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New Terroni on Adelaide

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I went to the new Terroni location on Adelaide for lunch today with some colleagues. I had called about 2 weeks ago for a reservation, and the girl who answered the phone told me that they were not taking reservations for lunches during the holidays. She advised me to come shortly before noon, and it wouldn't be a problem getting a table.

We decided to try this (instead of making a reservation for the Victoria location), since we were excited to see the spot. We left work shortly at 11:30, and got to the restaurant at 11:55. There was one group in front of us at the hostess area, who were being informed that there was a 25-30 minute wait. They decided to leave. We approached and were also given the 25-30 minute wait time. I told the waitress that I had called, and that they said they weren't taking reservations. She said this was true. Then I asked her why she had a reservation chart in front of her, and why the restaurant was a quarter full at this time and wouldn't seat us. She said those reservations on the chart were taken a loooong time ago (didn't think this place had been open 'loooong') and that they wanted to honour them. I think this was probably C-R-A-P, and that they take reservations for select people/groups. Because it was a work 'holiday' lunch we decided to wait at the bar. One hour and five minutes after that we got a table. We got 4 pizzas, 2 litre jugs of wine, two desserts, and ate quickly and left. Yes, I still love the food, but was disappointed with the hostesses, and their ridiculously inaccurate wait-time estimates. We would not have stayed if we knew we were going to be waiting over an hour, but once you get to that 30 minute mark that they estimated, you keep thinking it's only going to be a few more minutes.... maybe just 5 more... any minute now... :)

The space is very open and large, and I really like the distressed wood tables, but thought the booths were kind of an eyesore and uncomfortable (not much room if you have a gut). The washrooms (actually all of downstairs) is a bit odd - and let me tell you now that water squirts out of lion's heads into the sinks.

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Terroni
57 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K6, CA

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  1. I am pretty sure that the Victoria Street branch is a goner.

    I agree, I like the food; I predict really polarized opinions in this thread.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Doopsylalolic

      The Victoria St location is now closed.

    2. I'm pretty sure they were taking reservations before they opened. They were definitely taking names for a mailing list up until they had a concrete opening day.

      1. I had dinner there last night. Great space, beautiful reno, great vibe. Pizza and grilled calamari app were great, as at old location. But the pasta was once again disappointing -- underflavoured and poorly designed. Promised: sausage, buffalo mozzarella and fontina cheese. Delivered: underflavoured crumbled sausage, a few bits of gooey melted mozzarella, and two or three cubes of lukewarm fontina, as if plucked from a party cheese tray. I'll go back for sure, but will stick to the pizzas.

        2 Replies
        1. re: estragon

          I ate there a couple of weeks ago and thought the food was still great but I preferred the Victoria St location (although I am somewhat biased since I live directly accross the street).

          I think the courthouse building is beautiful and spacious but it seems a bit cold and impersonal especially for the type of traditional Italian food at Terroni.

          It was also obvious to me that they were not prepared for the larger capacity venue. The same servers that worked at the old location seemed frazzled with the number of tables to look after and they had to fill the void with new servers and hosts that are inexperienced.

          I think it will come around eventually but I will wait a while before I go back. I believe they still own the location on Victoria and are going to open up something else. Hopefully a good deli or Mexican restaurant!

          1. re: badbhoy

            Since I live just around, I stopped by a few times, once buying some Italian chocolate from the shelves near the dining room.

            There was an incredibly long wait yesterday around 5:30. The waitresses said there would be a 30min wait and responded that they were "NOT" taking reservations, when i asked if we can stop by in a few hours. Funny she said that as a few seconds later she answered the phone and jotted down a name for 8:30pm.
            We returned around 745, to be told that there would be a 40 minute wait. The dining room was about 90% full, the lobby bar was packed.

            What surprises me the most is their obvious inexperience in being able to manage the line at the front. The girl would take your name down if you chose to wait by the lobby bar, and then search through the crowd calling out your name when your time came. Can you imagine interrupting every girl at the lobby bar to find out if she is the 'elizabeth' that has been waiting nearly an hour for a table? Highly inefficient...

            It took me 20 minutes to pay for my chocolates during my first visit (tuesday night, 9pm, not so busy), because they couldn't figure out how to charge me (i was eventually served a dining receipt).

            Going to try visiting the place again this weekend. It's a lively environment, with creative uses of the courthouse space. I predict that will be busy for quite some time.

        2. One definitely needs to expect growing pains with this type of expansion....especially in the case of Terroni where it is wise to factor in their infamous arrogence.

          With that said, I must add that the Queen St staff have been great since they warmed up very early on in the year.

          1. Growing pains and the holiday rush must make for much confusion. I think this is one of the best concepts for a resto in this town in a looooong while. I'm going to wait at least a couple of months to work it out. I want to like them so I think a fair chance is in order.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Googs

              I was just there last week for a holiday work lunch, and am going to hold on deciding what I think about it until more months have passed and they work out being the new space. Also, I'd like to go back and try again when it's not holiday rush season and have a normal sit-down-order-off-the-menu dinner with a group of 2-4 people.

              We did have a reservation for lunch, but it was a very large group. I was excited because I've always like the pasta, pizza and salads and the vibe from Queen W. and Victoria St. locations. I was worried about how it would be in the old Courthouse - a much more conservative looking building. They did a beautiful reno, however. Now on to the food & service: it took more than 3 HOURS to finish the meal - and that was not having to wait to be seated. Lots of waiting for courses to come, and lots of waiting in between courses. We had salad first courses, a pasta second course, chicken main and a dessert. The salads & pasta were served on platters. As usual the salads were very nice (grilled radicchio stuffed with goat cheese, and caprese). The pasta (rigatoni) was decent, though I wanted to like it more - could be that served platter style it was not very warm, was a bit plain and also, the platters kept ending up at the ends of the table so that the ppl in the middle were going hungry... I think it took at least 1 - 1.5 hours before the pasta course came. The chicken course finally came in the last hour, it was OK but I thought the salads & pasta were better. Dessert came in the last 30 min., by this time people were looking at their watches, eating quickly and leaving to catch trains home, get back to the office.

              I like old locations of Terroni a lot despite the no reservation policy, but I can't get a read on the new location yet. It's not fair to judge it based on one large group holiday lunch. My first impression is still that they are best at salads, pizza and pasta, and only go if you have a lot of time to kill and don't mind waiting a lot... hope to try it again in the New Year at a less busy time.

            2. Just wondering about the growing pains at the new Terroni. Any updates on how things are going? I was wondering about giving it a try this weekend.

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodchump

                Dunno, but I noticed today that the old Victoria St. location is opening soon as a new restaurant associated with Terroni (sadly I have forgotten the name, probably Italian). Does anyone know what this is... perhaps a breakfast/lunch specific place run by the same owners? If so, maybe it will take some of the load off the Courthouse Terroni. I have to say that it sounds like the new location is basically having the same problem as the old: too much darn business, so you need to either go at off hours, wait eons for a table, or eat elbow-to-elbow with noisy crowds.

                1. re: Gary

                  The new/old location will be called Osteria by Terroni. You're probably right, it will likely be a lunch place. They probably kept the oven on site so maybe it will focus on pizza.

              2. My latest update on Terroni at the Courthouse is to vent gratuitously that I hate their reservation policy. I've always hated the Terroni no reservation policy, though at least Adelaide St. takes SOME reservations. I tried to make a reservation for 2 for dinner at 7pm on a Thursday (weeks in advance of when needed) - but they only take reservations for dinner at 6pm and not any other time. Grrr. First, at 6pm on a weekday for many of us downtown the workday is not over yet (hello!!!). Next, it's because we'll be seeing a show at the Courthouse Theatre there at 9pm. They suggested that it would be better just to walk-in for a table at 7pm except I might have to wait... but knowing what waiting is like at Terroni makes it totally impractical if you have a 9pm show. I really wish they'd ditch their "no reservation" policy, especially given that at this location the theatre is right there and people are on a schedule. At least, the new venue is big enough that they could set aside a portion for reservations, non? OK, rant over.

                1. I'm sure I'll raise the ire of a few Terroni-philes, but I don't ever plan on going back. I'd been to the one on Victoria several times and found it pretty good, but not worthy of the cult-like following. Pizza toppings are nice, but the crust i found not crispy enough (actually soggy in the middle a few times I was there).

                  Went to the Adelaide location for the first time this past week. Very sleek interior, busy and vibrant. On the other hand, the atmosphere seems too trendy and night-clubbish for what I'm after (i.e. casual fine dining). There was a DJ for chrissake!

                  With regards to the food, I ordered a cold cut and cheese platter appetizer. $15 for four slices of parma ham, four small slices of copa and two small pieces of cheese is egregious in my book. I ordered the papardelle with spicy sausage as my main. It was excessively salted. The people eating with me seemed happy enough, but they weren't exactly the discriminating taste types.

                  For casual Italian dining, I think 7 numbers destroys Terroni.

                  1. Ate here tonight for the first time, after developing my fandom on Queen West and Balmoral. Consistent with all my previous experiences: great meal, great service, and I really dig their take on the courthouse environment. Glass case full of hanging proscuitti? That's the obnoxious fun I'm looking for. Frankly I'd rather eat here over any of the stuffier four-star places in this city. It felt bustling, almost New York. I know there are more "authentic" and homey spots, but not with this sort of atmosphere. Here's hoping they don't blow it.

                    1. I too have mixed feelings about this location. I miss the cozier vibe of the old Victoria St. restaurant. I also miss the way the service there was brisk and efficient but not gruff, and they always seemed to have some amazing way to squeeze all those people in and out every night.

                      The new Adelaide location is beautiful to look at. And I agree with a previous poster, it is very NYC, which is cool. But I didn't feel comfortable. I arrived first and booked a table and then waited at the bar for the rest of my party, who arrived approximately as a table was ready, so that worked out okay. But I was annoyed that I was unable to then bring my drink to my table and transfer the tab: I had to guzzle down the rest, linger at the bar trying to get someone's attention, scrounge up some cash to pay for it, then join the rest of my party at my table and order another drink. Annoying, especially since I was only at the bar due to their "no reservation" policy in the first place.

                      We were seated at a long high shared table, which was okay, but somewhat uncomfortable and we had a service station directly behind us. I agree there was something "nightclub" vibe, as it was extremely loud, and I detected something more akin to an attitude from the servers that I don't remember at the old location.

                      The waitress was distinctly unhelpful when one of our party had questions about the wine selection. The apps took a long time to arrive, and when they did they were partially wrong: the waitress realized her mistake and apologized, but by then we were hungry so we just kept them and ate them. When two in our party wanted to share a pizza because they were not particularly hungry, the waitress did her best to make them feel like cheapskates -- even though we all had apps, several drinks, coffees, and desserts. Some people just aren't up to eating an entire 15" pizza themselves. That didn't impress me.

                      The food itself was fine, but not quite as good as I remember it. I understand al dente, but my pasta was a little too far on the chewy side -- not like I remember it in past visits. When you charge $15 for a small bowl of pasta with tomatoes on it, it should be close to perfect. Mine wasn't. In all, I would go back if someone else wanted to, but it wouldn't be a place I would suggest. Which is sad because the old Terroni was a regular haunt and never disappointed. Oh well, time marches on.

                      1. I've tried both the old and new locations of Terroni, and honestly, I don't really know what all the fuss is about. Although they can turn out a good dish now and again (lasagne last time was very good) most of the food is mediocre. Furthermore, I've had nothing but terrible experiences with rude servers (especially one older woman with blonde-ish hair). She really just doesn't seem to care that you are a paying customer. I got this attitude at both locations from her specifically. And why is it that you practically have to beg for a water glass refill?

                        Not to mention the ridiculous reservation policy....I'll leave this restaurant to those who want to wait an hour + and then be treated poorly.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sam_1

                          Funny how in the latest Toronto Life, Chatto says something to the effect of good service and prompt wait times..etc...

                          I went to Terroni about a week ago, again, and the wait time isn't any better. As a matter of fact, I was able to walk to my place after putting my name on the list and return almost an hour later to wait a few more minutes for my name to be called.
                          The food was great, the pizza, the pasta, the charcuterie...

                          2 nights ago, I had the privilege of dining at the new Terroni in Los Angeles.
                          They follow Toronto in terms of policy (no reservation, and they will not seat you until everyone in your party is at the host's podium).

                          The food was spectacular, the same menu with some new items showcasing some fresh pacific seafood (seared tuna with couscous, scallops and shrimp salad)...but the service was wonky.
                          when we asked for balsamic vinegar with our bread, the response was "we don't do vinegar with our breads"

                          1. re: Suresh

                            That is standard at Terroni ... it is not how you like it it is how the chef thinks it should be served... if you want cheese on your fish pasta you are out of luck... want a substitution on your pizza because of your allergy no way...

                        2. I attempted to eat at Terroni on Adelaide just the other day, even after reading the many discouraging posts written. We went for lunch, and were quite excited to get a pizza, as we've been to the Terroni on Queen West, and really enjoyed it. We were given a seat right away and once the waitress came over, we ordered our drinks. She brought them quite quickly and still gave us more time to look at the menu. Once we finally decided on our pizza of choice (which took about 10 min.) we went ahead and tried to order it. It was at this point that we were informed that the pizza oven had not been working all morning. Neither of us were sure why nobody had mentioned this to us earlier on, since pizza takes up approx. half of the menu. She said that she'd look into it, to see if by some chance the oven was up and running. Within 3 min. she was back at our table letting us know that yes, the oven was up and running BUT it would take about 45 min. for it to heat up. That posed a slight problem since we were on our lunch break and we'd now wasted about 20 min. of it. We decided to leave as a result. I understand that things break from time to time, but I think it would have been common courtesy to let patrons know that the main thing on the menu was actually unavailable during the lunch hour, instead of allowing us to waste 20 min. of our time. We had actually chosen Terroni for two reasons. Not only did we want to try their food, but we also wanted to check out their facilities and service, as we're looking for a venue to hold our rehearsal dinner in July. We have since decided to look elsewhere.

                          1. I tried out Terroni last week for a late lunch (a bit after 1pm) and so didn't encounter the wait issues that so many have posted about here. Overall, I'd say my experience is mixed. Since I don't like meat on my pizza, the non-substitutions at all policy really annoyed me especially since they don't have a make your own option. (And the waiter didn't seem really sorry to break this news to me when I asked about it.) So I chose a pizza that wouldn't have been probably been my first choice and included roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and olives. So the menu makes a point of saying all olives still include the pits. Really odd for pizza. When the pizza arrives, all the olives (about 6 or so) were clustered in the middle of the pizza (again, odd). And given that the choice of toppings are forced upon you (i.e. I would assume they do that so a customer cannot put together his or her own disaster of a pizza that doesn't "work"), I was surprised at how mushy the centre of the pizza was. On top of that, the price seemed pretty high for a pre-set veg pizza (I think it was $16). Now, after all that, I'll say that it surprised me that I did still enjoy the pizza--I guess have to assume that good quality ingredients helped.

                            All in all, I'm not sure how I felt about the experience.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Ediblethoughts

                              I've been saying it for years...Terroni is just a plain old bad restaurant! The pizza's are only "the best in Toronto" because there is almost nothing in that market to compare them to. What they charge for their pizza's are highway robbery. Considering they are almost always poorly made (super super thin, wet and soggy in the middle, or burnt around the edges) then add that they give you a $.25 cent plastic prison knife to cut them with is just plain silly. Olives with thier pits in them on a pizza is beyond ridiculousness! The sad thing is...the pizza's are the best thing on their mostly non-southern Italian menu!

                              1. re: The Macallan 18

                                I'm glad I'm not the only one that has noted the soggy middles. Terroni is most definitely not deserving of the best in Toronto pizza title. the place is more sizzle than steak.

                                1. re: grandgourmand

                                  You mean more cracker than pizza of course.

                                2. re: The Macallan 18

                                  I don't care much for their pizza either (soggy middle + and burnt crust). But I don't mind their grilled panini, if you ask them to double grill them, they are actually quite good

                                  1. re: The Macallan 18

                                    I'd say Ferraro's pizza and Olympic 76 pizza are better than Terroni's.

                                3. We went to Terroni on Adelaide this past Saturday with a group of 15 and booked the smaller private room just off to the right of the front entrance. It was a fabulous time had by all. Our meals were prompt, we didn't have to wait for our whole group to get seated, our server was knowledgable, friendly and efficient.

                                  They had another group booked in the room 2.5 hours after us, which they warned me about fully at time of resevation but still remained patient as we ran late in fiinishing our meal.

                                  Overall a great experience with wonderful food and an even better server. They even called me this morning again to ask about my experience! Seems like they are trying to soften their image and in my opinion they're doing a great job.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Annie 22

                                    Welcome to Chowhound!

                                  2. I went for dinner this weekend and got seated downstairs - i guess they've opened it up to general seating?? We were seated pretty quickly, but were only 3.

                                    The downstairs area is not nearly as nice as the room upstairs. There's a musty smell in the air, and the acoustics are horrible. You can barely hear the people sitting next to you (especially if you happen to be seated next to a horribly shrieky party).

                                    1. Went here last Saturday for dinner. Seating was no problem, but I did not enjoy the noise level or tightness of the seating. Having said that, it was an improvement over their old Victoria Street location. Food was great....will try their location near St Clair next...hope the food quality is maintained.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: T Long

                                        The noise at Terroni drives me nuts - what possible enjoyment can there be in suffering damage to your hearing? The food is NOT worth THAT. So if you like their food, and I do, take advantage of the patio at the rear of the new Adelaide location.
                                        Noise is also why I use the patio at Fresh - it's absolutely deafening inside - so bad that I have to point and mime to my waiter!