HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Worst in Toronto 2010/2011

I thought since there are now over 600 posts on my original "Worst Of" post, it's time for an easier to navigate and updated list. Also, can we please avoid posting restaurants that are not deserving of honourable mention.

This thread is for HORRIBLE food and/or service. This is not intended for so-so experiences and not for restaurants you resent it because you don't agree with all the hype. I'll get the party started by naming off one of my most terrible meals in Toronto in the last year:

1. Provence Délices on Amelia Street- Other than the bread, disgusting food with really really weird service.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. PS Foodface - out of curiousity, what is "weird" service?

    3 Replies
    1. re: ekim256

      Hey Ekim. Yes, I should have elaborated more on the very strange service we recieved at Provence Delices. It was clear to all 5 of us at our table that the server had some mental "issues". When asked what was in a one of the french dishes he went on a a 5 minute off topic lecture about french history. Before this he rudely corrected the pronounciation of the dish in front of all of us (to my embarassment). My french is terrible. After a lecture about everything else but what was asked it just kept getting more and more awkward. The meal was ATTROCIOUS and very expensive too. Not a good choice for doing a blog peice on to say the least.

      1. re: food face

        Food face... I think we had the same server. He also corrected me on my pronounciation and had the most arrogrant attitude. I would never go back to Provence Delices after the atrocious service.

        1. re: TO FOODGAL

          Aaaah Ha. I'm sure we had the same server. A middle-late aged man. He is a hybrid of weird and arrogant. I don't think he means to be. He should be doing something more suited to his disability, perhaps greeting customers and Walmart? Yea, really off putting place.

    2. My poor experiences have been more food related than service related.
      Burger Bar - the burgers and saag poutine were just awful, Awful, AWFUL :( Okay onion rings though
      Wish - terrible value for sad salad & undercooked/battered calamari
      Art Square - expensive and unappetizing crepe. What a mess.
      Origin - despite great reviews, I had a horrible burger, poutine, and ice cream float combo. The burger patty had an dirty-curry flavour and the fries were burnt (cooked in nasty oil?) and the ice cream in the float was icy. On a positive note, they comped the poutine & float when we pointed out the nastiness of the fries.

      Service-wise? I won't return to Riviera Bakery because the woman was very rude to me when I was buying a pastry. In general, Toronto's service has been quite good to me this year.


      Art Square
      334 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

      3 Charles St E, Toronto, ON M4Y1R9, CA

      109 King St E, Toronto, ON M5C, CA

      Burger Bar
      319 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2M2, CA

      5 Replies
      1. re: ekim256

        I had a pretty great brunch at Wish; the eggs (poached) were cooked perfectly, and there was quite a lot of food (and a nice balance) for the $9 or whatever it cost. I've never had a dinner there though.

        1. re: tjr

          I had good brunch there too about 4 years ago (before it closed and re-opened). Completely different experience from their lunch/dinner menu

        2. re: ekim256

          As mentioned on my original post, Art Square is also one of the worst restaurants in the city by a landslide. Inattentive rude service, hugely long waits. The crepes suck to put in lightly. Off goat cheese was put in on of my crepes. A defensive and daft owner refused to take any responsiblity for it. Also, very overpriced. Sloppy pretentious garbage all round.

          1. re: food face

            The service was quite nice when I went...the crepe was just very bad. It sounds like your experience was much worse than mine!

            1. re: ekim256

              Yea, I can shrug off somewhat bad service but my bad experience was with the actual owner of Art Square. What a let down. I really wanted this spot to become a hang out as I live one block away. Oh well.

        3. My worst food of 2010, hands-down:

          Origin - their hand-rolls. Soft, soggy, and terrible. The rest of the food wasn't bad, but didn't stand out for me. Still, lovely space!

          http://www.foodpr0n.com -- food. is. love.

          1. My worst food experience this year has been at Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill. Beautiful space but my meal was awful (except for Dessert). The Onion Soup was incredibly salty. Another person @ Dinner said the same thing so I don't believe it was just me & my sensitive taste buds. My main of Liver was extremely overcooked. I kind of blame myself for being stupid enough to order Liver but I had asked my server if it was good & if they knew how to cook it. Apparently not. I couldn't even bother to have them try again because I had lost my craving/appetite by then. The Milk Chocolate Mousse was good though. I think if I was ever to go back to that O&B location again, I would just have drinks. Seems like the Bar area gets the best service.

            And this hasn't soured me completely on O&B - I quite like their Canteen and am still curious to try Luma.

            Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill
            33 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1G4, CA

            330 King St W, Toronto, ON , CA

            1. I hate to say this because it was one of my fav everyday dinning spots but the dry, flavourless, over-price chicken breast labeled coq au vin I recently had at the new La Palette is probably one of the worst things I've eaten in years. It was so bad, I didn't even want to have the conversation necessary to send it back as the new location has a very open kitchen as we were within earshot of the kitchen.

              La Palette
              492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: JennaBean

                Oh that is too bad!!! I guess I will have to stop recommending it on the romantic restaurant posts (sigh).

              2. Without question, Joy Bistro, rarely better than average in the past but OK. Since the change in ownership last year it's now actually horrible. Inattentive service, food brought to the table that had clearly been sitting in the pass, not just for a couple minutes but for 20+ minutes while the waiter socialized at the bar, not once but for both salads and mains. Salad so wilted from the heat lamps it was disgusting, Parmesan had gone oily. Mains lukewarm. In any other circumstance I would have bolted and/or raised a stink but we were with friends and their kids who were a bit fractious already (the kids) so I didn't want to upset them further.

                Joy Bistro
                884 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1J3, CA

                2 Replies
                1. re: bytepusher

                  Why did you go there? That is a known bad place to eat. When I walked out of Hooked (the new seafood store) last week, I saw two women that had just eaten at Joy walk out. (I saw them as I passed by 15 minutes earlier as they had a window seat) and both had left most of the food on their plates.

                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    It wasn't our choice. Friends picked it based on location and one menu item one of their kids were really excited about. Past visits there had ranged from quite good (granted all before 2006 and never consistently) to unexceptional but not offensive. Nothing in past experience had prepared me for how horrible it seems to have become after the ownership change.

                2. Caplanskys. World class bad. Everything I had was bad. Both locations, three times. Couple that with modest goals and shameless posturing.

                  356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                    Really? I've had nothing but great experiences there!!

                    1. re: kwass

                      I have always enjoyed a meal at Caplansky's. He's turning out a pretty good menu, it's always busy and hey, you obviously don't like the guy but between the resto, the truck and now the delivery bikes, I'd say he's moved beyond modest goals and shameless posturing. Sure the service is spotty, iffy even, but so what? It isn't 3 star Michelin dining. It's deli, with all its quirks and foibles.

                      356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                  2. Hero Burger. I had never been, and so decided to visit the newly opened branch at Bay and Wellesley. There are regularly lineups out the door at lunch time, with schools and office building nearby.

                    I don't think I've ever been so upset about eating bad food, and paying a premium to do so. I was actually angry about it for several days!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Underdog Rally

                      Had the exact same experience the one time I tried it. Horrible food. I managed to let go of my rage by the end of the day however. ;)

                    2. Having Mediocre Corned Beef at Katz's Deli by Yorkdale. Then getting harrassed by the owner because I used the wheelchair ramp for my son's stroller to exit, and re-entered the parking lot through the driveway. He didn't see me come out of the restaurant so he accused me of parking in his parking lot to shop at Goodwill up the street.

                      1. I tried to celebrate Valentine's day at Plaza Flemingo on College St. one year. Out of scale of 1 - 10 ( ten being the best), their food was 3 and the service was 1. Furthermore, after making a reservation, we stood by the cold door for 45 minutes for a table. Their Latin dancing was boring and so called interactive dancing lesson was a total waste of time.
                        A letter to the management wasn't even acknowledged. They are too good for the paying customers.
                        I REALLY wished I could get my Valentine's day back.

                        1. Bad Food:
                          Earth on Rosedale- we were a party of 4 and each one of us found our meals to be super salty ( I ordered the steak)
                          Midi Bistro- wow I have never had sucha greasy meal. I ordered some vegetarian tart
                          Lai Wah Heen- the dimsum was pretty but not very tasty and really lacked fun dipping sauces

                          Bad Service:
                          Edward Levesque's Kitchen- the serves was just plain rude.

                          Lai Wah Heen
                          108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

                          Edward Levesque's
                          1290 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1C4, CA

                          Midi Bistro
                          168 McCaul St, Toronto, ON M5T1W4, CA

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: akhorasanee

                            Sometimes, good and refined dim sum are best eaten without ' dipping sauce '! Since the latter very often masks the freshness and the delicate taste of the ingredients. Canadian photographer 'Sian Roberts' committed a cardinal sin in her Pan Asia - Hong Kong TV program by dipping the delicate prawn dumpling ' Har Gow' into soya sauce before eating! A No! No! especially in a Michelin Star restaurant famous for its use of prime ingredients!!

                            Same thing applies to great sushi in Japan as well!! Very often, the sushi chef instructs the patrons NOT to dip the morsels in wasabi and soya sauce since he had already dressed the piece with adequate amount of his own special sauce/dressing.

                            1. re: Charles Yu

                              Not to be immature, but it's ironic that a post about cultural 'faux pas' mentions "adequate amount of his own special sauce" in the last line. Made me giggle like a schoolgirl.

                            2. re: akhorasanee

                              I find the Lai Wah Heen comment interesting. When I went to Lai To Heen there was sauce every where, mayo with fried items, XO sauce on the table, worchestershire with the bean curd sheets. I will agree that the food was average, there were some outstanding dishes, but in general just a so so experience.

                              1. re: akhorasanee

                                I ate there(Edward Levesque's) today for lunch and the servers where great, as was the food

                              2. My vote goes to Craft Burger on King West. I was a twice/month regular there, but because of the atrocious service and horrible attitude - and serving burnt fries that they insist are not, I've not been back since - and won't be.

                                Big Smoke Burger
                                573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

                                1. The Canadian Pie company on Queen street East. Who eats that stuff?! TER-RI-BLE!!!!!!!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: ghostdogg

                                    Anything in particular that was "ter-ri-ble" ? I've been 3 times: once for takeout and twice to dine in.
                                    Brunch, coffee, pies, service: everything in my experience was "good" to "great".

                                    1. re: b.craftie

                                      I've only been to the Canadian Pie Company once, and enjoyed it. Tried 2 of their pies and a quiche, and I thought they were pretty damn good.

                                      The Canadian Pie Company
                                      798 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4, CA

                                      1. re: b.craftie

                                        The fruit pies are inedible. Don't know about the rest.

                                      2. re: ghostdogg

                                        The coconut cream pie and the quiche were both rather tasty. The meat pie on the other hand was so over salted we could not eat it.

                                        1. re: JennaBean

                                          Luma (last night) was my most disappointing experience in a Toronto restaurant in ages. Great space but wait staff took 50 minutes to get us bread. Probably explains why it was at least a third empty all night. The place ha the feel of an overpriced hotel restaurant (could easily be geared towards high-end tourists). Wine mark-ups are insane. Nothing interesteing about any of the food at all. The octopus had no texture or flavour at all. The rest of my table's apps were bland as well. The beef tenderloin was an embarrassment to be serving for 36 dollars. It was the size of a mini hamburger that you would see on an appertizer table. The gnocci was overcooked to the point of having no texture at all (though the mushrooms were tasty).

                                          The servers (who seem to have been selected for their appearance) seemed to all be in training. The "water girl" couldn't stop trying to fill up our water each time we took a sip, literally, which led to one of the more comical moments that I've seen at a restaurant. My scotch was served in the same glass that they serve water in (and was the smallest pour I've ever seen in any establishment for scotch), leading to my waitress mistaking my scotch glass for my water glass (understandable, given that even when they brought it, it looked like there was nothing in the glass) and filling it up. Perfect capper to a terrible night of food.

                                          330 King St W, Toronto, ON , CA

                                      3. This was about 2 weeks ago and I had the worst battered calamari at the Keg Mansion. It was the Friday of the Royal Wedding. The service was busy as expected but we had a great waiter from UK. When the app came my friends had already started helping themselves to the dish. I was still appalled by what I saw. The volume was not even enough to cover the plate and add to that the miniscule size of each piece. All the pieces consisted of just the rings and tentacles were quarter sized or smaller and they were dry, rubbery and barely had any batter. It was so hard to get on the fork that I gave up and used my fingers. Those pieces looked like the cheap squid pieces you buy in bulk bags in chinatown. There were battered pieces of red peppers and jalapeno that had more flavor than the calamari. On top of everything, my friends didn't want to make a big stink about it since it was so busy. We still tipped the waiter well since he was great and the steak was done properly.

                                        Keg Mansion
                                        515 Jarvis St, Toronto, ON M4Y2H7, CA

                                        1. Recent blah food experience: Veda on Yonge Street south of Aylmer ... very remotely resembles "Indian" food. Service was okay - they were almost empty when I visited. But serving up a Greek-style pita thing and calling it "Naan"? Bad idea. The curry dishes tasted as if the spices had simply been thrown in at the last minute instead of being allowed to cook and merge with the other ingredients. Won't be going back - healthy Indian does not mean tasteless.

                                          Bad service: Sushi D. on College. Went with another foodie ... they kept trying to tell us to order less food (yeah, we both have giant appetites) with the not-so-subtle warning that they would charge for uneaten food - *what* uneaten food? When I go to an AYCE, I don't want to be restricted by what *they* think I should eat!

                                          Sushi D
                                          671 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B9, CA

                                          1. BQM on Ossington. Chosen by the birthday boy, not I. Awful, terrible gloppy sauce on the wings (asked for it on the side), bloody wings with an indifferent and stale coating. I flagged down our server, asked her to have another order of wings made up and asked that they be cooked through. She came back and told the table that the owner/chef felt the wings were cooked and we didn't know what we were talking about. I wasn't the only one to suffer from bloody, undercooked and badly prepared chicken that night. Or the only one to suffer from the absent service. Nope, they managed to completely screw the pooch during our 90 minute visit, and we watched several other tables suffer the same fate.

                                            Between the sub-par service, the attitude, the horrifying plates in front of us and the price, we ain't goin' back. Ever.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ibraineater

                                              I'd seen some generally good reviews for the other locations but wow, this sounds downright scary.

                                            2. Ravi Soup on Queen...
                                              I actually really like the food, but the service and take out are absolutely atrocious.
                                              waited 30 min for a take out soup. Really? others around me were in the same boat and we were all furious.
                                              As for the take out...the serving you get in maybe 3/4 cup of soup for about $9. the slaw described with lots of ingredients was a half cup of spinch with 2 tiny pineapple morsels.
                                              If you dine in you get a proper meal of soup..about 2 cups, but pay the same amount for takeout and get about 1/4 the soup is a total ripoff

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: burlgurl

                                                New Year...time to start a new thread?