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Nov 1, 2007 12:02 AM

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?

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