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Restaurants with lineups

neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 04:13 AM

Are there restaurants you go to where they typically have line-ups and crowds?

I don't mind going to stand in line and waiting to get in. It means the food is great, that people must really like the place and more importantly there's good turnover in the kitchen.

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  1. Herb RE: neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 04:35 AM

    Explain Spring Rolls and Hot House Cafe, then.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Herb
      ekim256 RE: Herb Mar 1, 2010 07:11 AM

      Agree!! Spring Rolls is always packed, but their food is terrible

      1. re: ekim256
        mlukan RE: ekim256 Mar 1, 2010 10:18 AM

        Honestly, one of the busiest places downtown late at night is McDonald's. Always line ups. Sad:(

    2. w
      wontonfm RE: neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 05:00 AM

      I'm not a huge fan of waiting in line to eat considering that we live in a city with so many fabulous restaurants.

      I really want to try Guu but a two hour line (if you get there after 530... or whatever the time is these days) is just crazy talk to me!


      1. s
        stet RE: neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 05:29 AM

        Utopia on College always has a lineup in the evenings. I waited for about 45 minutes. Their burger was alright, but I'm still not sure if it was worth it or not.

        3 Replies
        1. re: stet
          sbug206 RE: stet Feb 28, 2010 05:35 AM

          Grazie. Good food, cheap prices.

          1. re: stet
            tochipotle RE: stet Mar 1, 2010 12:48 PM

            I have and would wait for their burritos...nothing like a Utopia fix. Turnover is fast enough if you're only 2 people.

            1. re: stet
              Bobby Wham RE: stet Mar 10, 2010 01:02 PM

              It's not worth it, It only has line ups because everything else on College sucks, better off going to Bitondo's, at least you leave satisfied

            2. Royaljelly RE: neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 05:40 AM

              There's also a handful of Chinese resto's up north that are packed w/ line ups esp around lunch and dinner hr on weekends, and it's mostly because the portions are huge and prices low. Not necessarily "good" food though at some of these places, so beware that lineups doesn't always equate to good quality food (esp in GTA).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Royaljelly
                FrankD RE: Royaljelly Mar 11, 2010 10:59 PM

                We always leave early for dim sum on weekends, which is not necessarily cheap and/or large portions, to, as my Chinese wife facetiously says "Get there before all those Chinese people do."

                And I agree - one place that always seems to have a lineup on weekends is China King Buffet, which is OK for what it is, but hardly quality food.

              2. Rabbit RE: neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 05:53 AM

                I don't necessarily agree with your logic, neighborguy (see: Herb!)...

                but a few spots that might thus suit include Terroni, Pizza Libretto, Foxley's, Local Kitchen and Wine Bar, the notorious Guu (as WON noted), Black Hoof, or Caplansky's.

                Some of these spots (PL, Foxley's, BH) will take a cell number (a very civilized gesture) so that you can hit a neighbouring spot for cocktails while you wait.

                1. t
                  toveggiegirl RE: neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 02:27 PM

                  I find that Sunday brunch in Toronto often involves queuing. I've done this at Aunties & Uncles (among other places) and I have to say it was worth it. By the time you get a seat, you are so hungry, everything tastes fabulous!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: toveggiegirl
                    piccola RE: toveggiegirl Mar 1, 2010 01:49 PM

                    Aunties and Uncles is always worth it, even when you're not starving. Although I'd rather go in the week and skip the wait.

                  2. pescatarian RE: neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 03:08 PM

                    Was at Lady Marmalade this morning for brunch. There's always a lineup there, but it moves pretty quickly. We waited about 20 min for a table, but my poached egg BLT was worth it.

                    1. duckdown RE: neighborguy Feb 28, 2010 04:48 PM

                      lining up for caplanskys or libretto is laugh out loud ridiculous.. so not worth it

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: duckdown
                        Rabbit RE: duckdown Feb 28, 2010 05:42 PM

                        I wasn't advocating the practice... I'm not a stander-in-liner for anyplace (too cranky).

                        But if you're into lining up then these places have that kind of traffic (deserved or otherwise).

                        1. re: duckdown
                          haggisdragon RE: duckdown Mar 1, 2010 07:21 AM

                          your opinion, which you must know, hordes of people disagree with.

                          1. re: duckdown
                            JennaBean RE: duckdown Mar 1, 2010 07:32 AM

                            Libretto is one of the only places I'll line up for and it isn't even really lining up b/c I can go down the street and enjoy some lovely tequila while I wait for them to call me when my table is ready. The most civilized way to wait for a table in my opinion.

                            Now Terroni's, hell would have to freeze over before I’ll wait to be told I can't have balsamic with my olive oil!

                            1. re: JennaBean
                              sbug206 RE: JennaBean Mar 1, 2010 07:48 AM

                              Yeah, what's with Terroni's stupid idiosyncrasies? No dipping sauce for the fried calamari? No slicing of the pizza? No topping subsitutions? Only olive oil for the bread?? I don't know of any italian restaurants with these stupid "rules".

                              1. re: sbug206
                                vorpal RE: sbug206 Mar 10, 2010 12:31 PM

                                Seriously??? That's ridiculous. I can understand certain rules in place with regards to things like substitutions because it would cause an imbalance in price or simply wouldn't work with respect to flavours, but no slicing of the pizza? What the hell is the rationale with regards to that?

                          2. The Chowhound Team RE: neighborguy Mar 1, 2010 04:57 AM

                            Folks, we had to remove some posts that were about whether or not standing in line is worth it. This is off topic for a regional board, which is about helping people find great chow in that area. Please keep replies focused on restaurants that fit the criteria of the original poster.

                            1. haggisdragon RE: neighborguy Mar 1, 2010 07:26 AM

                              Waiting in line can be a pain in the ass, or it can be pretty fun. I will wait in line for good food, but I usually plan to avoid it. Places in Toronto where I would be willing to queue: Black Hoof, Guu, err.. thats about it right now.

                              1. m
                                madhatt RE: neighborguy Mar 1, 2010 09:33 AM

                                Congee Wong at Finch and Leslie is probably my favourite Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant in town. Typically, the place is packed - you may have to share a table with two other families. The good thing is that once you sit down, food arrives within 2-5 minutes.

                                1. m
                                  MeMeMe RE: neighborguy Mar 2, 2010 06:32 AM

                                  There is always a line-up for Boom on St. Clair for breakfast on the weekends. The food is great and fresh and the turnover is pretty quick. Plus they give you muffins when you're in line. That lineup is worth it.

                                  There is always a lineup for Szechuan Szechuan at lunch - it's understandable for what you get for the lunch specials ($12,00 for an obscene amount of food which always means leftovers for dinner).

                                  And of course Caplansky's - it's part of the charm. I love their matzoh ball soup so the lineup is worth it.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: MeMeMe
                                    piccola RE: MeMeMe Mar 2, 2010 05:30 PM

                                    Boom on College has a lineup sometimes, and while the meal itself isn't necessarily worth the wait, the free muffins make it tolerable.

                                    1. re: MeMeMe
                                      madhatt RE: MeMeMe Mar 10, 2010 06:02 AM

                                      You'd get the same portions as Szechuan Szechuan at any random congee place for about $7.50 ... way overpriced IMHO. Then again, it is in the finance district...

                                      1. re: madhatt
                                        Bobby Wham RE: madhatt Mar 10, 2010 01:04 PM

                                        GUU, Terroni ad Aunties & Uncles are the only places I go with line ups, I will wait an hour for all 3, but rarely do, gotta go early or late, off hours etc.

                                    2. Thatcher RE: neighborguy Mar 10, 2010 04:05 PM

                                      Will not line up for Pizza Libretto ever again! What a joke! Was dragged there by frineds who *insisted* that this was the *only* place to eat.

                                      The gnocchi starter was so salty it was literally inedible. Plus, it tasted like supermarket mush - not authentic Italian...

                                      The pizzas finally came over an hour later - after the hard sell for more wine by the wait staff - and those too were a major letdown. I could have done better in my oven at home with some pre-fab pizza dough from Loblaws.

                                      This place sucks!!! How does it stay full every weekend??? Are you all sheep!!!!????

                                      1. scarberian RE: neighborguy Mar 10, 2010 04:46 PM

                                        A couple of comments before my suggestions. First as with ALL topics here it is a matter of personal preference/taste. It doesn't mean that one is better than the other, it's just one person's "go to" place could be another's "nightmare/regret". Some, on other topics, have bashed Milestones, but for me and for a few others we found Milestones quite enjoyable, hence my point of personal preference. As for the comment about Hot House Cafe, my wife and I have enjoyed going to this establishment ever since it changed from a "Pat and Mario's". I haven't been back in awhile, but my wife and I made it our "family resto" to celebrate the regular birthdays, promotions, etc (nothing to break the bank). IMHO their food is decent, good food. Their pastas were always al dente and the sauces never salty nor tasted of pre-package. We've enjoyed their Sunday brunch and though it's not a gourmand feast, it beats any brunch I could make.

                                        Now my suggestion for a resto with a line up is Fratelli's way out here in the east end (Old Kingston Rd.). You'll find a couple of topics on this board discussing this establishment. It's a family owned tiny Italian resto with a wood burning oven for home made pizzas. Good luck getting a table after 6 p.m. Luckily I live less than 10 minutes away by car so we now just take out. By the time I put down the phone, get dressed, hop into the car and drive over, our order is ready. Can't beat that so to hell with the line up ;).

                                        Magic Wok on 14th line and Kennedy. They usually have serious line ups. The food is excellent. Now thinking about it I have a craving for their deep fried garlic pepper squid.

                                        Cora's - now I'm not suggesting this place (again my personal pref), but I'm just making the observation that it ALWAYS has a line up for some reason. I enjoyed their waffles, but for a simple breakfast I wouldn't line up.

                                        Keg (?) - again I'm just making an observation. I don't line up just for steak and for okay steak at that.

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