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Why are there such disparate reviews of Tomi Kro?

I need to find a restaurant to take my husband for his 31st birthday. We live in the Riverside area and have heard fantastic things about Tomi Kro. After searching the board and the internet, however, I noticed that people either love or hate the restaurant. It appears that the food is not only up for debate but the service and ambience as well. So the question is - Do I take him to Tomi Kro this Thursday for dinner or is their another place in the same budget that you would recommend. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Tomi-Kro has been great the few times we've been and I have no issues in recommending it to others. It's not the best restaurant in the city by any means but in that price range it is definitely an enjoyable neighbourhood spot.

    Speaking of which we might actually hit Tomi-Kro this week (Wednesday) if they can fit us in early before the Raptor's game, might have a quick review for you in a few days. :-)

    1. They had attitude issues early on, which seem to have disappeared. I've liked the food and the service when I've been there. But there are few consistent restaurants in this part of town. The only ones I can think of off hand are the Tulip (of which I'm not a fan) and the Goof (pretty consistently bad).

      Tomi Kro can be very laid back, so you'd want to avoid it if this isn't your style.

      1. I really enjoyed my meal there, I think it depends on what you like. The crowd at Tomi-Kro skews young, it's pretty loud in there, and the service is friendly (at times bordering on overly familiar). Fantastic small plates for sharing, as well as big plates if you're not down with the tapas trend.

        I can see how it would annoy people who are interested in a quiet bite, that's for sure.

        3 Replies
        1. re: childofthestorm

          Thanks for your replies. I think I will make a reservation. We aren't looking for a romantic - 'gaze into each other's eyes' - kind of birthday dinner. A fun place with good food sounds exactly right. If you have any specific dishes you recommend I would love to hear about them.

          1. re: professor plum

            if you like foie gras, the "foie gras creme brulée" is delicious, basically a foie gras mousse with a crusty top, and some nice savoury relish-type sides.

            1. re: childofthestorm

              I've been to Tomi-Kro quite a lot & I've never had a bad experience there. That being said, it's not the place for everyone. It can get quite loud (with people and music, much like Trevor), but I like that so it's good for me. The food is quite wonderful and the service is: there when I need it to be and not when I don't...just the way I like it!

        2. I think it gets such widely varying reviews because Tomi-Kro very much is what it is, and if you don't like what it is, you probably won't like anything about the place. The service is hipster and definitely cooler than I am, 'though I've always found it friendly and charming; the ambiance is funky and the music is a little too loud, 'though it's techno-lounge so I love it; and the food is small plates with intense flavours, perhaps a little too expensive, but I love that too...well everything but the perhaps too expensive.
          The honey and I had dinner there just before Christmas and for two cocktails, four small starters, one main, one dessert, and three glasses of wine (if I recall correctly) it was about $175, and a really fun evening. They do a great margarita, and I'd trample my mother to get to those lobster maki balls.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

            I'm still craving the lobster maki balls. . . . delicious.
            I had the memphis ribs. They were decent - altittle dry. The roasted beet salad was delicious and had an amazing garlic sauce. My friends quite enjoyed their butter chicken. Sides we had were brussel sprouts with pancetta and asagio, coconut rice, and green beans - all done well.
            There was nothing we did not like. The lobster balls were the most memorable, but all in all it was a satisfying meal. Affordable. Service was typical. No issues.

          2. Hi professor plum - my sister and I are classic examples of the Jekyll and Hyde experiences at Tomi Kro. She went a few months ago with a bunch of friends and came home raving. I tried it the following week-end with another couple - we quite enjoyed the food but had appallingly bad service. I can handle a hip scene as well as anyone and I really wanted to like this place (ambient lighting, casual atmosphere, tempting menu) but service ranged from rude to flaky to absent. My sister, having enjoyed her previous dinner there, had already booked to go the following week-end and once again, had great service and a lovely dinner. We normally have the same take on things so I can only conclude that we were served by totally different people or the same people on different ends of their moodswings. Like I said, I really wanted to like this place and a lot of the food was quite good - I hope you and your husband hit it on a good night!

            1 Reply
            1. re: peppermint pate

              Ahh yes, flaky, rude and absent...it's all coming back to me. The night we went, which happened to be a very hot August evening, we were served by one of the street people that hang outside. If not that, he was a wannabe. I kid you not. Our waiter kept going outside every 5 mintues or so to have a smoke and hang with the bums outside. It was really really odd.

            2. Just looking for an update on this place. According to the old comments, Tomi Kro skews young, the service is hipster, the place is loud, and the service is variable - but it serves great food. Is this still the case? And if so, is it too cool a place to take a couple of admittedly unhip 60 year olds?

              1 Reply
              1. re: 11oclockish

                My recent experience has been hit and miss. First visit about 2 months ago - fantastic food, mediocre service. On returning 3 weeks ago, the food was just ok, service indifferent. It does have a pretty boisterous vibe, which shouldn't rule out the 60 year olds. I think it will depend on the night whether you get a decent meal.

              2. Tomi-Krow is one of my fave restaurants in the city. I celebrate most special events there, and have been a long time fan. Maybe it is the nights I go, never on the weekend, but I have always had great service and great food and it has also never been too loud, so maybe you just have to pick your days!

                7 Replies
                1. re: melmary

                  Sorry melmary, but how does one go about 'picking your days'? What I mean is, suppose you want to go for dinner to Tomi Kro's - how would you know if it's the right day or not? Is it wrong to expect great service and great food everyday?

                  1. re: millygirl

                    you misunderstood me...sorry
                    I meant I guess we have just gone earlier in the week when it is not super busy, therefore not loud

                    1. re: melmary

                      Personally speaking, the noise level doesn't usually bother me. In fact, sometimes I want a place with lots of action. It's the inconsistent food and service that really puts me off. I want a place where I know it's gonna be good, all the time, no matter the price range or day of the week.

                      1. re: millygirl

                        I have never had a bad or even mediocre meal there. The food is great and I usually like the service, although some of the men are a little on the casual side and tend to hang out on the curb in between serving. I have dined many, many times at Tomi Kro and recommend it. Try the tenderloin.

                        1. re: greenwoodgerrard

                          I agree, the food is good and we've never had a problem with service. A few times there have been 6 of us, and everyone enjoyed it.

                        2. re: millygirl

                          I see TK as a great place to drop into if you're in the neighbourhood. It's energetic, has interesting food, and can serve you late.

                          However I wouldn't make it a special night or trek over there if I was n a different part of the city. It's fine when I'm with friends who live near there, but I'm not a fan of self consciously hip servers and variable levels of service and execution. Of course I'm more at home around Bay St, Rosedale, and King W and spend time in those areas, so dropping in to Jamie Kennedy is easy.

                          For Leslieville, Tk is great. For the rest of us, you can do much better on any dimension (hipness, innovation, relaxed atmosphere, wine...) for pretty much the same budget. The neighbourhood is also a little too "edgy" and "real" for me, though hopefully the shooting across the street was a one off and not a soon to be regular experience.

                          1. re: preppycuisine

                            This part of town has been improving and is not unsafe (though I would avoid going into the park at Queen & Jones after dark). Tomi Kro is on a block with two other restos, one (Gio's) extremely popular, plus several more a bit to the west.