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Eye Weekly Readers Choice 2008

Just thought I'd post a link to eye weekly's readers choice for the best of T.O and I was wondering if you agree or disagree with some of the choices. The one I disagree with is best all you can eat buffet, THE MANDARIN, food fit for a troff and not one of my faves.

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  1. Disagree with 99.9999% of the 'chow' list!

    1. So much for the wisdom of crowds.

      1. This survey seems slightly better than the NOW one, where the most heavily advertised chain under each category seems to get the most votes simply because that's the one most people can think of when they're filling out the form so they can enter the contest.

        I am pleased to see Harlem getting the great exposure. 7 West is a respectable choice for an all-round cafe. I personally thought Fressen was pretty disappointing the one time I went, but hey, not a lot of vegan places come to mind for most people, I guess. Camros on Hayden was far more impressive, to me.

        But does anybody really believe that the best Greek food in all of Toronto is served by the Mr. Greek chain, and that nobody in this city can grill a better steak than The Keg? Egads!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Gary

          I walked by Harlem the other night, not having previously heard of it, and was instantly intrigued. Can you tell me more about it, Gary?

          1. re: Jacquilynne

            Highly recommend Harlem. Casual atmosphere, friendly/knowledgeable servers, very good and reasonably priced food, large portions and reasonable wine mark-ups. We were there last week and had breaded catfish appetizer, daily soup (a root vegetable base with coconut), candied yams, bbq chicken and cajun meatloaf. Very pleased with all. My memory isn't good enough to do justice to these dishes by describing the spicing and side dishes, but the fact that after finishing, we wanted to make a reservation for the next night to try the other dishes we were considering, summarizes the meal well! It appears to be much busier than the time of my previous visit, so you likely need to make reservations.

          2. re: Gary

            Didn't the Now discontinue its readers poll a couple of years ago?

          3. Real Jerk as best Caribbean? Please...that place is brutal. Lots of other suspect choices, but that one jumped out at me.

            1. lol The Madison for a pick up joint? for what, university students? i wouldnt go there to find a sweetie.

              i guess these choices are all so pedestrian (IMO) because the public generally does not eat at places like Splendido, Canoe or Colborne Lane (or perhaps even heard of them) and therefore naming the best from the set of restaurants they DO visit.

              4 Replies
              1. re: pinkprimp

                Pinkprimp has it just about right. Such polls conducted by free weeklies, in other cities I travel to as well as Toronto, are invariably skewed by the papers' readership: youngish, living downtown (note that many best-of picks are south of Bloor Street), careful with their discretionary spending. In short, they often can't afford more expensive dining-out joints. So they understandably vote for what they've experienced - which is what they CAN afford.
                It's not worth getting too worked up over. Regard such polls as an amusing, inconsequential way for a freebie weekly to pump up readership. I doubt if even the papers' editors take these polls seriously.
                Unlike Kagemusha, however, I've never noticed "slavish pandering to their advertisers" by the papers' food writers. The resto reviewers probably aren't as incisive as those for the major papers like the Globe and National Post, but that's why they're in a lower-level league trying to polish their skills. Their reviews seem straightahead enough to me, untainted by favoritism if not particularly perceptive. About what you'd expect from a freebie weekly reviewer. I've seen better reviews from amateurs on this board, and - it almost goes without saying - some less enlightening ones as well.

                1. re: juno

                  i agree wholeheartedly. i live midtown and i can afford to eat dinner for two over $100 once every 6 weeks if i'm lucky, but spend a lot of time eating out for two under $50, and drinking on the cheap too, so i refer regualrly to eye and now. when i'm going to splurge, i pull out my toronto life. or, i consult here :)

                  1. re: juno

                    Base on your analysis, why are Lai Wah Heen and Auberge du Pommier on the list ?

                  2. re: pinkprimp

                    I had a good laugh at that one too, one of my best friend is married to a guy she picked up at the Madison, he was her waiter there one night!

                  3. We're going to leave this on the Ontario board for discussion of the restaurants mentioned (or which restaurants you think should have been named instead). If you've got comments on the methodology and voting in this survey or other newspaper surveys, please start a new thread on the Food Media and News board ( http://www.chowhound.com/boards/33 ).

                    1. IIRC you had to choose from the list they provided - it wasn't a 'free' vote.

                      1. this MUST be a joke..

                        Best Greek: Mr. Greek ... this can't be serious

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: duckdown

                          I know, that one is just an insult to say the least. Mr greek on the queensway was one of the worst experiances ive ever had at a restaurant. They served me a hot dog bun toasted as bread! Nuff said.

                        2. I think the consensus here is, those Now/Eye chow polls and chowhounders don't mix. I haven't looked at the results myself yet, but am guessing they would sit right at the opposite end of the spectrum with CH preferences.

                          A few years back, some reader somewhere pointed out that the results of these polls are driven by the recognizability of the eateries. Brand recognition plays a big part. Correct me if I am wrong, there is usually some small incentive for those who participate (like taking part in a draw), so I will not be surprised if there is some bias for the big names when enough people just play the name recognition game.

                          We should have our own poll on this board..