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May 5, 2008 04:04 PM

Joy Bistro Review

As mentioned, if anyone remembers, we bought tickets back in March to see opera at the Cinema on Queen live from the New York Met Opera House. Included in the package was a dinner choice at any one of 7 different restaurants. We chose Joy.

Arrived at 5:15 p.m. and received tasty bread & a lovely spread mixture to put on it. Don't ask me exactly what was in it, but it was grand.

Next came our appetizers - hubby order antipasto - very fresh & tasty. I ordered live pate with crispy crackers. Don't believe the pate contained any brandy, so don't quite know what was in it. Didn't like it as much as pate flavoured with brandy, but didn't leave a morsel.

We both ordered Beef Ribs with what they call cous-cous, but didn't look like it; however, they contained shitake mushrooms, red pepper & greens and was delicious.

Hubby had dessert of peanut butter icecream over stawberries & cake. i passed.

Out of our own pocket for the night, were one Creemore, one huge glass of Australian Red Wine, and one Sherry for hubby, plus 2 coffees. That bill came to $33.00....we left our very attentive & friendly waitress a $10.00 tip.

All in all, after seeing some negative reviews of Joy on Chowhound, i would have to say that we not only enjoyed the dinner, but the sunny side of the deck opposite the park & all the doggies out for playtime.

We will go back.

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      1. Thanks for the review. I've also read mixed things on this place but your review has me thinking I'll go ahead and check it out next chance I get. Jimmy Simpson being the closest lot to it, I'd imagine the patio does have some great sunshine exposure as you mentioned.

        1. Joy is one of the closest restaurants to my home and is excruciatingly frustrating. To reiterate some comments I've made elsewhere:

          Joy has, at various times, been: (1) a coffee place; (2) a coffee place in the morning, casual lunch spot, and fancier dinner place also selling ice cream and and home made dog biscuits at a window; (3) an all day breakfast followed by fancy dinner spot; (4) an extremely expensive lunch/dinner place with David Chrystian (sic) as chef, aspiring to be Toronto's best resto; (5) the current incarnation as a moderately priced lunch/dinner place.

          They also did small plates in their upstairs room (OverJoy), which now seems relegated to special events.

          They have served weekend brunch since the beginning. Brunch is the only meal that has been both a constant and continuously successful for them.

          Through all of these incarnations, both food and service can fall (randomly) anywhere in the range from really excellent to really bad. You can get an exceptional meal with great service there, but you can never count on it.

          The west patio faces the park and is likely one of the nicest patios in Toronto. They serve the regular restaurant menu there and are usually willing to serve just a drink, or even a coffee, when they aren't busy. There is another patio to the east that is an acquired taste kind of place. They sometimes serve food there and sometimes not. I've no idea what Ted is planning for this summer.

          13 Replies
          1. re: embee

            Just don't go late for brunch. We showed up at 1:30 one day and got Eggs Benedict with bacon, eggs and homefries that must have been cooked at 7 am. Nasty.

            But, like embee says, I've also had good meals there. Roll of the dice.

            1. re: Mila

              Ya never know. I've had perfect poached eggs with fire roasted tomatoes and Hollandaise, and an apple pancake that was burned outside and raw within, served to the same table at the same time.

            2. re: embee

              What restaurant is consistently good all the time ?? I hear McDonald's is.

              1. re: bennytoronto

                I think what we are saying is that Joy Bistro is consistently inconsistent.

                You have a 50% chance of getting a good meal and 50% chance of getting a really bad one. On my dime, I don't like those odds.
                LOL on your post embee, not even consistent for the whole table.

                As with all chowhound posts it's just my opinion, check it out yourself, they have a decent patio overlooking the park.

                1. re: Mila

                  I think they are adapting to an ever changing terrain in Leslieville. Besides I would rather go to a place that really hits on the mark some of the time than go to a place that is always MOR.

                  1. re: bennytoronto

                    Really? Not me! I want a place that I can count on consistently. Thankfully I have found that in a number of places and Joy is not one of them.

                    1. re: bennytoronto

                      The problem is, is that when they are bad it is really really bad. I have had fantastic eggs benny there and then gone again to have horrific service and completely cold food (including stone cold poached eggs). IMHO There are way too many good brunch places in this city to go to a place where you worry about whether or not the food may or may not be good that day.

                    2. re: Mila

                      100 per cent consistency is tough for any resto. There are too many things that can go wrong in such a human operation. But I've found Joy Bistro to be much better than 50-50. To me, 70-30 would be more like it, which - given the price of dining out nowadays - still isn't quite good enough. For day-to-day consistency, which to me is more like a 90 per cent batting average, I'll take Ferro, a casual Italian joint on St. Clair Ave. W., and Le Paradis, a classic French bistro on Bedford Rd., near Avenue Rd. and Davenport Rd. Neither is great, but their prices aren't startlingly high either, and it's to these places I'll go when I want to eat well at minimal expense. It's simply damn tasty cooking with rarely a false step - and any false step that does occur is usually just a minor aberration. Like an unbalanced caprese salad at Ferro or slightly overcooked flank steak at Le Paradis, both corrected by the next visit or two. That to me is consistency in restaurants.

                      1. re: juno

                        For us it's Gio's for casual and more upscale is Pastis. Whe know we can't go wrong with either of them.

                  2. re: embee

                    Embee, is it true that the owner, Ted Koutsogiannopoulous, was formerly the owner of Mr Tasty at Queen & Parliament?

                    1. re: Googs

                      I believe that is true. I'm told, but can't personally verify, that Mr Tasty was considered quite good when he owned it.

                      1. re: embee

                        It was. I miss the old Mr Tasty staff. It was like that John Belushi SNL cheeseburger sketch. The new people have no acquaintance with food whatsoever.

                      2. re: Googs

                        It is true, He and his father owned it. Like many others here, I used to love going to Joy, but after a few expensive mistakes I'm hesitant to go back. My last time there for brunch, the food was good, but they were blasting Techno-pop at 9:00AM, even though clearly the only people enjoying it were the staff. They seem to forget we're the people paying the bills!!!. I'ld rather go where the food is consistent, and the staff is pleased to serve you, not giving attitude

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