HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Canoe - summerlicious

Anyone know what's wrong with Canoe's reservation line? Been trying hours to get thru the line, but always getting busy signal.........

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. there's nothing wrong... that's just how it is!

    i got a reservation one year and it took two of us on the phone pretty much all day long. luck would have it that we got through. then they stop taking reservations after a certain hour and so it's false hope when you hear it ring.

    1. Forget it, they do not even take reservation for me when I went up there in person a few years ago.

      1. Tried to book some other restaurants for lunch on Saturday and none of them offer the summerlicious menu~ sigh

        1. Guess I was "lucky". Had my fingers on the Talk and Redial buttons. After god know how many tries in half an hour, finally I got thru! but then you get a recording, then it rings and rings and rings... The recording did say the line is open to 6pm so I kept waiting. After about 20 minutes, I was just about to throw down my headset in digust, when a person finally picked up. At 3pm on the first day of reservations, the only lunch openings left are for after 2 pm. Not ideal but went for it anyway, I'm not doing this again for the next Licious!

          1. I've been trying on and off the whole afternoon. No luck. Same with Bymark except the call did go through once and no one picked up after around 20 rings.

            1. I'm starting to think it's easier to just pay full price at places like Canoe or Bymark and forget about the prix fix promotion.

              7 Replies
              1. re: climacus

                the licious concept has had the popularity prove it's flaws, both in the way you get reservations, and in the way restaurants handle how they deal with things.

                From the reservations standpoint, it's pure chaos. There is NO reason as to why this cannot be automated Restos sign up for it, they tell the organizing group how many seats per night they want to hold and the times of the seatings. On launch day you should go online and select where you want to eat and what time. The first 50% of the seats are first come first serve....the remainder are done randomly via draw for those that visited that day. If any seats are left over they are opened up to first come first serve again for the remainder of the licious event. The software for this can be put together in a week. Restos don't want the hassle of ringing phones all day every day for a week (TD Tower definately doesn't need it's phone systems going down again) and you and I don't want to sit on redial all day long.

                I am an amex holder and the front of a line palaver is a waste of time; half the places don't ask for the Amex number when you call (because they are trying to get you off the phone quickly and because a lot of places don't even like accepting Amex'). For places like Bymark and Canoe and the like, the non-Amex person will rarely if ever be able to get a table.

                Resto's cram as many people in as possible to maximize revenue during this time--they wouldn't do it any other days but think they can get away with it during licious events....for winterlicious I had 9pm seating at Thuet...the lineup was out the door still at 930, we got moved to stand behind a serving area in the back of the room at 10pm and at 1025 we were led to our table...while being told we should be gratetful that we can get a 500$ meal for 25 percent of the price.

                1. re: diesta

                  Exact description of Licious event. Not sure if the post will get cut soon !

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    it will, since it's about thuet.

                    them alarm bells are ringing already in the chowhound hq's.

                  2. re: diesta

                    diesta- your auto-reso idea is great. if you are able you should totally package that idea and see if you can't sell it to the summerlicious organisers. i'm sure restaurants as well as customers would prefer the convenience- and a more organised system for the chaos. isn't the system for buying tickets for the TIFF like that?

                    as it stands- hundreds of people are calling to get their summerlicious resos right now- and most restos only have one phone line and- at best- one person designated to answer calls. so be patient- keep trying. hopefully the organisation of licious events will improve with time.

                    1. re: excuse me miss

                      It took three of us four hours of calling to get through to Canoe- in the end, I finally got an open line, heard the voice mail message about Summerlicious, and was asked to press "1" to make a reservation. I was transferred and the telephone rang for 17 minutes before someone picked up, and I was able to make our reservation.

                      It takes a lot of patience (not my strength at all).

                      As for the AM/EX issue, all four restaurants we called asked for the first four digits of the card, and one asked for the last five too.

                    2. re: climacus

                      I totally agree. Its not only easier to pay full price but pay full price after the 'licious' thing. You'll get better food and better service. And even if you get through to the canoe reservations line, the food during this time is nothing that blows you away. Why waste your time at work redialing.

                    3. Don't get me wrong, Canoe is one of the better restaurants in the city. Is the work really worth the reward, maybe if it was the French Laundry. Bonacini and company do know they have a good thing going. The word of mouth generated by their "off the hook" publicity every 6 months is invaluable. They'll be silly to drop themselves off the list like many other higher end restaurants have done so already.

                      It's become a bragging rights event every time restaurant week comes around, just to glout about snagging a table at Canoe. Personally speaking, if I really wanted to eat there that bad, I rather just go for the regular menu and avoid the unnecessary hassles.

                      1. Called at 10:30 on the 21st ... got to a person finally at 11, and they told me they were already all booked up. Oh well.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: gloriana232

                          I tried too....no luck....same thing with Bymark..busy, busy, busy.
                          I dont have a phone with that automatic redial button...but I should invest in one.
                          I thought of dropping in to make a reservation..but I see that doesnt help either (based on someones previous posting). Oh well.....maybe Winterlicious I will have better luck??..LOL

                          1. re: domesticgodess

                            Bymark (along with some other 'licious restaurants) has an online reservation service through OpenTable. I was able to get a dinner reservation yesterday online with no hassles. They're probably booked solid now though.

                            1. re: jiimi

                              Canoe is on opentable.com as well, but you can't book their Licious seatings thru that site, AFAIK.

                              1. re: Teep

                                If you dine at Canoe on any day during Summerlicious, I'm pretty sure that they have to allow you to order off of the prix fixe menu if you wish, even if you book your reservation through other means. The same applies to every restaurant participating in the event.

                                1. re: gregclow

                                  ummmm....all of the summerlicious advertising i've seen says "some restrictions may apply"
                                  so....better to check with individual restaurants' policies beforehand- rather than making a regular reservation, asking for summerlicious when you arrive, and maybe being disappointed.

                                  1. re: excuse me miss

                                    The agreement they sign with the city says that they have to provide the summerlicious menu to any customer that asks for it. If they do not report them and they will probably not be allowed to participate the next year.

                                    1. re: excuse me miss

                                      I know the email reservation I got from Bymark (through OpenTable) had this in the 'Notes' field:
                                      To take advantage of the Summerlicious fixed-price offering, be sure to request the special menu when you arrive.
                                      All of the OpenTable links are on the main Summerlicious restaurant list page as well, so it should be fine reserving through there.

                                      1. re: jiimi

                                        Ignore all the declaration they put in there.

                                        I am almost positive that they will let everyone see 2 menus (regular menu+one page for licious menu). One can order from either licious or regular or a mix from both !

                                        Think about it, does it make sense that licious customer can order food from reg. menu, reg. customer can order food from licious menu ?

                                  2. re: Teep

                                    You can book any of the restaurants that use OpenTable online for Summerlicious. There's a listing here:

                                    It states you just have to mention the Summerlicious menu when seated. I'm sure most, if not all, are booked solid by now anyways, but it's good to see that some of the restaurants are actually doing it online now. Should save people some time waiting on the phone in the future.

                                    1. re: jiimi

                                      I checked just now to save some of you time. Bymark still has spots available on opentable, whereas it's booked solid for Canoe.

                                      Somehow I think Canoe is wise to this loophole and has disabled reservations online for the summerlicious period. If you search next available date it all jumps to 7/23.

                                      I just came back from lunch at Bymark, it's consistent as usual. Excellent food, not exactly adventurous, but the flavours are all spot on. Go book on opentable before it's all gone.

                                      1. re: aser

                                        I used the system to try to book a table at Canoe for tonight to see what it does, it says "No tables available". When I changed the date to mid July, I get a message which is an apology that they are not taking online reservations for that period. So the end result is what I had known - you can't use Opentable to book Canoe for Licious.