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Oct 11, 2011 06:03 PM

Nota Bene - Any Comments

A couple of years back, Nota Bene was the hot spot to go. If memory serves, it was 2010 top new restaurant in Canada. I went many times that year and enjoyed it immensely. Sadly, I don't get to downtown Toronto as much anymore and have been sampling other new restaurants. I remember really enjoying the Boudin Noir dish and the duck salad. Has anyone been recently and has the restaurant kept up its standards? I don't seem to hear much about this one or David Lee (chef) any more.

Nota Bene
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

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  1. I was there last Friday, and visit every few months. I'm always happy with their seafood dishes. I tend to order their seasonal dishes and features, rather than their standard dishes, many of which have been on the menu since the beginning.

    Love their current side dish of spicy brussel sprouts- so much that I've been trying to replicate it at home.

    I haven't ordered it, but the charcuterie platter was recommended by several frequent posters in another recent thread.

    If you like sticky toffee pudding, their version is one of the best in the city.

    I actually like the food and service at NB more now than I did when it first opened. It's not a hot spot anymore, and the crowd tends to be more "mature", especially before the opera or ballet, but it's still a solid choice.

    1. I agree with Prima - it's better now than when it first opened, I think. Things have smoothed out, the dishes are all good to great, and service has been polished.

      I like their cavatelli, their papardelle, the shoshito peppers, beets, and onion ring sides.

      1. servers were snooty and almost absent during the entirety of our meal. we were not offered the desserts menu at the end. their price and portion ratio is another issue altogether. by far the most horrible dining experience in TO. this restaurant is stuffy and pretentious. Toronto Life has lost all credibility by rating this restaurant as one of "canada's best". absurd!

        7 Replies
        1. re: fatongue

          i don't know if many around here give toronto life any credibility anyway...but this restaurant is in the top 20 in canada for sure....stuffy? suit oriented for sure...pretentious? it would depend on what your expectation is/was...i've never experienced snooty service nor absent servers. odd that dessert wasn't offered but it sounds as if you wanted to get out of there as fast as you could anyway....

          1. re: fatongue

            I know for a fact that both owners, Yannick and Chef Lee follow Chowhound. Your posting hopefully will provide some catalyst for them to kick start a new round of improvements?! Both Food and service??!!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Yes, I can imagine an emergency meeting for all restaurant staff and management sitting around a huge print out of a post from fatongue on a poster board. That's how important you are!

              1. re: szw

                You'd be amazed??!!
                They did exactly just that to the posting of a no-name chowhounder years ago when David Lee was at the helm of Splendido!!

            2. re: fatongue

              What night and time were you there?
              Did you ask for dessert?

              1. re: fatongue

                we have been to note bene several times now, and it has been very consistent for us. the service has been attentive, but not intrusive. what impressed me the most was their care for my food allergies. they checked every selection i made with the kitchen and offered alternatives. on another visit, i made note of allergies on the online reservation service, and the staff already had it written on a piece of paper when we sat down. we also enjoyed the food every time we have been. the last time we went, we had the champagne pairing set dinner. while i couldn't have the lobster lasagne, i had their pasta special with truffles. the texture of the pasta is one of the finest i have ever had - thin with a bit of bite to it. i could also taste the freshness of all the ingredients. having said that, i could go there for just dessert and be extremely happy. my only "complaint" about the place is the decor, and i can see why people would say it has a corporate feel. it does feel very cold and somewhat dated - kind of an early 2000's conference centre feel to it. not a fan of the art on the walls. but we go there for the food and convenience since we live in the neighbourhood.

                1. re: ukers

                  Well said Ukers, agree with all of your comments, both food and decor. I was surprised with some of the other contributors (poor) service experience. I have only had competent and sometimes outstanding service, and have gone regularly since it opened. While an off night can occur in any restaurant or with any serving staff, my sense at Nota Bene is that they have a well-trained and highly disciplined staff, and it shows.

              2. I was last there for lunch about 6 months ago. The food was uninspired and very forgetful. My DC had the steak, which she ordered medium - came back well done (twice). I had the deconstructed fish taco salad. Three pieces of fish (perhaps totalling 2.5 oz?) deep fried in not hot enough oil - tasted greasy, on a bed of what looked like iceberg lettuce (from what I recall) with some forgettable dressing. I can no longer recall any other details. anyway, no rush to go back.