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Best/Worst Chowhound Tips

  • j

For every joint that gets a rave on this board, you can be sure someone else will regard the very same place as a washout. Understandable. Tastes in food differ - wildly. As to which view is the correct one, who knows? I've found that for every good tip I get on this board, three others are, in my view, duds. Which to me is a pretty good batting average in the game of where to eat.
To help sort out (somewhat) these differences of opinion, however, let us each nominate the best eating tip you ever got on this board, as well as the worst. To get us started, for me the best tip I ever got was Kenzo, a Japanese ramen spot on Yonge Street south of Steeles. I'd passed it many times, but it looked so forlorn in its little strip mall that I avoided it - until some enthusiastic tipster recommended it. I've been back many times. As for the worst tip, it came from a usually reliable source, a hound who clearly knows his chow (and whose posts have tipped me to several decent spots), but this time I found nothing whatever to like at Aladdin's Palace, a middle-Eastern place in the east end - not the atmosphere, or the service, but mainly the dreary food.
Now, what are your choices for best and worst food tip you ever got on this board?

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  1. Well juno, fortunately I don't have your batting average. Most of my CH tips have been bang on.

    My truly worst tip was for Foccacia on Hayden St. This was definitely in the "what were you people thinking" category. While the reports on Larry the waiter were bang on, the food was so subpar that I was embarrassed at having dragged my visitors to this hole in the wall. Another bad tip was for Pantheon on the Danforth. Ugh.

    Good posts fortunately outnumber the bad and my fav CH finds include Japango, Batifole, and the Sandwich Box. When I've asked for advise, I am always grateful for the eager participation of our local CHers.

    1. Best food tip: Ethiopian House. I had tried Ethiopian food a few times before visiting this place but I just couldn't get into it. I always enjoyed the first few bites but then found the flavours too tangy / repetitive. I really *wanted* to like it, though, so upon the rec of someone here, I checked out Ethiopian House and now I'm an addict. Partner and I also really enjoyed our meal at the House on Parliament: they served me an excellent (medium!) burger and fries that impressed me just when I thought I had gotten sick of french fries to the point of no return. Also, La Grotta at Danforth and Pape for pizza. My favourite pizza ever (nice thin, crispy crust, and it reheats like a charm and tastes even better the next day), and I'm always begging partner to lose a piece of bruschetta my way.

      Worst food tips: Salad King. Words cannot express how hideous I think this place is (food, service, and ambience), and I can't believe that it gets as highly recommended as it does. Also, Udupi Palace. Partner and I got takeout from them one night and while we have pretty high spice tolerances, everything in the thali was far too hot for us (perhaps it was just the night) and tasted identically unappealing. Very disappointing.

      I'd say that most of the CH tips I've followed on tended to end up being mediocre... the experiences were generally definitely not bad, but didn't really bear repeating either. I can't (yet) afford to try any of the higher end recs, but I'm looking forward to the day I can. My summerlicious experience at Batifole was good, but not amazing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: vorpal

        i second salad king as the worst tip. the food is not disgusting....but not good either, staff are rude and the seating arrangements suck (smelling a uni students hangover breath as i eat just isn't my thing).

        as far as best tip..........quattro regazze at danforth/woodbine. great value, excellent veal chops.

      2. Best tip: sushi marche.

        1. The best tip for me was The Globe Bistro...it is now one of my faves!

          1. We all know all the high end fine dining places.
            Sushi Marche & jumbo lobster 4 ways at O Mei are among the best food tips I got from this board. Thanks fellow CH.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ace123

              True, for the high end recs, we all can read Toronto Life, but this board's forte, I think, is probably supposed to be the hidden gems that hounds have sniffed out.

            2. Oh, one more good tip: Solo Sushi ya in New Market.

              1. I think the best rec I got from here was Mashu Mashu. That and Il Gelatiere. Oh.....

                Il Gelatiere
                647 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

                Mashu Mashu
                387 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5P, CA

                1. My best tip - or tips - came from the Beaches chowhounds who led my family and I to Vivetha Cafe, at Queen Street's east-end streetcar loop. We've been back there often, and have never been disappointed by the food or the service. A winner!

                  I can't remember a "worst" tip; perhaps I've been fortunate not to follow up on bad recommondations.

                  1. Best tip Sushi Marche, top quality, super fresh, and very friendly. Worst tip Globe Bistro, terrible food, boring menu, and really bad service (not rude or arrogant, just clueless).

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: phisherking

                      I really have to take issue with your assessment of Globe Bistro. I find the food tasty, the menu not boring and the service outstanding. My servers have had 100% menu knowledge-right down to the wine-I have often discussed the merits of certain wines with them and even the growing regions they come from.

                      1. re: robgm

                        I have to agree with robgm assessment of Globe. Food is very good and the wait staff are very polished and knowledgeable. We have never been disappointed.

                        1. re: millygirl

                          I knew I would get questioned about my answer! But Juno asked about varying opinions. "Tastes in food differ- wildly. As to which view is the correct one, wo knows?" My experience at Globe was flat champagne by the glass,overcooked, dry, underseasoned pork, bland beet salad with gloppy dressing... and that was just my meal. The server never asked how things were even though a half eaten main went back to the kitchen, and had no wine knowledge to boot. For 300$ for 2 I will not risk my hard earned dining dollars there again. That was my experience, I'm glad others have had good times there. Who's right- and who's wrong? that is the question.

                          1. re: phisherking

                            Good feedback phisherking, i now understand your reasoning. do you recall when you visited? i worry about those 'bad nights' where things are off. i personally haven't experienced that at globe.

                            1. re: robgm

                              It's too bad you had such a crappy experience phisherking. I would be interested in knowing when you went also, because they have changed chefs. In any event, in a place like Globe I expect way better and if I didn't get it, I would bring it to their attention.

                              1. re: millygirl

                                We were there under the new chef, late Jan.- early Feb. If I have to point out to a manager that the champagne he brought me was flat,then there is no point! Like I said, at least the server wasn't rude or arrogant (which is very common in the city) just clueless. As for the complaining part, they never asked. I've complained in other "top" restaurants and was given attitude by managers,owners,etc., basically being told I don't know what I'm talking about. So now I just never return.

                                1. re: phisherking

                                  some take it seriously, i had a problem at Fuzion-minor-the manager asked me about my experience and I told him...the service recovery was great-i urge you and all to give management a chance-it truly sets the great places apart from the also rans. can you please define clueless...it would help...the bartender should have know s/he was pouring flat sparkling-no excuse...

                    2. Best:
                      - Jumbo Empanadas
                      - Pho 88

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Roberto7

                        So I guess that I shouldn't be exited that they are opening a Pho 88 near my office.

                        My worst tip was Johnny's Burgers.
                        Best (combined with a TV show) was Bekta. Too bad the chef has moved on.

                        1. re: mikeb

                          Give pho 88 a try.
                          I think that it is about the best pho that I have eaten in Toronto.

                        2. re: Roberto7

                          the many pho 88s in the city vary widely.

                        3. Interesting thread idea.

                          Best: Sinai Sushi
                          Due to what I believe is a change of ownership, it's gone downhill now, but was great for a few months earlier this year.

                          Worst: Fran's
                          A moment of weakness, compounded by a long night of drinking, led me to this place. I'll be avoiding it in the future.

                          Sinai Sushi
                          3C Grosvenor, Toronto, ON M4Y1X5, CA

                          20 College, Toronto, ON M5G1K2, CA

                          1. One of the best tips I've gotten from Chowhound was Ed's Real Scoop on the Beaches. I guess I always missed it because I rarely went so far east along Queen, but believe me... it's worth it! It took the sting out of moving away from Greg's. :)

                            The most disappointing was Avli on Danforth. Maybe I caught them on a bad day, but there's no excuse for the side of frozen "seasonal vegetables" which included a watery carrot with frozen centre... the place has a devoted following of Hounds, but it was bad enough that we're planning on going back.

                            Ed's Real Scoop
                            2224 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E1E9, CA

                            1. E-Pan on Spadina. Easily the nicest spot for Chinese food in the Spadina and Dundas area. Great food as well with prices about the same as neighboring restaurants. Bonus points for the cleanest public washrooms I've ever been in.

                              369 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G3, CA

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Brain of J

                                Worst tip for me would be Wah Sing on Baldwin, absolutely horrible.

                              2. Am new to Chowhound, tried about 7-8 places.

                                Best: Gale's Snack Bar
                                Great value, and I would never have gone in if it weren't for CH recs...
                                To me the place was a bit intimidating.

                                Worst: Ribfest
                                Tried 3 different stands (incl. Camp 31); 2 overcooked ribs, 1 passable.
                                All 3 w/ waaaay too much sauce (all of them much too sweet, too), I felt I was eating the sauce, not meat.
                                Another thing I didn't like about the ribs was that because the stands were serving too long a lineup some of them became quite sloppy about the way they were handling/cooking their food... and whatever was not 'good enough' got thrown away so easily. I saw one stand throwing away 1 in every so many racks because (I assume) they were overcooked or burnt.
                                Also in the candy floss stand there was a big tub behind the floss machines and I think 1/3 or so candy floss got tossed in there because the serving was too big/small/not-good-looking, etc.
                                Seeing too much food wasted, was not a pleasant experience.

                                Pulled pork was okay (cannot remember which stand I bought it), but not outstanding.
                                Water costs $1.5, lemonade or soda some $5-6 (refills for $3?).
                                Flat and lukewarm beer that you had to buy a minimum of 4 tickets for. If you were by yourself and only wanted 1 beer or wine, you still hafta buy 4 tickets!

                                Honestly, I cannot figure out why people critique Taste of the Danforth and rave Ribfest...
                                to me they are both overpopulated rip-off venues.
                                At least TOTD is only 15 min drive (if I wanted to go, that is), Ribfest is definitely not worth the 1.5hr drive!

                                1. My good tips so far are:
                                  Beer Bistro (loved the food although I found the room a bit too loud for my taste)
                                  Ten Feet Tall
                                  Bona Pizza (although the one we had last night was subpar. They said they were extremely busy with Labour Day rush. No excuse but perhaps they were under pressure)
                                  Cumbrae's meat shop
                                  Old Yorke Fish & Chips

                                  I have no disappointing experiences to report but then I'm on a limited budget and just can't afford to follow up on all the great tips. But I have a list and it keeps growing!

                                  Beer Bistro
                                  18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

                                  1636 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                  431 Donlands Ave, Toronto, ON M4J3S2, CA

                                  Olde Yorke
                                  96 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V3, CA

                                  Ten Feet Tall
                                  1381 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J, CA

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: JamieK

                                    Definetly agree on the Beer bistro and ten feet tall recommendations! Also, I have really enjoyed a few meals at One of a Kind Pasta bar on Queen W! I would have never have thought to try it just driving by, but for those prices, good service and excellent pasta (not to mention I rediculously extensive menu), its a real chowhound find!

                                    1. re: JamieK

                                      I'm adding another couple of best tips to my best tips list. Finally got to eat at ViVetha today and it was good. They were busy at 1:30 on a Thursday and had to wait about 10 to 15 minutes for a table. My friend and I split the calamari appetizer and it's a good thing we did, it was huge. The portion is big enough for a main for me. The calamari were grilled and served with chipole aioli. Nicely done, not rubbery, nice flavour. We both had the grilled wild mushroom salad, very tasty. The place has a comfortable neighbourhood feel to it, lots of people know each other and the staff. Definitely going back. One app, two salads and one bottle of wine - $60. Would never have gone or even known about this place if it wasn't for this board.

                                      Same with Summerhill Market. Didn't even know it was there. Pricey yes, but some items well worth it. And the meat pies alone are worth going by.

                                      2485 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E1H9, CA

                                      Summerhill Market
                                      446 Summerhill Ave, Toronto, ON M4W, CA

                                    2. I find so many people on this board blindly follow recommendations without fulling thinking about what the person is recommending. Places like Salad King are places where your going to be packed in with Ry-high kids for lunch. Its super cheap for the area and decently tasting. But if your used to dining at Globe Bistro and Splendido its simply not going to fly. I'm so often blown away by people who go out of their way to visit a place that is totally not aimed at them, their budget or their taste. Enough ranting though.

                                      Best tip was the old Double Happiness on bloor, ramen within 5 minutes of my house couldn't be beat.

                                      Worst tip...Haven't had followed a bad tip through yet, I've always smelt the rat before I bit into it so to speak.

                                      Also on E-pan, I disagree on it being anywhere close to the nicest place along the Spadina strip. King's Palace and New Sky are both head and shoulders above it as well as Rol San and the Dumpling House. I refuse to pay extra money for slightly less tacky furnishing and same or worse food.

                                      16 Replies
                                      1. re: Ender

                                        Agreed! It's all about where you're at and what you need. Salad King (or, for arguments' sake Red/Green Room or Butler pantry or anywhere else affordable and not too foodie) are just what some people are looking for. And Globe and Splendido meet the needs of others. As long as you specify your priorities in asking for a rec (cost vs. service vs. food vs. wine list vs. ambiance etc), CH usually delivers what one is looking for..

                                        1. re: Ender

                                          i have to respond. it is not the ry kids that put me off this place...its the fact that it is not authentic thai food that has been touted by some members of this board as the best thai food in the city. i can provide quotes if you wish. if you are not from toronto and someone provides you with this as a recommendation.........how can you not be dissapointed? granted, great place for local students , good for those who want a cheap "stirfry" with rice...but best thai in the city? a "do not miss" for those coming to toronto? come on!

                                          1. re: jessi20

                                            But thats not what you said and the problem with the internet is I can't see your face or hear your voice to gain the subtle social clues that would have told me, "well these aren't really the reasons she doesn't like the place, she actually just dislikes its lack of authenticity." But you said the food was OK the staff was rude the seating arrangements suck and you didn't like smelling a university students hangover breath. I will agree with you that Salad King is in no way authentic, but Toronto lacks any truly authentic Thai unfortunately.

                                            This goes back to my original post, almost all the recommendations I've read on CH for Salad King make it clear that its a university hangout that provides cheap, relatively decent and mostly Thai (not authentic just mostly Thai) food. Good place to grab something on rice and chowdown. My suggestion is to search the name of any restaurant you see reviewed well on CH and see what a few other people have to say because we all know that no one taste buds or sense of aesthetic can cover everyone. Anyhow live and learn.

                                            1. re: Ender

                                              Not that I've eaten a lot of Thai, but I think that Salad King's Pad Thai is some of the best I've had. Good balance between spicy, sweet and savoury, and generous with the protein. Authentic? I stopped caring about that a long time ago. It's an arduous argument as everyone is a self-declared expert no matter what cuisine your talking about. I've learned to just judge what's put in front of me based on how tasty I find it, or not, independent of "authenticity". I worry about that when I'm actually in the place the food originates.

                                              1. re: bluedog

                                                I'm no expert in Thai food- all I know is that the few times I've eaten at Salad King, the food seemed decent, and they heeded my pleas to make it mild instead of spicy.

                                                But I don't go there anymore because I dislike the ambience intensely- something like a Soviet-era commissary but lacking the warmth and charm, plus a noise level comparable being stuck in a steel tube that's being beaten with a dozen sticks.

                                                I actually wore earplugs one day through lunch. That was the last time I went.

                                                1. re: SpiceMustFlow

                                                  Was this after their renovation a couple of years back?

                                                2. re: bluedog

                                                  "I think that Salad King's Pad Thai is some of the best I've had. "

                                                  O.K. - Just pass me the sick bag right now....!

                                                  1. re: bluedog

                                                    bluedog: I agree with you in some capacity. Authenticity is not necessarily important, although some people (myself included) may want a fairly authentic Thai meal, and what's particularly frustrating when it comes to Thai food is that *so* many restaurants market themselves specifically as "authentic", when they so clearly are not. Many of Toronto's "Thai" offerings throw around the word authentic on their signs, in their menus, etc, like they're trying to convince not only us but themselves of the veracity of that often erroneous claim.

                                                    Even though I generally crave authentic Thai, good inauthentic food trumps poorly prepared authentic food any day.

                                                    That being said, I really hope you'll consider some other Thai options. Salad King is lacking in complexity when it comes to Thai, and if you enjoyed it, you would love the richer, deeper dimensions that better quality Thai food offers.

                                              2. re: Ender

                                                Any idea where the owners of Double Happiness went? I liked their ramen. Going to Kenzo for ramen is an awful long drive for me.

                                                1. re: tjunmin

                                                  No idea, but it IS too bad. Downtown ramen was a godsend.

                                                  1. re: Ender

                                                    you guys hear about the new noodle place iNoodle?
                                                    look here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/466912

                                                2. re: Ender

                                                  honestly I can eat at spledido and the globe but i can also eat at a 'dive' my expectations are pretty basic-i don't need to be blown away-but am happy when i am. so long as get basic intelligent service, quality food product cooked and served as intended while being true to the ingredients...that is all anyone could or should expect-everything else makes the experience more or less

                                                  1. re: Ender

                                                    actually, to be honest its not the lack of authenticity that is a problem for me. there are many restos i enjoy that are by no means authentic. labelling a restaurant as absolutely authentic is very subjective and i am in no way qualified to do that (especially with thai food). a co-worker brought me in lunch from manchu wok a couple years back and i enjoyed it. would i recommend manchu wok as a great chinese place? no. i would also not recommend salad king as great thai. i was more put off by the fact that it was recommended by several members as the best thai, and it was not. the question was "what is the worst ch tip". salad king was mine. what difference does it make how much i researched it? it was the worst tip.

                                                    bottom line.... i find that salad king has a serious ambience problem. it was one of the restaurants i saw touted on the board. i went, i ate, i did not like it. i did not really put any thought into my planning as i was in the area for work at the time. sorry salad king lovers. maybe the day i went was very busy and they were off.

                                                    1. re: jessi20

                                                      salad king is constantly busy. even when you think it doesn't look to busy they've got take out orders flying out the door. i agree, the crowding is a turnoff but i still go, keeping it in mind. if that was your only complaint, Linda upstairs is not as crowded and the food is less casual.

                                                      1. re: chocabot

                                                        don't know if i will give Linda a go. i may get takeout for dinner when i'm in the area and give it another try.

                                                        1. re: jessi20

                                                          my bf can't handle salad king because of the hussle and bussle but he really likes Linda. He wants to take his mom there for dinner sometime soon. It's more fine dining in style and the the last time we were there (a yr ago at least!) the food was very good.

                                                  2. Best Tip: probably Restoran Malaysia, as i'd never heard of it and was craving good authentic malaysian roti chanai. Wouldn't have found it without this board.

                                                    Worst tip? Hmmm, so far have been pretty lucky, but I always take recos with a grain of salt, and try to understand the context behind a review/recommendation. Not often able to visit the high end (of which there are plenty of reviews anyhow), so mostly I look for low-end to medium recos. So far no big disappointments, but I can usually tell if a place is something I'd be interested in and tend to avoid those that aren't.

                                                    Apologies to Tartiflette if Avli has gone downhill and I sent you there! It was our go-to place a few years ago and I have recommended it often. Let us know if a second visit is an improvement, but frozen veggies in any context for a place like this is a bad sign.

                                                    1. best tip:
                                                      organic garage in oakville (i know it's a grocery store not a restaurant but it was really the best chowhound tip ever - for me)
                                                      mother's dumplings

                                                      worst tip:
                                                      hmmm....i'll get back to you - can't think of one right now.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: todc1996

                                                        just thought of the worst tip:
                                                        fat cat on roncesvalle (not the eglinton location)....really, really bad.

                                                        1. re: todc1996

                                                          i agree!!!!! fat cat on roncesvalles is way over rated

                                                        2. re: todc1996

                                                          I also loved mother's dumplings.

                                                        3. My worst tip was Starfish. I won't get in to the finer details of my experience as doing so seems to get my posts deleted (not sure why). Suffice to say it was a lousy experience due to extremely poor service and attitude. The oysters were OK but not the best I've ever tasted, we ran out of time to have mains. I know many have had great experiences at Starfish but for me... it just didn't work out.

                                                          My best tip? Perhaps Beer Bistro which I enjoyed very much.

                                                          Misguided tip? Bier Markt on Esplanade. I was thinking it would be horrible based on reviews here but in all honesty it was just fine. Not by any means near the top of my list but the beer list was impressive, the food was OK and the service was actually really good for a busy Friday afternoon, better than the service at Starfish at any rate.

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: Leforge

                                                            very interesing, leforge. i've been hosting my brother here for a couple of days and we went to beerbistro last night and starfish tonight. the beerbistro waiter was a little nicer, but over all we were much, much more impressed with starfish. the food was far above and beyond that at beerbistro. and dinner for two cost about the same at both places (within 10%)

                                                            beerbistro was perfectly nice, so i won't say that it falls into the worst category... but i do think that people hype it a bit too much. the beer was great, the food just wasn't that special.

                                                            1. re: Leforge

                                                              Leforge agree criticism of Starfish disappears
                                                              worst experience for sure.
                                                              best discovery here.
                                                              Probably Zucca.
                                                              Diana's Seafood
                                                              and recently Batifole.
                                                              Also love the little Chinese restaurants suggested by our Chinese contributors, but they are not for everyone.
                                                              Also the many responses to "Where can I buy....".

                                                              1. re: erly

                                                                Chinese restaurant coverage especially in downtown TO is very well done by this board, however really suspect that many of the Chinese restaurant suggestions are not being made by ethnic Chinese....given that so many of the recommendations are for western palates....and there is nothing wrong with that.

                                                                1. re: T Long

                                                                  I totally agree. Most of the chinese restaurant recs for downtown TO have turned out to be disappointing. The better Chinese restaurants truly are in the GTA.

                                                                2. re: erly

                                                                  Worst - Zucca. My friend's seafood pasta was inedible and full of grit. When the waiter saw that my friend had not touched her food, his only comment was that other patrons loved that dish (said in very condescending manner). The waiter made no inquiries as to why she didn't touch her meal. My meal was merely bland. I don't know if the kitchen just had a bad night, but the waiter's attitude alone makes me never want to return.

                                                                  Also horrible, Cha Lui (sp?), the dim sum place at Yonge & Eglinton. I suppose I should have known better given its location but it was the worst dim sum I've had in TO. Lack of authenticity aside, you couldn't even say it was tasty for what it was.

                                                                  Best tip - Japango

                                                                  1. re: buttertartz

                                                                    Wow--that's waaaayyyy out of character for Zucca. I meant to include it as one of the best recs. from CH. Food, service and value have always been excellent when we have gone to Zucca.

                                                                    1. re: Yongeman

                                                                      I went to Zucca once, and didn't really like it. The food was alright, but there was far too much oil/butter in it for my taste. I didn't see what the fuss was about.

                                                                      1. re: merlot143

                                                                        I have been to Zucca twice. I will never return. The seafood pasta was inedible.... very gritty and boring. I don't understand all of the positive reports about this restaurant. What am I missing?

                                                                    2. re: buttertartz

                                                                      What did you order at Cha Liu? I've always found it to be great, and one of the few places that makes some of its own sauces.

                                                                      As for Zucca, I've been with guests who are abominable with unnecessary requests, and always found they go the extra mile. Maybe your friend should have said something.

                                                                      1. re: Snarf

                                                                        It was awhile ago that I went to Cha Liu, I can only assume the we had ordered the usual suspects, i.e. har gow, sui mai, rice rolls, various dumplings, sparerib rice. I found the food to be westernized and very poorly executed (i.e. really thick, doughy dumpling wrappers, very greasy, no seasoning other than overwhelming saltiness). I know dim sum is not exactly health food, but the few times I manage get out to the burbs, the food always tastes so much fresher and cleaner for a lack of better description.

                                                                        As for Zucca, yes, my friend could have made a bigger stink but after the waiter's comments, we doubted it would have made much of a difference. I will note that the host that night was very nice and managed to accomodate us even though we didn't have a reservation. Even if I were to ignore my friend's crappy meal, my meal was nothing memorable to warrant a second visit.

                                                                3. I've found great tips in CH. Most recently, Johny Banana on Bathurst and Pomegranate on College.

                                                                  I've also had disappointing experiences from tips found here. It is difficult to say which is the worst, but right now two come to my mind: first, Omi on Church, I really do not understand why people rave so much about this place, I've been there three times and was disappointed in one way or another in all three visits; second, I went to Avli and was not greatly impressed with the food, though service was good.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: tjunmin

                                                                    Oh... how could I have forgotten to mention this... a great tip I got here was Beckta in Ottawa. Thanks for the Ottawa chowhounds for the tips that lead to a memorable dinner!

                                                                  2. My best tip from the board was Pizza Pide at Gerrard Square. I would have gone in eventually anyways, but I probably would have ordered a 'normal' pizza and been disappointed instead of really enjoying the exceptional sampler (#18) and going back again.

                                                                    Pizza Pide
                                                                    949 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: plainjane_to

                                                                      mmmmmmmmmmmmm. my faves are the chicken, and feta w. spinach. extra onions and parsley on the side!

                                                                    2. Best: Farhat for shawarma
                                                                      Rose Cafe for banh mi

                                                                      1. Juno , re Aladdin's Palace, I bet you hasd something other than the combo plate, which is the only thing that I recommended and to which I steered readers, and which is the only thing that I ask for there for some time. If indeed you ordered one of the combo plates and didn't like it, the problem is simply that the food is not to your taste.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                          about 7 years ago aladdin was excellent. but the last time i went (2 years ago) it was horrendous. i never returned.


                                                                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                            To Vinnie:
                                                                            Actually, I recall vividly that it was indeed the combo plate that I ordered, as recommended. My companion ordered a combo plate as well. And we ordinarily enjoy the fresh garlicky zing of most middle Eastern dishes.
                                                                            But I suspect it was simply an off-night for Aladdin's Palace. The food was blandly luke-warm, sour and oily, and eerily tasteless (which is something middle Eastern cuisine should never be). An unfortunate strike-out on a slow Sunday night, inconsistency being something that can often happen at that perilously low price level. Somewhat forgiveable when the bill is comparatively small, though not forgiveable at joints like Globe Bistro, which someone else has mentioned negatively on this best/worst tips thread. When the bill with a respectable wine can easily be $150-$300 a couple, there is no forgiveness alllowed for inconsistency, no matter how enjoyable others may have found the same spot to be in the past. High-ticket joints must deliver a home run, or at the very least a triple, every time out.
                                                                            My guess is that it was the main chef's night off at Aladdin's Palace. But not knowing whether the top chef or his woeful pinch-hitters are on duty at that bleakly cavernous place, I'll tend to stay away (unless I happen to be driving by at lunch time and am desperate for a garlic hit). Besides, I live too close to many pretty good competing middle Eastern joints at roughly the same price point.
                                                                            Still, your batting average remains pretty good with me, Mr. Vidimangi. You've sicced me on to a number of decent joints over the past couple of years. So get out there and mangi, mangi, mangi - so we can report some more tantalizing tips. If the tips turn out to be spot on, so much the better. But mainly, it's the hunt that's the fun.

                                                                          2. Best tips: Japango, George, Tabule, Yakamoz

                                                                            Most disappointing: Forestview for dim sum- I got a group together to try this place out, and pretty much everything we ordered was mediocre to bad. E-Pan- not bad, but not great, either.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: phoenikia

                                                                              I agree. Most disappointing is Forestview. We were really looking forward to a Rol San option but no way!

                                                                              I agree that Forestview is great if you are looking to experience tradional dim sum with carts. But the food is no where near as fresh and well prepared as Rol San. I am a huge fan of Rol San but decided to try Forestview because of postings on CH.

                                                                              Putting the food first, I give Forestview 2 thumbs down for over cooked and mushy chicken feet, Shui Mei wasn't served hot, the Haw Gow was pasty inside. The place was packed but not all dishes were fresh or hot. I don't eat all the fried stuff which seemed very plentiful at Forestview so I can't comment on that part but I would hate to think that they too were not hot!

                                                                              Rol San is fresh and hot and so satisfying every single visit. Personally, I would never let the hectic place keep me from having the best dim sum downtown.

                                                                            2. off the top of my head, the worst tip = Spadina garden. YUCK. service was crappy, cups and plates were dirty, food was just disgustingly greasy.
                                                                              2 of the best tips: messini's Authentic gyros on the Danforth is amazing. omg i could die eating a gyro from there. flavourfull, tender meat, with soft pita bread, rich olive dip, fresh and crunchy reek salad. Sushi Marche is also fabulous.
                                                                              the boards's recc for The 5th sense on the danforth for Hot sauces is also Bang on (i knew about it before, but no one has said anything bad about it - how can you?) and that place is truly one of a kind. great addition to the city IMHO.

                                                                              1. Best and most memorable tips I would have to say were Splendido and Domus in Ottawa. I worst tip I am sure will come to me.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Otonabee

                                                                                  Best tip - Il Gelatiere for sure. One of the best finds I think. Also, the discovery of Greg's Ice Cream rec's for the Marshmellow Ice Cream... Worth the trip downtown.

                                                                                  I don't think I've had a worst tip (maybe because I don't eat out enough)... But then again... I haven't been here very long.

                                                                                2. Best tip: Cava
                                                                                  Worst: Regina Pizza (anywhere that uses jarred sauce and frozen seafood should be banned from discussing on the board.)

                                                                                  However everyone has an opinion and should be considered. This is hard to say without someone being offended, but I stand by it; All postings need to be taking with a grain of salt. Not everyone has what I would call a developed palette. Unless one has traveled extensively and or tried a vast variety of foods/restaurants, and has a background in cooking whether professionally trained or not, their recommendation can be seriously skewed. For example, a suburbanite growing up with limited restaurants will find any chain restaurant perfectly suitable and may describe it as amazing. However, someone who is mentioned above would not even enter one of those places.

                                                                                  Not everyone was a fan of the poll system I made- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/449442
                                                                                  but I can trust it at least in the sense many people are voting or recommending a place, rather than one rave review from a person who may not have "food experience". May sound a bit snobbish, but just my opinion.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: TdotFoodKing

                                                                                    Geez, TDot, some suburbanites have cars, and actually enter the Hallowed city at times, we aren't all culture deprived like so many downtowners on this board assume.

                                                                                  2. Worst tip I got from Chowhound, and it's been repeated way too often:
                                                                                    Duff's for wings. Yech...

                                                                                    I've elaborated in the numerous wings threads on this already. To get proper wings, you have to drive to Buffalo and go to the Anchor Bar.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                      Or make them yourself. Truth be told, while I do like the Anchor Bar's wings, I find the meat rather dry.

                                                                                      1. re: redearth

                                                                                        Oh, foo. I've been to the Anchor Bar a couple of times, and I think they're coasting. I much prefer the wings at Honey's in Niagara Falls, NY. (They also have a great Beef on a Weck, another Buffalo dish that hasn't got the rep the wings have.)

                                                                                        1. re: KevinB

                                                                                          Yeah, I didn't think the beef on weck on Anchor was spectacular, either. I've only been to Honey's once about 2 years ago so will have to give it a go again.

                                                                                    2. Best tip I've gotten from this board has got to be Memphis BBQ up in Woodbridge. I've been a Camp 31 fan for years, and I always enjoy the Ribfests, but of course those involve a 2 hour drive or waiting till the summer, respectively. So, feeling a need for pulled pork and ribs, on some of your recommendations we went to Memphis BBQ the other night. Wow. We still prefer Camp 31 (at their Paris location) but the Memphis guys are a close second and a lot more convenient to us. Camp 31 whips them in the pulled pork department (Memphis' just wasn't smoked enough for our tastes) but it's very close when you compare the ribs and sauces. So I'll change my tune, if you're looking for authentic BBQ but can't drive to Camp 31, give Memphis BBQ a try. Worth the drive to Woodbridge. Thanks to everybody who recommended them and thanks to Memphis BBQ for a memorable meal. Now if only someone could emulate the Anchor Bar wings...

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                        What?!?! And some say miracles don't exist anymore...

                                                                                        I'll give Memphis one more chance as I haven't been there since it first opened.

                                                                                        As for Anchor, I've been twice in the past year, and they are slightly dry.

                                                                                      2. Angkor Cambodian/Thai

                                                                                        Chandra is a howl to talk with and he puts love into his food. Not a becoming place or neighbourhood but that's what makes it a gem!

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: 50firstdatesguy

                                                                                          Best: Foxley, Abbot on the Hill (thank you, thank you, they're a couple of my faves!)

                                                                                          Worst: Edward Levesques

                                                                                        2. My favorite restaurant still is Kim Kim Hakka India Food Restaurant... something like that...located on Kennedy and Lawrence just slightly north; good service, great menu, nice proportions.Not a fine dine place, but definitely a gem. Very clean, washrooms are always clean, free parking in front of restaurant. Try the tandoori chicken dish, paratha kebab rolls I think? Really great place...been there at least 8 times and have not been disappointed yet. Oh and it has a very laid back and unpretentious flair to the environment (family run/ owned). Gotta check it out. ;). I'm sure you'll like it, slightly a little spicy, but flavorful;)