Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Aug 27, 2010 06:56 AM

The Rectory Café on the Island - Any feedback?

The Rectory Café on the Island seems like it would be a wonderful romantic destination for Saturday night. Take the ferry across, walk the island, eat a nice meal outside if the weather cooperates, .... The menu looks good but there aren't any postings on Chowhound. Has anyone eaten there?

The Rectory Cafe
102 Lakeshore Ave, Ward's Island, Toronto, ON M5J 1X9, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If it's anything like it was 2 years ago, don't bother. In fact just remove the first 3 words of your post and you'll have a wonderful, romantic time. Just bring your own lunch. Seriously!!

    1. Only been there for drinks and the service was always slooooooow so keep that in mind if you're going to order food.

      1. Uggh...figured there would be some needlessly negative posts on here. Just go, try to get a seat outdoors on the patio and enjoy a nice lunch with a great view. I'd advise going there in the afternoon though - it'll be much nicer outdoors than at night, when it tends to be a bit dark. I've always had good lunches there, although I've never been for dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dibpal

          You may see it as negative dibpal however why give someone false expectations? It may come across as negative to you but it's a truthful and honest opinion which was exactly what the poster was looking for. If you don't agree so be it , but don't slam others.

        2. Granted my experience is over a year old, but I won't be going back for a repeat any time soon and the menu still looks the same on their website. I'm not trying to join the "needlessly negative" club, I'm just sharing my personal experience, and I can say that $14 for dry turkey on dry bread with a musty bagged salad is not something I can recommend to others.

          Unless things have improved recently, I would second millygirl's recommendation to eat elsewhere and just have drinks at the Rectory: the setting is very nice, the beers are cold, and service was attentive. If things have improved, I would love to hear details about it because the Island could really use a decent place for lunch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gary

            Sad to say things haven't improved, at least not as of a couple of weekends ago. We've been going to the Rectory pretty much since it opened, and we always liked the food (mostly) and loved the venue.

            But something seems to have changed over the last year, or maybe two. Sandwiches, salads, and entrees that had been interesting and fairly carefully prepared were replaced with more expensive and less creative dishes, and even the beer selection was dumbed down (it wasn't all that smart to begin with). So we stopped going as frequently as we once had, because the experience was no longer very enjoyable.

            However, we went back recently, only to find that the food quality, variety, and preparation had declined even further. I had a club sandwich that featured pale, hard tomatoes (in August, in Ontario), undercooked bacon, and the wilting bagged salad that Gary mentioned above; my DH had the smoked salmon on a bagel, accompanied by no less than a third of a cup (maybe more) of "caper relish," which was briny, bitter, and overwhelming (and spread over most of the smoked salmon, thus destroying its flavour) and had to be scraped off and disposed of on the side plate. (Even the server admitted that "the kitchen overdid it a little.") More of the wilting bagged salad accompanied the (plain white, unevenly sliced, not too fresh) bagel.

            The servers, who used to be recognizable as actual individuals, were corporately attired in Rectory-branded polo shirts. And while the service was reasonably courteous and reasonably efficient, the quirky, welcoming friendliness that was characteristic of the Rectory several years ago seems to be gone.

            I don't know who owns the Rectory or how it got a virtual monopoly (except for the burger place on Centre) on sit-down food service on the Islands, but it's a shame that its beautiful setting is spoiled by the loss of its individuality. Back in the day the food was prepared and presented as if customers were guests, and the whole experience was like eating in the garden of someone's cottage (complete with the visiting white cat from next door)--idyllic, even.

            I miss the original version of the Rectory. A lot.

          2. amazing location but the menu looks dreadfully boring and overpriced.

            the Island Cafe, immediately off of the Ward Island ferry dock, looks quite nice. we had their vegetarian burrito and it was pretty good. they were bbqing burgers as well (i doubt they were home-made, but they smelled good). had a latte there last year and it was surprisingly decent to good. everything else being served up looked pretty good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: atomeyes

              I had lunch at the Rectory last summer and I left with an overall positive impression.

              Given that the place was busy, a wait with a drink in hand made things tolerable to start. The food quality was reasonable as was the pricing, considering the location. Service was pleasant, even fun. Those girls sure were busy but attentive.

              I'll be going there for dinner this fall now that I see this post.

              1. re: neighborguy

                We made the mistake of stopping at the Rectory Cafe a couple of years ago with our bikes. We didn't have bike locks, but since it was a late fall afternoon and the place was almost deserted, we asked if we could leave our bikes to the side on the patio. No dice - we had to leave them out front where we couldn't see them from the patio. The snotty waiter we dealt with did offer to rent us bike locks at five dollars a pop, but our previous experience of the food didn't warrant suffering this ripoff. The Rectory - nice setting and mediocre food, but really who needs the attitude?