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Worst in Toronto

As we all know, most are so so or bad than good. Let's here what you think is terrible and why. Let's not have others avoid the same mistakes we made.

Some of mine:

Art Square Creperie on Dundas and McCaul
Swatow-for it's Deplorable service and mediocore overated food.
The Bad Kitty in Chinatown- I can't remember the name but it has "Kitty"in it- Cucumber as a main component in a stir fry. The most horrible slit-your-wrist depressing atmosphere ever.
Hare Krishna Restaurant in the Hare Krishna Temple on Avenue- Used to be ok. Now it's just dreadful. Crusty old rotten curries served up whenever they feel like it in the basement of the temple.
Magic Oven Pizza

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  1. Buppha Thai on Queen St E at Javis. The absolute worst Thai food that I've ever eaten. The fried rice was clumpy with dried up old vegetables and completely flavourless. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. With Mengrai in the neighbourhood, I hope that this place shuts down soon.

    Any Golden Griddle for non-breakfast food. I used to get dragged here by my coworkers and it was hideously bad.

    Fran's Diner on College just west of Yonge. Why people eat at this place, I'll never understand; the fact that it's open 24 hours is simply a threat to the people of Toronto.

    Spring Rolls: the biggest insult to Asian cuisine ever unleased upon the world. I can't necessarily claim that the flavour of the food is the worst, because frankly I have yet to find any flavour in any of the food I ate there..

    27 Replies
    1. re: vorpal

      uh second Frans.. I have had a very unsanitary experience there and the food has been just terrible every time Ive been forced there.

      1. re: hungryabbey

        3rd. Last time I went I didn't want to eat anything... so I ordered a smoothie. How can you get a smoothie wrong?? It was all ice, the fruit was all chunks that didn't make it up through the straw. Just embarassing.

        1. re: SMOG

          I gather Frans has gone downhill over the last 30 years or so, but their breakfast food is still edible. (Hard to mess up.) I always appreciate that they have veggie breakfast sausages.

          1. re: Allison_

            5th....I work in the area and get dragged by colleagues to Frans whenever there's birthday or what ever...terrible. Last time I went (about 1 month ago) i simply had a bottle of water.

            1. re: da9920

              Lived in T.O. for two years (mid-90s) and Fran's certainly came up. Don't remember being overly impressed but certainly the impression was it once had a great reputation as an amazing greasy spoon. Sorry to hear it seems to continue to not live up to that.

        2. re: hungryabbey

          Fran's is deep fried brown or microwaved fried food. blech.

          1. re: jo blam

            The only thing worse than Frans is Golden Griddle...

            1. re: LovelyAsia

              Completely agree about Fran's and Golden Griddle. I'm sure the only thing keeping them in business are tourists. They're just plain awful and I finally have no problem refusing to go to either place. Funnily, it's my friends visiting from Rochester who want to go there.

        3. re: vorpal

          i def agree with you on Frans and Spring Rolls. i HATE Spring Rolls and I don't know why people keep insisting that we go there for lunch. All I taste is either salt or ketchup.

          and Frans...the only time I'll go is if it's LATE and if I'm drunk. the last time i went, i had the "asian noodle bowl"...it was like gravy on pasta with a few bean sprouts on it. disgusting.

          1. re: pinkprimp

            Yes, the flavours at Spring Rolls are always noticeably... off. Like they've been cooking a dish for years, ingredient proportions have drifted naturally, but no one has tasted it in so long that they haven't noticed.

            1. re: Allison_

              no rating, the 'factory' on broadview (the front is a front) produces the 'food' to ship to the various outlets, i.e. dundas(atrium), front st(st lawrence mkt area) etc.
              food for those who know no better, and priced beyond acceptable

          2. re: vorpal

            I haven't been to Spring Rolls in years but what irked me beyond description last time I went was that they served the food with this slippery jasmine rice on PLATES and insisted that we eat with slippery lacquered chop sticks. Okay, this would be fine if the food (or the rice) were served in bowls, but not even Chinese people would try to eat off a flat plate with these impossible chopsticks, and they were doing this as some sort of ploy for authenticity. And the food was terrible.

            I made the mistake of going to "Natural Sushi" on Yonge on a trip to TO a while back- gummy, undercooked rice that was stodgy like oatmeal, and the rolls were almost nothing but this abominable rice. Horrible.

            1. re: vorpal

              Agree 100% re: College-Yonge Fran's, Spring Rolls, and Golden Griddle (any time of day).
              I'd like to add the Asian place at the NW corner of Carlton and Parliament (Ginger?) -- easily the worst allegedly Thai something or other I've had. I think they used ketchup in the sauce.
              Oh, and also Richtree in College Park. I'd say all the Richtrees, but I haven't been to the other ones in years.

              1. re: vorpal

                I haven't been in the College street location in some time and will not soon after reading these reviews, however, having said that I would like to mention to everyone down on Fran's that they have a very good spot across from Massey Hall that we often patronize after the annual Women's Blues Review
                Always open quite late when we pop in there for a bite.

                1. re: fruglescot

                  I went to that Fran's when it first opened in part because of good memories of the St. Clair Fran's (that I frequented so long ago) and it was close to the office. However I have not returned since....not a terrible place, but not that special either...filling portions I recall.

                2. re: vorpal

                  i have to agree with Frans and golden griddle (horrible service, and bad, bad, bad, food). i don't know how they can both manage to stay open 24 hrs. is there really That much demand for these places?

                  spring rolls, and all it's counterpart (go, east) is such a sham. i think ppl do there for the decor and amosphere more than anything. the food there is terrible.

                  1. re: chalenegirl

                    i dont even think their decor is anything special. all those "trendy" asian places have the same theme when you walk inside. it's as if the same person designed them all.


                    1. re: chalenegirl

                      Talk about lack of truth in advertizing: I once made the mistake of ordering Fran's coconut cream pie, which the menu claimed to be "the best in town!"

                      Hint: it sure wasn't.

                      1. re: SpiceMustFlow

                        They opened anew Fran's at Yonge/Shuter a few years ago and it's not the greatest food at all! I highly recommend out of the kindness of my heart that you all steer clear away from their 'eggs benedict' which is beyond disgusting. I can't stand restaurants who either make their hollandaise from a box or with margarine. Hollandaise must always be made fresh with butter, otherwise the consistency and flavour is 'off'.

                        They've always been known to make one of the most dynamic rice puddings in T.O. which was true once over 25 yrs. ago! Tried the pie too, yeeeeech.

                        1. re: midnightmadness

                          If you want diner fare in that neighbourhood and you want to avoid Fran's Shuter & Victoria, continue walking south on Victoria until you see Victoria Restaurant at Queen St. It's the real deal and has completely reasonable prices.

                          1. re: Googs

                            I agree about Victorias. I didn't realize it was still there. Used to eat lunch there back in 1967=1968 as a starving intern at St. Mikes across the street. Good, filling food at a good price.

                            1. re: Brucethegreatest

                              Thread age is showing! Victoria Restaurant is closed - space is reno'd and I believe it's a retail outlet for orthopedic shoes? Never went in but it was always fascinating to watch while waiting for streetcar at the stop on Queen.

                    2. re: vorpal

                      Spring Rolls, I agree.... It is horrible.

                      1. re: vorpal

                        Thanaks for the pitfalls. The only one I know - amongst those you mention - is Golden Griddle. The one at 180 Eglinton Ave. East is not only unfriendly but the food is bland and they make you wait a long time for it.

                        1. re: vorpal


                          Frans- the worst of the lot ( ALL LOCATIONS) with horrible food at elevated prices with equally terriible service staff.

                          Spring Rolls- I agree that it's the biggest insult to Asian cuisine unleased upon Toronto. Those who love it there, have no idea what real pad thai or good food is. I was disgusted with the taste of ketchup in my pad thai when I was there.

                          John's Italian on Baldwin- pizza was cold and halfway through my slice, there was a long piece of hair on my slice that was not mine. Haven't been back since.

                          Lone Star Grill- half a pound of salt on your food...not good.

                          Chippy's- fish ( salmon) wasn't bad.....but not worth the price despite the pedigree of the owner having worked for Susur Lee. Would have gotten the same qualtity at a lower priced mom & pop chip shop.

                          Sassafraz- horrible food, strawberry shortcake had a scone like biscuit that was as flakey as a hockey puck. Couldn't break it with your fork alone. Go there to only have a drink among the pretty decor.

                          601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                          100 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M5R1A6, CA

                          Lone Star Grill & Bar
                          360 Great Northern Rd, Sault Ste Marie, ON P6B4Z7, CA

                          1. re: vorpal

                            I'll second Spring Rolls... an awful example of anything asian, let alone "fusion". Why this place is packed everyday eludes me.

                          2. The Breakfast Grill on Parliament just north of Queen. You only make one thing. How can you do that so poorly? It's breakfast! Get another business plan.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Googs

                              I have to take this one back. After The Breakfast Grill was taken over by new owners the service, food, and attitude have all improved. Still not Destination Breakfast, but if you live a 5-10 minute walk from Parliament & Queen and don't feel like making brekkie it's pretty okay.

                            2. Ginger - various locations. Expansion has left them resorting to super sub par ingredients.
                              Golden Griddle breakfast buffet.
                              Any Kelseys the worst of the worst chains.
                              Le Biftheque closed thankfully.
                              Any place in Chinatown that serves "Beach Chicken" or "House Chops".

                              1. salad king tops the list for me.
                                also agree with magic oven...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rayrayray

                                  I have to say there is one dish at Salad King that i love... I know it's completely inauthentic and the kitchen is a conveyor belt, but I can't help enjoying my annual "good-bad" feed of golden tofu curry with all those crushed dried chilies dumped in...

                                  at least they're consistant

                                2. Bon Vivant at Avenue Rd just south of 401. Horrible on every count (see my full review posted on this board).

                                  2nd Golden Griddle. Greasy crap.

                                  Pizza pizza worst fast food pizza chain.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: SMOG

                                    Yes, let's make Bon Vivant be on this list! Went for a dinner in the patio, and felt that the food and everything else was quite amateurish. Cutlery and plates and glasses looked like they were purchased at the local Loblaws. Patio furniture too. Food was so average. Had the salmon - there was no taste in that. Not sure whether they're doing well or not ... but to be at Avenue Rd, there are just no excuses...

                                  2. This thread is too tempting not to reply to. I may not know fine dining that well but I definitely know bad food :-)

                                    Three of my worst:
                                    Plaza Flamingo (on College next to Sneaky Dee's): breakfast buffet. Somehow went twice. Should have chosen to starve.
                                    Devil's Advocate (on Bay north of Elm): I swear their nachos were made with ketchup.
                                    Alioli (in Mississauga on Burnamthorpe): I can still taste the lime (seeds, skin + all made up 30% of the salad) and raw onion (another 30%) in their lobster salad. What a waste of lobster.

                                    Also: I had great service at Swatow last night, for the record. It was strange. Are they improving?

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Manybears

                                      Gotta disagree with your inclusion of Alioli in this list. I'm sorry that you had a bad experience. We've actually dined there on many occasions and had wonderful dinners, particularly the vintner's evenings.

                                      1. re: Manybears

                                        I also quite like the food at Alioli, the pasta is quite nice and not too expensive. Maybe only that particular item is bad.

                                        1. re: Manybears

                                          I also have to disagree with your inclusion about Aioli. It's hard for me to recall my meal as it's been a few years since I was there, but I remember the food being fairly good. Whereas the other couple we were eating with said that they really enjoyed the meal, my husband was disappointed with his dish, so perhaps there are just a few lacking offerings on the menu.

                                          1. re: vorpal

                                            Fair enough, I meant to edit afterwards and say I'd only been there once-- maybe they were having an off night. I was there with 6 people though, and nobody finished their meal. We all felt like we'd paid a lot of money for large portions of not-good food. If I ever have to go back I'll get the pasta :-)

                                          2. re: Manybears

                                            I've been going to Swatow 2-3 times a year for at least 12 years (used to go a lot more). I generally have the same thing, it's not out of this world but consistenly good comfort food, and they service is always just fine.

                                              1. re: deelicious

                                                I used to go to Swatow and enjoyed it for what it was..., that is until I saw one of the line cooks exit a bathroom stall, not wash his hands and head back to the kitchen. I'm not naive enough to think this is the only place where that happens, but when you witness it firsthand, it makes you draw a line in the sand.

                                            1. re: Manybears

                                              LOL agreee with Alioli...onion was too much and terrible overall experience

                                              1. re: foodlovinpooch

                                                Really... I went a year ago and had a great Veall Piccata, and the best raspberry creme brulee, the only drawback was the price. Over priced for the food served.

                                            2. Ho Lee Chow: Cost inversely proportional to taste and texture. Can't believe they are still in business. Threw out half the food ordered.
                                              California Sandwiches on Winston Churchill only (the others are GREAT) They pre-cooked the veal.
                                              Mr. Greenjeans: Every menu item I've had is lousy. I quit.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Scary Bill

                                                Agree with Ho Lee Chow. How they stay in business is up there with the great mysteries of life.

                                                1. re: wordsworth

                                                  Ha! I thought I was gonna have to start the Ho Lee Chow rant, but good thing I found it here first. Ordered in, and it took 45 minutes to come, with a charge of $3. So food came, there were no *something rather,* totally couldnt understand what the person said, so they substituted with another huge colourful sauce (lemon, it seemed).

                                                  Crispy shrimp - not crispy at all. We've had it run-of-the-mill Chinese food places, you cant screw that up. But you can. They must have used the SMALLEST possible shrimp, and the batter was so thick... goodness. It was undercooked, most of all.

                                                  We ordered in a bunch of food and was entertaining guests - we were so embarrassed. Finally we called them at 11pm, good thing they still took calls then. We got a credit back. But do we want to eat there again? NOPE. Just 2 days ago, my SO called the guests and was just chatting, and they TOO got us a $20 credit because they were just so disappointed with their food. Haha, now we have $36 credit... What do I do with that??? *sigh*

                                                  1. re: jennjen18

                                                    Well they are out of business now -- just as well I guess!

                                              2. Ikki Sushi, on Kingston Rd. just east of the Danforth Avenue intersection. Don't EVER go there - it should never be patronized because of the zero-rated food they serve. I've tried it, so believe me.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Bob Catt

                                                  I only noticed this because the restaurant name made me laugh. I admit that I'm not a fan of uncooked seafood, but surely any meal described as ikki would be suspect. I did a quick search and found that 'restaurantica.com' has 11 reviews of this place dated between 2005-2007. On avg the reviews gave a 9.6 out of 10 score. So either all the reviews were by relatives or something has recently changed to negatively affect the food. Can you give any specific details of why you rate the food as zero?

                                                  1. re: torontovore

                                                    I can't speak for the original location of Ikki Sushi on Kingston- and yeah, the name is unfortunate- but I have been a couple times to their second location at Woodbine and Danforth. We were overjoyed to have a sushi place walking distance from our house, but let me just say... life's too short for bad sushi.

                                                    The last time we went there, the service was friendly but that was the only good thing I can say about the place. The food was simply appalling, and the cheery singing chef is not the karaoke hero he imagines himself to be. Fail.

                                                    1. re: torontovore

                                                      I go to the Ikki Sushi on Kingston Rd. once every few months, usually for tempura veggies/shrimp and teriyaki (I'm not a sushi eater) and I've really enjoyed it. I took two of my clients there too for a casual, quick lunch, and they enjoyed it as well (they did have sushi). Maybe it has improved since the original post? They're never very busy inside, but I think they do a lot of catering/delivery.

                                                      I agree with Ho Lee Chow though... their food seems to get worse and worse.

                                                  2. I am a service-nazi, so worst for me depends mostly on service.
                                                    Sushi Island, though I love the brown-black rice rolls, is pretty pretty bad.
                                                    I've also had horrible service at Nirvana (the new Red Room on College at Bathurst), but in that case, you get what you pay for.
                                                    Supermarket was HORRIBLE. and the food, at least what i had, didn't win me over,
                                                    it's gone now, but Smalltalk on Bayview was the worst service with such good food. such a shame.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: LemonLauren

                                                      Oh well in that context, LL, for the double helix of bad food & inept service I'll go with La Vecchia.

                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                        Seriously? I really like La Vecchia. Been several times and never had bad service. The food I find is good... not spectacular, but good.

                                                        1. re: SMOG

                                                          Two years ago I would have agreed. Now I'm just angry at them for betraying their patrons with this shell of their former self.

                                                            1. re: morrigan

                                                              Interesting read... what can I say, perhaps it's not so good and I'm lucky that I had a good experience there last time.

                                                              Next time I'm in the area, I'll give Zucca a try.

                                                          1. re: SMOG

                                                            I knew someone who worked there, briefly. They add a walnut-based pesto to just about every item on their menu. Of course they don't bother to list the walnuts, nor train their staff properly to be able to warn customers (he only found out by watching in the kitchen). They will kill somebody someday.

                                                        2. Old spaghetti house. The pasta stinks.

                                                          11 Replies
                                                          1. re: skylineR33

                                                            Does the Old Spagetti House even count as a restuarant? My vote goes to "Dead Lobster", although we should probably not even include chains in this survey.

                                                            1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                              Oh yeah, forgot about this one! Everything there tastes like reheated Chef Boyardee. Or worse.

                                                              1. re: SMOG

                                                                Which, after being asked to sub for a missing waiter (I was working at the Keg nearby), is actually a pretty accurate description. The pasta is pre-cooked, and then when you order, they drop it into little vats of hot water for a few seconds. If there was a fresh ingredient in any of the sauces, I didn't see it.

                                                                1. re: KevinB

                                                                  There's a reason the call it the Old Spaghetti House. Truth in advertising!

                                                              2. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                                I actually like "Dead Lobster" (aka Red Lobster),
                                                                but would never go there for "real" seafood.

                                                                But their appetizer menu with the stuffed mushrooms,cheese sticks,breaded zuchinni is pretty good!
                                                                Also the cheese biscuits :)

                                                                I would say it is more "bar food" I go there for,but not often as they are always super greassy.

                                                                The calamari is horrible though,worst ever

                                                                1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                                  My vote (for a chain) is Mandarin. I was dragged there recently and horrified at the busy-ness of the place, considering the food is so terrible. Everything, despite being on chafing dishes, was lukewarm at best; everything I tried that was deep fried was soggy and the noodles and rice were gummy. And at $18.99 for the dinner buffet, I left enraged. My first, and thankfully, last visit.

                                                                2. re: skylineR33

                                                                  I'll risk humiliation and admit that every couple of years I crave a small portion of the spaghetti with mizithra cheese "a la Homer". And I still like it...

                                                                  1. re: embee

                                                                    I have to agree...there is something so simple and so delicious. I have recreated it at home as I do not live very close to Toronto...hmmm, craving it now!!

                                                                    1. re: embee

                                                                      I'm with you on that! I loooove that dish at the Spaghetti Factory. It's the only dish I will eat there!

                                                                    2. re: skylineR33

                                                                      absolute worst place i agree. overcooked cold noodles covered in processed cheese, worse than any hospital or prison food.

                                                                    3. "Bourbon St. Grill" wins hands-down (warning: at Vaughan Mills and in U.S. shopping malls it is called "Kelly's Cajun Grill").

                                                                      This is the biggest joke of any GTA restaurant bar none. There is no such thing as "Cajun fried rice", and their self-proclaimed "World Famous Bourbon Chicken" might as well be called "Chicken balls with red sauce". The food looks like it was borrowed from Manchu Wok (ugh).

                                                                      Put simply, this is very bad Chinese food*** with Cajun-sounding names to try to fool you into thinking you're getting Louisiana cuisine. It's crap.

                                                                      ***the chain is owned by a Chinese guy in Florida. Ain't nothing Cajun about it.

                                                                      My wife votes for Swiss Chalet, specifically the sauce (the chicken itself is OK). The idea of taking chicken gravy and mixing in BBQ sauce made her stomach turn....

                                                                      60 Replies
                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                        I second many of the "recommendations" for this list of losers, though Tex is perhaps a little hard on Swiss Chalet whose offerings, the horrid sauce excepted, are toothsome in their way, if expensive. Also, didn't the horrid Le Biftheque not in fact close but re-decorate and re-name itself to serve essentially the same nasty food to unwitting conventioneers ?

                                                                        A tale of Fran's. I live near one of the original locations which closed c. 2000. For about 5 years (1990-95) it served really good food - the grilled cheese and bacon sandwich served with sharp cheddar; the lasagne tasted home made; the onion soup was beefy and cheesy; the club sandwich an exemplar of its kind, ditto the Big Breakfast; some of the bakery items tasted home-made and were unique in the city. It wasn't cheap, but it was good. Then one day I noticed a New Menu - and the advent of the horrid food of today, witness the downgraded grilled cheese to vapid pap, the tired cakes and pies, etc. A member of the family worked in the restaurant, and could only answer my queries and protestations with lowered eyes and some reference to a "new business model" and "economies of scale" - sad sad sad.

                                                                        To the names already mentioned I nominate Pizza Pizza, excellent new commercial running in movie theatres but horrid 'za; Golden Griddle (WHY can't some Canadian outfit duplicate Waffle House in the US ?); the decline of Over Easy; the absurdly-overpriced pizzas at Whole Foods; terrible service and tiny portions at La Palette; rickety tables and tired, expensive steaks and menu generally at Carman's Club; all chain Chinese; travesty of "doughnuts" from Tim Hortons; pretentious pricing at its high-branded offshoot Timothy's; attitude at Starbucks; decline of the Tulip.

                                                                        1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                          I thought Tim Horton & Timothy's were separate entities.

                                                                          The decline of Fran's is a shame. I have such good memories of the back room of their old St. Clair location....breaded sole and liver & onions were favs.

                                                                          1. re: T Long

                                                                            You're exactly right. TH and Timothy's only share the aspect of being completely horrible. They are in no way otherwise connected. 100% separate companies.

                                                                            1. re: John Manzo

                                                                              Ugh. Timothy's has the absolute worst coffee of any of the chains. It's like they drop a brown crayon in hot water or something.

                                                                              1. re: somewhere4

                                                                                Ah, Tim Hortons can't be the "worst coffee" if it isn't really coffee, right?

                                                                                1. re: tjr

                                                                                  is Starbucks that much better??

                                                                                  1. re: tjr

                                                                                    Not Tim Hortons. Timothy's. Different chain that competes with Second Cup and Starbucks for the higfh-end coffee buyer.

                                                                                    I tried them out of desperation (no other coffee source within walking distance) a month ago and stand by my original post.

                                                                            2. re: Bigtigger

                                                                              not to quibble but the Tim Hortons/Wendy's company is complelety different and separate from Timothy's World Coffee which also owns mmmarvellous muffins and Michel's Baguettes.

                                                                              1. re: JamieK

                                                                                When did that happen? Second Cup used to be connected with Michel's Baguette and mmmuffins - all franchised by Michael Bregman.

                                                                                Come to think of it, I went into a Michel's for a Danish last year for the first time in a few years. The Danish was as pretty as ever, but its previous buttery richness was totally missing.

                                                                                  1. re: embee

                                                                                    Second Cup was sold by Michel's group to the Cara Group in 2002 roughly.

                                                                                    1. re: deelicious

                                                                                      I was aware that Second Cup went to Cara at some point. But where does that place Baguette and mmmuffins? They aren't part of Cara. Are they, in fact, now owned by Timothy's? (Just idle curiosity, BTW.)

                                                                                1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                                  And Fran's "new business model" bankrupted them, so justice triumphed in the end. Today's Fran's was the lone franchisee that survived the corporate bankruptcy.

                                                                                  1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                                    I hated Biftheque too, but you had to figure they were doomed from the start. They tried to expand into Toronto following the wave of ultra-high-end steak houses (Ruth's Chris, Morton's, Harbour 60) that opened in the mid 1990's. Their advertising message was simple, we'll give you for $15 what Ruth's charges $50 for. Problem is, price isn't everything. If you serve crap, it doesn't matter if it's cheap, nobody's coming back. Those who dine at Ruth's are more than willing to pay for quality and are NOT going to be happy with Biftheque. Those who can't afford Ruth's probably eat at The Keg, which also beats Biftheque in quality (not a difficult task, of course).

                                                                                    Circle T's Buffet in Pickering (which closed in October) had to be the worst non-Chinese buffet in town. For those who didn't know about it, it was Tucker's "discount" location. Yes, that bad... Wasn't really a chain as they only had the 1 location, probably a Tucker's test marketing project that clearly failed.

                                                                                    Agree 100% with your listing of Tim Horton's. Someone PLEASE send that coffee to the World Anti-Doping Agency because there's gotta be some illegal drugs in it to make it as addictive as it is. Sure there are Starbucks addicts but they can't hold a candle to these zombies that seem to be muttering "timmies... timmies.... timmies" every waking hour of the day. Biggest piece of false advertising is the "Always Fresh" sign at Tim's. Their donuts are anything but.

                                                                                    As for Waffle House, I can't see them surviving up here. They're mostly a Southern phenomenon... you'll drive southbound on I-75 and there's a point where Tim Horton's territory ends and Waffle House begins (around Dayton, Ohio?). They wouldn't last if they had to take on Tim Horton's for the breakfast business in Ontario, just like Tim's would be eaten alive if they encroached on Waffle House in Georgia. They're mutually exclusive.

                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                      Biftheque is now Steak, and the prices are now jacked up and the decor changed, but service and food still lack quality...see review

                                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                        Tex, a buddy of mine owns a couple of Tim Hortons so I can vouch for their efforts at freshness. The doughnuts get tossed if they don't sell within 12 hours of being made and all sandwiches must be made to order, sandwiches cannot be made in advance. It pisses him off because he believes he misses business from people who do not want to stand in line, order, and wait, they just want to grab an already made sandwich and run.

                                                                                        Area managers are intolerant to rule breakers.

                                                                                        This is an instance where the corporate boys want the franchisees to live up to the advertising.

                                                                                        Oh, and I find the coffee quite pedestrian.

                                                                                        1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                          Unless they stopped the practice as quickly as they began it, they now serve previously frozen timbits at many locations; these should not be considered fresh!

                                                                                          1. re: deelicious

                                                                                            The raw dough is frozen, shipped, and then fried "fresh" Cooked product is not frozen to my knowledge.

                                                                                            Sort of like the "fresh" sushi, much of which is frozen, then thawed and prepared.

                                                                                            1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                              Maybe at standalone Timmy's, but what about the many express-type locations in office buildings, Pape subway, gas stations, etc? Maybe they can't be expected to have kitchens, but they still have the Timmy's name
                                                                                              Also when my friend worked there in high school (15 years ago, and they did bake everything fresh back then), the donuts were considered garbage after 4 hours. Big difference from 12.

                                                                                              I don't love or hate the place, but I do think the quality has gone downhill.

                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                Never been to an express, but I would be surprised if the standards were the same as standalones ALSO, probably the biggest reason for any decline in quality is that Timmy went public and is now bedevilled with shareholder demands for greater profits.

                                                                                              2. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                I was told the donuts were cooked in the factory, flash frozen, and then heated in the stores. Initial testing showed people found they lost their freshness faster, but when they were fresh they tasted the same as they used to when made in the stores from scratch. I dunno... they're too perfectly formed now. I used to love getting weirdly shaped apple fritters at Timmies :)

                                                                                            2. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                              Things definitely changed with Wendy's and, sans Wendy's, they have NOT been changed back.

                                                                                              The donuts used to be very fresh. They were never available for sale for up to 12!! hours - at least, not at a properly run outlet. I don't eat donuts often, but I do indulge from time to time and they are often the only edibles on offer at business meetings. My favourites were the French crullers, (which used to be light and fluffy with a very slightly crisp outside and are now soggy and pasty) and the sour cream unglazed (which now leave my mouth coated with a greasy slime absent in the past). And (other than at very high volume outlets), Tim's donuts can be out-and-out stale. The stuff sold at the Express locations would have been consigned to the garbage in earlier times.

                                                                                              The coffee is not my favourite. I suspect it contains some robusta beans (which Starbuck's, Second Cup, and Timothy's do not use for brewed coffee). These beans have much more caffeine than the "Arabica" beans used elsewhere. While the salt content info surprises me, salt added to harsh coffee does improve its drinking qualities. To my palate, Tim's coffee tastes (consistently) somewhat burned. Salt plus much cream tempers this this sensation. (This is a different kind of burned from Starbuck's coffee, where the beans are roasted very dark. Tim's beans are not dark, but the brew tastes burned)

                                                                                              I will say that their sandwiches, though not interesting, do tend to be fresh, and are much better than the awful food served at Starbuck's. I'll even go on record that an iced cap tastes no worse than most Frappucino varieties, and better than some, if I view it as a shake as opposed to as a coffee.

                                                                                              1. re: embee

                                                                                                Really? I would consider Starbucks' blended cremes more like shakes, compared to an iced cap. and since im the topic, i HATE the misnomer of Tim Horton's Iced Cappuccino. scientificlally speaking, you can't make it without the aid of gastronomical tools because a cappuccino by definition is half milk and half foam. where is half my frozen foam then?!

                                                                                                1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                                  I won't commit the indignity of calling an Iced Cap a "cappucino", because it isn't.

                                                                                                  I'm not a fan of very sweet drinks (of any kind), and both the Frappucino and the Iced Cap are much too sweet for my taste. Neither takes the place of real coffee, whether cold or hot; espresso or brewed.

                                                                                                  However, I award the dubious crown to Tim's because the Iced Cap holds together until it's finished. It contains a huge amount of 18% cream, giving it more of a milkshake quality when mixed with their slush.

                                                                                                  The Frappucino offers choice and a small amount of customization potential, but all are too sweet anyway. The prep is inherently flawed, and most of each drink ends up as sweet but weakly flavoured blended ice that won't even go up the straw. Plus it costs much more.

                                                                                                  1. re: embee

                                                                                                    I do like me an ice cap, even made with milk instead of cream, often as much or better than more expensive frozen coffee conconctions... even the ones from independent stores.
                                                                                                    I had a muffin from Second Cup the other day that made me wish I had crossed the street to TH's - would have been fresher, and probably not had such a strong chemical taste.
                                                                                                    Also like the prices at TH's. You can get out of there for less than $2.

                                                                                                2. re: embee

                                                                                                  the burn taste you get from a tims coffee is from the improper making of it. what happens is that the empty pot is left on a burnner and heats up and when the first few drips land in the glass it burns, similar to placing a drop of water into a really hot pan, then this burnt bits tend to destroy the flavor of the rest of the pot. the people who work there are just to lazy to hold the pot above the burner until there is a quarter of an inch of coffee on the bottom then place it on the burner. you may notice some smaller coffee places have pennies on the burner this is to help reduce the coffee burn effect.

                                                                                                  1. re: youdonut

                                                                                                    or it just tastes like cheap robusta beans (the more inexpensive ones grown lower on the mountain)

                                                                                                    1. re: Sui_Mai

                                                                                                      Robusta being a key ingredient in Italian espresso, because the flavor is not as dominant as the the roast.

                                                                                                3. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                  All there donuts are previously frozen, made by a company in London I think

                                                                                                  1. re: jiminy

                                                                                                    Tim's doughnuts give me a horrible headache. MSG perhaps? I am dating myself with this but, Mr. Donut made WAY better doughnuts! Also Simpson's restaurant used to make a killer pumpkin doughnut covered in sugar cinnamon. This tells you how old I am! Anybody remember Mr. Donut?

                                                                                                    1. re: madamemeowmeow

                                                                                                      Mr Donut made great donuts. There was a branch on Wilson just west of Bathurst. I believe they closed in the late 70's. There was also a branch in Scarborough on Eglinton east of Kennedy.

                                                                                                      1. re: mrzee

                                                                                                        Mr.Donut was the best! There was a shop on Lawrence Ave near Pharmacy(my old stompin' grounds).We use to go around 2 or 3 am when they just came out of the fryer,but they were too hot to serve so we waited patiently,sort of....

                                                                                                        1. re: mrzee

                                                                                                          That was east of Midland, mrzee, on the north side of Eglinton near Cavoto's. Yes indeedy. Fresh baked on site, not fresh faked. It was pretty darn good.

                                                                                                          1. re: Googs

                                                                                                            85 cents a dozen wasn't bad either :-)

                                                                                                  2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                    A couple of years ago some chemistry students at university with my daughter decided to get to the bottom of the "addictive" qualities of Horton's coffee. they analyzed it and found a surprising amount of salt and a higher percentage of caffeine than in most other coffees.....don't know if that's it, but....

                                                                                                    There have also been rumours over the years of nicotine or MSG being added. The uni chemists didn't find any of those substances.

                                                                                                        1. re: rsvp7777

                                                                                                          The bit about the "surprising amount of salt" in the chemical composition of Tim Horton's coffee had me scratching my head a few days ago. Until......I saw this thread, which I thought I would share with you:


                                                                                                          (Sorry, if this is irrelevant to the OP)

                                                                                                          1. re: DishyDiva

                                                                                                            A pinch of salt is supposed to mellow the bitterness in the coffee.
                                                                                                            I sometimes do it. Try it with regular coffee, not premium.

                                                                                                      1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                                                        Swiss Chalet sauce is not without it's devotees. I have to mail packets of their dry sauce mix to mx ex-pat friend in England a couple of times per year. Mind you, she ships me my squeezy Marmite, so I suppose there's no accounting for tastes.

                                                                                                        1. re: Ginsugirl

                                                                                                          give me St. Hubert's sauce any day over Swiss Chalet

                                                                                                      2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                        Hmm... can you include a food court chain? Most food court chains are terrible. Yes, Bourbon is bad, but what do you expect when you pay $6.50 for 3 lb's of food? I'd say it's on par with the average food court chain.

                                                                                                        1. re: SMOG

                                                                                                          My point was authenticity. There are food court chains that call themselves Italian and at least make an effort to serve something that resembles food from Italy. There are food court chains that call themselves Japanese and at least make an effort to serve something that resembles food from Japan. Then you have this place, that calls itself Cajun, but makes no effort whatsoever to serve anything that you'd ever see in Louisiana; instead, they serve JUNK CHINESE food and give it Cajun names. That's what makes them the worst of all the food court chains. This would be like if a Mexican place served sushi....

                                                                                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                            I work near Fairview mall and had reasonably high hopes when I saw a Caribbean place in the food court - "Caribbean Queen" I believe. I figured it would be a decent option when I found myself there. Turns out it's a variation on the Bourbon theme, and equally bad (except the plantains, which were decent).

                                                                                                            1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                              I don't know what would be worse, trying to pass off junk Chinese as Cajun, or trying to pass off junk Chinese as Caribbean...

                                                                                                              1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                At least quite a few caribbean countries have a relatively substantial population of Chinese people living there, so at least it's slightly more plausible.

                                                                                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                  Neither. The worse is trying to pass off junk Chinese food as Chinese.

                                                                                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                    OMG how or who started these?? I don't understand why Chinese food with Cajun spice is Cajun food, Chinese food with lemon grass is Thai food. I saw them started, but didn't bother to find out why

                                                                                                                  2. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                    What would you expect in a food court? If i go to a restaurant and the cooks are not of the nationality of the cusine i won't eat there

                                                                                                                    1. re: fatman0000

                                                                                                                      You can't be serious. Have you peeked in any kitchens lately? Best Italian (arguably) is Zucca, cooked by a Kiwi. Beyond the chefs themselves, most of the sous are George Brown alumni, and very multinational.

                                                                                                                  3. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                    I agree fully. I'm just saying... one would be foolish to believe the authenticity of a place in a food court. Most people don't know better. And don't care. Those are the people they prey on.

                                                                                                                    1. re: SMOG

                                                                                                                      Food court food is never a reliable indicator of a cuisine...think of the stuff that they pass off as chinese food in shopping mall food courts.

                                                                                                                      1. re: WelcomeBack

                                                                                                                        Agreed, but there's a couple of food court Caribbean places downtown that are edible, which is why I was initially pleased to see Caribbean Queen at Fairview mall.

                                                                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                          Island Foods in the Villiage by the Grange mall has some of the best patties in the city. It's no wonder they often sell out by 12:30!

                                                                                                                          1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                            Food Court Carribean!!!! like North York Sheridan Mall there's good oxtail and rice and peas there! It better be good or they bust a cap in y'all!!!! lolz

                                                                                                                            Food Court
                                                                                                                            161 Richmond St, Chatham, ON N7M1P1, CA

                                                                                                                  4. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                    I've DEFINITLEY got to agree with Bourbon St. Grill

                                                                                                                    This place and its "mystery meat" (I call it that because I've never seen a chicken with so much fatty deposits in my life) are absolutely horrid. The one at Shoppers World here in Brampton is truely horrible!

                                                                                                                    1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                      Mystery meat doused in mystery sauce, and they insult the fine people and culture of Louisiana with it. I guess they're admitting, "we couldn't cut it as a Chinese restaurant so let's trying calling it Cajun and maybe someone will buy it"... sadly the strategy worked....

                                                                                                                      Then again, it's not just the food courts that insult Louisiana. N'awlins and Southern Accent claim to be authentic but are far from it... this thread comes to mind: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/105322

                                                                                                                    2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                      I walked by a manchu wok once and they offered bourbon chicken and other "cajun" ingredents along with their "asian" classics. Its like they're not even trying to convince people anymore.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jaysmith87

                                                                                                                        Kind of reminds me of the distinctly Asian offerings at another food court staple, Caribbean Queen - which, by the way, is much better than Manchu Wok.

                                                                                                                      2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                        I'm there with you- Bourbon Street- More like....you need a swig after sampling.

                                                                                                                      3. Here are my two cents - I am sure at least one of these places will cause some controversy....

                                                                                                                        Just as a preface - My two contributions have nothing to do with unflavourable food, or rude servers - but just a general lack of respect for the customer.

                                                                                                                        Le Petit Dejeuner.... used to love it there - went once a month at least until I saw the owner wiping down tables. Then looks down at the floor and sees a spill, wipes that with the same cloth and then returns to wiping down the table - that is plain unsanitary and that is why I no longer eat there. It's a shame - It would be one thing if it was a misguided server - but the owner serves as an example - if this is acceptable in front of the customers - who knows what happens in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                        Young Thailand - we used to go all the time as it was our go to dinner... we went on a weeknight and the food that was served was microwaved -the curries and even the rice - crusty and dried out on the outside and cool on the inside - this is a Thai restaurant and not my kitchen where it is acceptable to nuke leftovers. Not to have the decency to make fresh rice for your customers in this type of restaurant is not okay.

                                                                                                                        Michelle's on the beach - the room smelt like antiseptic cleaner when we walked in for brunch, the tables were sticky, it took 20 minutes for a coffee - these things were all survivable.... the kicker was when the server finally brought out meals to the table and the "standing french toast" the served me was wrapped in a dirty cloth napkin.

                                                                                                                        1. Peel Pub, previously located on King St. West.

                                                                                                                          Lasagna "special" was made with bologna and barbecue sauce. I was just so shocked by the lack of attempt to even make anything that closely resembled lasagna. This is what happens when you don't heed the warning about faux pubs in the Entertainment District.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Zengarden

                                                                                                                            I second the Peel Pub for some of the most hideously prepared food ever. I was forced to eat there once a week during staff meetings. OMG it was torture.

                                                                                                                          2. Chega, Yonge Yrk/Mills. Everything was terrible.

                                                                                                                            1. The Goof in the Beaches - Don't go there.

                                                                                                                              ACR Hot Doubles & Roti - O.K. I'll admit they were hot.

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                Oh, got to add East Side Mario's and Pickle Barrel. Like, how can you ruin a pasta and cream sauce? But both places did; I'm suspecting there was more flour thickener than cream in them noodles.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                  Used to love the Goof in the beaches for lunch when I went to School. Once a month we are allowed to leave school for lunch and go down to Queen from school and get the old greasy fries and burger. Sit at the tables and listen to the inbooth juke with the songs that were old back then. I almost had a heart attack when i drove by there the other day and saw the "trendy" look they seem to be using now.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                    No one goes to the Goof for the food, it's for the nostalgia. Almost everyone who grew up in the Beaches went on their very first date at the Fox theatre followed by a "meal" at the Goof's. It's just how things were done, so our parents wouldn't worry.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ginsugirl

                                                                                                                                      Definitely! We used to go to the Goof after high school dances back in 198.........nevermind :)
                                                                                                                                      Rumour has it, they'd serve students vodka in a teapot for $5... but I was a good girl so I never asked. Lost a few quarters in the jukeboxes though!

                                                                                                                                  2. Johnnýs on Victoria Park and SquareBoy on the Danforth. Apache a runner up. Unpalatable burgers. How can something so simple be so bad?

                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                      have you had anything else from Squareboy? try their chicken souvaki on a bun or pita, or their gyro. i've never had a burger from there.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: chalenegirl

                                                                                                                                        I agree with chalengirl Squareboy does great souvlaki with salad They are busy all the time, so the burgers arent that bad

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                        Oh no! I love Johnny's burgers and their fries with gravy! It could be nostalgia though... My husband and I went there after our wedding reception because we were hungry! :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fizzzzzy

                                                                                                                                          I think so highly of Johnny's that I would have had my wedding reception there had my wife been game. She wasn't. :-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Brain of J

                                                                                                                                            You obviously think more highly of your wife, haha.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Fizzzzzy

                                                                                                                                            Johnny's Hamburger is a nostalgia thing- the burgers are tasteless...they used to have some taste....WAY WAY back when I was a teen...decades ago...LOL

                                                                                                                                            Johnny's Hamburgers
                                                                                                                                            2595 Victoria Pk, Toronto, ON M5G, CA

                                                                                                                                          3. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                            I don't agree there -- they make excellent old-school homemade burgers.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Headstorms

                                                                                                                                              I guess by old school you mean frozen pieces of cardboard.

                                                                                                                                          4. From the OP --"The Bad Kitty in Chinatown- I can't remember the name but it has "Kitty"in it- Cucumber as a main component in a stir fry."---

                                                                                                                                            Well I have to tell you... Cucumber is a main component in 'stir fry' (whatever that is) in many parts of China (I've travelled extensively across China). Funny how we perceive what authentic is supposed to be, based on how chefs / cooks interpret the cuisine of region.
                                                                                                                                            You can eat cucumber in one region in almost every dish, get on the train for a one hour journey and never see another cucumber - until you move on again.

                                                                                                                                            So my point - it's in here somewhere - just because you don't understand doesn't make it bad. The decor... another matter. (even though that is authentic rural China at it's pinnacle)

                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: legourmettv

                                                                                                                                              Hernando's Hideaway on front. As far as "mexican" goes, this is gotta be one of the worst. I had a meal there a few years ago and it wasn't too bad, went back a couple months ago and felt horrible about the experience.

                                                                                                                                              Other "worsts" I think of aren't all that bad, just very overrated in some circles. Hero Burger and Swatow jump to mind. On the latter, if anyone remembers the seinfeld episode where Jerry went to "poppy's" for a meal and saw poppy leaving a bathroom stall and not washing his hands, well...replace Jerry with me and poppy with a Swatow line cook and it's not as funny as the tv show.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                                                                Second Hernando's! Oh my word. I went there out of desperation on a Thursday night when everything was around was packed. Crazy bright burger king parking lot lighting. Awful stale tasting margarita. And then... my friend ordered enchiladas, I had a burrito. Five minutes after ordering (shoud have known), two identical plates come out. On one side, dry cold rice. On the other, what were supposed to be refried beans, but they had been sitting out so long that a crust had formed over top of them. In the middle, some sort of meat with a sour tomato sauce on top. The best part, though, was the garnish of 4 or 5 teeny browning lettuce shreds. We looked at each other and started to howl in laughter.

                                                                                                                                                I also enjoyed the table of 7 16 year olds beside us who were sloppy drunk. Nothing says classy like allowing under age drinking.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: legourmettv

                                                                                                                                                Yes it was the Greedy Kitty. Hunger and an adventursome spririt propelled me to try it. Now that I'm settled here in Chinatown, I know better. I actually have thrown in the towel with Chinatown restaurants as a whole with the exception of Asian Legend. It's all the same crap with MSG, grease and lost hope. Cucumber in a stir fry, hmmmm. It may be authentic. Cool. It was just aweful. Just my opinion. I didn't realize there's loads of us that would love to eat a crunchy cucumber in Stir Fry.

                                                                                                                                                A stir fry is a term many people use to describe wok fried vegetable in a variety of sauces ranging from sweet and sour to garlic-ginger to sesame hoisan. The stir fry can be vegetarian or include chopped up pieces of meat, chicken or seafood including shrimp and scallops. The stir fry usually involves cooking the ingredients at a high temperature to maintain it's crispyness. It is usually done in a wok but can also successfully be fried in a frying pan. The stir fry is an integral component to any chefs repetoire.

                                                                                                                                                I have a field trip for you legourmetty...you seem up for a good adventure and it will perhaps remind you of your travels. Go to the Greedy Kitty by yourself and treat yourself to a large portion of the cucumer with sweet and sour vinegar sauce over plain steamed rice.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: food face

                                                                                                                                                  " cucumBer with sweet and sour vinegar sauce over plain steamed rice."

                                                                                                                                                  there is nothing wrong with this meal. just because you aren't used to it doesn't make it bad. i've had it in China before, maybe not with a sweet and sour vinegar sauce, but with a soy based sauce and garlic, and it was fine. it's just like the strif fried watercress or gai-lan that you would get, except substitute the veggies with thinly sliced, half circles of english cucumber. i haven't eaten at this resto, i'm not commenting on your past experience at this resto. i'm just saying that this meal isn't as unusual as you make it seem in your statement above.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chalenegirl

                                                                                                                                                    I'm was never saying it was bad because it was cucumBER chelenegirl. Thanks for the spelling correction...oopies. I pretty much tasted like the wost thing I've ever eaten. Period.

                                                                                                                                              3. If you mean the Greedy Kitty on Dundas, I agree it belongs here. I don't have a problem with the cucumber but agree about the atmosphere. Plus, at the risk of opening another MSG debate, let me just say that following dinner at the Greedy Kitty my companion and I spent the night with pounding headaches, racing heartbeats, etc.

                                                                                                                                                I won't be going back there.

                                                                                                                                                1. I love great food but am not that picky. I'm happy to eat a drunken grilled cheese at Fran's as I am to have to have a hearty meal at Au Pied Du Cachot (sp) in Montreal. Some of the complaints on this list are a bit funny. Why would you order an Asian Noodle Bowl at a greasy spoon like Fran's and then be suprised that it's not good? Someone jockeying a grill at 4am at Fran's probably isn't going to pull off the Asian Noodle Bowl so well so best to stick to the basics.

                                                                                                                                                  I'll eat almost anything so here's a list of inedible meals. If I can't eat it, it's really really bad.

                                                                                                                                                  Burrito Fresh on Bloor- I love burritos and was excited to try a new place out. Visited shortly after they opened and it wasn't too bad but wasn't too good. Was in the area and wanted to grab a late lunch so gave it another shot. Staff was very indifferent and seemed irritated that I was ordering. I got a soy meat burrito (not vegan but dig spiced soy meat on occasion). The ingredients tasted almost stale and old. The soy meat was clumpy and tasted bitter like it had been sitting around for awhile. Ate about half of my burrito, left it, staff was busy in their cell phones so left. Had tummy troubles later, not sure if it's their fault but I won't be back.

                                                                                                                                                  The Village Rainbow on Church - This place is infamous for bad food but my friends like to drink beer on the patio in the summer. I was meeting them and hadn't eaten so tried to order something super basic that would be hard to f-up and went with nachos. I was so hungry that would have been happy with process cheese microwaved on chips. What was served was a pile of tortilia chips with some mysterious school-lunch quality taco meat glop oozing down the sides. There was a little bit of cheese and a huge glop of sour cream about 6 inches wide oozing over the mysterious meat. It was horrible, the meat had a gummy texture like it had been microwaved in a bag and poured on chips.

                                                                                                                                                  Ruchi on Yonge - Got take out that was practically inedible. Samosa was so greasy that it left huge wet mark that went through two layers of paper bag. Mater paneer had about 4 small chunks of paneer and was swimming with peas in a puddle of grease. Can't remember the chicken dish I had but the quality of the chicken was sketchy and it too had large pools of grease floating on top of sauce. The whole meal was a big greasy mess and I felt disguested with myself for even attempting to eat some of it.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                                                                    Of course I don't expect the asian noodle bowl to be FANTASTIC...but i've had better noodle dishes from michelina's than what i was served there. there isn't an excuse when it's 11 am in the morning. i think they should just take it off the menu if they cant make it halfway edible.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                                                                      SECOND on Ruchi! Both times I left there not disappointed, but angry, like I was cheated out of my money. Miserable, tiny cubes of meat in oceans of flavourless gravy. Barf.

                                                                                                                                                      Ruchi Indian Cuisine
                                                                                                                                                      649 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y1Z9, CA

                                                                                                                                                    2. It's great that this thread hasn't been deleted yet. Other threads like this in the past (e.g. started by Cereal Killer) haven't survived moderation.

                                                                                                                                                      I realize it's a chain, but the worst meal I had in the past year was at Milestones on the Queensway. I had the exact same salmon and rice meal that is (falsely) described in excruciating detail in their radio ads.

                                                                                                                                                      Honorable mentions: Pho 99 on Dixie for the worst-ever non-pho offerings, Fresh by Juice for Life on Spadina for the most dehydrated, and JKWB for the ongoing oversalting obsession.

                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                        Oh I am so on board with this opinion: my SIL (who is good person otherwise) has NO food sense and makes me go here. I swear there is a Cisco truck backed permanently at Milestones back door. There is nothing fresh or original or cooked-on-premises, all pre-fab, plastic-y and tasteless.

                                                                                                                                                        And it ain't cheap either!?!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                          But the Bun Bo Hue at Pho 99 is one of the best I've had... The pho's not bad, either. What non-pho items did you have that were so bad?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: redearth

                                                                                                                                                            It was on Chinese New Year so my memory is a little foggy but an old chicken dish, a fried whole crab dish (with red sweet sauce), and a (burnt) noodle dish with some kind of sweet sauce. Probably my fault for trying these dishes to begin with, but they at least admitted the crab was frozen.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                            I second about Milestones. I tried it once at the Queensway and it was horrible. Food was yucky (pasta was cold) and service poor. Got invited to the Milestones on John street downtown and the same thing happened! Soooo I have never visited there since. The food is plastic and cold. I can't figure out why my youngest stepdaughter loves the place!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: madamemeowmeow

                                                                                                                                                              + 3 on Milestones. We've never had a good meal there and service was atrocious in the Whitby location. We won't be back.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                Been to the Milestones at Yorkdale a few times. Much better service and food than what's described above. But it's way overpriced for what you get.

                                                                                                                                                                Yorkdale Cafe
                                                                                                                                                                1 Yorkdale, Toronto, ON M9M1B9, CA

                                                                                                                                                          3. After my weekend adventure, I'd have to add any independent bar that gets over 75% of it's food from Sysco. There is no sane reason why everything has to be frozen and then deep-fried.

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ubervache

                                                                                                                                                              Agree totally. If I wanted previously frozen, deep fried dreck I can get it a lot cheaper out of the freezers at M&M Meat Shops or Sam's Club and fry it myself! Not to mention the beer would be a lot cheaper than the bar charges!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                May be those who go to bars are for the atmosphere

                                                                                                                                                            2. Chippy's, Chippy's, Chippy's - absolutely horrific excuse for fish and chips. If you ever wanted to know what eating oil tastes like this is your place. Pathetic sliver of fish, fries that looked like end pieces, expensive and that horrific loud music they played in the background. We threw out most it and had to go for a salad to open our arteries.

                                                                                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                                                                                                Pizza Lover, where do you rec is better for Fish and Chips?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: food face

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not Pizza Lover, but the fish and chips at McNie's (corner of Burnhamthorpe/Martin Grove in central Etobicoke) are excellent and their meat pies and haggis are yummy too!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                      The original owners of McNie's sold the Burnhamthorpe shop and are now at High Street in North York (DVP/Lawrence area).

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                        I seem to recall that someone posted that McNie's on Burnhamthorpe had since closed. Can anyone confirm this?

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Welshgirl

                                                                                                                                                                      I used to go to Harbord Fish and Chips--but that is over 10 years ago... It was great then... anyone care to comment if its still great now?

                                                                                                                                                                      147 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NoraBlenderbee

                                                                                                                                                                          I went last year and it was fantastic, no longer the original owners, but they have managed to keep it consistent... HIGHLY RECOMENDED

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: food face

                                                                                                                                                                        Try that place on Mount Pleasant (near the model train and doll house stores). They've been doing the same thing for 50 years, and fry in beef fat. If I'm going to subject my arteries to fish n' chips, I'm going to do it right!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: food face

                                                                                                                                                                          I also dislike Chippy's fish, although I loved their chips. One of my favourite F&C places in the city is Olde Yorke on Laird.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree. Chippy's was far less that it's cracked up to be. Greasy fish cakes with cloying sauce, and fries that are petrified.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Headstorms

                                                                                                                                                                            Total shit - heavy and greasy and the worst service! How hard is it to be nice in Toronto these days?

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                                                                                                            Oh how icky the fish and chips at Chippy's! The halibut filet seemed like they just took a tiny sliver of the actual filet and kept the skin on! The chips were rock hard; no crunchy outside and fluffy pillowy soft potato in the middle!

                                                                                                                                                                            There is a place on Laird Drive called "York Fish and Chips; Posh Fish and Chips" it's always packed but the halibut and chips are out of this world!

                                                                                                                                                                            If you are ever out Burlington way; The Thistle Fish and Chips restaurant (Fairview Street west of Walker's Line) is terrific! My husband and I visit once a month for the halibut and chips which are delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                            Amazing Halibut and Chips for me is as follows... White fleshy fish with no grey bits or skin surrounded by a very thin crispy batter. No beer in the batter (should be in a glass!) no thick doughy blob of a batter. Chips fairly big, crunchy golden outside and white, hot, fluffy, pillowy potato inside. Fresh ketchup is essential!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: madamemeowmeow

                                                                                                                                                                              Next time you're at Olde Yorke, try the haddock and chips for a change, even tastier than the halibut and a more sustainable fish stock.

                                                                                                                                                                              Olde Yorke
                                                                                                                                                                              96 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V3, CA

                                                                                                                                                                          3. Natchos Natchos Thai Thai... I went after seeing their Restaurant Makeover... and thought the new David Adjey menu was worth a try. It appears they didn't utilize it fully. The food was oily, the restaurant dark and the owner hovered like a hawk, making the dining experience unnerving. It's the first and last time I go to a restaurant that's had a TV makeover!

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lotus Seedling

                                                                                                                                                                              I've never dined inside, but get lunch from them once in a while. And for the price, I'd say it's great. Compared to what you'd get from a "thai" place in a foodcourt, it's definitely a notch above.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lotus Seedling

                                                                                                                                                                                I went to Natchos Natchos shortly after Restaurant Makeover and was totally disgusted with what I was served. Inedible chicken, obviously freezer burned and premade - not at all fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                At the time I didn't realize Restaurant Makeover had been there. Wasn't until I criticized the new decor (not functional) and horrible, horrible chairs that I found out why the change. I couldn't get comfortable in the chairs. I was back once after the dinner from hell and was equally disappointed. I actually sent the food back because it was ... well ... inedible. Complained again about the chairs. They are good if you want to lounge around but terrible for sitting at a dinner table.

                                                                                                                                                                                How sad because I always enjoyed it prior to RM visit. Haven't been back since.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Agree with Tim Horton's comments. UGH to everything...coffee, sandwiches, donuts...everything. Also can't stand Spring Roll's...bad overpriced asian...will add Mr. Greek, Friendly Greek...why do people go into these places? Surly service, horrible food....but do take exception to Square Boy. Yeah, it's greasy, but ask anyone who lives in the neighbourhood: most everyone i know is addicted to the souvlaki, and the burgers are the closest thing I've found in TO to a Salsbury House Nip (which granted is also greasy gut wrenching food!)

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bluedog

                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree, square boy might not be the best, but its certainly not the worst. Plus the guys there are so fun there , Id must rather go there then try to find a spot on the danforth to grab a burger at Licks.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                                                                                    Good point, and with that I'll also add Licks to the list. UGH.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Spring Rolls as well. Ho-Lee Chow. Pizza Pizza. Trying to think of non-chain places, but coming up blank. Showing my bias, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. In my 35 years in Toronto I had my worst meal ever, I mean ever at the Red Tomato. I realize it's a tourist trap but we were going to a show at Roy Thompson hall and it was last minute. Truly the service was awful and the food disgusting. The decor in there has not been changed since it opened, it is beyond dirty (I'm surprised they got a green pass) and no joke the table was being held together by a piece of duct tape. The only good thing about this meal was the cold beer that accompanied it!

                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Baelsette

                                                                                                                                                                                      Agreed. Red Tomato is horrid. I also had a terrible meal there. Red Tomato sucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: food face

                                                                                                                                                                                        I and many of my friends have been to the Red Tomato often-though not recently- and have had good experiences. They are liberal with wine pourings, and if there is a complaint, Fred Luk, the owner, is very responsive and good with customers. I have generally found the staff to follow his lead.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                                                                                                          The menu might have more than is manageable for a shared kitchen. I've eaten off the specials list and have never had a bad experience. The mains look like they might be trying to do too many things.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Snarf

                                                                                                                                                                                            I used to work at the Whistling Oyster, another of Fred Luk's enterprises with the same 'happy hour menu'. It's all frozen/fried beyond belief foods - if you want some drinking or hangover food it's okay, but nothing beyond that. What always killed me was this stir fried main dish that was served in a hollowed out pineapple shell - they re-used the pineapple shell after running them through the dishwasher...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fussychow

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh yeah, Mrs. Scary was a semi-regular at the Oyster, and I did hear about the pineapple shells. Pretty disgusting for sure. I went a number of times though and whatever I had from the Happy Hour menu was usually tasty and reasonable value.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Went to Mr. Greek the other day. Don't know why. Had horrible meals there in the past, guess I wanted something quick and fast. It was bad. Just plain bad. Salad was soggy with dressing... tzatziki was bland... chicken severely overcooked and covered in dry spices...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, I enjoyed the potatoes! The potatoes were good.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Otherwise, by far the worst greek. Even worse than the places in food courts.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SMOG

                                                                                                                                                                                          i was there (9218 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill ) once for the express menu and neither did i have had pleasant experience: the service was slow, the food plain and the bill was a small surprise -- i thought it was just my bad luck on that day ...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SMOG

                                                                                                                                                                                            I myself will never go to Mr. Greek again the food was terrible the service even worse and when I complained about it they totally ignored me face to face and thru emails and the price for it was alittle costly for what I got

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Alright, some of the worst of the worst (some echoed already on this board):
                                                                                                                                                                                            Hernando's Hideaway (either locale): Awful food (burrito had a frozen veggie mix in it, including crinkle-cut carrot and broccoli), terrible service and too-high prices.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Burrito Boyz: Horrendous service, literally as if the staff couldn't be bothered to deal with you, coupled with a bizarre ordering process and a total lack of respect for the customer.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Sushi on Bloor: Sloowwww service for mediocre sushi.
                                                                                                                                                                                            The Pizza Pizza @ Church/Dundas: The head guy there, usually taking orders, is practically yelling at you, daring you to order. One time a server didn't know what goat cheese was, and instead of giving us broccoli, gave us pepperoni.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Mars Diner: My veggies were frozen, and steak was literally reheated in a microwave before my eyes.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Lolita's Lust: Is this place still operating? I hope not, based on their tiny portions, ridiculous prices and too-dark decor.

                                                                                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lasardo

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry, I have to respond to this one... I take that shot against Burrito Boyz personally! Take it back!!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SMOG

                                                                                                                                                                                                My problem with Burrito Boyz is that it is extraordinarily boring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was still impressed with my steak burrito at Burrito Boyz on College

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Burrito Boyz
                                                                                                                                                                                                  218 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AntontheGreek

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've only had super friendly service at Burrito Boyz - whether it's 8PM 3:30AM, nobody has ever been rude to me. Their ordering process is pretty straightforward in my opinion - then again the original complaint is from 2008 so maybe things have changed for the better =). They're quite generous with their toppings which are all fresh and their service is quick. My go-to for a late night nosh, in my opinion, although with the new O&B Canteen open til 12AM that may change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am not a fan of their steak burrito, but I love their halibut burrito with everything on it. The hot sauce is so good, I like spice so I ask for two lines. Large is a pound and a half worth of fish! Pic: http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.co...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Has anyone tried their chicken? I can never resist the fish...


                                                                                                                                                                                                    Burrito Boyz
                                                                                                                                                                                                    218 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ekim256

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The chicken at Burrito Boyz is made with the same spice-mix as the steak.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, the chicken (def. not white meat) is sub-par to the fish, simply because it is cooked in a huge batch and then kept warm, whereas the Halibut and the Shirmp are all made-to-order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I used to work at Burrito Boyz and would get lunch/dinner there. I found that the chicken would sort of get lost in the burrito, so I ended up getting a Nudie burrito (burrito sans tortilla) with 4 lines of hot sauce (love that stuf...and I know whats in it!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Burrito Boyz
                                                                                                                                                                                                      218 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: SMOG

                                                                                                                                                                                                  To each their own, Smog. I take offence to the "either location" inference about Hernando's Hideaway. I've been enjoying the Yonge location for over 20 years. I would never go to the other location. There they just don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's interesting with Hernando's, I've had just the opposite experience. Have been dragged to the Yonge street location twice and had bad meals. Sketchy meat and ketchup based flavors were my issues. On a Mexican craving after a film ducked into the Front St. location and had decent tacos and queso dip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was complaining about lack of decent Mexican here to a friend of mine in Dallas. He claims he had decent Mexican at Hernando's on Yonge a few years ago. So possibly I got em on two bad nights?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: SMOG

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe it is because I was spoiled by eating some fantastic burritos in California, but I found BB *very* disappointing - the burritos were tepid, bland, and overpriced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Welshgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nah. its because they ARE tepid and bland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: lasardo

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mars Diner was absolutely awful. I walked in there after having a few drinks and expecting a passable hamburger. My girlfriend ordered a chicken sandwich and the guy microwave defrosted the chicken breast right in front of me. She took one bite and pushed it to the side. My hamburger brought back memories of the highschool cafeteria. The place was understaffed and dingy looking. I might have been better off at Vesta Lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Dory

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Back in the 70's Vesta Lunch had great breakfasts. I haven't been there in about 35 years though so I don't know what its like now. And Mars had killer blueberry muffins and bran muffins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wish the arteries would let me eat in places like that again :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mrzee

                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK, I have to comment on this one: Vesta Lunch!
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Having passed it by many times, but always been charmed by how cute it is - the perfect greay-spoon diner like place, with the counter and the whole deal, I finally had the chance to stop in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was SHOCKED at just how horrible the food was. I saw an emo girl with fresh cuttings on her forearms eating a horrible looking undercooked breakfast and it was about 11:30 am, so I ordered a toasted western sandwich and fries with gravy, figuring that these were greasy-spoon staples and couldn't disappoint.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Both were truly terrible. A couple of bites and I threw them away and headed uptown to Burger Shack for some cheesy burger and fries goodmess.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vesta Lunch - take a picture, but eat elsewhere, trust me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Burger Shack
                                                                                                                                                                                                        233 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M4R1A9, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John Dory

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sigh... both of these places were great for late night grease just over a decade ago... Not many lunch counters/stainless steel diners left in this town. Its sad that they have not aged well. I fear they will be knocked down and turned into condos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NoraBlenderbee

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You won't get late night grease, but you will find diner at Victoria Restaurant, Queen & Victoria.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Victoria Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                          27 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M5C2M6, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: lasardo

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd have to disagree about Burrito Boyz. Whenever I've gone there, service has been fast and efficient, given that the place is really popular and always crowded. Granted, the ordering process is a bit much, but it's a tiny place, and not a bad vibe when you're waiting for your burrito to be prepared. The burritos are delicious -- well worth the inconvenience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Headstorms

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry but I disagree with you on.. EVERY level. Awful review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think I'll pass on Burrito Boyz. I want to like the lauded halibut but it gets a fish stick review, and no one mentions haddock, an equally fine fish, so the result is too much dissonance for me to make the trip. I'll checkout the fish sandwich on College where the road curves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Fish Store on College is great.. love their sandwiches the few times I have been there. I usually get the shrimp sandwich

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Fish Store
                                                                                                                                                                                                              657 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B7, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Margarita's on Baldwin. Saddest excuse for Tex-Mex I've encountered anywhere... whatever I had ordered was a soggy mess made from frozen california mix veggies. I don't remember it being that bad in the late 90s, but what I was served last summer was the worst restaurant food I can remember having.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        If your friends drag you there, stick with the drinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                          OMG! THANK YOU! I've been there twice with an ex-boyfriend who likes it. It almost altered my feelings for him... I was so shocked how he lost his sense of good taste... must have been a favourite of his "favourite" ex... hence the break-up. I thought, who is this person and how could he possibly think this is good???? This place has a KILLER location, but everything from the dirty decor, sloped floors, are palatial in comparison to the food. Does that make sense? Mouldy cheese both times - like they NEVER wash out the cheese bin and just keep adding.... Bleck! Almost can't even go there in my memory. Haven't been to John's Italian, but that's another joint with such potential, but is a dead zone from a food perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chicken_little

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, I remember watching the owner fill a couple of pint glasses with beer which ran out midway. He glanced around hoping nobody was watching and proceeded to fill the glasses to the top with a different kind of beer. Greasy food and just a dodgy place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                            You are right -- that place is FOUL! I ordered some kind of chicken dish and it was full of old gristly/boney chicken meat. I nearly gagged. Worst Mexican and one of the worst meals I have had in TO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yup, I agree. The location is great....the rest just sucks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Agreed. Horrible. Haven't been back in two years, after I was forced to go for a birthday dinner. Terrible service, worse food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. - Gal's Korean on Hwy 7 east of Bayview. Yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Vic Hong on Bayview / Major Mackenzie. The worst food, beverages and service ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                - ALL Starbucks coffee - hot or iced or blended or lattes, all not worth the money and can't hold a candle to Second Cup. Makes Tim Horton's coffee heavenly in comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodmom8

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What's wrong with Vic Hong? The new location is much brighter and more cheerful than the old spot, and we still enjoy the food - and we've been going for at least ten years. The "centre vietnamese" noodle in soup is very tasty, and we usually stick to the BBQ combo plates, although occasionally we'll pop for a crab. Can't really comment on the beverages, as I only drink the tea or pop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We usually find their service prompt and friendly, but maybe that's because they know us after so long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i aggree Kevin, i enjoy the food there as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i though it was one of the few place for vietnam food that i enjoy in toronto
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    try the curry there next time if you haven't, it's not bad at all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i prefer the Scarborough location but i guess it's wasn't a good location for them because alot of people aren't aware they're there...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm with you- I have never had an issue at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Captain John (queen's quay)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Swatow (chinatown)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Asia Station (located in the splendid china mall)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    these are worst of the worst!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: phylao

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (While I'm not on board with the Swatow mention)... oh my god yes to Captain John. Oh it was sad (so sad) it was sad (too bad)...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Manybears

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I dont know if its a chain or what, but it looks like some type of captain john fish and chips spot across from blockbuster area on the danforth. Does anyoen know about this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think they're affiliated. Based on the menu in the window, the place on the Danforth looks like it's being run by a Greek restaurant owner that also sells fish and chips. Based on the clientele I've seen there, it looks like another low end watering hole that sells food. Maybe I'm being unfair, but I've never had any desire to step inside the place and try it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agreed. I was willing to patronize a basic "family" fish and chips shop in the area, but once I saw the crowd not so much. BTW I think there are two locations, one down around Greenwood that is open and full of drinkers and the one across from Blockbusters which was not open yet last time I walked by.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hm I didnt even think it had opened yet, it said coming soon in the window last time I checked. But I do agree with you Pincus, open or not, I am not exactly tempted .. I dont know why, and I know Im judging a book, but whenever I see 'captain johns' I instantly think about frozen fish sticks that I used to get served at school when I was a kid. uh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was thinking of the one near Greenwood which is open. I did not know there was a second location in the works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think its right beside the magic oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That is not fair to Captain John, a Macedonian.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps you are remembering Captain Highliner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ah yes, perhaps that was the one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I heard a rumour that there was some connection between these places and the guy that used to own British Style Fish & Chips. I've no idea whether this is true and I have not been tempted to go in. Does anyone have any solid info about this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: phylao

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Captain John's! I'm not sure how I forgot about this one.. I was thinking really hard for some straight-up bad food experiences to contribute to this thread, and other than the usual suspects (Boston Pizza, Spring Rolls, et al) I couldn't really bring myself to disparage anyone.. but, yes, Captain John's should be on this list with a bullet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NovoCuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Re: Captain John's

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Funniest thing I've ever read on Chowhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. I usually abide by my mother's rule "If you have nothing nice to say..."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But I'm thrilled that food face has granted us license for a bit of venting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Downtown Foodcourts. Why are the servers always yelling? No please, no thank you, no hello / goodbye. Granted there are exceptions. Worst offenders Tim Hortons (Exchange Tower) and Thai Island. And LOL at Bourbon Street, what a joke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Hernando's Hideaway on Wellington. They should be embarassed to call that Mexican food, crappy Margarita's and a waitress who does a bad imitation of Flo. "I've been here 25 years, and I'll tell YOU how it is"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Worst disaster of a meal ever, East Side Mario's, Front Street. 20 orders into kitchen, 2 hours later: 5 right meals, 6 wrong meals, 9 no show meals and all meals cold and tasteless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. Worst plate: The Swan, though I consider this a one off and don't hold it against them. It went something like this: Fillet of perch topped with fresh crab on a bean puree with pesto sauce, parsnip mash with tomato confit and vegetables with harissa sauce. Okay, that was mostly made up, cause it was a while ago but I remember counting 9 different flavours on the plate. Who's fault? Yes, mine for ordering it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              : P
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Food face

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mila

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's not just downtown foodcourts, Mila, it's pretty much any of them. Downtown you'll get the worst service, in the suburbs you get the worst food. If you're on a diet, pay a visit to the food court at Lawrence Square Mall (Lawrence at Allen). Most disgusting KFC in the world, slowest and one of the worst McDonald's you'll find anywhere, Amato Pizza (ugh), and this disgusting greasy spoon that feeds (more like poisons) the rest of the mall staff (count how many dollar stores!) You'll quickly lose your appetite and won't have to eat anything... the whole mall is depressing and the food court completes the picture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bourbon Street is everywhere, sadly (it's called Kelly's Cajun in America). A couple years ago we were at the Palisades Center Mall just outside New York City. This is a HUGE, upscale mall with a lot of big box and high end retailers, nothing in the GTA compares. Anyway, I couldn't believe it when I was heading to the bathrooms at the back of the food court and sure enough I'm accosted by a guy giving away, you guessed it, bourbon chicken samples. I thought, man, I did not drive this far from home to eat THAT crap. What was even sadder was, right next door to them was a "Japanese" place giving away samples that looked and smelled exactly the same (this time they pitched it as "teriyaki chicken"!). What the hell? We quickly found the elevators to the 4th floor and had dinner at Legal Sea Foods instead :-) Food courts aren't any better in America...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To be fair, Tex, occasionally a food court throws out some good food and semi-civilized atmosphere. The upper level court at Yorkdale is an example: there is a Greek place at the top of the stairs (as opposed to the escalator) which is run efficiently, the staff extremely polite, and the donairs and other examples of that ilk are generous and tasty - and reasonably priced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My point was even the good malls, not just the Lawrence Centres of th world, will have crap in the food court. At Palisades Center the main food court is the usual chains and "Bourbon St" type dreck but if you go up to the 4th floor they have full-service restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Taco Villa is a nasty food court offender at Yorkadale and a couple of other locations in the GTA. Gloppy, flavourless industrial grade meat is slopped into taco shells or on tortilias served for top dollar. Makes Taco Bell shine actually. Worst tacos I've ever had period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        oh yeah, i've had the dreaded taco villa in bramalea city center

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        worst. ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree that Taco Villa is sub-par. But comparing it to Taco Bell is uncalled for. TB is hands-down the all-time worst rendition of Tex-Mex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: somewhere4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The main ingredient for any of the Taco Bell meals is salt. I've never eaten at any place that put so much salt on their food, although I think their fries have LESS salt than their main meals. The last time I ate at TB my blood pressure shot through the roof just from smelling the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Too right about Lawrence Square - I worked there for a while, and ended up brown bagging it most days in self defense. There was an OK Italian spot across the street, but most days, we didn't have enough time on lunch to consider it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I thought up another one: Wimpys. Uh. I cant even believe I ever enjoyed it as a kid. Frozen fries that are barely cooked and limp greasy burgers that fill the plate but have no flavour. terrible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I guess because it's winter it's so easy to forget the absolute WORST place to eat in all of Toronto....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the "Food" Building at the CNE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mainly I would agree, but grabbing a boneless chicken roti (with hot sauce) at Island Foods and wandering over to Ontario Place for the air show is a long-standing tradition. There's always a line at Island Foods, but I do love their rotis...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: morrigan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also good for a yearly H Salt fix. Beaver Tails. Tiny Tom Donuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree that the so-called khatti rolls at the Indian place in the CNE food building were a travesty. I've never seen an Indian place use grocery store flour tortillas before going there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Re: Food Building

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shop smart! The Indian place with the Masala Dosas (spicy potato-stuffed crepes) is awesome. So is Island Foods, but they sell out of their best stuff early. If you absolutely can't live without a corndog (Heck, I know I can't), you'd do better to splurge the extra 50 cents at one of the outdoor places that batter them freshly. Best deal on cotton candy is in the International Trade Centre (that green glass monstrosity where they have all the shopping and SuperDogs). Oh, the mini donuts are the biggest rip-off of all time, but mooching the free samples is sound economic advice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Mandarin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Horrible buffet "Chinese" food. I don't like buffets at the best of times, but Mandarin takes the cake. Bad food and you have to line up for it. I can't believe how busy some of these places can get at lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree that Johnny's is a huge disappointment. It must be a taste that is acquired in one's youth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mikeb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you think Mandarin is the worst, you haven't been to New Style in Pickering (Kingston Rd. at Rougemount)....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <Shuddering at the mention of New Style>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mike from Hamilton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shuddering because you've been there, or because you're trying to imagine what "worse than Mandarin" would be like?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    [anybody here remember the Oriental Beast... I mean, Feast? I think they were finally shut down after numerous health code violations]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mike from Hamilton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, you don't have to shudder any more... I drove by today and noticed that New Style is closed. No idea if they've resurfaced elsewhere or if the business just failed, but with Mandarin, Imperial, Ming-Du, and the soon-to-open Great Wall (in the former Tuckers/Circle T building) in the Pickering-Ajax area, they had no chance to survive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Or the buffet on the top floor of the Sheppard Centre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: mikeb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can't disagree more about Mandarin...for what they do, they are probably the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: T Long

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i would agree with the original poster and say Mandarin is the worse of all the Chinese buffets i've tried. i have yet to met a person who prefers the Mandarin over starwalk or imperial. I don't expect great chinese food from any of them, but i def don't expect the inedible, flavorless offerings either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chalenegirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i agree with you. the mandarin was the absolute worst experience i've had. i've only gone once and i never want to return.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          starwalk on the other hand...great value and yummy :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chalenegirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I may be scarred by the fact that an office where I worked had almost every employee send off or birthday celebration at a Mandarin. Bland and tasteless. It was a lowest common denominator thing, I suppose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mikeb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I dunno... most of the buffets have fallen off the wagon by serving unfresh ingredients cooked poorly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mikeb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am generally suspicious of chains and buffets; however, the Mandarin in Brampton (Steeles and 410) is excellent - fresh, moist meats, nothing dried out. They have so much turnover, the food doesn't get a chance to die in the steam trays. Yes, it's "Canadian Chinese" but for what it is, they do a good job.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Starwalk and Imperial Buffet and Wong's - those places are hit or miss. I've had great meals and awful meals there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mikeb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The smell of the garbage bay / loading dock out back of the Mandarin at Yonge & Eglinton is enough to put me off eating all day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mikeb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I find that the Mandarins vary in quality. I've learned to avoid the one @ Yonge and Eglinton. Over-cooked, over-salted, tasteless, soggy food choices that have lost any semblance of flavour from too much time on the steam table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On the other hand, one of the Mandarins in Mississauga served up a pretty good buffet, with a nice range of fresh seafood choices. A few years back I went to a friend's birthday party at the Mandarin in Burlington. The food was PERFECT, including the best prime rib I've had anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Aunties & Uncles - yes the food is decent, but the attitude of the owners kills me. Three of us once met there for brunch and got sat at a 4-top. We ordered, then seeing as we had a friend nearby and an extra spot at the table, we called and invited him. After enduring glaring stares from one of the owners for the duration of our meal, he finally came over afterward and yelled at us for 'breaking the rules' that all diners must be seated at the same time. Service there tends to suck at the best of times, but that was the last straw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Must agree with Spring Rolls... a bunch of my friends from work loooved this place, i don't know how, but i found all the dishes to be greasy and low quality ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course, all those food court places (all greek, cajun/caribbean, Hero Burger) but I actually think Thai Island isn't that bad......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Richtree! another place people seem to love... the only thing i can justify eating there is the rosti, but even then it can be just a slab of undercooked potato mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MB&Co. the first time I went there, it was not bad at all, i almost enjoyed it, but ever since i've found their food to be bland and expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My friends took me to a place in Little Italy called Giovanni's (? i think), and it was just bad, bad, bad. $22 for a huge plate of gnocci covered in boring, sickening sauce... I'd actually would've rather gone to a East Sides... at least I'd get free bread and salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jayseeca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really like Spring Rolls - the Yonge/Bloor location. I always have the Red Thai Curry and think it's quite wonderful. The quality and preparation at the other locations seems to vary...which is unfortunate. I have this dish, at this location, at least once a month and really like it. Just wish they could do something more exciting than iceberg lettuce with catalina dressing to go with the lunch special!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ostracario

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe it makes a difference if you are eating in the restaurant because their Red Thai Curry was the worst I have ever had. Non-existent sauce with a few limp vegetables and "mystery" chicken. We ordered it as take out from the Atrium location and it was probably the last straw for me with Spring Rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have enjoyed their coconut soup and seafood curry pad thai, but everything else has been extremely disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. OK, not quite Toronto, but just outside of London, a place called The Hare&Hound, sort of a gastro-pub. Sweet Jesus. Six of the family went for dinner, and were seated in one of the rooms. We were given menus, drink orders taken, and then... we were forgotten. Almost a half hour passed before we were finally able to flag someone down to ask where or not very complicated drink order was, and that we would like to order. Another 30 minutes pass, and some apps arrive, some don't. Ditto the mains, 45 minutes later, some mediocrely executed ones arrive, some MIA. And (the height of pretension for a place that can't get the drinks right) a palate cleanser... coconut sorbet (blech!). And on those rare occasions when the staff did show up, the attitude was outrageous. The manager, when we finally found him to complain, was even worse. By far, the worst experience in my life. I hope to God that they're no longer in business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sure I'll have people not agree with this one, but The Dip. When I first moved to the city in '99, I loved it. Great patio, not pretentious, and pretty decent food. The last two times I've been the service was poor, and the food cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The worse part is as the area has become even more 'trendier', even if one was to be willing to put up with poor service and cold food the wait for a table on the patio is excrutiating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FeelinFineSunshine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Dip is one of those places you have to limit yourself to what you order. I have never been let down with their gnocci and rose sauce with added bacon. It's always piping hot, the gnocci is soft and the sauce perfect. It's actually a lot better than most of the other "Italian" joints on the College St. strip and more reasonable. I also find the service is not the most attentive, but they are usually crazy busy. The servers are usually really experienced and get the job done. Sure there's some turnover with the staff, but for the most part, I'm always surprised at how they manage to juggle all the tables reasonably well. If you go in with high expectations, it could e a disappointment. It's not the best food in the world but it's decent and reasonable and in no way do I feel it's "the worst of Toronto". It's a Toronto Landmark like it or not with a lively patio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FeelinFineSunshine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yup the Dip has gone way downhill from plain but cheap and dependable to unedible. But the patio and servers are okay with me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sui_Mai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fun for beers or espressos during world cup, but whatever you do, don't order the mussels. Trust me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you mean "The Horse and Hound", it's changed hands (and names) a few times since then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Since this thread surprisingly has not been "disappeared" yet (though some of my comments on Tim Horton's were...) I will take the time to list my worsts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Spring Rolls/East - Can't be mentioned enough. Most puzzling and frustrating about this place is the number of people who love it and hence force the rest of us to attend through social obligations like birthday parties. Why, oh why.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the Rocks - Little Canadian-Chinese hole in the wall at Front and Sherbourne. Finally tried it after walking past for years and often seeing it busy. Tried some sort of chicken stirfry lunch special which consisted of a half-dozen chunks of chicken sprinkled with soy sauce and about 5 stalks of celery chopped up. Nothing else. My current theory is that people go there for the cheap drinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bier Markt - Terrible, terrible service. Will never return.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Burrito Boyz - Too many lukewarm, shoddily made burritos. Yes, it was great at first but then went downhill and never improved, and I finally had to give up trying. The good reputation seems to have never died, though, strangely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, although the thread has been closed already, can't add to it anymore. At least it is where it can be found in search engines...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bier Markt is owned by the same company that runs East Side Marios and Casey's. Which pretty much explains why the place sucks...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mama Martino's - I could get better and more authentic Italian in a food court in Kenora.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 5andman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I went once, just once many moons ago, and had a sausage pasta (or something with their "homemade" sausage). It was without doubt the most tasteless sausage I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Couldn't understand why the place was so busy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The treatment plant nearby must destroy the locals taste buds and olefactories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: 5andman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    omg I had the absolute worst caprese salad there in my life. they should rename it the CRAPese it was so horrid. cold, pink, mealy slices of tomato, slices of processed mystery white cheese, dried basil and oil that was definitely not derived from olives. ugh...i still shudder at the memory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: 5andman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes! The quality of the pasta is lower than low. It tastes like paste. The place is packed, I just do not understand it all. Biggest mystery in Toronto dining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On the rocks used to have a wonton soup special that was huge and not too bad. Only thing we ever ordered there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bluedog

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's the YPT Soup at On The Rocks. That's also the only thing I ever order there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. The Big Ragu - terrrrrrible, terrible service and very mediocre food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cucina - awful service, but I think it's now closed. Apparently I wasn't alone in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: laurelmcg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought Cucina just had the good sense to get out of Little Italy and move to the Entertainment District where bad service is de rigueur.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hardly, judging by the terrible staff they had hired, I don't think "good sense" is what compelled them to leave. The doors are locked and a bailiff's notice is on the door...I think it was a non-payment thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: laurelmcg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that's exactly the point Googs was trying to make above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: laurelmcg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm shocked to see The Big Ragu on this list. Do you think it was an off night? In my experience the apps are much better than the mains, so when I go I usual just order a selection of apps, with a pizza or perhaps a pasta. But bad service? Never happened to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: redearth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Big Ragu is actually one of my favorite places. I agree, some of the servers can be unprofessional (too casual) but definately not rude. The food makes up for it though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: redearth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It may have been an off night, I suppose every restaurant deserves a second chance but I'm skeptical. The mushroom app was delish but that was it. The fish entree was gross - and misrepresented. They ignored us and at the end, when they realized we were unimpressed offered us shots of Limoncello. My friend declined saying she was pregnant, to which they responded "are you sure you don't want any", then filled my shot class maybe 1/4 of the way. I'm not even kidding. I've NEVER seen someone not fill a shot glass. Just added insult to injury.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: laurelmcg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everyone gets a shot of limocello at Big Ragu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: laurelmcg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My wife threw up mid-meal at Cucina once. Good times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Sultan's Tent - given the price, it serves awful awful food - this was in Feb 2008, so it's a recent experience at the new location. The old location at least had some vestige (slight) of authenticity, but I felt like I was a dumb tourist who should have known better - we should have of course, but a large group was going for an evening's entertainment so you go with the flow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Food: Is it too much to ask that the food at least be edible? The waitress had the audacity to say the rack of lamb was the best in the city - the reality was quite the opposite, strangely sweet and barely cooked (I asked for it to be done medium), with the supporting ingredients thoughtlessly and carelessly put together. The seafood appetizer consisted of shrimp and crab cakes that tasted like they'd been microwaved several times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Entertainment: Lackluster and amateurish, and definitely did not make up for the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Conclusion: Don't enter this tent, even the Sultan's long since left

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My vote goes to the David Duncan House. Over-priced,over-salted frozen food. Great decor but the last time I checked you can't eat the curtains. It's my in-laws' favourite restaurant. God help me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Higgette

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dear God.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Vegetarian Feast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For the Vegetarian Lover in you our chef will prepare an exciting array of Vegetables, Potatoes and Rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can imagine how excited I would be to be served this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Especially when the vegetables are all frozen. Even the steaks are frozen - tastesless and tough. This place gets everything so wrong. The portions are enormous, but who wants to take this crap home?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They charged my SIL $17, for chicken fingers for her kid. Crazy, rip-off dump. Nice curtains though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, that vegetarian feast consisted of 5 boiled carrots, some boiled cauliflower and broccoli (boiled to mush, that is). The rice was crunchy, and the service was both slow, and rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Higgette

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL. Good pick higgette. I agree, that place is nasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. The Pickle Barrel...Bottom of the barrel .Growing up, It`s landmark Leslie street location was an institution.Since they started to expand into a chain and stray from there oringinal deli style roots things have gotten really bad.Higher prices,way smaller portions,bad service and a menu that tries to be everything to everyone.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had a bad experince at each one of their locations and will never go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tromeo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 of us went to PB Atrium this past weekend. The feta bunless burger, the BBQ heaven, the half BBQ chicken, the greek salad of some sort were all excellent and VERY well priced. The service was also excellent. I agree Yonge/Eg and Sherway sux, but the Atrium is fantastic and fresh always.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hey Deelicious Im glad you enjoyed it I`m sure alot of people do.I used to be a regular now I just can`t justify how I saw portion size shrink and prices go up.Most of their main courses came with their "famous" cole slaw that was brought out first.Then they shrunk the size and stuck it on the plate with the entree thus cutting back on the fries.Now its served in a thimble!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tromeo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The only thing that shrunk in size, IMO, is the bread and the coleslaw. I agree. But the bread they serve now has onions baked in and it is size enough. For the coleslaw, it still tastes as great as ever and I always ask for a substitute to a potato so I get plenty! The meat and the sandwiches have not shrunk in size to my eye (or stomach). In fact the half BBQ chicken dinner (at the Atrium) is in my mind one of the very best deals in Toronto!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Federicks comes to mind immediately. There is/was a place called Golden Chopstick at Leslie and Finch in the mall. That would be the worst, however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wordsworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with Fredericks. You may as well just chug a bottle of corn syrup with a side of chicken fat for a similar experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: badbhoy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Boston Pizza is the worst.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Appalling food, terrible service. I can't understand how this place stays in business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rock Bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Vern Ryerse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I actually went to Boston Pizza in Dufferin Mall the other day and had excellent service. I was amazed. Really nice guy named Sergio. Probably the exception to the rule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Vern Ryerse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I went to Boston Pizza, I checked the menu online first. They had a healthy selections menu, so when I was in the restaurant, I asked to see that. The server told me, "Something healthy? I don't think we serve anything healthy." When he finally did find and retrieve the menu, I ordered the shrimp -- it was five little baby shrimps on a scewer for over ten bucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: canadianbeaver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Boston Pizza is definitely up there with some of the worst food I've had to eat in my lifetime. Once upon a time I was forced to go there more often than I'd like, and the only thing I ever got was the spinach salad. Hard to screw that up, you'd think.. but often the spinach was old and wilted, the eggs yolks green, and if I didn't ask for dressing on the side the entire dish came absolutely drenched..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My BF always got the pad thai ("WHY?" I ask him) and the noodles were perpetually under or overcooked. There are really no words for the shrimp that came with that dish.. or any of BP's dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The last two times we have been, the beers were warm. And THAT was the tipping point for my BF. Thankfully, I never have to put up a fight against going to BP again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. James Joyce Pub on Bloor. (I think it is now closed, but I'm not sure.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They served us chicken wings that were still bloody inside. When we complained, the "cook" came out of the kitchen to our table, looked at the wings and said belligerently, "That's cooked blood."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course we refused to accept them. He took them back to the kitchen and put them back in the deepfryer, sauce on, and cooked them until they were little pieces of charcoal and sent them back out to the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grilledcheese

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thats funny. LOL. Yum, cooked bloody wings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: food face

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I know it's been covered in this thread and others but I must reinterate Red Tomato AGAIN! We've actually had some OK meals there before, usually a quick pre-theatre dinner because it was handy and not half-bad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While we were there this week our clueless server took 20 minutes to bring our wine. Appetizers as well as entrees for our table of 4 came out 10 minutes apart so some diners could dine (while the food was hot) and some could watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Noteworthy: the Calypso Chicken Pasta was a gloopy and bitter mess with way too much sage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My Kobe Beef Burger was actually quite good but it was accompanied by a unique combination of thick-cut mushy and limp sweet potato fries and broken-up near-shoestring fries about 1" long. Sort of those crumbs you'd find at the bottom of the freezer bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I e-mailed them with my comments on a very disappointing meal, but have not received a reply as of yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: grilledcheese

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Haaaaa! I still recall the wings I had at the James Joyce as some of the worst in my life. There were other negative aspects to my visit, too, but I won't go into details. Suffice to say... I will never return. Shockingly, the place is still around as far as I know; I think it's one of those bulletproof institutions that will never die.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. THe worst restaurant ive ate at was this place in Ronceville called Krak.....I was looking for something cheap and decided to try Krak out it looked sorta interesting and had a interesting name...Well first thing is they didnt have everything on the menu which weirds me out. They had 2 drunken polish dudes drinking and the owner kept hitting them and yelling at them in polish..then the food very bland and it wasnt that bad until my last dumpling i found egg shells in it I was pretty grossed out i complained and they couldnt even understand me the waitress that is....Also the drunks started to talk to me in polish which was very odd..So I basically learned something never go to a restaurant called Krak and pay the extra few bucks and eat somewhere good like Chopin or Cafe Poloez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Pizza Pizza (it's crazy to me that this is the number one pizza chain)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Le Bifteque
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Siddartha (I know people on here like it but I find it tasteless)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cora's (the breakfast chain)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most places in 'The Beach'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tiny Dancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Never expect good food, service or time at a chain restaurant, serves you right for going. In order to enjoy your dining experience, dive into the unknown. The small independent restaurants/diners/etc are the best I have ever been too. Little tid bit, Once they are published in Toronto Life they stop trying. SAD BUT TRUE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tiny Dancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ouch I thought this was about worst. Like a Chinese restaurant my wife and I attended before a play . . . breakfast cereal on the table in boxes to feed the kids (who arrived in PJ's while we were there) . . . I could go on. While Pizza Pizza is not the best . . . for a chain they have remarkably consistent and tasty product. . . in my opinion. Best pizza I had was in a place in Montreal with a three sided brick oven hard wood fired . . . they had three floors but open in the centre so you could see the pizza cooking. (well now I'll be tossed off Chowhound for defending a chain)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Alacrity59

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tossed off for saying Pizza Pizza has remarkably tasty pizza? No!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But now I know to ignore your suggestions :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pizza pizza is edible -- not good but edible. --- if you order your pie on their thin crust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Tiny Dancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mr. Greek in the Beach. Garbage service. No management.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Over-processed pre-packaged food short cuts. Bland spices. Over all a very poor excuss for a for a service restaurant. CLEAN YOUR WASHROOMS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mode

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        CONFIRMED MR. Greek in the BEach is horrible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Tiny Dancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Must disagree on Siddartha...it's not tasteles. It tastes bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tiny Dancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cora's Really? I have been to a few locations (Mostly Mississauga) Multiple times and never once had bad food there... Sure it's pretty tough to muck up breakfeast but I find the fruit to alwasy be ripe and fresh even off season.. The Egg's bennie is delish, (as is there Samon and lox bagel)....I just can't think of a place that dose a better consisten Breakfeast....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wost I have ever had was a East side's, they had just changed there menu.. I used to eat there few times a year and it was you know ok.. I knew what to expect.. but any ways.. this Prosuto and Asparagus capalari.. looked like dog vomit (though admitedly at least tasted ok)..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think I have ever been served food so bad I could not eat it, most reastrant issuees I have had have been Service... and substandard food.... but not food poissioningly awful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: R1chardsred

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cora's? Who's complaining about Cora's? The many times we've been there (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Pickering) we've had really good experiences. The only 2 things I wasn't too crazy about ... the frickin' line ups, the prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Tiny Dancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have to agree with Cora's being in this list. I was taken to the Dufferin and Steeles location for a birthday brunch. I should have realized what I was in for when I saw a line-up to get in. If a Toronto restaurant has a queue, it's usually a sign of marketing over substance. I had to send my omelette back (it was watery, flat, and tasted odd). It is very rare that I'd do something like that. My replacement cheddar cheese omelette came with fake swiss cheese instead and was still flat and boring. I think they must use some dried egg mix for the omelettes because there is absolutely no fluffiness.. The odd tasting bacon also had no redeeming texture (I think they microwave it first and them quickly griddle the rashers before serving). No one else in the party was impressed with their selections either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Vaticanno Trattoria ..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Deceivingly friendly at the door, making up for the lack of experienced waiters ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Charging for the wine the waiter spilled; he then denied spilling half of the bottle (despite having to mop rather than wipe it from the floor)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They didn't offer a replacement bottle ... aside from that bad service experience ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 different dishes and one small microwave.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had once upon a time been known to order the salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden (back in the day). I knew better than to order a main dish .. enough sodium to dry the humps off of a two humped camel ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The VatTratt took me right back to that place ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We did however take the rest of the $40 Risotto dish home - the wallpaper has yet to peel away from the plaster, its been months ... something good of something bad ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Second Choice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Crabby Joes in Port Perry ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not once but twice (both visits) I received the excuse - "both chef's happened to quit that very day" ... they need to change the script, really ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Who in thier right mind would expect turkey in a turkey wrap anyway??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Bar B Qs on Spadina. wing.fries . burgs all gross

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: philly cheeze

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BBQ's on Spadina. Good one. F-ing aweful excuse for food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. There used to be a chinese buffet on the lower floor of the Scarborough Town Centre. Food was disgusting, could not eat what was on my plate, they they added charges in for plates that were not finished on top of the reg pricing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. MAGIC OVEN is definitely up there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. One of the worst meals I've had was at a place called Jesse Jr., a Filipino place on Kennedy at Lawrence. Never having eaten at a Filipino restaurant we took the staffs recommendations. It was awful. Flavourless and very fatty cuts of meat. Avoid this place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. The Dale Family Restaurant, south-west corner of Bloor & Lansdowne. Yes, I bet you can imagine, and you'd probably be right, whatever horrid thing you're thinking about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Alas, it was the closest restaurant to a former house that I was unfortunate enough to live in, so I would eat there now and again. Always bacon and eggs. Until, one night I decided to go for the double pork chop special.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was a vegetarian for three months. No kidding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goofibulator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        you mean South-East corner... that place kept their doors open by boozing up the crack-heads on the cheap. breakfast was always fine... that's all I ordered and I loved the in-booth jukes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AntontheGreek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          South-east, yes. And I note that it's since closed down and re-opened as a fancy-dancy café of some sort. So long, The Dale, we hardly knew ye!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Word on the Magic Oven. What is going on in that crust and it's just mushy all over. Mushy crust, mushy toppings. Mush.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sui_Mai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Spadina Garden for the red sauce common to almost every dish they serve. Veggies not fresh as they look like they've been soaking in the sauce for ages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ditto for Spring Rolls!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ironchefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            spring rolls isn't great but at least the food is edible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            that's not an endorsement... i'm just sayin you could do a LOT worse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I gotta give Spring Rolls a little bit of like here too. On average they're nothing to write home about, but for delivery standards they are okay. Some dishes are better than others - Thai curries - bad. Vietnemese pork chop is yummy as is the lettuce wrap, curry pad thai and the thai basil eggplant - but order easy sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They are murdering the forests though, I always ask them not to include a menu and knives, forks and sauce packets (after *they ask me* if I want them) and without fail they just load up the bag with 'em every single time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sui_Mai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Some of the worst meals I've ever had that didn't involve illness afterward began with being dragged to Spring Rolls against my emphatic attempts to get others to reconsider. Now, if I must go, I just don't eat. I'd honestly rather go to Montana's or something (at least I like the cakey cornbread there, even if I don't like anything else on the menu). Not making me sick is certainly a plus that removes them from the worst of the worst, but nothing I've ever had at Spring Rolls is something I would want to place in or near my mouth ever again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, I completely agree. I'll never forget my meal of vietnamese bun with noodles that tasted only of freezer burn and a rubbery piece of chicken riddled with fat that I couldn't bring myself to eat. I'm not even going to talk about (related restaurant) East! We started with insipid rubbery (see a pattern?) "thai" fishcakes and things went downhill from there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If I were so unfortunate to be dragged there again I wouldn't eat either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i must concur. some of worst tdot meals began with spring rolls. the food oh the food..................(and the slightly better but highly deficient service)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: zed1984

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's a couple of ok things at Spring Rolls but have found that the dishes that involve any form of a noodle all taste exactly the same regardless of what you order. And it's not a very good taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On my last visit to the Yonge/Bloor ish location the waiter was having a loud argument with the woman at the table next to me. Apparently she was a vegitarian and he brought her something that had meat in it. He insisted she ordered the meat dish, then tried to talk her into eating it, then said that if she sent it back the meal would come out of his paycheck. This went on for about 10 minutes.