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Prop on St. Clair West

A new bar-resto has opened up right across from Ferro at St. Clair West and Arlington (W of Christie). It looks gorgeous -- the food is kind of modern Italian (no pizza though). I ate lunch there today -- ate a veal sandwich for $8. It was very good and the tomato sauce appeared to be homemade from fresh tomatoes (ie, orangey colour and sweet - not crayon red and metallic tasting). It wasn't open for dinner at first but now it is -- I'll look forward to going there soon. The place was quite busy for lunch on this strip (nearly half full). The service was friendly and prompt. My only complaint -- the lunch menu was a bit heavy and there were no lighter dishes positioned as mains (ie, lots of meat sandwiches, pastas and risottos but no lunch main salads or soups).

Anyone else tried this place?

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  1. Not yet but will probably soon. They took a while renovating the space and it looks great. Do they have a website up and running yet? Amy Pataki wrote a mini review of it last week:

    1. I went to Prop tonight and it was delicious. Service was fast and friendly and my cosmo was perfect and citrus infused. I didn't have desert - so can't comment on that. I actually had a hard time deciding what to order because the menu had so many things on offer. The different pasta combination sounded delicious but it will have to wait for next time.

      I had the white salad for starters - it was original and lightly dressed. For mains I had the beet risotto which was creamy and perfectly cooked - just the right amount of al dente. My dining partner had the white bean soup which she thought was delicious and the herb stuffed sardine app. She enjoyed that too.

      So glad that Prop has come to our neighbourhood - we will definitely be back!

      7 Replies
      1. re: cinnamon_girl

        Thanks for the report Cinnamon Girl. I live in the neighbourhood as well and am so pleased to see some really good food coming into the hood. Cafe Leopold really impressed us as well. We will try Prop on our next night out. How was the vibe at night? Were there many other people there?

        1. re: Arcadiaseeker

          The vibe was good. Packed - it was mostly new school St. Clair with yummy mummy types, young hip couples with some old school St. Clair thrown in. Bar was full of people and we were seated next to the bar - so it was a little loud, but that said it was fun because it was lively.

          I am a little surprised at SageThyme's review. I try to frequent St. restaurants quite a lot - just went Filipo's last week - thought they went downhill. I generally tend to think that the Rushton is *way* overrated and that Ferro's does not understand the meaning of subtle seasoning. (Always too much garlic.) But, I was very impressed with Prop - even though SageThyme and I were there on the same night. The owner/hostess was lovely and so genuine.

          Anyway - I guess that everyone is entitled to their own tastebuds/experiences. But, I do I have to say that I will be back and have talked it up to my circle.

          1. re: cinnamon_girl

            Around lunchtime, does it look like the type of place someone could bring a baby?

            1. re: phoenikia

              Yes - I think so. There was even a newborn there in a stroller the night I went.

              1. re: cinnamon_girl

                Thanks cinnamon girl, good to know ;-)

            2. re: cinnamon_girl

              We are headed to Prop for dinner tonight so I will report back tomorrow. Cinnamon Girl, I agree on Filipo's -- never have loved that place. We love the Rushton but not because of the food -- it's the vibe, friendly service and good cold draft beer! We have small kids and live in the hood so St. Clair is pretty much where we head for nights out. Very excited about our Prop night. Question - have you tried Acquolina yet? Keep seeing it but it's always empty - apparently they had good reviews when they were on Mt Pleasant.

              740 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C1B3, CA

              760 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C, CA

          2. re: cinnamon_girl

            We went to props on Thursday, the ambience is minimalist /modernist. Dark hardwood floors, resin type chairs that sort of dig into your shoulder blades, tables have a thin top, and many need the legs adjusted to stop rocking. Its these sorts details that need to be taken care of if they are to survived on St.Clair.

            The food:
            We had some soups, appetizers and mains. The soups were small in portion, not very flavorful or unique. But they were not bad tasting.

            The mussels were below average, the broth not very flavorful, nor abundant.

            The pasta mains were very simple, a bit dry, certainly needed some zip or infusion of flavor from the supporting ingredients (seafood). This place needs some unique food to perhaps give it an identity.

            The service was good but not stellar.

            I'm not sure we will be back, no this year anyway. I'm hoping they will hit their stride.

          3. Takeout lunch from this admittedly attractive restaurant was unimpressive. The mac 'n' cheese was oily, not gooey-cheesy, but sitting in a thick slick of oil that dripped out from the takeout container. The steak sandwich was overdressed with mustard, and the onions weren't cooked properly. Couldn't really taste the meat well, but it did have a vein of gristle through it. It took about 20 minutes to get my food, though the server had said 10. I don't think I'll be going back.

            1. I went to Prop last week with my family. It was great. the interior is sleek but still causal. The pasta and antipasto was great.

              we started with polenta, grilled sardines, and short ribs, and then moved on to pasta a more robust mains.

              all the anitpasti was great. the sardines in particular. for my main I had rabbit liver with rapini and rosemary potatoes. It was not the best. the liver was over cooked and the potatoes were a bit dry. But my partner's pasta was great. Linguine done simply with olives, anchovies, capers, and olive oil.

              I really liked how all the wine on the list was a flat $39. That way you choose something you like instead of something in the price range.


              1. Okay, so my SO and I went to Prop for dinner. I really like the atmosphere and the service was excellent. I had the carnivalle pasta which combines figs and ginger and onions -- it was good. My husband's pasta with cauliflower wasn't as good. The problem with the pasta is that it was obviously sitting under heat lights for some time -- the spaghettini for example in my dish was somewhat crunchy around the top bits from the lights. It really spoils what could be great pasta -- they need to get their timing right. My SO went again last night and had the same problem. We also started with the crostini which wasn't crostini as much as a slice of untoasted baguette with cheese on top. It wasn't spectacular. I will definitely go back but if they keep zapping the pasta dishes I might give up on the place.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                  Based on your review I would say fuhgeddabout dis place. No self-respecting Italian would eat warmed over pasta at home if he could help it, neither would he delude himself into thinking that a slice of untoasted bread is a crostini. To take money for such trickery might even be a minor sin.

                  It shouldn't hard to find decent cooked-to-order pasta and actual crostini 15 minutes by foot west of this establishment.

                  Honest food at honest prices is my rule.

                2. We live in the neighbourhood, and went down to Prop for my Dad's birthday. The decor is not bad, but nothing original either - your typical urban-hipster-type Toronto restaurant. There were 3 of us, and we originally got a spot by the bar (not very cozy), and when we asked for a different spot in the dining room got moved to the back where the A/C was blowing up our backs. When asked about the front of the restaurant (by the window), apparently it was "reserved". Anyway....the service is so-so. Bartending lady was down-to-earth and nice, but hostess/our waitress for part of the time (in her 40s, wearing a skirt waaay to short - really, I dont need to see that much) was rather snobby and condescending for no apparent reason.
                  Food - so-so. We ordered the "sparking wine" which ended up coming in pop-like coke-type bottles - classy! The white bean soup tasted like campbells with some white beans floating in it - very boring. The endive risotto was very good but I couldnt eat the grilled endives on top because I could not cut nor chew them - yes, it looks pretty, but it would help those of us who actually want to eat the endive if it was cut up in smaller pieces. Just a thought. My father ordered the cornish hen which was decent, and my mom ordered the salmon which was also decent.
                  Overall, it was an ok experience. But nothing special - would not go back again! If you dont care about the food or the service and just want to hang out in a stylish-looking place, then this place is for you.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Ziki

                    Thanks for the review -- sounds like a bit of a disaster. We have had mixed experiences on the food at Prop but the service is usually good. But as an fyi, some very nice prosecco's come with a pop cap -- a few I have had in Italy did. It doesn't mean it's not good IMHO.

                    1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                      Thanks for the heads up Arcadiaseeker. I guess it was more of an aesthetic thing for me - the prosecco was actually very good, but if you're going to charge me $12, you can atleast pour it in the glass for me, rather than giving me the bottle to do it myself :).

                      1. re: Ziki

                        My wife and I have been to Prop a few times and have enjoyed the food. The bucattini pasta with spicy tomato sauce and crispy prosciutto is great! What has disappointed a few times is the amateur service. We are not expecting The Ritz, but the servers were clueless. The last time we were there, we waited about 10 minutes for the server to take our drink order, another 10 to get them and another 10 to take our food order. We waited about 15 to get our appetizers, then our main courses were completely forgotten.We feel that we are not demanding customers but we were getting impatient.

                  2. Live in the neighborhood and had wanted to check this place out for a while now. Went last night with my husband and was quite disappointed. It was a Saturday night and very busy. We decided not to wait for a table and just eat at the bar. The bartender who was our server was great. Super friendly and fairly attentive. I had the herb crusted salmon (I think that's what it was called). The salmon was slightly overcooked but otherwise tasty. Lots of veggies that accompanied it but the green beans were very overcooked and limp. Husband had the seafood stew. He thought it was ok.
                    What was unfortunate was my husband had a dirty napkin flung onto his bread plate and left there while a server started drying some glasses. My husband removed it and folded it nicely and put it to the side for the server. She didn't even acknowledge this. Then, she decided that she had no room to dry some glasses and proceeded to line up about 10 dirty glasses in front of my husband's plate. She didn't seem to think that was at all problematic. We didn't complain. We just ate the rest of our meal quickly and left. We will never go back there again.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Babs88

                      Pleasant enough looking place with a modern feel to it. We were a party of three just out for a quick meal, and we only ordered mains, so granted I maybe did not get the full experience. I ordered the seafood linguine, and my companions both had the Buccantini. There was nothing wrong with any of the dishes, but I suppose they just weren't spectacular. My linguine had a good amount of fresh seafood in the dish, which was great, but it lacked any kind of sauce. I thought maybe it would be a tomato based sauce but the pasta had simply been tossed in olive oil and white wine, which again is fine, but not really what I go out to dinner for. My companions meals were flavoursome, but the one thing that we all agreed on is that the portions were small. So if I were to sum this place up, there is nothing wrong with it, service was fine etc, but there was nothing that made me crave a return visit.

                      770 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C, CA

                    2. We were totally surprised when we entered and it smelled like my Italian grandmother's when we went in. Taste didn't live up to the smell. I had spaghetti and meatballs - more anglo-Italian than I expected, sauce was too sweet and didn't complement the meatball, which was bland - and the wife had the fungi pasta which lacked enough garlic for something that was essentially olive oil with mushrooms on farfale. It's above average but there is better Italian available in Toronto. Portions were on the small size.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jeff316

                        The place seems to have gone downhill since it first opened - had two good experiences at the beginning and then a host of bad experiences since. Too bad.

                      2. love this neighborhood place. it is consistently good. Brunch on sunday is generous and delicious. We take friends and kids there and the vibe is relaxed and easy going. no one is getting uptight about strollers or kid noise and/or mess.

                        The dinner menu is more adventurous that the regular meatball and sauce offering you'll find at other places. I dream about the lemon and saffron rigatoni and could probably eat it every night.