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Jun 23, 2011 06:42 AM

Americans visiting Canada [split from Ontario]

Do American visitors really think the portions are too small? And do they really equate 'value' with enormous portion sizes? I've had friends from New York, Chicago and San Francisco come to visit Toronto and raved about the dining options and food, as well as the city in general. Maybe it's a city thing.

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  1. Well, you just hit the nail on the head. It is definitely a urban vs. suburban vs. rural thing.

    1. When I travel to the states I usually find that the finer dining the restaurant the more reasonable the portion sizes. The closer I get to diner and low end of the $ spectrum is when I receive ridiculous portions of food.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ingloriouseater

        "The closer I get to diner and low end of the $ spectrum is when I receive ridiculous portions of food."

        Watch any episode of Diners, Drive-In's, and Dives on the Food Network and this is made very clear. Huge portions = visually impressive = better bang for your buck. But at least the Americans have that option. In Canada it's pay more, get less. Always. Thanks to the cartels of course.

        1. re: ingloriouseater

          I should add that those large portions go to waste with me, I really can't eat that much food...even if I tried my taste buds would get tired after the first 1/2. Even here if I order a sandwich I usually have them hold the 'fries, soup or salad' option.

          1. re: ingloriouseater

            I never let large portions go to waste. I would rather be served more than I can finish and take home the leftovers (to have for breakfast the next morning usually!), than leave a place hungry and feel ripped off. Leaving unfinished food for the busboys to toss in the trash, that's waste.

            1. re: TexSquared

              i agree its a waste and would rather order less...those big american style plates are too big (and unhealthy-too many calories, too much fat, too much sodium-basically too much).

              I am not a doggie person, I believe I am buying one meal not two.

              1. re: ingloriouseater

                Related but slightly OT: I wish more restaurants offered half portions on entrées. I can't always take a doggie bag and I hate the idea of food going to waste.

            2. re: ingloriouseater

              Yeah, my wife and I are both adventurous eaters and love trying different things, but neither of us have very big appetites. As a result, enormous portions are a curse of ours, both at home in Toronto and when traveling, because we also hate to waste food. At home it's not a big deal because we can get leftovers to go, but when traveling and staying in a fridge-free hotel room that's not really practical.

              NYC is our favourite foodie destination but the portions there are definitely bigger than in Toronto. My wife once ordered an "appetizer" salad that was, without exaggeration, served om a plate 18 inches wide, heaped high with vegetables and chicken right to the edges. There was probably enough food on that plate for a couple dozen "food pyramid" servings. She ate steadily for 45 minutes and barely dented it. Last time we hit a tapas joint and even those dishes were enormous! Isn't the whole purpose of tapas supposed to be small dishes, so you can try many things? Not for us.

              I love it when I find a place with reasonable portions where I can enjoy a full meal, clean the plate, and not feel like hurling. To me *that's* value for money but apparently I'm in the minority. Sadly, the only reliable way to get smaller portions is to eat at more expensive restaurants (or better yet, an expensive Japanese restaurant!) but for regular casual eats, portions are always a struggle. I'd be happy to be order a half portion even if I had to pay a bit more proportionately, but I guess there's no money in it because I rarely see these offered anywhere.

          2. Actually, quite the opposite, though I have vacationed only in Quebec and the Maritimes. We've always been served a very satisfying portion...and incredible bread.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pinehurst

              Montreal serves significantly smaller portions than the US... I don't know where you ate but aside from APDC I cant think of any restaurant that serves American sized portions.