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Mar 31, 2008 05:10 AM

Colborne Lane snubs, Globe Bistro welcomes

A couple of months ago, I posted asking advice on where my husband and I should go for a special birthday dinner ( Thanks so much to everyone who offered advice!

I decided on Colborne Lane first. After leaving three messages over several weeks with reservation info and asking them to call to confirm, I had heard -nothing-. I tried calling during business hours, but only got the answering machine. I finally left a fourth message cancelling my reservation (if it had ever been made) and explaining why. Still heard nothing.

After cancelling on Colborne Lane, I went ahead and made reservations for Globe Bistro (again, based on recommendations from Chowhound types). Globe Bistro now has an online reservation system in place. After making the reservation online, I received a friendly phonecall confirming the reservation, and another phonecall closer to the date confirming once more.

I know some people on Chowhound have had problems with the service at the Globe Bistro, but both my husband and I found the service to be friendly and efficient. I had also asked if we could get a nice table, and they put us at a romantic table (the most romantic in the restaurant, in my opinion) in a relatively secluded corner beneath a tree on the small mid-level floor, with a lovely view overlooking the restaurant. We were both happy with our food, and I loved my dessert (lemon tart).

A follow-up on Colborne Lane: I finally did receive a call from Colborne Lane ON THE DAY of my original reservation, to confirm the reservation. When we explained why we had cancelled, the person on the phone(I think he said his name was Kirby) just said that someone at the restaurant who took reservations had recently quit and besides, they had been getting SO MANY CALLS ever since Toronto Life magazine had named them one of the best restaurants in Toronto. At no point during the phone call did he apologize.

I'm sure Colborne Lane has fantastic food, but I have to admit that this incident has dampened my enthusiasm for visiting that restaurant. The quality of food is important to me, to be sure. But for me, the dining experience encompasses more than just the food.

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  1. p.s. I attached a photo I snapped from our table at Globe Bistro. Apologies for the quality; I only had my little point-and-shoot.

    1. I had a bad experience with a Colborne Lane reservation as well. I called on a Tuesday at about 3:00 p.m. about 2 weeks before our date and actually spoke to someone in person who took our reservation. When the date arrived and I hadn't received a call I called them at about 7:00 p.m. only to find out that we did not have a reservation. It was my sister's b-day and she was in town from Vancouver so it was a major disappointment. The response from CL was basically too bad, can't help you, even after I explained that I spoke to someone in person...

      We did eventually go back (I called to confirm about 3 times!). While the evening was great and we had a lot of fun, the food was a bit of a disappointment (too much foam!). We had been to Kultura just few days earlier and thought it was much better.

      1. I am f'n sick of Toronto restos that don't answer their phones to take reservations. Who do they think they are? If a restaurant doesn't answer its phone, you should leave a message saying, "I was going to make a reservation, but since you don't even have the courtesy to answer the phone, I'll find somewhere else to eat." Mention the name of their closest competitor.

        2 Replies
        1. re: grilledcheese

          I had a similar experience with Blowfish (same owner as Colborne Lane) seems like the owner likes to create a sense of exclusivity for his restos...whatever!...i have no interest in going there anymore!

          1. re: LurveToEat

            They don't share an owner!
            You're probably thinking of Hanif Harji who helped open Colborne Lane (& formerly of Blowfish) - but he left very early in the operation - maybe a year ago. He's now at Nyood.

        2. I've had bad experiences with restaurants, both with making reservations and then with the service. The AMAZING thing is often all it would take is "We are very sorry", "We apologize" etc, to make me feel better, yet I almost never hear it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Flexitarian

            I strongly agree. Some restaurants don't realize that just a simple apology can do wonders.