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Terroni - Mediocre food and BAD Sevice

  • z

A few people had recommended Terroni's on Queen West ...but for us it was a waste of money. We are food aficiado's and since the birth of our son 10 month ago, we have not eaten out as much as we used to. This thanksgiving, we ventured out for dinner with our young son to Terroni's and it was such a disapointment

The waitress was AWEFUL! We were not served bread like most Italian places offer...we had to ask for it and the waitress acted like she was doing us a favor giving us the bread. We asked for a bit of fruit or veges for our son to chew on and she said they did not have anything she could offer..???? The tuna, which was the special of the day tasted burnt and not worth $25. My husband ordered a pizza and it was ok...nothing to die for.

Finally after the mediocre meal, we gave an american express card to settle the bill and the waitress told us that their machine was acting up and they would be able to accept only debit cards. Wow...and we just saw another gentleman on a nearby table use his visa to pay for his meal! My husband was adamant and said he would pay only with a credit card and she reluctantly took the card and made us wait for almost 10 minutes. Of course the credit card went through!

  1. I love Terroni so maybe I am a bit biased but I would like to comment on a few things in the above post.

    I don't have kids, but I wouldn't expect a restaurant to give me fruit or vegetables or anything for my child to munch on. Don't parents bring food from home for the child?

    I will agree the service can be a bit off at Terroni and sometimes they have a bit of an attitude but I just chalk that up to the wannabe actors etc. that they hire.

    I can't really comment on the food other than to say some people love the pizza at Terroni and others not so much, depends on what you like I suppose.

    1 Reply
    1. re: allabouttheCHOW

      Thing is, they have a reputation as a kid/family-friendly place. Look at the Toronto Life article about them earlier in the year (where they were featured as one of the Top 10), article mentioned it several times and the photo of the dining room prominently featured a family with kids in the center.

    2. Thanks for this. After reading enough Terroni and Harbour 60 brownnosing in this board it's nice to know they aren't as perfect as we are led to believe...

      1. I know there's a lot of love for Terroni on this board, but I've been to every Toronto location [it seems to be people's go-to choice for get togethers & birthdays, don't ask me why] and have never had a good meal or experience there. The service has ranged from indifferent to full-on rude, and I think the food is overpriced and terrible. I don't like pizza crusts so cracker-like and hard that I can't even penetrate their burnt crust with a knife, and I find their pasta gluey. The Courthouse location is admittedly very chic inside, but I'll never take decor over food and/or service.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Smorgasbord

          I agree - the idea of Terroni's is great and some of the food is great (the lasagna was fantastic, however puny - about 1/3 the size I'd expect ordering that dish). Their desserts are also terrible. I can only speak for the Queen Street W location.

          May I suggest Regina's Pizzeria on College near Ossington.. We ended up there a few weeks back since Terroni was lined up out the door and it was awesome. I saw them bring out a platter of what I'm assuming was tiramisu that literally made me drool.

          1. re: Joshman

            Maybe the solution is to patronise the Italian restaurant closest to your local Terroni? They probably do a good turnover because of the long-lines-at-Terroni overflow business plus they have to try harder on food and service. For instance I would rather eat at Capocacia (sp?) rathe than the Yonge/St. Clair Terroni.

            1. re: Carruthers

              Oh, I've always been curioius about that place (Capaccio--yeah, I don't know how to spell it either). What sorts of dishes do they do well?

              1. re: Ediblethoughts

                The pizzas are just as good as Terroni, IMO, without being as fussy. That's where I've tended to stick when eating there but dining companions of mine have enjoyed the pasta (gnochi, I think) options because they were a bit more generous with the portion without sacrificing quality.

                1. re: Carruthers

                  Good to know. I'll try to get around to going there some time soon! (Any idea how their salads are?)

                  1. re: Ediblethoughts

                    i have to agree w/ this... my bf and i have ended up at capocaccia a few times now because of the insane lines at that terroni.

                    he actually likes it better now. i'm a bit undecided myself. i think the pastas and service are better at capocaccia, but i still like terroni's pizzas better.

                    i also can't speak for all the salads, but the funghi assoluti at terroni is much much better than the capocaccia version. i found the latter almost boring, and the flavours didn't pop as much

                    1. re: tygrr_lily

                      Darn. It's a pity how good those Terroni's salads are...

        2. If Terroni wishes to control their inventory so tightly that a child can't get a carrot stick and an adult with special dietary needs can't leave off toppings, then perhaps they should start delivering pizzas to the table in a Big Mac box.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Googs

            But even McDonald's will allow you to request omissions... ask for no pickles, no problem, they'll do it....

          2. And don't you dare ask for a substitution on one of their pizzas. My goodness, I thought that I had committed the worst faux pas in the world by doing so. I don't care how good their food is, and it is nothing special, if it comes with such attitude.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Attknee

              I find this entire discussion interesting, as I always thought of Terroni as a "Holy Grail" on this site.
              I think they serve decent, not excellent food, have a bad attitude, and i have never understood the hype and enthusiasm for the place.
              It is pretty, and trendy looking, but that is about it..

            2. The thing is, Terroni (no possessive singular; it's not a person) is what it is. Their policies are not secret and the experience there is pretty widely publicized.

              We've been going to the Queen W location since '92 and the only regret I have is the line-ups. As Yogi Berra said, "No one goes there anymore, it's too crowded"! We've always had great service, but in the Queen W mode, i.e. they're "real" not pre-programmed automaton servers. They often try to argue me out of ordering the Tirolese ("That's my least favourite pizza...") I kinda like that.

              It's not surprising that they couldn't offer raw veggies or the like. I don't think there's any dish on the menu that contains them raw. (Soffritto would likely have been prepped way early). When the bambini eat with us they nibble off the fagioli salad until their pizza arrives.

              Unfortunate about the credit card though.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Brennius

                I'm agreeing with your post, Brennius. I lived in Italy for 3 years (both Milan and Rome), and Terroni is the most similar place I've found in Toronto to the kind of food and experience you would get in Italy - while dining out at your local pizzeria or bistro (not haute cuisine). Just last night at the Adelaide location, I had a gorgeous warm octopus salad - simple and lovely. Have to say though that a few nights earlier, I had bad service at the Yonge St. location and I was pretty ticked off, since I go there fairly often and some of the people there at least recognize me by now. But, I still think it's a great concept and I always feel "good" after I eat there - I use it as my "healthy choice" when dining out.

                1. re: MichelinStarChaser

                  Have you tried Tutti Matti? Food is pretty good there...

              2. It seems people either love Terroni or hate it, whether it's the food, the line up, the attitude, the noise, etc. They're all way too noisy to really enjoy unless you go at 'off' times, which I usually do. Right now the Courthouse location is most convenient so when I have a craving for my favorite Terroni dishes, that's where I usually go, around 5... I love the Funghi Assoluti and I enjoy the crisp, dry pizza crusts and simple but fresh toppings. And the warm molten chocolate cake is awesome (one of the best I've had and I've tried many and make one of the best I've ever had, myself, so if I'm willing to pay for one, it's got to be great).

                5 Replies
                1. re: lovegoodfood

                  My pet peeve is the NOISE in Toronto restauarnts! The Terroni Courthouse patio was a wonderful way to escape it, excellent service and good pizza. The back patio on Queen West is also good and noise free. But indoors.... one recent FRiday evening I felt that I had a tin bucket on my head and many angry people were pounding it! Could not hear a single word from my dining companion - the din was ridiculous! Not conducive to enjoyment of food or digestion.......

                  1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                    I have two questions about Terroni, is the food pretty consistent arcoss the three Toronto locations and I guess you can include L.A. if you have been to it, also what was in the Courthouse location before they moved in.

                    1. re: CBlake

                      The food at Terroni LA is slightly better than Toronto Terroni, due to the natural inclusion of freshly available seafood. The panna cotta was better, the pastas tasted fresher.
                      I find the food at the courthouse better than what it used to be on victoria.
                      but that's just me

                  2. re: lovegoodfood

                    I agree; service is kind of poor but I have had good food there. That mushroom dish you mentioned is great and many people I know are into their carpaccio. I think it's also the kind of place where you have to know what you're in for. I wouldn't bring my young son there.

                    If you go to Marcello's on St. Clair, their food is comparable and it's very kid friendly. The staff is pretty nice although they priortize regulars sometimes it seems. Anyway, just a suggestion if you want Italian food and want to go somewhere that welcomes children.

                    1. re: albanis

                      Marcello's seems like it would be better for families with kids. The pizza however is not nearly as tasty as those found at Terroni.

                      I have always felt that the crust on Queen West is tough while the toppings superb. I just discovered the new location on Adelaide and twice found the crust to be perfect. Amazing pizza. The bread and EVOO served before the meal is also a standout!

                  3. You're basing most of your experience on your server.. the servers at Terroni's don't make much money, and you're just as likely to get a poor server here as you would at most other places... so, "you get what you pay for"... the food there is fairly decent, perhaps you should give it another shot. Get the charcuterie board. But restaurants like that? you're bound to get the occasional server that hates their job and is doing it for the money.. you have to expect that!

                    1. Well, here's my horror story about Terroni:

                      My wife and I live in Toronto, and have dined at Terroni a number of times over the years. Today is the last time we will visit any of their restaurants. While the food is good, fresh, and genuine, Terroni has, on multiple occasions, worked really hard at trying our patience.

                      The first time, as our waitress had poured the obligatory olive oil to dip our bread, my wife politely asked if she could have a drop of balsamic vinegar. The waitress staunchly refused, and when asked the reason, began lecturing us on the purity of the Terroni brand, and how mixing balsamic vinegar with oil didn’t represent the true expression of Italian culinary tradition – not only was she forbidden from serving us vinegar, but how plebeian of us to ask.

                      Stunned by the reaction, my wife decided to bypass the neurotic waitress and ask the kitchen for a little balsamic. As she approached the counter, she was deftly intercepted by said vigilant waitress who, nearly in tears, sternly reminded us that vinegar was “verboten”. First evening ruined.

                      The second time, we visited a Terroni restaurant that had just opened on Adelaide Street. Once seated, we were asked for our drinks order. Our friend ordered a diet Coke, to which the waitress replied that “our owners does not believe in diet colas”. Stunned by such direct, scolding reply, she chose a regular Coke, which thankfully appeared to be an acceptable choice. Second evening ruined.

                      Finally today, for the third and last time, we visited Terroni’s Queen Street restaurant with friends from the United States. I was sensitized by our past experiences, but was willing to give the place one last try, even though it was not my first choice. I did warn my wife to kindly avoid questioning in the slightest any and all food modifications – no matter how slight – fearing reprisal.

                      Unfortunately, as the waitress was taking our orders, one of our blissfully unaware friends fell into the diabolic trap and dared “I’d love your Nizzarda salad, but would it be possible to please hold the anchovies?”…. well, that was simply too much of an affront to the legendary purity of the Terroni tradition: the waitress, on cue, began lecturing us on the impeccable quality of their food and ingredients, and the historic tradition behind them that made it so very unthinkable to substitute or modify any and all dishes – all of Italy and civilization itself had been insulted by a request to hold an anchovy. She concluded the sermon by admonishing that Terroni “was all about being true to their food”.

                      The tone was sanctimonious, arrogant, and unbelievably presumptuous. Toronto is still a little childishly full of itself, as in New York’s poorer cousin trying hard not to be ignored. Some of its restaurants reflect that, with Terroni at the head of the pack. I informed the waitress that perhaps they should think of staying true to their customers from time to time. It so happens that I was born and raised in Italy, but never found a restaurant there or anywhere that took itself quite so seriously, and made a point of lecturing its customers quite so sanctimoniously. You can remain true to your tradition and still be kind to your customers – we did not ask for ketchup on our spaghetti. Dogmas do not belong in the kitchen.

                      If you value Italian food and customer service, and would rather avoid a sermon delivered by a clueless 25-year-old on the fine culinary traditions of their founders, go to Trio Ristorante and Pizzeria: you’ll spend less, get better service, and taste the best authentic pizza this side of the Atlantic.

                      17 Replies
                      1. re: mlaudisa

                        Besides the obvious why would you go back after # 1 and especially after #2, the other question I have is why didn't you offer to pay for whatever you had consumed in each case, and walked out?? All three incidents appear to have occurred before any food (other than bread) was served....

                        1. re: mlaudisa

                          I haven't been to Terroni since it's rapid expansion (including the enlarging of the queen st. location and the addition of the Adelaide location), and I don't regret it. Terroni was great when it was small, relaxed, and welcoming. Now, well, it's simply too big for it's boots. The only truly great experience I've ever had at a Terroni was, believe or not, in L.A. I was lucky enough to be with someone who knew the chef, and WOW did they pull out all the stops. Everything was incredible. Fresh, perfectly cooked, delicious, from beginning to end. It doesn't hurt that California has a veritable cornucopia of fantastic produce wherever you look.

                          By the way, well written post. A pleasure to read.

                          1. re: mlaudisa

                            Interesting. Well, I have noticed the service there can be rushed and less than stellar. I've been there only twice mind you, both times to the Queen street location. My main objection there has actually been with the food though. The first time, I had a pizza. And while it may have been traditional, I found it pretty boring, though the tomato sauce was very pleasant. I can't remember exactly which one it was, but it had buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto on it.
                            The other time I went, I had the spaghetti bolognese and it tasted exactly like hamburger helper.
                            On both occasions I WAS served nice appetizers however. The buffalo mozzarella and breaded mushrooms appetizers stick out in my mind.
                            Sorta disappointing considering the hype.

                            1. re: mlaudisa

                              Loved the diction.

                              As unacceptable as such a response is for your second outing, your evening was ruined by some 'clueless 25-year-old?' That's a bit much if you ask me. I wouldn't be happy either in that situation but it certainly wouldn't result in my evening being trashed.

                              I've only ever been to the Adelaide location and between my good friend and I we've been at least 20 times and have never once encountered the type of service that is often reported on here. Are we just getting lucky or what?

                              Never been rushed, always found the service attentive and have never had a problem with noise levels.

                              1. re: radiopolitic

                                I've never received bad service, but I've never asked for substitutions (though allergy mentions were no problem). I drink diet coke, though I've never asked at Terroni. If they denied me this, I would probably never be back. I prefer the taste of diet coke to regular coke. But the thing is that anyone going to Terroni should know that the substitution thing is not acceptable. If it's your first time, okay, fine, but anyone who has heard of Terroni knows this. If I asked for a diet coke and didn't get one (and for ridiculous reasons -- HFCS is nice!), though, I'd be pretty angry.

                                I find Terroni's pizzas to be better than Libretto, though Libretto's non-pizza dishes have been quite good. Haven't been to Trio.

                                1. re: tjr

                                  I knew about the substitution policy before the first time I went, so that wasn't an issue - I figured if I knew, I could go and accept it, or just not go at all. My issue has been with the service. I've tried the old Victoria location and the new one on Adelaide a few times. I have to say I have received the worst service at Terroni's restaurants (and I eat out alot). The servers are uniformly rude.

                                  1. re: sam_1

                                    I've never been to Terroni but I think I'd be okay knowing all the ground rules going in but I'd be on tenterhooks all night if I ever was to go with someone who wasn't so aware of their rules for fear they may make some sort of special request.

                                    For Terroni veterans: When it comes to taking someone for dinner that's never been there before, do you give them a run down of their policies beforehand?

                                  2. re: tjr

                                    I haven't been to Trio either but I live in the area so I should check it out.

                                    I got to talking with a friend last night who says hes been to Terroni around 100 times - he works in the area - and he's never really had an issue. Only thing he mentioned was that it can get loud but never to the point where its uncomfortable to converse.

                                    I do find Terroni to be an interesting phenomenon though, what with how divisive opinion is on it.

                                2. re: mlaudisa

                                  "Toronto is still a little childishly full of itself, as in New York’s poorer cousin trying hard not to be ignored."

                                  OMG! - We must be related! I so agree with you when it comes to restaurants in Toronto!!! I am always amazed by how forgiving people are in this town of bad service and/or mediocre food including Terroni's who seems to have a rep on this board for bad service. When I part with my $$$$ I expect to pay for the cuisine which most restaurants seem to forget should include service as part of the fee. Just my 2 cents worth.

                                  1. re: tuttebene

                                    What ever happened to the spirit of hospitality? Thanks for all the warnings gentle posters.

                                    It must be a Toronto thing. We restaurant aficionados are like hockey referees, we thrive on abuse.

                                    1. re: iamafoodie

                                      Totally agree, I used to live and work in New York, and believe me the service I've experienced in Toronto restaurants - Terroni being a prime example - is many grades below New York.

                                      This has nothing to do with the waiter/waitress not making a lot of money, or having a lot of customers. In thousands of restaurant/eating experiences in New York from deli-counters to $$$ meals, I've only ever encountered one truly horrible service experience.

                                      At Terroni on the other hand...

                                      It's a matter of having a bad attitude

                                  2. re: mlaudisa

                                    I like their pizza but...

                                    Yeah, these people are ridiculous and I'm pretty sure all their "being true to Italian food" stuff is a bunch of mullarkey.

                                    My girfriend is Italian with a capital "I" and she has no problem putting balsamic vinegar in her olive oil for bread dipping. In fact, it's her preference to put balsamic in the oil.

                                    And the other real Italian thing I find is that Italians don't really care what you do, as long as you eat a lot and have a full belly.

                                    If you don't want anchovies fine, if you don't want capers fine, if you want to hold the onions fine, if you want to add extra cheese fine - just as long as you eat a lot.

                                    1. re: herbs go karts

                                      100% agree. "Mangia, mangia" is all you should hear. If you want a weird substitution the MOST reaction you should get is the slight head tilt and shoulder shrug.

                                      1. re: herbs go karts

                                        "Being true to a streamlined food process" is what it's all about, I'm guessing. Helps to maximize profits, just ask McDonalds.

                                        1. re: Pincus

                                          No problems getting my burgers topped just the way I want them at the Golden Arches, though...

                                          1. re: redearth

                                            My friend routinely asks for 6 french fries to be put as a topping on her burger and she never get grief... fast food giants treat their customers really well...

                                        2. re: herbs go karts

                                          Spot on. I'm married into an Italian family. And it is perfectly OK (almost encouraged) to add balsamic to olive oil. It's the go-to dressing for salads. I wonder when they came from Italy and how often they go back. It's a radically different place to twenty years ago.

                                          And "Mangia" is definitely the order of the day. Just recently I remember being stuffed to the gills when the lady of the house said. "Hey, I make a little Polenta for you".

                                          She has no idea what the word 'little' means.

                                          Nor "I'm full. No, really. Please...basta".

                                      2. Well, I personally love Terroni on Queen West. I think I've received great service every time we've been there and I love their pizzas. But maybe I'm not a foodie .,.....

                                        1. A discussion of Terroni in the Toronto Star has been moved to the Food and Media News board:


                                          1. I've probably been going to Terroni on Queen Street west for nine years and have definitely noticed a downfall in their service. The food is good but the attitude from the servers is terrible. Since its toronto of course, there's always other italian places to go to, if you don't wanna put up with it.

                                            32 Replies
                                            1. re: mmm...butter

                                              I reject the comments that bad service is a "Toronto thing." Either you're going to the wrong places or you're going in with the attitude that you're going to get poor service no matter what. A self-fulfilling prophecy perhaps? I used to work as a server and I found that not only did I have to take orders and serve food & drinks to people, I had to be their therapsit, babysitter, hand-holder and psychic. Some people go into a restaurant after having had a bad day and just LOOK for trouble. If you were that type and you had me serve you, well, you got it right back. And then some! ;-)

                                              Now, on to Terroni. The Queen street location can get very busy and, at times, the servers can be frazzled and distracted, but I've never had really bad service there. Adelaide seems to have some good nice - nice, friendly, attentive. The food I've always loved. And I'm not one to ask for ANY type of menu alteration (learned a long time ago that that's a faux pas - DON'T JUMP ON ME FOR THIS COMMENT...that's just me), so I've never been scolded at Terroni. Although, that being said, I'd love to go with my chef friend Massimo, who's from southern Italy, and ask for a special order, just to see what kind of grief I get. It'd be fun! The only service related thing that happened to me was once, at the Queen location, a very young girl was trying to give me advice on which wine would go well with my pizza. I'm a sommelier and didn't really need her help, but it was so cute seeing how keen she was. Must have just had a wine seminar an hour before or something. I just wanted to give her a hug!

                                              I really like Terroni. And, after reading many of these postings, I think it's time to go back!

                                              1. re: james

                                                I've never been a server but I also think that while there are bad experiences of servers in Ontario, there are plenty of good experiences too. I haven't been to NY enough to compare but I'm usually more happy than unhappy with server service in Toronto. And I say this as a person who is CONSTANTLY asking for change to dishes. More often than not, they accomodate me. Which is why I'm not impressed with Terroni.

                                                1. re: james

                                                  Couldn't agree more with you comments James.

                                                  I've never understood the whole substitution thing. I was taught at a very young age that asking for substitutions in a restaurant was unacceptable. I eat what is placed in front of me and I choose to eat in restaurants because I want to see what the cook or chef will put together. Otherwise, stay home and cook your pizza without olives or whatever... If an ingredient on a main does not appeal to me I move on to something else I would rather order. Quite simple actually.

                                                  On the other hand, there is something to be said with taking this too far-please hold back the whole pedantic diatribe on staying true to the roots of Southern Italian cuisine etc... Its just too much if you ask me, and as a chef I know used to say, "Its just food".


                                                  1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                    I have to say that I agree with SWS, as I have never really understood why so many folks feel the need for substitutions. Although I do think that some establishments that make hard and fast rules (with no exceptions) are asking for trouble, as noted in this thread.

                                                    And I have to say that I have never, ever had bad service at Terroni. Occasionally the service can be a little slow, but that is a minor gripe. Moreoften than not I find the service utterly charming!

                                                    I eat there at least once a month and have done for nigh on 12 years (Queen Street location).

                                                    1. re: Non Doctor

                                                      I do not consider cheese on a pasta a substitution.. especially when the person beside me can have cheese on their pasta.. but no cant put cheese on seafood...

                                                        1. re: james

                                                          If you order pasta with meat sauce they will bring over a cheese grinder and load up the dish with cheese for you at the table... BUT if you order seafood linguini they will not allow any cheese to be put on top...

                                                          1. re: OnDaGo

                                                            Maybe what I should do is go there, order seafood linguine, and then in full view of the staff, take out some cheese I smuggled in and proceed to grate it over my dish. Let's see what happens.... I dare them to take my dish away before I can eat it, and force me to pay for it....

                                                            But I won't. Despite having never been there, after reading numerous negative posts in CH and the recent Toronto Star article, this place has already lost my business and I will never step foot in the premises. My time is too valuable to knowingly walk into a situation where the service sucks, and my hard-earned money will not go towards the owner's next Porsche. If others want to donate to his car fund, that's your business, but I won't.

                                                            As I've said in another thread, the next time some foodie snob wonders why people go to chain restaurants, you have your answer.... Knock the chains all you want, but none of them would treat you the way this place does.

                                                            1. re: TexSquared

                                                              But as I said below, Terroni is still incredibly busy, and rightfully so in my mind.

                                                              It delivers everything it promises.

                                                              Honest and genuine food, beer, atmosphere, service and a seriously good wine list at a fair price.

                                                              I don't think that the service sucks. The servers are simply carrying out the will (and philosophy) of the owners. If you are not into what Terroni does then why not simply take your business elsewhere and C&D?

                                                              Why not quit whining on CH about it? Sometimes I really do not understand you folks...

                                                              As for the allergies, yes... they should give you a break there... they should.

                                                              But to be quite honest, if I had a place as successful as Terroni, I'd probably ban diet drinks from my establishment too.

                                                              Sorry. If I could get away with it, I would. And obviously they can.

                                                              I don't entirely agree with the "no substitutions" rule when it gets too orthodox, but hell, I think that Terroni is a fun place to eat... I really do.

                                                              I have stood by this place since I moved here from the UK almost 15 years ago and had my very first thin-crust pizza with my now ex-wife, and will do so to this day.

                                                              I *LOVE* Terroni.

                                                              Hence I vote with my two feet and eat/drink in there all the bloody time.

                                                              BTW... I have no connection with Terroni, bar my patronage.

                                                              1. re: Non Doctor

                                                                Well "us folks" have a few topics that spark debate and it will always be that way (why we can't get good BBQ or mexican or burgers cooked rare in most places, to name a few).

                                                                As far as Terroni goes, I don't care about their no substitution policy. If you have an allergy and something can't be removed, that's just stupid. The regular substitutions, whatever, it's their policy and it seems to be working.

                                                                I simply don't frequent Terroni because I find the pizza way overrated (soggy middles) and the pastas I've had their have been over salted.

                                                                1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                  "Why not quit whining on CH about it? Sometimes I really do not understand you folks..."

                                                                  Isn't that one of the reasons these boards exist? To discuss both the positive and negative aspects of local purveyors of edible goods? I don't think expressing one's opinion in such a forum should ever be considered whining... Of course, you're entitled to your opinion...

                                                                  1. re: redearth

                                                                    Of course... that's why we are all on here.

                                                                    I was getting slightly emotional late last night.

                                                                    My apologies, all the negativity was getting me down.

                                                                    1. re: Non Doctor

                                                                      The late night posts are the best sometimes. That's why we're all anonymous. I've already formed mental images of many of you....

                                                                      1. re: Snarf

                                                                        Non Doctor's avatar is his image. No extra imagery effort involved.

                                                                        1. re: JamieK

                                                                          Yes, for me sometimes transparancy is the best policy...

                                                                      2. re: Non Doctor

                                                                        For what it's worth, ND, I sympathized with your post. I also really enjoy the food at Terroni, and start to tire of these rants that endlessly debate a policy while rarely discussing the actual food served. I've had a couple of their pastas and found them delightful. I also am among those that never ask for menu substitutions - if something doesn't sound good to me as written, I find something else that does. I also agree with the people that say that in the case of a food allergy, the policy is ridiculous (although accounts differ as to whether or not they will bend the rules in this case - I suspect that certain waiters are just more stubborn than others and don't realize the potential gravity of the situation). I also don't like cheese on my seafood or balsamic on my bread. I have had good (if sometimes a little frazzled) service when I've been, and when I'm in the mood for it, I have no hesitation in going back.

                                                                        I was, however, unaware of the no diet soda portion of the policy, as I've only had wine when I've been there. This is good to know, since MY (not deadly, but decidedly unpleasant) dietary restriction has to do with fructose and I can't drink regular pop. So I shall henceforth only go to Terroni when I will be drinking wine or water with my meal. Since I rarely drink sodas with pasta or pizza, I'm actually okay with that.

                                                                        People have a right to be bothered by these policies, and have a right to not go there. They also have a right to not like the food, and not go there, and to tell us exactly why here. But the perennial circular rant gets a little old for those of us that come here to read about the food. And lately there's been a lot more policy ranting than food reviewing as far as Terroni goes, and that's somewhat disheartening.

                                                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                                                          I think Splendido is overrated.

                                                                          1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                            And did you know you can't get real Montreal smoked meat and/or bagels here? ;)

                                                                              1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                You forgot, we can't get a real poutine either


                                                                                1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                  And when was the last time you had a good paella?!

                                                                    2. re: Non Doctor

                                                                      Heck, I was staying out of this one as I usually just report any issues I have with food once then move on. I liked Terroni and the food they served and until this one time where I was treated like a pariah for daring to ask for an ingredient to be removed from an item, never had truly awful service there.

                                                                      What turned me off them was the way I was treated asked to PROVE I had allergies and then still being denied...I, too, vote with my feet and will never darken their doors - a shame because the food isn't bad there.

                                                                      1. re: Non Doctor

                                                                        The issue, I believe, isn't so much the no substitutions no matter what policy - it's their holier than thou, sanctimonious, and perhaps somewhat fake "true to the food" given reason for said policy

                                                                        There seem to be several of us here who are either married into Italian families, have an Italian boyfriend or girlfriend, or who have just been around Italians a whole lot....... and our impression is that the real Italian attitude would never be so stuck-up and the only time you'd run into trouble is if you're not eating enough.

                                                                        When it comes to eating, Italians are about giving you joy, not grief!

                                                                        So the problem is, it seems like a whole bunch of fake attitude designed to cover-up a dollar/cents business policy, e.g. no diet soft drinks equals less SKUs to keep track of, no substitutions equals more efficient kitchen, no balsamic with your olive oil equals cost savings.

                                                                        1. re: herbs go karts

                                                                          Agreed. My Sicilian uncle would roll his eyes at the "true to roots" line...

                                                                          I still love the food though and also have never had bad service there-either at the Queen or Adelaide location.

                                                                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                                            I hope Terroni hasn't been serving any cappuccini or caffe lattes after 11 a.m. That would be sacrilegious! And could cause indigestion!

                                                                            Would hate to see Terroni breaking time-honoured Italian gastronomic traditions to make a quick buck.

                                                            2. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                              I have two VERY major food allergies and have to be extremely careful in what I eat or else it's an evening in the hospital and possibility of a tracheotomy.

                                                              I usually try to be accommodating and order something without the ingredients in question, however if it just means omitting a single ingredient off a salad or pizza, I can't see why I cannot order it.

                                                              At Terroni, I was told to order something else despite my telling the waiter that I was asking for a simple omission due to a health condition and actually SHOWED them my Medic Alert Bracelet and epipen. Needless to say we walked out.

                                                              I understand "being true to the roots", but come on folks!

                                                              1. re: Mike from Hamilton

                                                                "True to the roots" my aunt fanny. From here on in I'm calling the place Tyranny and yes with an elongated 'aaaaa' to, you know, stay true to the roots.

                                                                1. re: Googs

                                                                  It's au fond a pizza joint. Should cook what the clients want. Vote with our feet.

                                                                  1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                    Well... It appears that people do... the place is always packed.

                                                                    1. re: Non Doctor

                                                                      Yogi Berra...

                                                                      "Nobody goes there no more; it's too crowded!"

                                                                2. re: Mike from Hamilton

                                                                  I should have clarified that my post does NOT include substitutions/deletions of ingredients for people with allergies. Obviously I don't think people should die and I think that attitude is a little absurd.


                                                                  1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                                    Don't think people should die...thanks for the clarification!

                                                          2. I have to agree that most of us have a love/hate relationship with Terroni. I love their dedication to Italian food (I have eaten extensively in Italy and a lot of their menu is what you'd see if you were in the country), but like many others I hate the noise, occassional bad service and the attitude you sometimes get from the waiters. I understand the frustration if you have an allergy- but go to most places in Italy and cooking is a religion- substitutions are unheard of. There's places in the south that refuse to use lemon on fish as it takes away from the flavour.

                                                            Generally speaking- you can always make better italian food at home. Unfortunately not one restaurant in Toronto has changed my opinion of this. However here are the few that have come close:

                                                            For Pizza- Pizzeria Libretto
                                                            For Traditional Italian Pastas and Charcuterie- Romagna Mia
                                                            For Other Great Italian Dishes- Marcello's

                                                            Enjoy some other good Italian options if Terroni has gotten on your last nerve.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: gourmetnista

                                                              So regular pop but no Diet Pop. I think that's actually reasonable and in line with their philosophy. Just think about the iconic Roman Frescoes depicting the vineyard workers chugging a regular Dr. Pepper after a long day harvesting grapes.

                                                              1. re: jamesm

                                                                More likely tl be chugging a Brio Chinotto...

                                                                1. re: tuttebene

                                                                  I'd like to chime in and say that never before have I boycotted a restaurant because of service issues when I loved the food, but Terroni has earned the honour of being the first. A group of 8 of us went for lunch, and while there was in fact a table big enough to accommodate us, the host was clearly reluctant to seat us and basically told us we'd have to hurry.
                                                                  That should have been our first clue.
                                                                  Our waitress came to take our orders before we had quite decided, and as my colleague was about to order, another waitress came over and started to distribute the daily specials. Being curious, she stopped ordering to look at this new menu (which our waitress had failed to provide), only to have it actually snatched out of her hands by the waitress. I took the waitress to task at that point, and my colleague got her menu back, and ended up ordering a daily special. Go figure.
                                                                  Another colleague tried to order a Diet Pepsi, was told they don't carry it, tried to switch to a diet Coke, and was scornfully told that Terroni doesn't carry that either. (No explanation was offered, however.)
                                                                  As mentioned by other posters, it's incredibly loud (this is the Balmoral location), so when the busboy brought a dish and named it, in a voice so quiet that no one could hear him, and no one responded, he just kept standing there until I told him we had no idea what he said. We clearly hadn't heard what he said, but he just rolled his eyes as he repeated it and gave the dish to the client who ordered it.
                                                                  Sadly, my dish was divine, but I vowed never to return.
                                                                  Nearly a year later, though, I decided that maybe I had been unduly harsh, and decided to stop in myself one evening on the early side of dinner. The resto was half empty and I walked in, expecting to be seated. While I only waited about five minutes (though I would argue that that is too long for a customer to be standing inside the door without being acknowledged) two waiters looked at me a couple of times, as did the bartender and some other employee. Not one acknowledged my presence.
                                                                  I left. I will not be back.

                                                                  1. re: pouletsecret

                                                                    If I had a restaurant that had line ups every night, I wouldn’t change a thing.
                                                                    But in the same breath, I’ll never go back.
                                                                    Bin there a few times, food is good but you can get this stuff at many places in the city without the attitude.
                                                                    You’re treated like crap & they don’t care….. The cash register is full every night.
                                                                    Lots of not so busy restaurants in this city that will treat you like you should be treated.
                                                                    There are too many post about this place ( I feel like a hypocrite) & the critics fall over each other to write about them.
                                                                    To an outsider reading Chowhound there are only 2 pizza joints in this city.
                                                                    Far from it.

                                                                    1. re: pouletsecret

                                                                      Sounds to me that anybody training staff for a restaurant should take their new hires on a field trip to Terroni for lunch. Then tell the hires, "See how they do things? Don't be like them or I fire you."

                                                                      Let's go through the service faux-pas we've seen in this thread, and I know I'll have forgotten some:

                                                                      1- Lying to a customer about the credit card machine not working (and if it was not, any business worth its salt would have the old-school carbon copy impression machine for backup) -- sounds to me they were trying to avoid the American Express surcharge, which is higher than Visa and MasterCard's.

                                                                      2- Refusing to remove an ingredient due to allergies, or demanding proof and when shown a Medic-Alert, still not believing it (I guess if you have allergies you have to bring a doctor's note and have a bag full of epi-pens to prove it?)

                                                                      3- Forgetting to give customers the specials menu, and then having corrected this error, un-corrected the error by rudely snatching the specials away as if to deny the customer the opportunity to order them

                                                                      4- Ignoring a customer who stood around FIVE MINUTES waiting to be seated, when the restaurant was half empty and staff was standing around clearly not busy.

                                                                      5- Serving soggy pizza, but that isn't really a service issue, but a food quality one.

                                                                      If any of this stuff happened at a chain restaurant, heads would roll. There'd be complaints to head office and/or a mystery shopper would report the incidents. Guess what, I've rarely had to complain to head office when dining at chains. Because the staff know they're going to get fired if they disrespect customers. Sounds to me at "Tyranny" you get PROMOTED and get BONUSES if you do that!!

                                                                      "Tyranny" isn't the only pizza place in town. My business goes elsewhere. Thank you PouletSecret, Zabee, and others for exposing this joke of a restaurant for what it is. It's a big joke and the fanboys in here are supporting them. That's your choice, but I've made my choice not to support them.

                                                                      Maybe SIRCorp or Prime or Darden or Landry's or OliverBonacini (note I didn't list god-awful Boston Pizza!) should open a pizza place next door to these guys, serve the same food at the same prices, but with true customer service and no attitude. Then see what happens to their profits.

                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                        "Fanboys"? Really? Disappointing to see this level of discourse on CH.

                                                                        I'll weigh in again as a satisfied customer of 8 years. Have never experienced or witnessed poor service. I don't doubt that others have had issues with the service, but to dismiss Terroni as a 'joke' and to denigrate those of us who support it is going a little too far in my opinion.

                                                                        1. re: dxs

                                                                          i've been waiting to see this thread die out, but decided to comment after TexSquared above message. given the repetitive nature of the complaints, not sure why the summary is even necessary. but i write because i too was irked by the insult of those who like terroni (and why the gendered language? lots of posts here from women).

                                                                          i was insulted by the assumption that somehow the complaints about terroni are authentic experiences, but those who enjoy it are delusional or have no taste and therefore 'fanboys' as opposed to real food loving customers.

                                                                          i've been going to terroni since it opened on queen, when it was a very small operation. but i continue going not out of nostalgia but because i really like the food, and find it a very comfortable place. i worried about the quality of food and service when they expanded the location and the menu, but neither has diminished in my view. i now prefer their pastas over the pizzas, and look forward to the specials. i avoid the very busy periods so perhaps my view if the service is coloured by that (but i do that in general - i never go to popular restaurants with no reservations practice on friday or saturday nights), but i always have had a very friendly and efficient service. they don't fawn over you (which i hate) but i've found them attentive. it's very busy, so i expect some waiting, but at the same time i never felt rushed and as a result have had many long pleasant afternoons at terroni over the years. in fact, for me it's the traditional place to meet up with friends i haven't seen in ages because we know we can hang out there, and catch up for as long as we like.

                                                                          that's my two cents. i'm not denying the claims of negative experiences - but i do think that there are more people who genuinely enjoy terroni, but have, like me, not commented in this thread given the repetitive nature of the subject.

                                                                          1. re: Kasia

                                                                            I second Kasia's post. I love the place but I am sick of defending it to all the haters.

                                                              2. Hi, folks, it seems like everyone has had their say on this thread, and now we're having to remove comments that are increasingly personal and unpleasant. We're going to lock it.