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Good Service Stories?

I thought about asking about service nightmares, but then thought it might be more enjoyable to hear about people going above and beyond. I used to eat out all the time and would always leave 20%, no matter what, and then I eventually began leaving 15% for bad service. I don't mind if you forget my drink for a bit, we're all human, but a simple apology goes a long way. Same for ignoring me- at ANY point during my time there: waiting to order, waiting to have things cleared, waiting for the bill (or change).
15 years ago, the Living Well on Yonge had great staff. Personable, but efficient. Surprisingly, the Hard Rock almost always delivers great service. Oliver and Bonacini properties usually have good staff. Most of my lunches at JUMP have been fantastic. All of the staff there went out of there way. Hope they still do.
Sometimes I eat by myself, and that can be a true test to gauge an establishment and a server. Brunch at TOBA on King East usually proves to be worth it. Friendly, with a coffee top-up always in the nick of time.
Most recently, I had the pleasure of going to Jacobs and Co. Steakhouse on Brant Street. Wasn't sure what to expect, which may have been why I was so delighted. Courteous greetings from all staff. Knowledgeable sommelier and server. Courses were timed beautifully, plates were cleared like choreography, yet the service was personable and polished. I felt like I was being looked after. Rarely has a restaurant achieved that in the past. A complimentary dessert wine ended the experience on an even higher note. Kudos to them for weathering their honeymoon phase with such class. It is restaurants like this that make us all want to dine out in the first place. I wish I could do it more often at Jacobs, but it is a little out of my price range. It has provided me with a memory of a near-perfect dining experience. There are many service nightmares out there: it's nice to hear the good stories.
Please share yours...

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  1. i used to always have great service at Square, before its demise. I've had great experiences at Quince and the Corner House, and particularly 93 Harbord.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LemonLauren

      Veni Vidi Vici on College - always great service.

    2. When dining alone while hubby's on the road I always go to Weezie's. I've noticed they serve singles exactly the same way they do large tables. It's very refreshing.

      I've had incredible service at ViVetha in the Beach. The gentleman server made us feel very welcome, was attentive, and had excellent timing. I observed him dancing with the other tables in the exact same manner. Impressive to say the least.

      My girlfriends & I always have a good time at Fieramosca. Edvin behaves like a close friend and yet keeps a proper distance. It never fails that we get free dessert and I think everyone in the place gets free Limoncello.

      Lastly, the people at (sorry about the broken record here) Mengrai Gourmet Thai are simply incredible. Sasi and Alan make their staff happy and in turn the staff makes their customers happy. Full circle. They are a shining example of how it should be. Which leads me to...

      I try to go to places where the staff and patrons are consistently treated well. Respect for the people who help you make your money is my foremost consideration.

      1. Scaramouche! Twice now, once at the Pasta Bar and Grill, and once at the Restaurant - both times, impeccable service.
        Also, Celestin impressed.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Yum2MyTum

          I haven't been to Scaramouche in years but I vividly remember the attentive service and great food.

          I also love Cafe California on Church St. The service is fast, friendly and attentive. I have never gone there alone but when I go there have always been single diners and from what I observed they were treated just as well as the larger tables.

          1. re: GourmandGirl

            Scaramouche!!! Top notch service. I also find the service at Pastis very good.

            1. re: millygirl

              Scaramocuhe has some of the best service in the city, if not the best. Impeccable.

              1. re: magic

                I agree with Scaramouche as well. It's a shame they are closing in a year. Every time I've been there, our servers have been very attentive, but not intrusive.

          2. re: Yum2MyTum

            i also had a great experience at Celestin, for summerlicious no less. 3 of the 4 in our party ordered an additional app, the waiter brought over a salad (comped) for the 4th person so she wouldn't feel left out when those plates came out. my friend had peach sangria in wine glass, and waiter came over with a small spoon for her to use to scoop out the fruit - we had discussed how often the fruit gets lost in those glasses, and i'm pretty sure he wasn't around to hear that conversation. very thoughtful and friendly service. i can't wait to go back for a non 'licious meal.

            1. re: auberginegal

              We went to Celestin a few weeks ago with a friend who uses a wheelchair.
              To say that they were incredible is an understatement.
              They even had a armchair in place for her to hold onto for the transfer.
              The service was first rate in every way, and most important the food was excellent.

              1. re: erly


                623 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, ON M4S 2M9, CA

              2. re: auberginegal

                I'll bet the waiter in question is Michael.....heavy set, thick black glasses, late 30's - early 40's? Great guy, very warm and friendly....makes everyone feel like they are part of the family.

            2. Thanks for the thread. Sometimes we focus so much on the bad service that we forget how amazing some of the servers are in this town.

              For the best I have ever seen it will always be Splendido. And I say this as one who worked in fine dining!! The server was knowledgeable, friendly, funny but never intrusive. We actually had a really really good time with him that night. He made some amazing wine suggestions and the one that he really just wanted my SO to try that wasn't as perfect he simply didn't charge us for.

              Also as a mom , I will always remember the service I got at Romagnia Mia. The server brought some snacks quickly for my son then-one year old son. When the kid got a little squirrelly he came by with toys for him to play with (that they could even put through the dishwasher!) and then even gave him a small dish of ice cream. Trust me, it was very much appreciated.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Otonabee

                I wanted to also add one about Starfish. I know some CH'ers in the past have not been pleased with the service but we were there this past Thursday and everything was excellent. The waiter was pleasant, service was attentive, we weren't rushed or forgotten about. It was just right. He was very helpful in explaining the oysters and spot on with the timing. Another thing that really impressed us - we had to ask for change for the parking meter and the host was only able to give us about $1.75. What he did not realize was, we already had about $2 in change. He made a point to check in with us after about an hour in to our meal to make sure we hadn't forgot about the meter. He was concerned that we would get a ticket only putting in the $1.75 he provided. I thought that was particularly thoughtful of him. Oh, I should add the food was excellent. We really enjoyed ourselves. Great atmosphere!!

                1. re: Otonabee

                  Yes! Splendido's service is definitely the BEST in town and the closest to Michelin star (s) standard!

                  1. re: Otonabee

                    Haha, Romagnia Mia has some of the most notoriously worst service in the city. Too bad too, their food is sublime. But wow, some of their staff are simply mean.

                    1. re: magic

                      Can you give an example of how some of the staff are mean?

                  2. I've had service I consider going above and beyond at Bibiche Bistro - warm, friendly, accommodating, always ready and eager to explain what's on the menu, how things are cooked, where the meat comes from, etc.

                    2110 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A5, CA

                    354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

                    2485 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E1H9, CA

                    2326 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E, CA

                    Romagna Mia
                    106 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 1E1, CA

                    93 Harbord
                    93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                    18 Wellington St. West, Toronto, ON M5L 1G4, CA

                    243 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1J9, CA

                    Corner House
                    501 Davenport Avenue, Toronto, ON M3R 4R6, CA

                    1 Benvenuto Place, Toronto, ON M4V 2L1, CA

                    88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

                    Veni Vidi Vici
                    650 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B8, CA

                    Jacobs & Co
                    12 Brant Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1, CA

                    Hard Rock Cafe
                    279 Yonge, Toronto, ON M5B1N8, CA

                    36A Prince Arthur Ave, Toronto, ON M5R1A9, CA

                    82 Ontario Street, Toronto, ON M5A 2V3, CA

                    Cafe California
                    538 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

                    1. I've had great service at Le Cafe Vert, Tabla, Veni Vidi Vici (but the food is so-so), Rebel House, Lee (crazy, I know for some of you), Pomegranate on Queen East (one of my faves for brunch), San (from new owners)

                      1. A great experience that comes to mind for me regarding service was at Amuse Bouche about 2 years ago, birthday dinner for myself with my gf. The service was prompt, friendly and very knowledgable, servers were happy to be reserved and attentive or lead by my inquiry following a course get much more involved with descriptions and impressions of the food, they stood aside in the small room keeping tabs on our glasses, food and any attention we might need, we felt welcome and special. High on my list for a return visit, I just have to get about 50 others I haven't tried yet out of the way first!..

                        ...an extension of the service vibe, the washrooms were impeccable and well stocked with items outside of minimum requirements, a nice touch that extends the feeling of welcome and that the staff actually cares about your experience on a whole...IMO

                        1. Service can make or break any restaurant for me and I've enjoyed lots of great service in this city - a few consistently great places that spring to mind are Scaramouche, Zucca, Pastis, Noce and Terroni.

                          One particular evening at Hiro stands out in my memory - I had gone for dinner on my own at the sushi bar. A somewhat inebriated gentleman sat down beside me and much as I tried to bury my head in the notebook I had brought, he continued to engage me in inane conversation. When Hiro originally sat him beside me, I think he thought we might strike up a conversation as we were both dining on our own but when he saw that this guy was becoming a pest, he pretty much abandoned conversation with his other guests and gave me 100% of his attention, making conversation with me so I'd be too busy for the bozo. That same evening, I had parked illegally when I arrived - one or two spots behind the legal meters. At some point, he noticed that one of his customers was driving out of one of the legal spots and so he sent his assistant to stand in the spot until I could move my car. Now that's service!!!!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: peppermint pate

                            I remember wandering into Hiro one evening on my own. Hiro had the server sit me at the sushi bar, suggested what was good that night, and I wound up paying a very fair price for what he gave me. This is why this is my favourite Japanese restaurant in town.

                            1. Thank god for this thread! It's so easy to focus on the negative, but rarely do we take the time to talk about the good experiences (we've all had). I've had great service at Trapezzi on the Danforth. The waiter is a young spanish guy and he's so gracious and friendly, and the food is very tasty. I also like the waiters at 7 Numbers! They seem to really enjoy their jobs, even when it gets crazy busy. Tomi-Kro also deserves a mention - very professional and knowledgeable service.

                              1. More place links -

                                Rebel House
                                1068 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W2L4, CA

                                720 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E8, CA

                                676 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E5, CA

                                1 Balmoral Ave, Toronto, ON M4V3B9, CA

                                2727 Yonge, Toronto, ON M4N2H8, CA

                                1214 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1L7, CA

                                Cafe Vert
                                946 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1J7, CA

                                1158 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W2L9, CA

                                96 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON M6J2H1, CA

                                Seven Numbers
                                516 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M5N, CA

                                171 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1J4, CA

                                603 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                                2150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A8, CA

                                875 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1G5, CA

                                505 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1P5, CA

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: JamieK

                                  Just fyi, that's not the Pomegranate I'm referring to. There's a Pomegranate on Queen East at Beech. 2222 Queen East to be exact.

                                  1. re: JamieK


                                    2222 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E, CA

                                      1. re: pescatarian

                                        Bistro 990. I made reservations for my father and myself to celebrate his birthday. I mentioned that it was his birthday over the telephone, to the gentleman taking the reservation, and that I was looking forward to bringing him there for dinner, because he's never been. I made the reservation about three weeks in advance. We had very gracious and polite service throughout the meal, and declined dessert, deciding to just have coffee. Instead, our waiter brought out a plate, completely decorated (it said Happy Birthday on around the rim), with three different desserts on it, and placed it in front of my father. I was totally shocked and my father was tickled pink. He just loved it. I couldn't believe someone took the time to make a note that it was his birthday. And it was complimentary, I wasn't charged for it at all. To this day I still think it was just a lovely gesture.

                                        1. re: czthemmnt

                                          OMG! I can't believe it slipped my mind, to add to my great experience (written above) at Amuse Bouche, the waiter there too took it upon himself to get me a special dessert, it was funny because when he asked if I wanted anything else I said I was full, it looked like his heart skipped a beat! He suggested just a small dessert, and slipped away to grab the already specially made plate scrolled with Happy Birthday in chocolate and a divine raspberry sorbet in a small chocolate cone propped up in some chocolate mouse...we all chuckled at the position he found himself in and graciously thanked him for the thoughtfulness above and beyond what I would ever expect...a great night i will never forget, and largely due to the expert service we were so lucky to be treated to...

                                  2. wow
                                    this stuff is so great to see
                                    here'sa link to some more stories

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: salad lad

                                      I always get good service at MORTON'S:)

                                      Cafe La Gaffe on Baldwin
                                      Douglas @ the Avenue Bar Four Seasons
                                      Michelle's Brasserie
                                      Crush Wine Bar

                                    2. Depends on what kind of 'cuisine' you want. I would recommend La Vecchia, Midtown. Excellent all over. Menu on http://www.dine.to/profile_features.p...

                                      1. The Italian friendliness. Good service; good food, reasonable bill.

                                        1. Good idea on the thread, unfortunately poor-mediocre service is far too common.
                                          Recently had a great server at Didier, helpful with wine selection and menu choices.
                                          Going back a year or so recall having a great server at Bymark, same comments as above.
                                          A server can't make the food taste better but they most surely can make the experience one has a far more memorable one. Actually I think that poor service can most certainly detract from the overall experience

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: damonster

                                            I've always found the service at Pastis to be spot on.

                                          2. I second Bibiche above, and would further like to add Foccaccia when it was under the old ownership (haven't been back since). The waiter/maitre'D there made everyone feel like an old friend who had he hadn;t seen in awhile.

                                            1. My most recent meal at Via Allegro - we were treated to fantastic service! The owner, Phil, came several times to our six-top to talk to us and make sure we were happy, and he was very entertaining as well. He ended up giving our table free dessert too! We ended up closing the place because we were having such a great time.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: gps_shag

                                                Sounds familiar! At Via Allegro, we had no less than 3 servers, and our bread basket was changed 3 times even when it was almost untouched by us. A bit excessive/wasteful, but still top notch. Phil is only too happy to treat and entertain (with his passionate stories) if you show a lot of interest in food at the start of your meal! The servers always ask permission to remove empty glasses, and explain the contents of each dish with great precision and memory. Make sure you ask for a visit from the resident scotch expert, not just the sommelier!

                                              2. Five Doors North: I ended up there last year during winterlicious. There was a huge snowstorm one Friday; i had made plans with a couple girlfriends that were in jeopardy due to the snow so we decided to try Five Doors North since it's a short walk from the Eglinton Subway station. The place was still fairly busy, despite the snow and we were offered the winterlicious menu. Our server was very knowledgeable about the wines and menu items and made recommendations on both winterlicous and regular menus. We ordered a couple of bottles of wine and were off to a good start. The bread arrived (which was absolutely delicious - and always a good indicator of how the food is going to taste - if a restaurant doesn't care about the bread, they don't care about the entire meal experience). The food was delicious, the environment was unpretentious and relaxed. We were not rushed through our meal at all. During dessert the server came over with a round of Sambuca to thank us for being such enjoyable patrons. She'd had a rough evening with Winterlicious patrons ordering water and only items covered under the $25 set menu. When we complimented the food and the bread she disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a loaf for us to take home. I've returned twice in the last 6 months and have received great service both times. The staff seam to eat from the menu regularly and are able to make solid recommendations. I have also found the staff to be laid back and friendly; there are a lot of neighbourhood regulars and the staff stop and chat. I highly recommend if you are looking for a laid-back, moderately priced dining experience.

                                                1. Vertical. I cannot compliment their service enough. They actually comp'd both my app and main because I politely sent the original main back (overcooked berkshire pork).

                                                  1. Kirsten at the Fox and Fiddle at yonge and st clair once almost tackled a food runner for bringing me nachos with tomatoes on them (I'm allergic) and will make you special sauce for the sweet potato fries. Thubs up!

                                                    1. I've never had a sit down meal at Celestin but when I ordered a croissant there, the staff was so kind and friendly. I think I chatted with the lady at the register for about 20minutes before I went outside to enjoy my pastry.

                                                      Canoe delivered exceptional service-- I mean it was like our waiter read our minds. He was very charismatic and friendly. Service top notch, and he got me a visit from the pastry chef :D

                                                      Atelier Thuet- went there for Canada Day brunch... started off rocky... while waiting for seating inside-- we got bumped outside (our seat given away to guests in line after us) by one waiter-- but after restating our request for indoor, another waiter got an extra seat for our third guest. this waiter was extremely kind, friendly, and understanding. got a basket of fresh pastries on the house as well as a granola parfait--- and got me a meet with Chef Thuet :)

                                                      Susur Lee- it wasn't acutally the waitress-- but the hostess.. i asked her if i could get a picture with Chef Lee.. instead i not only got a photo with chef but an extended tour of both kitchens/ facilities(Susur and Lee) :)

                                                      Pangaea- staff coordinated our dining well ( i had a few more dishes than my buddy). by doing this, my friend did not have to wait for me to get through my extra plates.. we finished at the same time before moving onto desserts. very considerate of them to suggest this. waiter also took note of my passion and description of our meal and brought out the executive and pastry chef for us to meet :)

                                                      Let them Eat Cake (in Stratford)- the waitress there was just so incredibly kind and helpful. she made us feel so welcome (she had that motherly warmth) :) she also threw in an extra scone because she knew I couldn't decided between the two earlier.