New Terroni on Adelaide
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.
57 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K6, CA
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.