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Less of this in 2014 thread

Octopus
Beets
Truffle Oil (although a noticeable decline in 2013)

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    1. re: justxpete

      Wow, are there a lot of places still doing flourless chocolate cake?

        1. re: justxpete

          That's criminal. Thought that trend died in 2010.

      1. re: justxpete

        Cannot agree with the flourless chocolate cake for personal reasons :) My wife has gluten allergy and this is one of the few desserts that she can eat. Creme brulee gets pretty boring after a while. lol

        1. re: cynalan

          And some of us don't want flour, and do want dark chocolate as often as possible.

          In metro NY, still on a lot of menus. One place we go to has a crumby one made from almond flour, so not pudding like molten.

        2. re: justxpete

          Five Doors North has flourless chocolate cake, in case anyone wants to torture oneself/still likes flourless chocolate cake.

            1. re: justxpete

              Guess I'm not on the same restaurant circuit as you. That was the first one I've seen on a menu in a long time.

              I'm tired of hearing about creme brulee, pots de creme, budino, panna cotta, tiramisu, trio of housemade ice creams, sticky toffee pudding, churros, etc. but it helps me watch my waistline if restaurants serve desserts I find boring. So keep it up, restaurants of TO!

          1. re: ylsf

            Good one. Tapas has become almost as big a racket as afternoon tea, macarons and sushi. All four prove that there is a sucker born every minute.

            1. re: evansl

              Yeah, and BBQ tapas (the only example of which is Electric Mud, which is tasty enough)... that is criminal

            1. re: hal2010

              people bitching about restaurants being too loud

              1. re: disgusti

                People bitching about people bitching about restaurants being too loud.

                  1. re: redips

                    Are you kidding? CH couldn't exist were it not for bitching :)

                  2. re: justxpete

                    ...and loud restaurants bitching about people too.

                    - khao san road

                    1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                      Let's add primadonna chefs to the list in that case, too, and restaurateurs on social media that complain about social media.

                      1. re: justxpete

                        Prima donna or pre-Madonna? Lol.
                        Besides Roger Mooking, are there any other TO chefs with top 10 hits on their CV?

                          1. re: prima

                            Well, prima, there's the Steven Page/Steve Page confusion.

                          2. re: justxpete

                            i was being self deprecating. we are probabaly one of the 110dB restos hal may be mentioning :P

                            i actually think the prima donna chef culture has lessened over then past decade. most are just passionate about their craft as opposed to arrogant pricks; save grant soto.

                            - khao san road

                            1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                              Lessened? You seriously haven't been paying attention. Lol.

                              1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                                You take reservations. All is forgiven.

                                1. re: hal2010

                                  Something new at KSR? That is good news.

                    2. New burger joints. I think we have enough already thanks...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: petek

                        That's correct! Way to many burger places and people going crazy over them. I guess they don't know how to cook at home at all.

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          I cook a lot, but I don't cook burgers at home. Same goes with dim sum, falafel, fries, souvlaki, pizza, tacos, dumplings. There are a lot of foods I know how to make, that I don't make at home.

                      2. hamburgers, simple food that I would not even bother to make at home at not so simple prices, people here who only eat at the cool spots and dismiss anything that isn't downtown and the in place to be

                        11 Replies
                              1. re: scarberian

                                would you rather see spinach on menus more often instead?

                                    1. re: frogsteak

                                      Yes I love spinach, it melds nicely into anything you make with it. Kale is so in your face.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Kale's nearly impossible to overcook, can be frozen, and it's cheap. No wonder it's ubiquitous. They're not looking after YOUR health.

                                        1. re: Googs

                                          and also delicious

                                          i don't think that it is over represented on any specific menu that i've seen - it's simply more common

                                  1. re: frogsteak

                                    SPINACH FTW! Why? Because "...I'm strong to the finish cuz I eat my spinach..."

                                    'Nuf said.

                                    1. re: scarberian

                                      At risk of it making next year's "Less List", definitely more spinach. My home is never without.

                          1. Flummery caudle. So freakin sick of this. No mas!

                            1 Reply
                            1. Less deserts that are made by someone who can't bake, ex: Eton Mess, fools, parfaits, or whatever deconstructed, overly plated, sweet compositions that pretend to be desert. Learn some technique please. These deserts looks like something I make after smoking a j.

                              Less limited wines by the glass, 4 whites and 4 reds is not enough.

                              Every single coffee I was served in Paris came with a chocolate or some small bite. At least have something on offer like biscotti. So less naked coffees.

                              Less plates that have more than 4 ingredients without some real reason. Wanting to show off various techniques for its own sake is not what I consider a real reason.

                              Less obscure wine varieties by the glass for the sake of being different. Have wine that works with the food instead.

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: Googs

                                  It's been many years since I've been to Scaramouche. I have a splurge dinner coming my way and this article has certainly peaked my interest. Thanks for posting.

                              1. $10 doughnuts. Ok, ok, I exaggerate. But not much.

                                  1. Fewer ridiculous claims about authenticity

                                    Fewer complaints about lack of authenticity, especially when the place in question does not claim it to begin with

                                    1. Goat Cheese - It's on the decline but needs to decline more. I don't care for the flavour and find it dominates the rest of the plate and sometimes rest of the meal for me. Ugh.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: abigllama

                                        So don't order it. Goat cheese is still great in my books probably because I don't have it often. Spread it on a baguette slice with homemade pesto and diced tomatoes. Delish!

                                        1. re: scarberian

                                          Blech, it turns up in things I want to order. Not as bad as a few years ago but still destroying otherwise fabulous risottos on occasion.

                                          1. re: abigllama

                                            Okay now I see your point. Yes it can ruin several dishes if haphazardly added to something that didn't need it. On other dishes it works great like a salad of mixed greens with walnuts and craisins and a light vinaigrette or as I mentioned on a nice slice of baguette or even a bagel.

                                            1. re: scarberian

                                              I agree that goat cheese is good and also agree that many places were using it as a salad dressing, a dessert topping and a floor wax for a while.

                                              1. re: Pincus

                                                Hey, you just can't get that particular shine on your floors from regular floor wax... and oh that goat cheese scent.

                                                1. re: scarberian

                                                  I love the smell of goat cheese in the morning.

                                        2. re: abigllama

                                          I'm allergic to cow's milk, so can't agree with you. But I'm in Montréal anyway!

                                        3. Small amounts of food served on oversized plates.

                                          Octopus? Really? But they're so tasty when grilled!

                                          Pork Belly? Why is this on the list?! Mmmm... porky goodness.

                                          1. Less posts bashing chain food, more posts mentioning the decent/good/delicious foods to order at chain restaurants.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: prima

                                              I'd actually like more of the former. Ha.

                                            2. Obnoxious marketing to try and hide mediocre/substandard food and/or service.

                                              1. Bacon
                                                Cupcakes
                                                Restaurants that don't take reservations
                                                Restaurants that don't post menus

                                                17 Replies
                                                1. re: th3hungrycat

                                                  +1 for restaurants that don't post menus. I hate that!!

                                                  1. re: kwass

                                                    +2 on restaurants not posting menus, hours, or even having a website!

                                                      1. re: Pincus

                                                        Or restaurants whose menu is only available as an enormous PDF download.

                                                        1. re: th3hungrycat

                                                          Co-sign. I really thought both bacon and cupcakes would have played themselves out by now, and I just don't see the business sense in not posting menus. I understand why some restaurants don't take reservations, but I think they could compromise and accept a few each seating, leaving the rest for walk-ins.

                                                          1. re: th3hungrycat

                                                            Folks, if we want to support true indie restaurants then we also need to support their no-reservations policies - the reason they have to do that is because they need the most income from each table. No-shows and empty tables for more than 15 minutes equals bankruptcy in most small business plans.

                                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                                              So only offer a portion of tables for reservation, or certain times, or whatever. Only offering spots for people with nothing better to do with their time than wait for a hour or more in line for a seat is also a sure fire recipe for bankruptcy as soon as they move on to the next flavor of the month.

                                                              1. re: bobbob911

                                                                Unless you have a great product... Guu, Grand Electric...

                                                                No one is forcing you to go to these places with a no reservation policy. I personally hate making reservations (because the people I go out with always tend to be late) So I prefer no reservations. But I also tend not to go on busy days or to a place that is know for lineups.

                                                                1. re: pourboi

                                                                  I agree that if you don't like a restaurant's no reservation policy, you don't have to go to that restaurant. But why can't restaurants take reservations and charge a fee, possibly a substantial one, for not showing up?

                                                                  1. re: kwass

                                                                    no signature, no pin. no recourse for dispute.

                                                                    - khao san road

                                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                                      also, no one is happy with this: unhappy charged no show, unhappy patrons waiting for open table, unhappy resto didnt get to delivery services but only apply a penalty for the no show. lose-lose-lose.

                                                                      - khao san road

                                                                      1. re: kwass

                                                                        Been discussed before, essentially impossible with Canadian contract law and our credit card merchant banking system.

                                                                        The only practical way around that is to sell non-refundable tickets (which is one reason some pop-ups use ticketing) but in terms of a "regular" restaurant the dining public isn't going to go there (and yes I'm aware of the experiment with ticketing that's happening in Chicago but that's a special case).

                                                                  2. re: Food Tourist

                                                                    It's the few bad apples that spoil it.

                                                                    I prefer reservations because it means we know we're getting in and we can eat at a reasonable time. I hate lining up especially for food. If I have to then it'll be ahead of opening time so we're guaranteed to get in right away. Which of course means we're eating ridiculously early most of the time.

                                                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                      I had no idea, Food Tourist! I guess I'll be a little less grumpy about that policy.

                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                        grand electric and guu (who now take resos), never require anyone to wait in line. they take phone numbers and call. basically its like a reservation with an hour lead time. i know its not perfect but it is the best they can offer based on many limitations.

                                                                        it is also about serving more patrons so more people can happily dine in, employees can earn a living (as tip is very important to their livelihood, both front and back of house), and owners can survive. the places that dont reservations tend not to be your $100pp establishments. so each and every open seat is very important to all stakeholders involved.

                                                                        add to that with busy, small places, the reservation book would be 2 to 3 months out. this works even less for most people.

                                                                        - khao san road

                                                                  3. Food that people claim is "to die for".
                                                                    I'm not sure that exists (at least it doesn't for me), but there may be a few items that are "to kill for". Then at least I could open a nice Chianti.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: prima

                                                                        Toronto doing send ups of Americana/Southern food.

                                                                    1. Fusion. Why do people think that if you can't do one thing right, mixing a lot of things together will make the food taste better?

                                                                      Tapas. Get people to order 4-5 $8 dishes instead of 1 $20-25 entree and clean up on the suckers.

                                                                      "Hi guys!" Waiters/waitresses the age of my children addressing me like one of their cronies.

                                                                      Afternoon tea. It's one thing to pay ridiculous money for tea and mini-pastries at the Ritz, but now ever pastry shop with a tea bag offers afternoon tea in their diner atmosphere.

                                                                      No reservations and no online menu. These have been mentioned, but is worth emphasis. I don't even consider going to such places.

                                                                      14 ounce pints. Businessmen are slime who will do anything including changing the meanings of words to deceive you. The 14 ounce pint is the classic example. There are many other. Really think that that fish you ordered is really what the menu claims? You'd have to be a marine biologist to be sure.

                                                                      Food "products". As in dairy "product", etc.. Real food is quickly becoming a thing of the past. The same people who created your computer are now creating your dinner.

                                                                      3 ounce glasses of wine. Are huge wine glasses supposed to make no notice how little wine is in the glass.

                                                                      Group think. In other words, most of Chowhound.

                                                                      The real fault for all this belongs with diners who don't raise a stink and just go along. As long as there are people willing to cue up at no reservation restaurants, the trend will increase. In the end people get what they deserve, I suppose. Unfortunately, they drag everyone else down too.

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: evansl

                                                                        I agree with you regarding 14 oz beers. I recently went to Bellwoods Brewerie where they have 14 oz strong beers or 16 oz weak as shit beer. In my native Montreal, breweries like Dieu du Ciel only serve beer in 16 oz glasses and none is less than 5% ABV. Their beer is also better tasting and cheaper. My other pet peeve is with the strong emphasis on extremely hoppy beer at many bars. Often, the only other option is some shitty watery lager. As for bars that pass of 14 oz glasses as pints, it is amusing to order a bottle of beer with a pint glass. Pour the entire bottle into the glass and demonstrate to the bartender how they are ripping you off. It has gotten me a free pint before.

                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                              I believe this is the Ontario Board - Toronto is miles (US measure) from the U.S.
                                                                              Of course we should really serve by the litre - even the half-litre (500ml)would be acceptable, which is a convenient amount between the US measure (used officially in 1 country in the world) and the Imperial Pint (used in a handful of countries), whereas the liter is used in multiple countries world-wide.

                                                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                                                Ok

                                                                                Some bars are serving: 473 ml instead of 568 ml. This is pretty common in Canada and the United States. But some bars are even serving 414 ml as pints. Double disgrace.

                                                                                At least Bellwoods let's you know that you're getting effed.

                                                                                1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                  Fair enough!
                                                                                  What annoys me more is seeing 'Imported Beers' that are actually made in Canada (I guess I'll have to live with those 'apparently' foreign that are brewed in U.S. under licence from Far East and European brewers).

                                                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                                                    I agree --- and I don't mean to harp on 1 bad experience but I was surprised to see a 750 ml bottle of a Dieu du Ciel beer on sale at Bellwoods for $35/bottle. And people were buying it! The same bottle costs max $6 at Couche Tard. I was really enjoying their bottle shop for a time but drinking there ruined it for me.

                                                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                                                      Interesting anecdote: I am from Quebec. My American fiance and I picked up a six pack of Labatt's Blue at the store near the campground we were staying at in Vermont. "Imported from Canada". We were five miles from the border.

                                                                                  2. re: estufarian

                                                                                    Thanks for pointing that out, I just surf everything on the general Chow site. I will try to be more careful in the future of wandering astray. Sounded like a General Topics or Not About Food post.

                                                                          1. Folks, We've removed a number a posts talking about how others post. Let's get back to talking about food and dining, please. Thanks.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                              Here's another vote against restos that may deign to post their menus online, but, annoyingly, don't bother to include prices or, even more annoying, don't bother to update their online menu prices after the prices in the resto itself have changed (usually upwards). I'll usually arrange to avoid such carelessly-run spots.

                                                                              1. re: juno

                                                                                Bitters (and flavoured bitters) in every cocktail. Just not my thing, and such a big trend everywhere I've traveled this year. Not saying get rid, just less (or more options without).

                                                                                Coffee places with no phone number or hours listed.

                                                                                1. re: juno

                                                                                  I second this.

                                                                                  I don't expect them to include specials and update on a daily basis, but at least do it for their regular menu. This includes wine/drinks menu.

                                                                                  1. re: juno

                                                                                    Can I also add menus that have only two or three word descriptions.

                                                                                    bean | spice | grape
                                                                                    kale | snail | celery

                                                                                    Does not make me salivate or want to come to your restaurant.
                                                                                    No need to be poetic, just a bit more please.

                                                                                2. Large corporations posing as an indie.

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Googs

                                                                                    Which example(s) of this bothers you?

                                                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                                                      I can't actually name the company. We have an agreement. I'm sure there are plenty more out there, though.

                                                                                      I'm always curious about the supposed indie that opens one and then suddenly has the pockets to open 4 more in rapid succession.

                                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                                        Answer doesn't help much! Still doesn't sound like a problem we are overrun by and need less of?

                                                                                        1. re: justsayn

                                                                                          I would actually respect any large company that could deliver without undercutting authenticity for profitability

                                                                                        2. re: Googs

                                                                                          "I can't actually name the company. We have an agreement."

                                                                                          Lemme take 3 guesses: Il Fornello, Firkin Pubs, Fionn MacCool's?

                                                                                          Work for any of them?

                                                                                          1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                            I would never think of any of theses as "Indie" I was thinking more of "Dukes Refresher" that just opened.. People keep saying offshoot of some place up north but it is just Sir Corp.

                                                                                            1. re: pourboi

                                                                                              also like how Teavana is just Starbucks...

                                                                                    2. People not being willing to not put cilantro on things. "Oh, you're one of THOSE?" I like literally every other food on the planet. Do I wish I liked cilantro? sure. Do a significant enough amount of people also think it's gross? Yes. Bar Isabel….how you let me down….El Catrin….wouldn't even humour me…..

                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: canadianbeaver

                                                                                        ya that's kind of rude unless the food was already prepped with cilantro. I think it's like 1/5th of the population has a genetically determined aversion to cilantro. So it's really not a case of being picky.

                                                                                        1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                          Without getting too far off track I just want to point out that the supposed genetic basis of cilantro aversion, if you actually look at the studies, is BS, the rate of cilantro aversion among those with the genes is only 15% which is only slightly higher than those without the genes.

                                                                                          1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                            Me neither, but..

                                                                                            To me, it tastes like dish soap. I can't get past it, though I've tried. It also seems more tolerable when it's pureed.

                                                                                            I've stopped going to GE because they refuse to withhold it. They might as well use dish soap as a topping.

                                                                                            1. re: justxpete

                                                                                              When it's pureed or crushed there's a enyzeme reaction that takes place that coverts the problem chemicals (aldehydes) into other less aromatic compounds.

                                                                                              It's also a fun example of how our brains get tricked, it's not a taste thing at all, it's all about smells that your brain equates with soapy flavours and thinks since I'm smelling this I must also be tasting it, try holding your nose sometime when confronted with the vile weed and see if it still tastes soapy, for a lot of people it won't. (not that I'm suggesting that holding one's nose while dining is a workable solution, one puts up with enough bad behaviour from fellow diners without adding nose holding to the list.)

                                                                                              1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                                Hmm, it's kind of like an averse reaction for me. It gives me a strong sense of warning (or foreboding) that I shouldn't be eating it (even though I've tried!) - so it's possible that it's more than just the scent.

                                                                                                But I'll try it next time!

                                                                                                And yes, less Cilantro in 2014. PLEASE.

                                                                                                It's on fucking everything these days, everywhere.

                                                                                                1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                                  I didn't know that you could taste ANYTHING with you nose plugged.

                                                                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                      One still has tastebuds and they still work with your nose plugged but yes it's true that a huge amount of what we tend to think of as taste is actually smell.

                                                                                                      1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                                        I don't think the physicality matters. I didn't intend to suggest that plugging your nose makes your tastebuds fall out. That would really suck! But your sense of taste is diminished by maybe 98%...and that doesn't just affect cilantro.

                                                                                            2. re: canadianbeaver

                                                                                              Cilantro and I are not compatible. There are probably only five food items I have encountered and found myself repulsed by, and cilantro is one of them, and the only common one (I don't expect to be offered fermented fish ever again).

                                                                                              I don't actually expect it to be removed from a common menu item on request, but I would appreciate it's inclusion to always be listed on a menu; and for it not be arbitrarily added as a garnish to dishes that don't otherwise use it.

                                                                                              1. re: canadianbeaver

                                                                                                Well, cilantro is as important an ingredient of ceviche as lime juice. Matching the appropriate ingredient to the food at hand is certainly a good idea; I wouldn't want cilantro on my pancakes, nor maple syrup on my ceviche. So... no hay que tirar al bebé junto con el agua del baño. (With apologies to ms. Lopez, my 8th. grade Spanish teacher.)

                                                                                                1. re: canadianbeaver

                                                                                                  I will actually die if I eat cilantro. Thank you super rare anaphylaxis, that people don't believe. I would also appreciate it being a listed ingredient as I've had to use 2 epi pens in the last year because a server just read the menu, and assumed I "just didn't like it." A trip to the er is not a good end to an all to rare date night.

                                                                                                  1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                                                                    Poor you! Never heard of it before. Cilantro is becoming more widely used. And what about the coriander seed? Also allergic?

                                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                      Not the seed. Thank god. I love south east Asian and south American foods though, so it sucks. The big issue is catered events. The people serving/cooking aren't usually as informed as at a restaurant so I just don't eat. I once had a server snarkily tell me they don't use cilantro only fresh coriander leaf. I complained to their boss.

                                                                                                2. Wait staff pushing an ingredient that I do not want to deal with. "But you will love it the way we make it".

                                                                                                  1. People automatically assuming "ethnic" food should be dirt cheap when it's done with quality skill, technique and ingredients.

                                                                                                    1. Serving smaller portions at restaurants for the same price. Just raise the price and be done with it. That's why the govt thinks there is no inflation.

                                                                                                      Selling 4 flat leaf parsley stems at the same price they used to sell 20 of them.

                                                                                                      Potato chip bags with more air than chips.

                                                                                                      ...oh, and people who text and talk on the phone while eating a meal in a restaurant with other people. No one thinks you are cool or popular just because you know how to text and talk on an iphone.

                                                                                                      Happy New Year everyone :-)

                                                                                                      1. Less use of 'uber delicious' and less use of uber by people who aren't speaking German.

                                                                                                        1. Lemmie see-

                                                                                                          Lava cakes
                                                                                                          Bread pudding
                                                                                                          Fennel- I stop reading as soon as I see fennel.
                                                                                                          and chili spiking everything.

                                                                                                          1. Gluten free desserts. It's nice to have the option for those that have issues. But it more often seems to be the only option.

                                                                                                            When did everyone suddenly get gluten issues?

                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                              It's the modern day Atkins diet. People say "gluten free" because they're afraid of carbs. I feel bad for people who have true Celiac disease, because these posers are ruining the image of their serious issue.

                                                                                                              1. re: canadianbeaver

                                                                                                                Live and let live. Nothing so tragic is taking place. Anyway, aren't those with Celiac disease ecstatic with all the new food available for them because of the demand brought on by the so called posers?

                                                                                                                I do agree some places have gone gluten-free crazy considering many of the items just don't taste awesome.

                                                                                                                1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                  'Up-talking' front of house staff. I can't stand to be asked a question every time someone utters a sentence.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj4EIG...

                                                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                    Up-talking in general is a blight on society... :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                      Well, get used to it. Listen to C.B.C. radio sometimes. It's a disease.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                        So up talking is someone who likes the sound if their voice with very little content? Or is it the 'lilt' in her voice after every sentence?

                                                                                                                        Thank god I haven't encountered this recently

                                                                                                                        1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                          So I did some quick research on uptalking and according to a speech consultant, one of the reasons people "uptalk" is related to foreign accents...like Indian, Pakistani, Canadian....

                                                                                                                          1. re: T Long

                                                                                                                            As I understand it, it's the habit of saying something as if it was a question even though it's a statement? The raising of the tone of voice at the end of a sentence that implies a question is being asked even though a question isn't being asked? Hence the up talking and the Seinfeld episode? So, I was at the mall and bought a sweater?

                                                                                                                            1. re: T Long

                                                                                                                              It has to do with Valley Girls thinking, in the 70s, that is was cool... and now it has come back with the new series of "girls".

                                                                                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                Balderdash. It has to do with a distinct lack of confidence in the words chosen. It was nev-ver cool unless 'vacant' is what rocks you.

                                                                                                                    2. Less plaid in kitchens. Less hay on plates. Less pretend rustic.

                                                                                                                      1. Less fast food and retro fare pretending to be quality eats - a la Home of the Brave.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: JennaBean

                                                                                                                          I'd like less hype... But it's business. I'm okay with food if it's made well, cooked well, and with good ingredients.

                                                                                                                          1. re: szw

                                                                                                                            I eat out a lot and would just love some overall more wholesome/healthy (in a real way) options - if it comes with white tablecloths i'd be even happier! Less deep frying/frying a la homemade higher quality corn dogs would be great.

                                                                                                                          2. re: JennaBean

                                                                                                                            And yet another fast food style resto in the works. Le sigh.

                                                                                                                            http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish...

                                                                                                                            1. re: JennaBean

                                                                                                                              But it is going to serve: singular foodstuffs and cutting-edge libations! who could ask for more!

                                                                                                                          3. no more delish. either type out the whole word or use your thesaurus to find another adjective.

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: the_beezelet

                                                                                                                              Can we use "de-lizzle"? Fo' shizzle that meal was de-lizzle.

                                                                                                                              How about "de-leezy"? Fo' sheezy that meal was de-leezy.

                                                                                                                              1. re: the_beezelet

                                                                                                                                So 'lish is right out then? How about scrummy and yummo?

                                                                                                                                1. re: the_beezelet

                                                                                                                                  Oh if we're goin' there, "of deliciousness". As in, (whatever food) was a mouthful of deliciousness. Unless delicious goes somewhere else in your body, then please do have at it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: the_beezelet

                                                                                                                                    yup. all banned. never again to read that restaurant was de-sleazy but the food is de-leezy, and even though the waiter was crummy the food was scrummy. and that perfect mouthful of deliciousness... i think we've stopped talking about food and are now talking about something else.:)

                                                                                                                                  2. Fewer complaints from people who think we have enough of something just because its something they personally don't like. Move on and find something you like. Nobody is making you go!

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                      This whole list is based on personal opinion. What on this board isn't. You're point is a bit moot IMO.

                                                                                                                                      I also wish to banish truffle oil as per OP. Just the thought of it makes me feel nauseous.

                                                                                                                                    2. 116 replies and nobody has even mentioned mac'n cheese? I guess chowhounders are still crazy about it. MMMM mac n goat cheese....

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: foodyDudey

                                                                                                                                        I still like mac & cheese, pizza, fried chicken, shawarma, fish tacos, bagels, donuts and buttertarts. Whether something shows up on every menu or is discussed ad nauseum has little effect on whether I will want to order something. I don't care if the foods I like have jumped the shark, or if the lowest common denominator likes the same foods as me.

                                                                                                                                        I won't miss macarons, ramen or poutine if I don't order any in 2014, but appreciate others will continue to crave them, and seek them out. Like justsayn wrote, I'm moving on to find what I'd rather eat.

                                                                                                                                      2. Less "letting the natural flavours shine" (a.k.a. not doing much to the simple ingredients: dumbed-down California style) -- and more complex cooking techniques. Why can't we find a good soufflé, cassoulet, etc. on GTA menus? I vote for fine dining kitchens to be less "lazy" and bring back old-school technique, sauces, and recipes.

                                                                                                                                        1. Less blatant marketing to Foodies by using "Foodie" in your ad. Also, I thought Chowhounds were by definition not "foodies". So, less use of the word "foodie" on this board.

                                                                                                                                          1. 1. Hipster joints.

                                                                                                                                            2. Instagram and people taking pictures of their food.
                                                                                                                                            Seriously, enjoy the experience and live in the moment, don't take another GD picture you will never look at again.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: pakmode

                                                                                                                                              I often take pictures of my food with my phone,my during tasting menus, because after 5 glasses of wine, the detail becomes a bit foggy...

                                                                                                                                            2. As Puffin3 stated below - no more uptalking! Especially if they do it while chewing gum! If you ever meet someone who does this, have a child who does this, know of anyone who does this - please, please - lock them in a room and torture them until they stop. I can't take it anymore!

                                                                                                                                              1. Gourmet hot dogs. Putting lipstick on a pig...not literally , but kinda literally. A meh dog in a tasteless cardboard bun, slathered with 'exotic' sauce, given a cutesy name, and costing a second mortgage. You can't get a decent chili dog in this hamlet and a Coney dog is a road trip to Detroit. My goto hangover food needs a boost in these environs.

                                                                                                                                                1. Beating up on Toronto because it doesn't do X cuisine as well as place Y does.

                                                                                                                                                  So. Incredibly. Tiring.

                                                                                                                                                  If you don't like what Toronto has to offer, open your own restaurant, or move. But please, save us from the most tiring complaint on CH.

                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                    well it's a pretty legitimate criticism when, for example, dishes like poutine are so often done horribly.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                                                                                      Oh yeah? So where have you had poutine in Toronto so far?

                                                                                                                                                      Regardless, it's rare for any place to do something as well as the original locale.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                      Doubly boring when the cuisine in question is something that is totally terrior based and makes no sense outside of it's region.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                                                                                        95% of the places in Y don't do X cuisine as well as that one world-renowned restaurant that has the best X on Earth. Or as well as some restaurants in Toronto. And if you're going all the way to Y, that X must be pretty darned good (even if it isn't), so there's a confirmation bias.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Toronto has to be saturated with burger and "BBQ" places now right? I don't really have any less of this opinions, I just stop having food that I'm sick of. If it keeps still being made, well, so be it.

                                                                                                                                                      I do really like truffle oil in mac & cheese. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lister

                                                                                                                                                        there's always room for a bbq joint where they know what they're doing

                                                                                                                                                      2. 1. Chinese restaurants that treat non-Chinese as second class customers. I shouldn't have to attend a Chowmeet to get the authentic items that get raved over on this board.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Japanese food bastardized by Chinese and Koreans with 2 dozen California roll variants on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                        3. "Japanese-Thai" AYCE places that use that stupid iPad ordering system to protect their waitstaff from language barriers. See #2.

                                                                                                                                                        4. Frozen yogurt sold by weight. If there are enough sickly sweet mix-ins to put Marble Slab Creamery to shame, it's not health food anymore. Might as well put Haagen-Dazs in the soft serve machines, be just as healthy. You know who you are, Menchie's, Ci Gusta, YoYo's, Yogurty's... And quit calling it "FroYo". Ugh...

                                                                                                                                                        5. Food trucks. If you expect me to chase you all over town while reading your Twitter on my phone (illegal and dangerous while driving) and then line up out in the cold/heat/rain/snow for an hour, you've already lost my business. No dish served in a styrofoam clamshell is worth all that hassle.

                                                                                                                                                        6. Local ripoffs of successful American chains but act like they're some original concept. Yes that means you, Burger's Priest, East Side Mario, and Wild Wing.

                                                                                                                                                        7. Bourbon St. Grill, Caribbean Queen, etc. Nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                        8. Chains hijacked by the Halal forces. Here's looking at you, Popeye's and Mary Brown's.

                                                                                                                                                        9. Izakayas, tapas bars, etc. Hors d'oeuvres for entree prices, pass. Run by Chinese, double pass (see #2 and #3 again). Don't take reservations and expect me to wait outside like #5, triple pass.

                                                                                                                                                        10. The Beer Store, LCBO, dairy cartel, poultry cartel. The cockroach species will go extinct and these government-propped dinosaurs will still be around.

                                                                                                                                                        11. Groupon, Wagjag, Dealfind, and Toronto Licious. Cheapskate customers meet cheapskate restaurateurs, and both come out unhappy. No good ever came of these.

                                                                                                                                                        12. Exhorbitant wine markups. Should be a law limiting this to 200%. Right, Harbour Sixty?

                                                                                                                                                        13. Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Zehrs, Fortino, Valumart, Independent, Provigo, Maxi, President's Choice, No Name, Blue Menu, Black Label, Gaylon Westonette...

                                                                                                                                                        14. Costco. Enough shilling for this American goliath already, on a board that is usually so rabid with its Canadian/local patriotism. I get it, Costco is Walmart for yuppies.

                                                                                                                                                        15. Rotary Ribfests. With an increasing number of local restaurateurs getting into the BBQ game with decent fare and reasonable prices, why fight traffic, crowds, pushy salesmen and charities so you can line up out in the rain to pay $22 for a rack of ribs with no sides, and then pay $6 for corn on the cob? All served in a styrofoam clamshell like #5. Time to stop supporting this racket.

                                                                                                                                                        16. SLM. Let the tourists and hipsters continue to be gouged by these masters of collusion. Another racket that we should cease supporting. Plenty of cheaper options across the GTA with comparable if not superior selection, service, and quality.

                                                                                                                                                        17. "Farmer's Markets" that are anything but. Have to make the distinction, which markets feature produce that is "fresh from the farm" vs "fresh from the food terminal".

                                                                                                                                                        18. CNE Food Building. Nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                        24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                          Whether I agree with all your points or not, nice rant!! lol

                                                                                                                                                          *claps*

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                            Don't expect anybody to agree with all of it, but had to throw all those points out there, the proverbial "throw it all against the wall and see what sticks"!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                            11. Groupon, Wagjag, Dealfind, and Toronto Licious. Cheapskate customers meet cheapskate restaurateurs, and both come out unhappy. No good ever came of these.

                                                                                                                                                            ---- Then we will miss out on all of Vinnie's Posts! -----

                                                                                                                                                            12. Exhorbitant wine markups. Should be a law limiting this to 200%. Right, Harbour Sixty?

                                                                                                                                                            ------ What makes wine different? Pop markup is like 1,000%, Beer 300-600%, Rye 400-600% Wine drinkers get to bring their own bottles, take home unfinished ones... quit whinning about wine!
                                                                                                                                                            -------

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                              Agreed!! What would we do without Vinnie's posts :)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                I agree. Less Groupon/Licious in '14, more Vinnie!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                You're so wrong, you're right -- marry me!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                  I know you....what happened to your old handle?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                        The vast majority of them. I can't offer a broad opinion on some, specifically:

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't shop at Costco. Ever. Doesn't work for us on a unit cost basis.

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't go to rib fests.

                                                                                                                                                                        SLM - busters sea cove is the only worthwhile thing

                                                                                                                                                                        The CNE is like some version of Dante's Inferno. I not been since I was 12.

                                                                                                                                                                        So, I guess I can agree with the vast majority. 10 resonates the most with me. But 1-7, 11, 12 especially

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                      14. "Costco. Enough shilling for this American goliath already, on a board that is usually so rabid with its Canadian/local patriotism. I get it, Costco is Walmart for yuppies."
                                                                                                                                                                      Ya ok..but where else can you get 30 rolls of toilet paper and 5kg of Oxy Clean for $30.00?? :D

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: petek

                                                                                                                                                                        When I'm diagnosed with chronic diarrhea and acne I'll consider a membership.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                          One can never have enough toilet paper, chronic diarrhea or not.. and Oxy Clean is for laundry..not acne :)
                                                                                                                                                                          I'll have to admit, Costco is a dangerous place to shop(for me anyway)..I went to return some razors and ended up spending $160.00 on things that I'll never use up in my lifetime.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: petek

                                                                                                                                                                          Don't fall for that! Costco is nowhere near, nowhere close, to being the dirty company Walmart is. Support costco because they support you. Walmart does not. The only thing they have in common is crazy-efficient distribution and discount pricing.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                          #5. Totally agree. I've went to maybe two food trucks. Ever.

                                                                                                                                                                          #8. Can't agree. Popeyes chicken is much better than whatever disease-ridden, 100k clickens in a 4-foot-box bird they're serving at KFC or Swiss Chalet.

                                                                                                                                                                          #10. Lcbo, in terms of their stores, are a god-send compared to private stores in other provinces. Typically I feel the need to shower after shopping in them - but the lcbo's inhibitive private import policies are terrible.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't say I disliked Popeye's food. I agree their chicken is orders of magnitude better than KFC. I dislike how the halal forces hijacked the chain in this market. Apparently head office fought back and forced them to change suppliers (to one that isn't halal), but I don't know what came of that. That's what I was referring to.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                              Who cares about their h/o politics! The chicken rocks.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                                If the end product is good, who cares what the fuck it is? Halal doesnt bother me whatsoever.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                              Good points. I see a lot of this nonsense in Vancouver too.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hitNrun

                                                                                                                                                                                  1,Never had a problem at a Chinese restaurant,but one thing you have to do is to get their attention,same when you are in the supermarket meat or fish counter,get their attention right away,make your presence know or someone will cut in front of you.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2,Most Japanese AYCE,are owned by Chinese or Korean,food,and cost control need to be very tight,and a need for high customer turn over.Chinese and Koreans are very good at this(This is what I was told by a Chinese friend).

                                                                                                                                                                                  3.Again cost control.Maybe they pay their new immigrant wait staff under the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                  4.Don't care for FroYo. 5.Agree

                                                                                                                                                                                  6.There will always be this no matter where you go in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                  9,I don't get?explain this? 10,It is what it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                  12,If its that expensive,just drink water and drink wine at home:)

                                                                                                                                                                                  13,I have no loyalty to any supermarket,although I frequent
                                                                                                                                                                                  No Frills,and Fresh co,because they are the cheapest on marked prices,other then that I just buy from other stores what is on sale that week.

                                                                                                                                                                                  14,I have not problem with Costco,but I wish they had more variety,like in the U.S.

                                                                                                                                                                                  15.Agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                  16,17.I strongly agree with both these points.I stopped going to both these places,because frankly they are more expensive than grocery stores even the high end supermarkets like Loblaws and Sobeys, They are now considered in my mind Tourist and new comers to Toronto
                                                                                                                                                                                  Traps.

                                                                                                                                                                                  18,Cronut! nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. As someone who almost always orders fish entrees, I'd like to see less pairing of fish with lentils, cauliflower/sunchoke veloute, kale, etc. MIX. IT. UP.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Food-bloggers using CH to promote themselves, their websites and their crappy food events.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. How about the gourmet-ization of stand-by foods such as hamburgers, donuts, and fried chicken. To name a few. When these are executed well, it should be the standard and not the exception and a reason to jack up the price x4!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Less giving me a 6pm reservation in -15 winter weather and having to stand in line outside for 5 minutes because they do not unlock the door until exactly 6pm (I am talking about you Bar Isabel!). Let us in, I don't care if you wont serve me yet but its cold out there!

                                                                                                                                                                                        77 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                          i dont know their reason, but they do not have a waiting room and often there are staff meetings and last minute instructions that require privacy and can run right to the last minute before opening.

                                                                                                                                                                                          i know my staff savour that last five minutes of solitude before it gets hectic and i think they deserve it (and actually need it).

                                                                                                                                                                                          imagine you have a business meeting and your client shows up early and just wants to sit at your desk staring at you and your screen while you finish off last minute details for the meeting.

                                                                                                                                                                                          OTOH, -15C IS FREAKING COLD!

                                                                                                                                                                                          - khao san road

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                                                                                                                                                                                            Does you staff like the doors being opened and right away having 10 people rushing in or would it be preferable to be ready 10 minutes earlier and deal with two people coming in at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Do you as a restaurant owner when your staff is scheduled to start at 4 do you leave them locked out of the restaurant until exactly 4? Even if you are meeting with your accountant etc.?

                                                                                                                                                                                            A solution is take the first reservation at 6:15 if people with no resos (they hold 24 seats each night for walk ins) want to show up before 6 then that is fine they can wait outside. Or ensure your staff is ready by 5:45.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I also cannot judge traffic from downtown to College & Shaw so if I wanted to ensure I was there "after" 6 I might have arrived at 6:15 or 6:20 if traffic was bad. As it turned out I was there a few minutes before 6 and there was a line up of 8 people. all who needed to be seated had their coats taken etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                            As for staff meetings, there might have been one in the back but I just saw one person wiping down some of the tables.

                                                                                                                                                                                            One last thing... the sidewalk was not cleared along that whole stretch of College so we were all standing on slippery jagged ice while waiting. :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                            And one more LAST thing.. What if it was pouring rain? I would have left if they would not have let me in...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                              I could not agree with you more pourboi. If a restaurant opens @ 6, staff should be ready by 5:45, and the doors should be open by 5:50 or 5:55. It seems so wrong that customers are penalized (in a sense) for being early by not being allowed entry in the restaurant, yet chastised or condemned for being late, not to mention rushed, because they're possibly eating into the next reservation.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And when a restaurant sees their patrons shivering out in the cold...well, that's just wrong, and not the way to run a business.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                                                                                I have a different take.
                                                                                                                                                                                                While it would be a great gesture to allow people in early, I don't see why that it should be 'required' to accommodate early (or late for that matter) arrivals. Does this also apply to restaurants that don't take reservations? What's the difference?
                                                                                                                                                                                                As soon as people find out that '15 (say) minutes early' is appropriate, then people turning up then (in the rain/snow/ice) would want to be let in 20 minutes(say) earlier as they're 'only 5 minutes early'.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Let restaurateurs choose their own policies (although I do think they should be consistent) - if I don't like it I don't have to go. As long as I know, I'm (reasonably) happy to comply. It's their $ and their business. Market forces will eventually determine their fate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                But, by all means post here what happened - that's your 'right'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your points are all valid estufarian. It just seems that it wouldn't be that much of a hardship to open 5 minutes early. Restaurants could even tell their customers that they can sit @ the bar until the restaurant officially opens, but until that time, they won't be served. It's better than having to stand out in the cold. Like pourboi said, you can't always gauge traffic. Sometimes it takes less time than anticipated to arrive @ one's destination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                    But this is a restaurant where I DID make a reservation, my reservation was for 6pm and they would not let me in at 5:55. Like I said above if they want to open at 6 then make the first reservation 6:15 and if "walk-ins" want to come before six that is fine that they are not let in because they know they have not yet been guaranteed service (i.e. they have not reserved)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I made my reservation I was not told that if I showed up early I would not be let in and would have to stand in the cold. If they had told me that I would have shown up late. And if I ever do go back (which I might because the food and service were great) and they told me the reservation was for 6 I would show up late. I am sure this will mess with their seating but that is their problem as they made the rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And based on your take that they should not have to accomadate "late" patrons, you of course mean that if I showed up at 6:01pm for my 6pm reservation that they would not have to seat me right? because as soon as people find out that '15 (say) minutes late' is appropriate, then people turning up then (in the rain/snow/ice) would want to be let in 20 minutes(say) late as they're 'only 5 minutes late'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Their rules, not mine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whatever they say (and do) is their right.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      And it's your right to complain and post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And, for what it's worth, I turned up on my first and second visits just before 6:00 and both times had to wait until 6:00pm. But clearly there was a staff meeting going on the first visit. So at least they're consistent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                        But would it have affected your enjoyment of your evening more if it was -15 outside or say pouring rain?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        When I look back the first impression of my eveing is standing outside freezing.. second if the great food. So if someone asks me if I would recomend the restaurant I will add a "BUT" ... yes go there food is great BUT if the weather is bad and your booked for 6pm... show up late

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I understand that they don't let people in exactly prior to 6pm - and that's certainly their prerogative, as they're still prepping for service - but perhaps in the winter months (and particularly during cold snaps - or "Polar vortexes" - ha!) it'd be nice of them to warn patrons that they don't open the doors before exactly 6pm - instead of expecting people to know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Do places like Black Hoof open the door early or do people queue outside in any weather?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've only been to block hoof once. So, no idea. But generally I think most have their doors open, not locked, so not much of an issue. They're also not as popular, and don't have as many people waiting at the door, so that would factor in as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                We've always gone at opening time and never been allowed in early, including one time we were seated in the front window and given blankets to wrap up in because it was so cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or you could make a reservation for 6:05 if they open at 6. Or just show up on time. Or sit in your car or someplace warm until the appointed hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This would involve them telling us before hand that we would not be let in.. which they did not.. and the resevation times at the restaurant were predefined: 6pm, 6:30, etc.. you cannot make a reso for 6:07.. but if I would have known the doors would be locked I would not have made a point to be on time and would have just shown up late.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also if I had a car I would have sat in it but that would still involve parking getting out of the car finding the restaurant locked walking back to the car waiting then getting out and walking back to the restaurant so an extra 2 trips in the snow.. but since I am a carless downtowner sitting in a cab with the meter running on college st in rush hour in the winter is not an option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's why I added, "...or someplace warm." if a car was unavailable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Have you been to College & Shaw? not a lot there that you can just pop in for 5 minutes to keep warm... Actually I was surprised how many vacant store fronts there are in the area now. And like I said no one even took care to clean the ice off the sidewalks along the whole block.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not familiar w/ the area, but if I went out in -15 weather, I'd make sure I was dressed for it. After all, it's our own responsibility to dress properly and be prepared.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: KhaoSanRoad

                                                                                                                                                                                                    holy hell make your staff come in 5 minutes earlier then. there's nothing that i dislike more than these new restauranteurs who seem to forget that if not for their customers dropping hundreds of dollars theyd be busing tables some place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just a reminder that when the pendulum swung back from fine dining to casual dining a few years ago, everyone was all cheers for lowered prices and fun atmospheres. (e.g. Avalon --> Cava) It was considered a new revolution in Toronto dining. Now we're decrying the new-casual lack of fine dining service? If you want to drop hundreds, go to Scaramouche, Opus, etc. where they WILL make their staff be at your beck and call. (Though I didn't have that beck and call experience my last visit to Splendido, Scaramouche nor the like so maybe it's just wishful thinking.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                        extending basic courtesy to patrons, and even going a little bit beyond, is called a good business strategy. I've experienced some abrasive service and have not returned to the restaurants in question. It is quite easy for 2 couples to drop a couple of hundred dollars even at a mid-priced restaurant. Khao San Road's food is great but their service isn't. I've told that to some potential patrons who chose to go elsewhere. If the owner is satisfied with providing a frustrating experience then that's his prerogative. But if I was a restauranter, I wouldn't go on message boards to tell unhappy patrons that their perception is invalid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've never had bad service at Khao San Road. IIRC whichever server gets to the pass next takes (and delivers) the dish, so you're served by a 'team' which works for me. I hate the line-ups so try and go at 'less-peak' hours, but that's a 'no reservations' issue. If I could reserve I'd go more often. But as long as the place is full, why should the owner change from doing something that's clearly successful.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          And also I've never had bad service at Bar Isabel (who also doesn't open the doors early for me). Neither do airlines allow me early boarding, or subways run on my schedule either - occasionally I have to wait another 5 minutes (which occasionally makes me late for restaurant reservations).
                                                                                                                                                                                                          But, I do appreciate the courtesy when somebody makes an effort (e.g. a streetcar driver sees me coming and waits) but, for me, it is a courtesy, NOT a requirement.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          As Yogi famously said
                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded".

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't equate more casual dining with a decrease in the quality of service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lately, some relatively casual, midrange restaurants (such as Little Anthony's) have been providing me with friendlier, more courteous service than I've experienced at Scaramouche/Canoe/Mistura, etc. A greasy spoon with a friendly owner (Motorama, for example), ends up being a better service experience for me, than a place which takes no reservations, requires the entire party to be present in order for the party to be seated, doesn't allow substitutions, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm fine with a restaurant making rules to deal with its traffic, and I'll follow that restaurant's rules if I want to try whatever that restaurant is serving, but I'm going to comment on my experience and let the restaurant and/or Chowhound know if I think there's room for improvement. I'm more likely to keep returning to a restaurant that's on the same wavelength as me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wasn't wowed by the service at any of TO's more formal, posh restaurants that I visited in 2013. Haven't visited any posh restaurants in 2014 yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. If it's raining, snowing or below freezing, and the employees have the lights on and are milling about inside, they should be letting their reservations inside, even if the servers aren't going to seat the customers until the official opening time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I arrived 15 minutes before opening at Sabai Sabai, and they let me wait inside until they were ready to seat customers and take orders. I have waited in the pouring rain outside another restaurant (not Bar Isabel) in another part of town last year. Servers watched the customers line up and attempt to seek cover, less than 5 minutes before opening time, but refused to open the door. What would lead some restaurant owners and their servers to think its ok or courteous to let paying customers (who might even tip post tax at a rate of 18 or 20 percent) wait in the cold and/or rain while you wait for the clock to strike 5:30 or 6?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I realize some restaurants like to use a nightclub approach to restaurant management, but they don't tend to work well on people who are over 35, afaik. I'll just go somewhere else, if I think a restaurant doesn't get the concept of hospitality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                          What if the restaurants in question don't have a proper lobby or foyer area? Most "bar" areas are actually dining areas on high stools, not "waiting" bars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          As someone who tips pre-tax, but feels pressure to tip post-tax, I would not expect to be let in before posted opening hours in ANY restaurant whether or not I had a reservation. Nor would I expect to receive food or beverage service AFTER posted closing hours and would understand if I had to vacate by a certain closing time if posted (and assuming I was seated when the kitchen was still open).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                            If they do not serve people before 6 then what is the difference between a bar dining area and a waiting area? No one is being served so no harm no foul...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also if you showed up for an 8pm reservation and your table is not ready they let you stand or sit at the bar. They do not tell you to wait outside so I see no difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But like I said at the beginning.. they did not tell me this policy when I made the reso it would have been moot if they just would have mentioned it on the phone or on their website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Does anyone know if there are any 'Government' issues - e.g. are licensed premises allowed to open before their stated hours? Clearly serving liquor isn't allowed, but are premises restricted? (I know there used to be an issue, but am not up-to-date on current legislation/regulation).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I wouldn't think so. A restaurant owner can open the doors early, and any wages should start when the servers arrive for work. While this isn't a governmental issue, I would think insurance policies would cover issues that happen when the employees and customers are in the restaurant before official opening time. I'd think keeping a customer out of minus 20+ C with windchill might be a good time to be flexible when reading governmental/legislative/insurance policy fine print.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                =

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They can start serving liquor at any time after 11am even if the posted opening time is 6pm. And there is no legal reason that they even have to close they can stay open all night and all day feeding customers no matter what their opening hours are posted as. As long as no liquor is served past 2am and off the table by 2:45am and not served again until 11am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Only case where occupancy hours would be restricted would be if there is a condition on a liquor licence for instance some patios have to be cleared by a certain time in residential areas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you. AGCO rules seem to have changed drastically since I ran up against them a few years back (and all for the better).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One could also have opening/closing time restrictions if in a mall setting where the lease dictates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Then let them sit @ their table. For heaven's sake...to make someone wait in the freezing cold or the rain is unconscionable. They really can't open the doors 5 or 10 minutes earlier than the posted opening time? Do restaurants really want to alienate their paying customers? It seems like such a small thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    May be a small thing to you but it might be a more significant issue for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Grant is good at responding to Bar Isabel's twitter, so why doesn't someone who has a problem with it ask what the reason is?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Would the host/ess have to take their coats, hand out menus, take drink orders, etc. while seating them "early" so they wouldn't complain about being ignored once seated? (Or could they just choose any table near the door and sit -- possibly requiring the servers to re-set the table a few minutes later if a bit messed up?) Just wondering about hostessing logistics and ramifications of random early seating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or they could just say to the customers: "we are just finishing setting up please wait by the bar and as soon as we are ready we will take your coats and seat you". that way they are being acknowledged (not ignored) being told what was happening and not messing with anything that would need to be reset.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When I had dinner at Chase just after Christmas we arrived early, they were still setting up the dining room we stood at the small bar until they were ready for us and then we were seated. The hostess did take our coats and the bartender did make us drinks as he was still setting up his bar. If he would not have offered us drinks and the hostess would not have taken our coats at that time we would have understood and not have complained. At least we were warm!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That is definitely very courteous of Chase staff. Key word is "stood". And that you are polite respectful customers is also key. Others would complain about anything that doesn't go their way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "And that you are polite respectful customers is also key. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If the customer is an assh*le then it does not matter how well they are treated they would still complain about something. That does not give the restaurant an excuse for treating everyone badly by leaving them outside in the cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is like a chef saying "well I know someone will complain about the steak being over-cooked so I might as well over-cook them all"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No. They would simply sit and wait until the restaurant opens to be served.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Like pourboi said, they can sit or stand @ the bar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Kwass, if it's so easy to let patrons in whenever they want, open for dinner and lunch 6 days a week, and let patrons do whatever they feel like, how come you haven't opened your own restaurant yet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have never said that patrons should be able to do whatever they want. I simply stated that I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to be let in 5 minutes prior to opening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And now because, as a patron, I have an opinion, I should open a restaurant? Give me a break. There's absolutely nothing logical or reasonable about that statement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Toronto restaurants are fortunate that there are lots of young people with money that are willing to put up with tyrannical restaurateurs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              An influx of 20-30 people 15 minutes before you start service would be difficult for any restaurant to handle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think the popularity of this restaurant is the most significant factor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              However, I also think they should warn their patrons of the policy, if they don't already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So having them line up outside until the exact opening time so that when the doors open you have all 40 people for the seating coming in at the exact same time makes things easier for the staff?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Apparently. I don't run the restaurant - and I don't think you do either. They let them in when they're ready. Makes sense to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I said 20-30.. (reasonable) now it's 40? Why don't we just make it 50 or 60? 100? 300? omg, they let 300 people in at exactly the same time!!!! wtf! how is that manageable???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    you said 20-30 "15 minutes before opening" so if that many people show up "15 minutes before" 10 more showing up "on time" is also reasonable... is it not?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    as it will take at least 15 more minutes to process 30 people (take their coats, seat them etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If those people are in the restaurant, they're not outside waiting or in line. So, no. I think they generally get 20-30 people in or around 6pm (at least it's been so the two times I've been there early).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      /edit and no, they didn't let me in early either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Folks, it's about time to let this digression go -- it's getting a little absurd at this point. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't care if they have a bar, lobby or mudroom. We live in Canada, and restaurants that want my business should welcome me, even if I'm 5 minutes early (although most Chowhounds who know me expect me to be 12-15 minutes late). Service starts at the front door, and ends when you leave the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not saying people who tip high/post-tax/whatever should be let in ahead of others, I'm saying restaurants should be aware some customers might think about the entire service experience when it comes to tip-time. Also, that hostess or server might be setting a tone for the dinner by making a customer wait in the cold. Who knows if that customer might have a weakened immune system, rheumatoid arthritis and/or a bona fide allergy to the cold?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm amazed some restaurants (not specifically Bar Isabel, but any restaurant that won't open doors when their employees see customers are waiting outside) would stick to such a rigid and frigid policy in January, typically a slow time for most restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interestingly, Bar Isabel tweeted 11 insider tips over the last 24 h, but I didn't notice anything about cold weather. It sounds like some customers have been giving their hostesses a hard time re: reservations and seating. The 11th tip does state Bar Isabel wants to make their customers happy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ‏@BarIsabel797
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          11) we appreciate your business and our goal is to seat you, feed you, and make you happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm sure Grant will respond in some way to the issue. He always has seemed conscientious, and I'm sure he doesn't want his customers waiting out in the cold. Flaws in policies don't pop up until they're tested in real life.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          www.twitter.com/barisabel797

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I answered to Grant but his post was removed by CH....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Perhaps there is a very simple generic solution for restaurateurs when there is just no waiting area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In extreme weather conditions, first-service guests could plan to arrive on time (no earlier) and restaurants could extend a late arrival for up to 15 minutes with no repercussions. It is so much easier for the patron to adjust their arrival time than for the restaurant to deal with the onslaught prior to opening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Conversely I suppose, in extreme weather conditions, staff can be trained to make allowance for opening 5 minutes early on just those nights.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Either way, perhaps an extreme weather grace period should be predicted and provided.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree that a grace period would be nice during extreme weather, and I think most restaurants already do take the weather into consideration when dealing with late arrivals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That being said, I think it's easier for a restaurant that takes reservations to deal with the odd customer who arrives 5 minutes early during extreme weather than for a customer relying on the TTC to arrive exactly on time (and not earlier or later) during extreme weather.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "I think it's easier for a restaurant that takes reservations to deal with the odd customer " I do too, completely...problem is when "the odd" becomes more than a few.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "than for a customer relying on the TTC to arrive exactly on time (and not earlier or later) during extreme weather." Yes of course that is why I didn't suggest "not later"....I said not earlier but up to 15 minutes later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 minutes becomes 10 minutes, becomes 15 minutes. It's a slippery slope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Grant stated to me through another medium that they try to open the doors early whenever possible - but the truth is, is that they open the doors when they're able. Plain and simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I suppose if you really have a problem with it, you'll go somewhere else - but I can't really blame them for this policy. Truth is, few other restaurants have this problem - because they're not nearly as busy - so it's not a big deal to let 2-3 or 5 people in the doors before opening time, but when it's 15-20 patrons, it's a different matter entirely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess it depends on that waiting customer's personality. I have a couple friends who are always early, and would probably be even earlier in bad weather, since they'd leave extra time for travel because they can't stand being late.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's only the earlier-than-the-door-opens-customer who is going to be waiting out in the cold, so I'd think these are the ones with whom a restaurant might try to be a little more flexible. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, I am going back to my bowl of popcorn....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Based on having all FOH staff in 15mins. early (in order to be ready for 'early customers') it would probably cost Bar Isabel approx. $8,750.00 per year (5 servers, 2 bartenders, 2 busboys/runners and a hostess) Open every day but Stat. Holidays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's probably about .4% of total sales. (Possibly more) In a marginal business like restaurants, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (I've run a few in my time)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Matt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Matt416

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What is the cost of having the Hostess tell the customer the policy when they make the reservation so that they are not standing in the cold?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Then your hostess just sounds like a jerk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Grant van gameren

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Um, it was the Hostess at Bar Isabel that did not tell me that the doors would not be unlocked until right at 6pm which was when I had my reservation for last Monday. I showed up at 5 to 6 and had to wait outside in -15 with 6 other customers until the doors were opened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So are you saying your Hostess is a jerk???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                From a customers point of view. Me often being a customer. If I made a 6 o'clock reservation and the hostess told me not to show up early because the restaurant won't unlock the door till 6 o'clock, I would not be happy with that as my first interaction with the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So yes. I would probably hang up and say the word "jerk" to myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Is be happy to discuss our policies and the reasoning behind it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't like the idea of you outside in minus 15 degrees. But we have policies for a reason and can share them at grant@barisabel.com and you can share them on the board if you wish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Grant van gameren

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But not telling me and letting me stand outside in -15 makes me say "jerk" on the internet, not just to myself... I will email you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Please do. Let's lay it all out and you can post it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    From a business perspective I think it's important to defend as well as learn and tweak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm all ears and welcome the chance to improve if it makes sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The restaurant was not open. It opens at 6pm. What about that does not tell you that you are not going to be let in? Were you let in at 6pm when the restaurant "promised" that you would be? Would it be a problem if you showed up early on a sunny warm day BEFORE the restaurant was OPEN? Why is this such a big deal anyway?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wish the government offices and the bank would let me in before they open too. How do you feel about banks pourboi?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Grant van gameren

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Every restaurant should have a charter of customer and host relations expectations and the hostess should read out the charter in its entirety (example expectations would include: Customer is granted the right to enter the premises up to, and including 5 minutes prior to the stated opening time of the restaurant if the external weather is before -9 degree celsius, precipitation is currently at, or expected to reach 10 cm by 11 p.m. of the reservation date and customer(s) are not wearing hats, hoods, waterproof footwear, or jackets filled with a 1.5 cm thick layer of approved insulation. All these criteria are nullified if the customer is wearing stockings with no overlapping piece of clothing) and have the customer confirm that it is acceptable before each reservation is taken. That way there is no ambiguity and EVERYBODY IS HAPPY...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If the reservation is made via online reservation system, a document can pop before prior to confirmation, like those end user license agreements when you install software and the customer must click on the little box that says 'I agree with the charter' before continuing with the reservation process

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Matt416

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another thing that we're also not considering is that when places like Bar Isabel are so busy, people come at 6 to line-up (or shortly before) to snag a table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If on a particular day, BI decides to let people in early, then those that came at 6 expecting to get a table will be miffed that they opened up early (without giving notice) and they didn't get a table as they might expect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lots of implications, and not nearly as simple as some of us would like to think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Matt416

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is this math supposed to be related to this situation in some way? Do you really think we have extreme weather conditions every day of the year? And 15 minutes early opposed to 5? And everyone on the shift needs to be there early? Why leave out the cook(s)? I am only responding because it is such obnoxious math.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Because the cooks at these places probably aren't getting paid hourly?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Blueicus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Most cooks get paid hourly, only "management" chef/sous chef will be on salary.. In my experience.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Shouldn't everyone including FOTH be in early to set up anyway?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1) We are talking about the rare day with extreme weather not all year long.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2) We are talking about 5 minutes - not 15.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) I don't think the entire FOH staff needs to be there to let people in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4) I doubt the person would ask for the 5 minutes of pay to be added to their check.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Using the math of 10, !10!, people for 15 minutes across the entire year, to prove that it is extraordinarily expensive to let people in 5 minutes early on the worst weather days of the year is to me obnoxious. sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Invite the customers in. seat them at the bar, sell them some extra drinks, what's the problem?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But having worked in restaurants I can understand that if your see your last lunch customer out at 3pm, that 3 hours for cleaning and prep for dinner can go very, very quickly and even 15 minutes means a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At the end of the day, if you don't like or agree with a restaurant's policies, don't go. Spend your money somewhere else. If you love the restaurant, have some common decency and respect what they do. This is a very tough business. Just staffing a kitchen or FOH with skilled professionals is next to impossible these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And, instead of putting all our collective passions into complaining about minor issues, how about praising how much better our city's restaurant culture is now than 5 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Matt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Matt416

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Folks, we let this go a little longer since the restaurant had weighed in, but again, we're asking that people let this subject drop now. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just as a follow up to this longwinded thread... I have corresponded with Grant the chef / owner of Bar Isabel and he asked me to summarise the issues & suggested solutions that people had mentioned. I did this in what turned out to be a long multi-point email that I am glad he took as "thorough" as opposed to "psychotic rambling"! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This evening he replied back with his answers. Problem is that his reply along with my original email would be way to long and hard to follow by posting it in its entirety here. I have told him that I would do a "Coles Notes" version but just wanted to note that based on his response he read and considered every point that was made and gave logical replies as to his reasons for doing / not doing specific things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The gist of his reply is that based on years of experience from even before Bar Isabel and the Hoof he feels that stating that the opening time of the restaurant is "6pm" is enough notice that people should not expect to be let in before this point. He stressed that once the doors open he and his staff do everything in their power to accommodate the dinner guests that arrive late, stay too long, do not show up or show up without a reservation. But that he feels it is unprofessional to open the doors while the restaurant is a setup in progress and the staff is not fully ready to serve the customers. He has in the past bent this rule for insistent clients but felt it was uncomfortable for all involved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for giving a disclaimer verbally / on the website about the door policy he gave an example of true situations that happened that convinced him that it would be of little use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Below is his story in his words:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lets take for instance Shishito Peppers. We had a table last week where one of them complained that they were too hot and the other guest complained that they weren't hot enough. (these were the perfect mix of spicy/sweet ones IMHO)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How does one deal with that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We removed them from their table and bill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lets also take another example a couple months ago. The shishitos were pretty darn spicy. We changed our wording to “spicy shishito peppers”. People ordered and complained that they were too hot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                so we changed it to “super spicy shishito peppers” , again, people would order and complain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We then did it again “super extra spicy”, same thing, same problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We eventually removed them off our menu. They weren't that bad, but they were spicy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So even though they were advised by the menu wording, they still ordered them and then complained.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -----------------------------------------------------------------

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So in the end how do I feel? I, based on my own ways of looking at things, still do not like the policy of not opening the door until 6pm BUT I now know that this is not just some willy nilly rule that was created with no thought. It was well thought out in order to please the largest amount of clients and cause the least amount of disruption for the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I will defiantly be going back to Bar Isabel (but I will be sure to get a later reservation and not go during a Arctic Vortex) and I will send a round of beers back to the kitchen when I do go back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I consider this thread closed and will not comment any further on this topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Charging me for tap water that you've filtered in house and put in your fancy bottle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dairy and liquor regulation (a girl can wish can't she!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Letting me book on Opentable then emailing me the day of the reservation to tell me there's a time limit on my table

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Red tape for entrepreneurial chefs who want to set up food trucks/carts etc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chain restaurants

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cilantro (count me in as allergic as well...truly)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Goat cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      +1 on the time limit, but I'd include any 2 hour time limit. We eat on the fast side of average, so whether a dinner for 4 or 6 (my usual groups) takes more than 2 hours is up to the restaurant, not me. Took me 2 years to get to nota bene, which we all loved, because I kept not making a reservation once the host repeated that policy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      +1 octopus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      + 1 pork belly or any other pork cut where you're meant to be eating huge amounts of fat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'd add losing "charred" and "burnt" - charring or burning protein creats carcinogens, which might be ok once in a while if it tasted good, but I don't think charred or burnt food tastes good either - that part tends to overpower the rest, and I hate the texture/mouthfeel of char

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Food trucks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cool hipster chefs with tattoos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Less local and less sustainable!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: robb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          if local means more expensive then they're missing the point

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: robb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Really? You want less support for Ontario farmers and responsible farming practices?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Local is not adding value enough to warrant jacking up the price. It's incredible that there are people vapid enough to be fooled by this practice. Restaurants that buy local should do so not as a marketing gimmick but because they are good corporate citizens and it is the right thing to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sure, but that's not the same as saying you want to see less local food in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Less curating. The mark up for curating is way too high. There's no need to have your cheese program curated by a Dr. of Cheesology from the University of Switzerland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. getting back on the less of in 2014 bandwagon, >$14 cocktails...it don't matter if there's 2 oz of liquor in it - it's still a huge rip off and usually unexceptional.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                is everyone willing to pay $15 for 1 drink?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm willing to pay that or more if I think that it is a well made beverage. If the mixes, bitters and garnishes are made in house and are of good quality why not? Don't even mention cask aged negroni or the likes at Spirit House.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I should say I'm generally a fan of places like Bar Chef where the cocktails are over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I often pay that for a well-made cocktail at The Harbord Room and beyond.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MissBingBing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am. Perhaps some higher end restaurants are justified in producing such pricey drinks but too many bars are doing this. I mean, $15 for an amaretto sour? really?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Folks, can we try to refocus this thread on things you'd like to see less of in actual restaurants. The places where it's a discussion of what you'd like to see less of people saying on Chowhound really aren't very friendly, and aren't a good fit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Places that only take cash!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What did I win???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      59 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        a round trip ticket to Iran.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - khao san road

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As long as it's round trip, that's cool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ps. Pad see ew was incredible today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While I really dislike cash only places (I put everything on my credit card), what really bugs me is when restaurants which are cash only don't indicate it with a sign in the front window and on their website. Burger Priest!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually same goes for cash & debit only restaurants too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I want to know ahead of time if this policy exists so I can decide if we really want to go and if we do I have the appropriate payment method available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, I refuse to use that white box ATM sitting in the corner and pay extra fees for withdrawals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And don't lie about credit cards not being accepted yet when clearly that's never going to be the case. I'm looking at your Grand Electric!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm OK with cash and debit only

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The current system unfairly puts a financial burden on vendors of all sorts and at the margins that a lot of restaurants run at it's unreasonable to expect that a restaurant should have to lose all their profits on a dinner to subsidize travel points or cash back or whatever without any choice in the matter. Since the only option for a restaurant to opt out of this at this point is to go cash and debit only I'm OK with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now if, and it's a big if, some of the promised changes to the system do get legislated in so that more of that financial burden is moved to the banks or the card holders themselves or businesses get the legal right to decline to accept premium feature cards with higher fees for them then I might change my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cash only - not cash and debit. Cash and debit is perfectly acceptable. It's the cash-only places that drive me bat-shit crazy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's my single biggest restaurant pet-peeve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bear in mind that debit only works for Canadian debit. Visitors from US (Say) can't use them. Not that it's a big issue for us, but I was in a place where a visitor got REALLY upset when the restaurant wouldn't (more accurately 'couldn't') use their card - it's the restaurant that gets the flack (as always).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Me too! I always have my debit card. Rarely do I have cash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <It's my single biggest restaurant pet-peeve>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of my biggest pet-peeves is people who put $5 or less on a debit/credit card..seriously? you don't have $1.50 in cash to pay for your coffee?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: petek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Why do you care? It's legal tender. Do you want 30 nickels instead?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you want 30 nickels instead?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Who cares..it's legal tender right?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I care because some idiot in front of me(this morning actually) not only paid for her $3 coffee & muffin tab, but it took her 10 mins to do it cause she couldn't figure it out!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ain't nobody got time fo that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: petek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But that happens regardless of the payment method. It irritates the crap out of me when people are in line, order and only when presented with the cost do they finally take out whatever payment method they're using. I've experienced it with plastic and cash. How about getting it out while you're in line waiting?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lister

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agreed!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I guess I'm an old school "cash is king" kinda guy..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lister

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The worst is the older ladies that count out $9.80 from their change purse. Ha. Sorry older ladies!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just messin' with ya. I'm not sure I qualify as "older" and only marginally as a "lady"...but I do hate carrying around change. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coupon matching! Had someone in front of me at the grocery store who had 5 crumpled fliers in hand and would thrust them at the cashier every time she thought an eligible product was scanned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that was my Mom. In fairness, she's been coupon-clipping and price matching since the dawn of fur trading. But she goes on super expensive 6 star cruise holidays with her savings, so who am I to judge? (BTW, she also only uses credit cards to pay for any amount. I learned the value of that from her. She's now 70 and wealthy.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, a tip from Mom: buy groceries at Giant Tiger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What on earth is wrong with that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: magic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Why wouldn't you? It's still legal tender..for now.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But until that day you'll have to pry my $20. bill from my cold dead hands... :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: petek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To each their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a personal peference, no one is right or wrong. It's just how it is. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: petek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think, for me, the issue about cash only (beyond posting the policy) is that while I do usually have some cash on me, pocket change for coffee and $60 or less in the wallet, I don't really want to carry $100-$200+ in cash on me at all times. I also don't want to have to go to the ATM so often. I also like the central tracking I get with using my credit card plus whatever points I get.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ultimately if a restaurant or any business wants to do cash only or cash & debit only, by all means do so it's their business, I just want to know ahead of time so I can decide and act accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lister

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          < I do usually have some cash on me, pocket change for coffee and $60 or less in the wallet, I don't really want to carry $100-$200+ in cash on me at all times.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would never suggest that someone carry large amounts of cash with them at all times, but a couple bucks for a cup of coffee(or whatever) wouldn't kill them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: magic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The only reason I would carry cash is for private parking lots in the hard-to-find-parking areas downtown (Green P takes cards, but sometimes a Green P is too far away) and TTC fare (since I hardly take TTC and therefore never seem to have a token). Many banks charge you just to withdraw your own money! Highway robbery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Psst, it might be a good, and civic-minded, idea to take public transport in the city centre. Just saying...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I work beyond the reach of civic duty and can't justify a one-hour public commute each way just to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: magic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Me neither. Very rare for me to have cash on me. Muggers take note.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What do you do when you got to the strip club..run a tab? :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: petek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            All strip clubs take credit cards they just charge you a "premium" for the "Strip Chips" also most have ATMs inside (again at a high service fee).... So I have been told...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I always like to carry $200-$300 with me at all times and if I know Im going out for a big dinner I may take more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I hate at the end of a group lunch at work when out of 15 people I am the only one with cash and all others have to pay one by one with the machine... as well as the other patrons in the restaurant. Very inefficient and time consuming for both patrons and staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: bytepusher

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am addicted to using my aerovisa even for $3 coffee because of the perks. However, I get that small businesses can't afford the % taken by the big corporation for the convenience I gain. I'm willing to pay by debit but not cash-only. And I agree, installing one of those dubious, suspiciously-present gouge-you-til-you-die ATMs in your restaurant is even less incentive for me to pay cash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Could a restaurateur answer this: have or would you raise menu prices to reflect the % taken by credit card companies?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Why should I have to pay more so you can enjoy your "perks".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you like the restaurant, how hard is it to carry some cash around with you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: petek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am happy to carry around a debit card with a bank account to back it up but not the actual cash. I'm more likely to spend indiscriminately if I don't restrict myself to hard cash that may or may not be in my wallet at the time of eating out. That indiscriminate extra spending (dessert? cocktail? yes!) is exactly what a small business owner should be encouraging by NOT being cash-only. Cash-only policies also might cut short the extra, extra tip made by those sneaky "%" buttons on card machines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you don't want to tip at 15%/18%/20% percent post-tax on the card machines, reduce the % tip amount on the % buttons to 12 or 13% (if you want to leave roughly 15 % pre-tax), to 10% (if you want to leave roughly 12% pre-tax), etc. Or enter a dollar amount to leave exactly 15 percent pre-tax.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At restaurants where I wonder whether the staff get a fair share of the tips paid by credit card/debit, when I don't want to pay the bill with cash, I'll sometimes pay with credit or debit, and give my server a cash tip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I realize no smart restaurateur would answer my question publicly, but rest assured, they say the menu prices reflect all overhead costs, including credit card charges -- and no, cash-payers, you don't get a discount by paying cash. See my point?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Some places in Chinatown make you pay 4% extra if you use credit...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As for others maybe prices are 3% higher to reflect 4% credit card charges for 75% of the people and the rest who pay cash...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pourboi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Any place that makes a charge for using a card is almost certainly in breach of their contract with their merchant bank, similarly anyone who refuses to accept a credit card for small purchases.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Some places still do it especially if they operate a little under the radar but they are at risk of the bank closing their merchant account (leaving them unable to accept any credit or debit payments at least for a while until they can get back online with someone else) if they get caught.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But you're making it a little easier for the restaurant owner to turn a profit in a tough business when you pay with cash. That's why I pay in cash, when possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not asking for a discount, but if I can make a win-win situation, and it's the same price for me regardless of how I pay, why not?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do trivia at Stout with some friends, and they've started putting a little slip in their cheque folders that says that they love debit, because debit costs them 80 cents, while credit cards are 3% of the bill, and asking people to use debit instead of credit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought that was an interesting approach. Admittedly, it didn't actually cause me to use debit instead of credit, and I almost never do use debit. I generally prefer to use my visa for a few reasons. But I'll certainly consider it, especially for small businesses that I like and want to see succeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Debit's cheaper for them, but the customer pays. Whereas the customer does not incur bank charges for using a credit card.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Counting cash and change, filling out deposit slips, putting it all in a canvas bag and carting it down to the bank has a cost, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, but not directly to me, whereas the banks like to charge me $1 or more every time I choose debit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some banks don't charge you to withdraw your own money. I have one such account. (and no minimum balance.)