry sauce) but her other suggestion was the Panang Beef. This was astonishing - I've always liked the Panang curries but the meat in this one was amazingly tender with super flavour, but with a crisp coating to add texture.
    Our other dish was the cornish hen. It's prepared simply and quartered and comes with a tangy sauce and a 'wasabi salt' - one of my favourite condiments ever. I can't think of a better "chicken" dish in the city (although churrasco chicken occasionally comes close).
    At around $100 for the meal it costs more than most Thai places - but the selection and quality are amazing. And I have no complaints with the service (although they certainly know me by sight now).
    Of course it's cheaper downstairs. Back in my student days (and even now when I just want 'food' rather than 'dining') I would always have chosen the cheaper alternative - but sitting at communal tables with the opportunity to meet new people would also have been more attractive!
    I think you just had a bad night. The food (for me) is still immensely enjoyable.

    3 Replies
    1. re: estufarian

      I have not been to Linda's since the late fall.
      So sad to hear of your bad experience.
      More than one misshap as well!
      I do love their Panang beef and Cornish Hen.
      The Wabasi salt (sometimes served with lime) is a common side condiment in S.E. Asia, so simple and delicious.
      The difference for me is that most Thai restaurants in Toronto serve dishes similar to the wonderful street foods of Thailand, but Linda was more refined, the step above.
      Toronto really lacks upscale Thai as well as Vietnamese restaurants.

      1. re: estufarian

        I agree, Estufarian. The Mieng Kum was excellent when I was there in April, as was a lobster and barley soup that was part of the set menu. The Panang Beef was the tastiest version of Panang curry I have ever tried.

        1. re: estufarian

          Oh god that Cornish hen, I nearly lost my mind eating it. So good.

          I like Linda's a lot, but I wouldn't order dishes that are shared with Salad King downstairs. For me the point is the fusion-y stuff.

        2. Have not been to Linda recently but my last visit there was very good with their tasting menu. However, I do think the food at Salad King is not as good as before in my last few visits recently, but it is still ok and there is always a line up.

          1. It's unforunate your experience with Linda was preceived in such manner. Linda's is one of my fave Thai restaurant in Toronto. Food has always been consistent and the service has always been excellent there.

            I really enjoy the gewuistraminer there...it's a lighter kind of white wine but it's an excellent combination with spicy thai food. I would suggest their pinot grigo as well. It's perfect to go with their chilies.

            I love their Beef Ribs there....marinated and juicy...quite delicious and you must give the fish curry hot pot a try.....it's one of my fave dishes there. The Mieng Kum is phenomenal. It;s the perfect appetizer for the summer...refreshing and quite fun to eat.

            I have no compliments with their service....the servers have always been friendly, attentive and on top with everything at my table. I guess it really depends on how busy they are that night...but from my experiences, even with the restaurant being packed, I find the service at Linda's has always been excellent unlike some other fine dining restaurants out there.

            I have recommended Linda's to all of my friends and it has not disappoint.