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Fine Diner (Calgary)

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We tried this today. Not terribly impressed.

The biggest problem was with the service. When we arrived, they weren't sure if they had a table for us (even though the restaurant was almost empty). Then our waitress made a number of comments that I think were supposed to be 'folksy', but were just plain inappropriate.

The food is just ok. I think places like Farm or Dairy Lane are way better quality than this place. Two of our party had the breakfast burger - and still smelled of it 5 hours later.

All in all, poor experience and I am unlikely to go back. I was disappointed, as I had heard some good things.

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  1. couldn't agree more with your assessment. lunched there a while back, and our foursome found our food was... competent at best, i'm afraid i don't remember too many details, but i expected more from my food given the menu description. what i do remember was that the hostess/owner type was overly folksy and really handsy. i think all of us were rubbed on the shoulder or arm for what seemed like too long. ewwww.

    1 Reply
    1. re: marcopolo

      Good to know from both of you. I was interested in eating there based on the menu but now I won't rush to visit.

    2. Ate there a few days ago. It was "meh.' Some of the dishes had a really nice presentation (the guy next to us had cereal that came out looking spectacular), but the food was so-so. The potatoes were not browned at all and they were really tasteless. The steak and eggs was decent. But for the price of our brekkie, it was not really worth it. The servers were friendly but clearly not very experienced. OEB is so much better.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tklow

        Forgot to post a follow up: I did eat there a second time. Again, so-so. My partner had eggs bennie and the eggs were way overcooked though this time we emphasized SOFT POACH PLEASE! My egg was also poached hard. I can't forgive a restaurant that specializes in breakfast that cannot poach an egg to proper doneness. This was an issue on both visits. They just cannot time eggs. Otherwise it was okay, but not spectacular. The server was actually very good: friendly in a good way. Fine diner's food is okay, but not up to the level it should be for the price and type of menu they serve.

      2. We had brunch at Fine Diner today. My medium poached eggs were hard, so I sent those back and then was basically given raw eggs. They were so lightly poached that I couldn't even eat them. I really didn't want to order for a 3rd time so I told the server to forget it. The table next to me had the same problem with the egg 'doneness'. If you are going to make a good portion of your menu around eggs benedict, then you better know how to poach an egg!

        I am pretty sure the fruit salad had jarred oranges and grapefruit - the kind in plastic tubs - enhanced with fresh melon, cherry and kiwi. The fresh fruit tasted nice though.

        The multigrain toast was a toothsome fresh bread, but so over-buttered (and I love things slathered in butter). On the plus side the bacon was delicious, in a 'pork belly' way. The space was airy and bright. And We had no issues at all with the service. The ladies working today were nice, not overly friendly and very understanding of my complaints.

        My breakfast was compted so I guess I can't complain that much. The burgers looked wonderful. So I may go back to try a burger but it probably is not going to be my weekend go-to brunch hangout.

        6 Replies
        1. re: TSAW

          Glad to see we weren't the only ones with egg doneness issues. My husband has been there with me twice and the eggs benny had overdone eggs both time. The first time, they were really busy so he just ate them. The second time, one was perfect & one was over done. He asked for another one for the too done one & the replacement was perfect.

          I hate the use of doneness words because they are so freaking subjective. So we actually explained to the waiter what we wanted...done white & runny yolk. He said "Yep, medium". Then the eggs came out hard. It didn't help that the waiter said "And here's your eggs benny cooked by the best chef in Calgary" when he dropped them off originally.

          Also...the bacon is very tasty when it is cooked. I have had a few instances of getting very underdone bacon. Yes, I realize that it is perfectly safe b/c it's smoked but still not something I would choose to eat.

          1. re: Merry113

            re: your eggs - might be a kitchen issue but it sounds like a bad waiter - done white and runny yolk is not medium! if the yolk is runny, that's over easy. at medium, the yolk should be pretty much set, but the center should still mostly be yellow/not 'chalky'.

            and yeah, undercooked bacon is not my thing either.

            1. re: marcopolo

              Isn't over easy a fried egg term? I've never heard that term applied to poached eggs. One was perfect & one was over done so who knows. ;)

              1. re: Merry113

                It sounds like they need to buy a couple of 5 dollar timers, practice for 15 minutes and learn to poach an egg! Unless otherwise requested, it's my opinion that a "regular" poached egg should always come with cooked white and a runny yolk.

                With over done eggs, soggy potatoes, and sloppy toast it sounds to me like the breakfast cook is more of an aspiring hash-slinger than a seasoned professional!

                Too bad this breakfast joint can't nail down their simple egg/potato/bacon cookery. I was walking through Inglewood and it looks like a pretty cool spot.

              2. re: marcopolo

                I've never heard of or used the term 'over easy' for a poached egg in my life. I think over easy means it's flipped over. I believe hard means exactly that - 'hard' yolk. To me medium means no snotty undercooked whites with some runny yolk. I guess doneness standards can be misunderstood with steaks as well as eggs. Describing what you want is probably best - and the chef can call it what ever they want. Try asking for a medium poached egg at Notable, Kensington Brasserie, Wurst or OEB (all of which I've done in the last month). I guarantee you won't get a hard yolk.

                I would love a chef to weigh in here!

                1. re: marcopolo

                  yep, kind of a brain fart on my end -- i was thinking fried eggs, not poached.

            2. Tried fine Diner this week. Not like it really needs to be said again but I was not impressed at all.

              I had the all day breakfast with scrambled eggs and "house cured bacon" and honey roasted potatoes. Certainly sounded good on paper!

              I noticed when the table next to us was served, that the bacon came thick-cut and very soft and flabby. After seeing this I politely asked the manager/host type guy if they could cook our bacon a bit extra crispy. It was at this point he explained to me that they absolutely could not do this as "it would completely ruin their house made product". I wanted to tell him right then and there to use less sugar in the cure, turn the heat down a notch on the grill and simply cook it longer but I bit my tongue and walked back to my table. This admittedly left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth before I even had a chance to try anything.

              As it turns out their precious house cured bacon was a bit of a failure. Super sweet, lacking salt, no smokiness whatsoever, and plenty bites that were literally mushy (in a different way than regular non-crispy bacon). Kind of gross actually. The roasted potatoes were also complete soggy-ville. It was kind of funny that the guy declared it "the best breakfast in the world" when he sat down our plates.

              I will say the the toast was great and I also enjoyed their drip coffee, however, my girlfriend's cappuccino arrived with coffee grounds floating throughout the foam.

              I won't be back any time soon but I would suggest that if you're going to make a big deal about house cured bacon and not allow your customers to order it as they'd like.......learn how to make some decent bacon first!