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Aug 23, 2009 12:05 PM

Terroni- disappointing experience

The other night i went to Terroni with some friends. I had heard good things and i was eager to try it out. It turned out to be an unpleasant experience. Our server was rude, the food portions were relatively small (for pasta, anyways. my pizza was quite large), and the food lacked flavor and punch. The pizza i ordered came with only a few small bits of spicy italian sausage, which was definitely not worth $16. I sampled a friend's ravioli was disappointed as well. The food, in my opinion, was too simple and too overpriced. I had a better meal at La Vecchia (near Yonge & Eglinton) the a few weeks ago, where I ordered the seafood pasta (spaghetti with shrimp and scallops tossed in garlic olive oil) and some type of pesto pizza and they were quite good.

Not really sure what the hype over Terroni is about...

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    1. It's sad the Terroni is considered some of the best pizza in the city by many. Mediocore at best. I've always received nothing but rude service as well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: food face

        I have to agree... Terroni's isn't that good anymore.... and the service has never been good.. The pizza is just okay now and it's uneccesarily expensive. My sister's boyfriend got a pasta dish and it came with maybe 5 small pieces! We were all shocked and it was $17.... There are so many better place to go to. Libretto has become "the" place, but when I went last saturday at 8pm, we were going to have to wait 2hrs!!!!!

      2. I've always had service very similar to the service I've received in restaurants in Italy. Rude? Maybe. Helpful, efficient, and in my opinion authentic (whatever that may mean to you), yes.

        26 Replies
        1. re: CarNut

          I spent a day working at Terroni a while back, and I can see why they have the no-substitution policy. Terroni is like a high-end East Side Mario's, in that everything is structured and produced in a manner that favours efficiency over spontaneity and wonder. Everything is portioned and measured, like a military operation, and they always have the same products, along with quasi-specials that are only a half-dozen rotating items that rarely change.
          It's certainly a well-run operation; it's just that it's more of an commercial quality rather than a creative one.

          1. re: Marumari

            Ignorance is ignorance. Terroni like a lot of places in TO get the benefit of those who sit in wonder at regular run of the mill stuff like bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the miniscule shavings of pingue salamis, mozzarella on tomato sauce on pizza crust so thin it cracks in the middle.

            When TO eaters have an expectation, then these guys will choose to step up their game. Until then its mediocrity for all. At relatively big $$.

            1. re: bluesbreaker1969

              I can't say I agree with the comments about portion size and price. I've never had any issue with either. Yes, a pizza is $16, but that's the going price. It's good dough, high quality cheese, great homemade sauce and high-end toppings. Compare that to a $10 Pizza Pizza pie, add in the fact that you're sitting in a restaurant, and you realize you're getting a Ferrari for the price of a Chrysler. I've ordered pasta and found the portion sizes to be appropriate. Just enough to fill you up nicely. I have a gripe with places that load on tons of food on a plate. Just because the pasta itself is inexpensive doesn't mean you should be getting a plate and a half of it.

              That's just my opinion. The portion sizes, for me, are about perfect. But everyone's different.

              1. re: SMOG

                I agree, the portion of pasta I got there looked small, but it filled me up nicely.

                But the taste didn't blow my socks off.

                Still need to try their pizza to determine whether it's going into my rotation of good mid-range places.

                1. re: Pincus

                  I've tried both and would be happy with either, but the pizza always wins me over.

                  1. re: SMOG

                    It is so amusing to me that every few weeks some new person wants to bash Terroni and lower their status but instead a choir of Terroni fans beat out the critic by a long shot each time. Face it. Terroni is a quirky place with crazy rules and the occassional bad attitude...although personally I think their attitude is mostly reflective of the diner because in many years I have never experienced these angry and mean servers.

                    The food is consistently fantastic and rich in flavour. Those seeking food more fantastic should probably cook at home to their exact preference.

                      1. re: deelicious

                        Well said. I will say, though, that their "rules" are quite obnoxious. You just have to accept it. If you can't, then go elsewhere. I, too, have never had any issues with the service. I can certainly see them giving attitude back to customers though if they're given attitude in the first place.

                        1. re: SMOG

                          Ive never had any problem with Terroni either, and I dont work for shit on a stick. maybe if some of these blockhead reviews weren't about Toronto's allegedly low standards and other such tripe, people wouldn't need to feel like they have to come in swinging.

                          Jeez, all this flowery language over a damn pizza joint.

                          Let me repeat, I am not in the employ of the Terroni cult, and I think any accusations of that nature are paranoid and childish.

                        2. re: deelicious

                          I have admittedly limited experience with their food, but what I had wasn't "fantastic". Pretty good, yes. But for "fantastic", I would go to Zucca.

                          Do you have any favourite dishes I could try the next time I went?

                          1. re: Pincus

                            I have to agree with you Pincus. I've been to Terroni a few times and I would say "pretty good" is a fairly accurate rating. I like the atmosphere, never had any service issues. But foodwise its authentic, I guess, but nothing that special.

                            1. re: Pincus

                              Stay with Zucca.
                              I have the same opinion of Terroni as you.
                              It is O.K., but never can understand the raves.
                              I have never had a dish at Terroni that I wanted to return for.

                              1. re: erly

                                I used to go to Terroni all the time as I love their appetizers and pizzas while tolerating the inconsistent and slow service. I didn't have an issue with their rules as I very rarely as for substitutions. But having been to Pizzeria Libretto and experiencing their amazing service (some of the best I've had in TO) it's really hard to go back to Terroni. Even though I miss some of the food at Terroni, it's not really worth going back when I can get food just as good (sometimes better) at Libretto.

                                1. re: cutehinano

                                  I agree with your comparison to Libretto. The service there is some of the friendliest and most genuine I've encountered in this city. And they go head over heels to please you. I'm truly impressed and it's one of my favourite spots now. Having said that, that doesn't make Terroni bad. I'd be extremely happy at either. But if I had my choice, it would be Libretto without a question. For the food, but more importantly, the service and attitude. i'd say we're fortunate to have this type of choice.

                                  1. re: SMOG

                                    wow... great service?!? they wouldn't even deign to give me an approximate wait time!

                                    1. re: SMOG

                                      I've been to Libretto four or five times now and the service has ranged from good to great.

                                      1. re: jamesm

                                        Agree with Jamesm,
                                        Have always felt comfortable at Libretto.
                                        Last time we were there, there was a wait, and we were told the approx. time.
                                        Went for a walk, and were taken almost immediately when we returned.
                                        PSP, you should give it another try.
                                        I know that such an experience is off putting, but this is unusual for Libretto.

                                        1. re: erly

                                          The approx wait times they gave me have varied. Regardless, I wouldn't associate them not telling you how long the wait is with the overall service. It's just one component.

                                          1. re: SMOG

                                            perhaps, but it's my introduction to the restaurant. ignoring me and speaking under your breath while making a pretty strong attempt to not look at me is rather off putting.

                                    2. re: cutehinano

                                      I agree with the above... The service and food is better at libretto. The problem with libretto is the wait! I tried to go last saturday at 8pm and it was a two hour wait! Went to Deluxe instead and had those yummy chocolate chip cookies!!!!

                                    3. re: erly

                                      How can you compare a proper restaurant like Zucca to a place like Terroni? That's not even apples to oranges! It's like apples to potatoes! Anyways, Terroni is alright...I go, but wouldn't say its even above average. Pizza at Libretto is better hands down. As for 'authentic' or 'southern Italian' not even close. It's a dressed up pizza place that has slowly attempted to evolve into something that it never was nor what it was intended to be in my opinion. But hey, I still go!

                              2. re: Pincus

                                Don't bother, Pincus, unless you like raw pie crust.

                                I'd have a lot more respect for their no substitutions/no extra cheese/no cheese with seafood rules if they were based on something more than food portioning/food cost analyses.

                                If you're going to pretend your rules are based on some romantic notion of southern boot authenticity, at least have the decency to pretend enough to cook your food before sending it out of the kitchen.

                                1. re: suzeo

                                  Suzeo, so well said. Damn your'e good. People rave about the "high end" ingredients. What high end ingredients? There's nothing on the pizza. A few sprigs of fresh basil and some fancy sauce from a tin and we're supposed to be throw the idea of customer service out the window. Terroni's has carved out it's niche amongst people that like a bit more of a atmosphere buzz when they eat. Just because it's more expensive, doesn't mean it's better. Deelicious, I'm not a "new person" and I don't really care about my " Chowhouund Status". What I do care about is not being made to feel like I'm the one that's rude when I want pepperoni instead of sausage on a pizza. Lot's of people enjoy their pizza and that's fantastic that they have an excellent experience. I prefer Ferraro for thin crust. Truly authentic without all the hype or drama.

                                  1. re: food face

                                    I'm not going to argue with anyone about the substitution rules not making sense. But what I take exception to, and don't understand, is when people say it's expensive. I don't know why a $15 pizza or pasta is considered expensive. It's properly priced. You can go there and get away with a bill for two < $100 with apps, mains, a dessert and glasses of wine. As for high-end ingredients, a lot of what they do is made onsite. You're not eating Schneider's pepperoni nor Tre Stella mozzarella; you're eating real sausage and good quality cheese. We're not talking about lobster here, but common, the ingredients they use ARE high quality and proper.

                                    1. re: food face

                                      last week i had a special pasta there - spaghetti with meat sauce and truffle shavings. not 3 slices, mind you, but enough to have a bit of truffle with every bite. is that 'high end' enough for you? incidentally, the pasta was delicious.

                                      1. re: Kasia

                                        My significant other had that as well. I had a few bites, it was excellent.

                                        The meat was their homemade sausage and tons and tons of truffle slices.

                        3. goldendelicious, I had a near identical experience when I went for dinner recently at Terroni on Queen St. West. Overly thick pappardelle that tasted doughy and pasty. The scant add-ins of shrimp, artichoke, and mint were barely noticeable. The entire dish was pretty dry and bland.

                          The pizzas that my companions ordered were much better. But would I wait in a line snaking out the door for it? Absolutely not.

                          I don't mind brusque service and no substitution policies if the food is good enough to back it up. Sadly, I don't think it is here. Suzeo hit the nail on the head.

                          1. I had a terrible experience there a couple of weeks ago. My problem wasn't with the food though. Cheese and meat plate was great and nicely presented. Our pasta dishes were appropriately sized and perfectly cooked- al dente. However, I had what had to be the worst service I've ever received at a place that considers itself to be a fine dining restaurant. Worse still, our server was treating us noticeably worse than she was the tables next to us. Maybe my brother and I weren't dressed hip enough for the Terroni (jeans and t-shirts), but I have never felt less wanted as a customer than I did that day. After I spoke with the manager, he suggested I not leave a tip (way ahead of him on that one), and told me she was "not their best server". He also offered us a free digestif. Still not sure if I'd give it another shot.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: wilbroni

                              I would not classify Terroni as "fine dining". Don't know where you got that impression-the prices, decor, or atmosphere certainly don't imply that. Maybe they've introduced a tasting menu I'm not aware of?

                              The manager seems to have reacted appropriately to your concerns, so that's good to know.

                              What location did you go to?


                              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                Sorry, I misspoke. I meant any place that tries to be even a little bit upscale. You're right, they're certainly not fine dining. I was happy with the manager's reaction, but his job is to make sure the servers are doing their job and giving a level of service. He should have been doing that in the first place.

                                I was at the Queen St. location.