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Jan 2, 2008 08:33 AM

Amore: Horrible Food and Even Worse Service

One of the worst dining experiences ever. Caesar salad has be pretty easy to make, right? Watery mayo with soggy croutons was all it tasted like. We then shared a pizza and veal parmigiana. Pizza was edible, but too soggy and not enough flavour.

The biggest problem was with the veal. It was tough and flavourless. But I was really incensed with the portion size. No joke, it was about 2 to 3 ounces of meat, and I'm being generous. It was $16.95.

My philosophy is, if you go to a restaurant and don't like the food, then keep your mouth shut and don't go back. But when you feel ripped off, it is imperative to let the management know.

So, I called the waiter over, had him look at the plate and asked him if this was a usual portion size. He told me he knows that a portion looks like and that's not it (if that's the case, I'm not sure why he brought it to me in the first place). He told me he would discuss it with the management When the bill came, the veal was there, for $16.95. I asked him what was up and he told me he would talk to the management again.

This time, the owner came over and asked me if there was a problem. I answered yes, and told him what had happened. He told me that he has been serving the veal that way for 13 years, and that if I didn't like it, I shouldn't come back. I told him that was not the right way to treat a customer and run his business and he turned back and told me that I keep quiet and not tell him how to run his business.

What an idiot. And lousy food too. Great combo.

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    1. re: FG1

      On the east side of Yonge, a few blocks north of Eglinton.

    2. Not to undermine your experience or anything because the manager's response to your concerns was inappropriate, but 3 oz of meat is actually considered a proper portion size. Nutritionists and dieticians will regularly tell you that 3 oz of meat (equivalent to the size of a deck of cards) is healthy and that what is served at restaurants or even at home are often way beyond that recommendation and hence the "obesity epidemic" in North America. Anyway, sorry to interject with that bit of trivia but back to the regularly scheduled programming...

      Is this the place that is on Yonge, just north of Eglinton? I think I've been there -- like, 5 years ago or something. They serve wine in tumblers, yes? They actually refused to serve me wine in a wine glass when I was there, stating that tumblers is how they do it Italy and therefore they wouldn't provide me with a wine glass. Now, I know that he is correct in that some informal spots in Italy serve table wines in tumblers but (a) we're not in Italy, (b) it's not like they really are trying to recreate the rustic Italian experience or else they wouldn't serve Thai-style mussels, and (c) isn't the customer always supposed to be right? I mean, if I'm paying for wine, then should I not have a choice in how I wish to enjoy what I paid for?

      Anyway, if we are talking of the same place, then I am in full agreement with your assessment of the place (and particularly of the staff's attitude) and that is why my first experience at that restaurant was also my last.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Juniper

        I shan't quibble about 3 oz being a healthy meat portion size. But we are not discussing a "healthy food" restaurant here. Three ounces is not a normal portion size for a $16.95 veal dish at this type of restaurant in Toronto.

        1. re: embee

          Agreed, embee. Just making the point that we more often than not aren't aware of what constitutes a serving since we are generally conditioned to accept abnormally large portions as normal. I certainly wasn't trying to imply that acd123 shouldn't be upset by the portion he received at the restaurant. As you correctly pointed out, the expectations of the diner at an establishment like this is more about value than about health.

          1. re: Juniper

            I think the learning here from OP and Juniper is the restaurant has major service issues and food that's not worth the effort...

            I'm so often surprised that waitstaff will recognize a problem before serving and not do anything about it hoping the diner "won't notice". IMO, it's even more insulting to hear them state that they "thought something looked wrong" yet still chose to serve it. If they send it back before it gets to me and let me know it will be another moment, I'm more than willing to let it go.

          2. re: embee

            Embee, I fully agree with you. When you order a $16.95 pizza you don't want a Jenny Craig's pizza. Nothing wrong with Jenny Craig, I must say, but a regular pizza (italian style or so) is not intended for someone on a weight loss program. I am surprised to read that Amore has been in business for 13 years.

          3. re: Juniper

            Thanks for your replies. I agree with Juniper about portion sizes, but only insofar as my cooking at home is concerned. I try to eat healthily and I'm always aware about portions sizes at home. I try to keep meat and fish portions to 3 to 4 ounces (size of a deck of cards, right?). And I'm on a Michael Pollan kick, so it's all as local and organic as I can get (gosh, I really miss the farmers markets right now).

            But when I go out for a meal, I don't expect them to be concerned about my diet. I expect them to deliver value for money (right on point, Juniper), which Amore certainly did not. And, at the very least, I expect them to be courteous and polite, which they were not.

            Really stupid considering how competitive TO's restraurant market is.

            1. re: Juniper

              But if they only serve their wine in tumblers do you expect them to go out to the store and buy a wine glass for you while you wait? I would assume if the do not serve wine in wine glasses that they would not have wine glasses in the restaurant.

              1. re: OnDaGo

                I thought that at first as well but it seems the issue wasn't the fact that they may or may not have had wine glasses but the way in which they decided to advise Juniper by refusing to serve it this way because it wasn't the "Italian" way.

                1. re: badbhoy

                  I'm not sure how I would have reacted had they just politely told me that they had no wine glasses -- I probably would have found it odd that a restaurant doesn't have wine glasses but I would have to accept it at their word and move on with my meal. However, their statement that they wouldn't serve me wine in a wine glass because "it's not the Italian way" smacked of insincerity. That reasoning sounded to me like they were just looking for a way to not do me any favours since it didn't seem to me like they were really trying to create an authentic Italian experience. And since it's been a while, my memory of the exact details are fuzzy but I remember thinking that the incident basically confirmed my assessment of the service we received up to that point (i.e. that they just didn't care about the experience of the diners). Anyway, main point is that there are hundreds of other restaurants at which you're better off spending your hard-earned dollars.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Their food ranges from mediocre to crappy in my experiences there. The service is bad and often rude.