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Feb 23, 2010 07:24 AM

Colborne Lane vs Splendido

Big anniversary dinner...these are the two contenders. Any thoughts...or alternative suggestions? Only caveat is that my SO doesn't eat fish (although she does eat seafood).

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    1. Splendido. Went not too long ago and it's still tops.

      Mind you, I've not eaten at Colborne. I also hear it's a pretty loud room. But I've had consistently good service and food at Splendido. And the new(ish) space is really soothing. Except for the racks of jars at the back of the room. They need to re-think that one. JK does it all the time and it's charming, but I see this and think "really?" - might be the choice of racks/shelving though.

      5 Replies
      1. re: jlunar

        Ha, that JK ripoff really grated on me too! But that was about all I could find fault with, our anniversary dinner there was fantastic. Be sure to mention it's your anniversary when making the reservation.

        1. re: childofthestorm

          Indeed, it's a minor gripe, to be sure! :)

          1. re: childofthestorm

            Out of curiousity's sake, what difference does the mention make?

            1. re: LTL

              Well, they didn't come out and sing for us, thank god. In fact, they didn't mention it throughout the meal, the service was just polished and nicely balanced between familiar and formal. The only telling sign was that the waiter asked what my wife's name was, and cleverly had her spell it for him (she has a tricky Urdu name).

              However, we had the most isolated two-top in the house, and at the end of the meal the waiter brought out a chocolate sheet with an anniversary message on it, as well as a traditional card signed by the staff, including the chef. It was a fantastic touch.

              1. re: LTL

                I've noticed they'll comp, or if it's your birthday, add a candle, etc. They're just more aware of why you're there and if they can do something nice to make it more special, they will. They don't go crazy, but they do make it a point to wish you well, etc.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. It seems Colborne Lane has lost a star, according to Toronto Life. Whether or not Toronto Life is to be trusted, they did mention the problem seems to be consistency. Its difficult to pull off some of weird pairings at CL, you have to decide for yourself if chocolate and black olives belong together, or if saffron and beets is really a match made in heaven. Claudio is obviously a great chef and if everything on the plate is perfect, you can forgive a little weirdness. If the other elements on the plate are lacking, then the whole experience becomes annoying. I'm concerned that the inconsistencies have been a product of a chef being stretched too thin with his other project. Another recent Toronto Life article painted a picture that maybe the second in command is not fully capable. I hope that I'm wrong in what I'm saying. At these prices consistency is what you want. Maybe wait a little, until Colborne Lane sounds like a sure hit. I haven't been to the new Splendido, so I'll leave others to comment on the place.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dubchild

                I've gone to CL a few times the past month. With the exception of one time, they were all tasting menus. Never had a bad meal there. But I understand there isn't the safety factor as other restaurants like Splendido or Scaramouche would have. More chances to hickup I guess.

                If you're feeling adventurous, go for CL, if you want safe continental food, go to Splendido.

              2. The tasting menu at Colborne Lane was superior to the meal my wife and I had at the new Splendido, and is guaranteed to be memorable. Colborne Lane will customize the tasting menu to eliminate any fish course, if you ask.

                But your "SO doesn't eat fish" restriction worries me -- maybe you should just stick to the safety of individual menu choices at Splendido. Colborne Lane is "food as theatre", and theatre performers and patrons need the freedom to take some small risks.

                5 Replies
                1. re: jjmellon

                  Last year, my girlfriend made reservations at CL for my birthday dinner for two and, knowing I wanted to try the tasting menu, told them of this over the phone. She also said she had a few dietary restrictions, and they said that it would be no problem, they would take down the restrictions and give them to the chef the morning of our dinner and they would be able to accommodate us. This was a week before the dinner, so the day of, the hostess called my girlfriend to confirm the reservation, along with every dietary restriction.

                  When we arrived, we gave them our name and they sat us, and then brought us menus. We mentioned that we were getting the tasting menu and reiterated the dietary restrictions, and they took the menus away. Ten minutes later, the waiter returned with the menus and said that "the chef cannot accommodate those dietary restrictions today on such short notice."

                  We ordered à la carte and had a fine meal, but since they have a policy about the whole table partaking in the tasting menu, I don't think we'll ever try to order it again.

                  1. re: stet

                    WOW, this is incredible. What was their reaction when you mentioned that you had already arranged the special menu a week before?

                    1. re: shekamoo

                      They did the classy thing and gave us a $100 gift certificate. Apart from the gaff on behalf of the hostess, the meal was great and the service fantastic, so we will definitely be back. Just not for a tasting menu.

                    2. re: stet

                      That's very interesting. I had booked a dinner with lots of notice that included restrictions as well. I had almost the same experience, but a different ending. Everything was noted, and when we reminded the server, he came back and said no problem. Our restrictions were quite extensive and they accomodated perfectly. We had an incredibly memorable meal.

                    3. re: jjmellon

                      As a note, Splendido will usually ask about dietary restrictions when you book and make note. They don't usually have any issues accommodating most requests. So I've found. They're also happy to make substitutions and inclusions into a tasting menu - albeit, that was from old Splendido days.