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Which is the LOUDEST restaurant in TORONTO??

Are you really tired of restaurants where you have to YELL at your dining partner(s)? As far as the proprietors are concerned it's "all about them", and your comfort is secondary. They decide the "music" THEY want to listen to, and how LOUD they like it to be, while they sling hash.
It's all about them.
My vote (amongst many contenders) for LOUDEST:
Ascari in Leslieville - will never go back. Food and service were both excellent, but I cannot enjoy dinner when I'm yelling, my dining companion is yelling, and the people at the table next to us are all YELLING and saying what a pity it is that they have to YELL all the time!

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  1. i hate when restaurants play the music THEY want to listen to, and serve food that the CHEF is passionate about.

    you didn't like Ascari? you're not complaining about Electric? how about Bar?

    3 Replies
    1. re: atomeyes

      I've heard from friends that Bar Isabel has amazing food but is so incredibly LOUD that it ruined the experience and was a waste of mega $$$ - same comments I got from those who ventured into Grand Electric.
      Look, any moron, including me, can whip up an octopus taco, but to bundle it with irreversible ear damage seems to invite a law case.
      I love the food at Ascari, but I still want to hear the sound of birds in the trees the following day! Table 17 has a much more civilized approach towards volume.
      My hearing is more important to me than the latest start up so called "restaurant" run by ex-art students, or disaffected bankers, where it's all about "them" and their ego project.

      1. re: KitchenVoodoo

        LOL. Ascari Enoteca and Table 17 are owned by the same people. hahaha.

        1. re: justxpete

          I knew that, just wondered why they had such different noise policies - Table 17 is fine, Ascari is brutal.

    2. Lotsa yelling over at Gale's joint....course most of the regulars are deaf, but hey...eh?

      1 Reply
      1. re: TorontoTuna

        Get it, drive past Gale's almost every day, didn't see you there lately, what do you look like?

      2. An article in the National Post, Saturday March 22, 2014 -Weekend Post Page 4 entitled "Don't talk with your mouth empty", describes "Van Horne", a Montreal restaurant owned by Sylvie LaChance where NO TALKING IS ALLOWED in order to enjoy the food better. This must be the quietest restaurant not only in Montreal but worldwide.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Doctormhl1

          they also kicked a vegetarian out after arriving with a large group - this is a tiny restaurant by the way.

          1. re: Doctormhl1

            I'm not suggesting that we revert to the extreme of a "no talking" rule - that would be absurd - my dining companions and I WANT to talk to each other - isn't that the point of dining out with friends?
            But if we can't, because we have to YELL at each other, we'll never go back to that restaurant. Four lost diners, and bad mouth publicity for that restaurant.
            Anyone on this board a hearing specialist?

            1. re: Doctormhl1

              Come on, did you actually read the article? It was for a special event. They don't normally do that of course.


            2. Wow surprised you found Ascari uncomfortably loud.

              I'm not a fan of loud restaurants but never experienced this at Ascari - and we go often.

              It has a buzz for sure but nothing like you describe.

              I wonder, were you there on a Monday night? Apparently that is industry night. We've never been, but I hear it gets really hopping with a DJ and 1/2 price wines.

              1 Reply
              1. re: millygirl

                Can't remember which night of the week we were there, but it was unbearably loud. We were hoping for a quiet dinner after a stressful day. Is that too much to hope for these days?

              2. P.s. I used to find Pastis very very loud!!!!

                2 Replies
                1. re: millygirl

                  Haven't been to Pastis, it was on my list to go to, but I will strike it off now.
                  Seriously, with a shrinking income, and a growing love of dining out, I need to narrow down my restaurant choices, and a low NOISE level has almost become more important in a restaurant than other criteria such as food, service, wine list, location etc.
                  If you've had a meal in a restaurant in France, or Italy, there is little or no music playing, certainly not deafening lyrics urging you to have conjugal relationship with your mother ;
                  In my opinion, the best example of a civilised European restaurant in Toronto is Chiado.

                  1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                    It's too late. Pastis closed late last year.

                2. Every time I'm at Fresh at Spadina/Bloor I wonder how it can be so loud...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: canadianbeaver

                    All Fresh locations are extremely loud. If you love their food (and I do) your best hope to enjoy the food and not go deaf in the process is to secure a patio seat at the Spadina or Queen West locations.
                    Of course, you will have to wait another 3 months, the way this weather is going ;)

                  2. Hey, this is valid. A trip to Grand Electric made the decent food someone unenjoyable when accompanied by pretty explicit hip hop lyrics that we had to shout over.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: kbdid

                      Was the restaurant full when you went there? If so maybe what they are doing (including the level of music) is what the majority of their cliental want.. You do not have to go there. It is not like they hide the fact about their music... it is one of their "things"... it is in every review.

                      I hate restaurants that are too dark and have their menus printed with tiny fonts without good contrast to the paper.. but I do not expect them to change their menu design because I am half blind and only buy cheap reading glasses!

                      1. re: kbdid

                        Another vote for Grand Electric - unbearable.

                        Drake 150
                        Home of the Brave

                        ps. you will probably agree with many posters here:

                        1. re: happycamper

                          Thanks for your votes - I will never set foot inside Grand Electric - tacos are child's play, learned to make them from scratch in Mexico City in 1987. Don't need to lose my hearing when I can have the same food at home. (I suspect my tacos are actually better! No written complaints from my diners thus far :))
                          Drake 150 - anything Drake is a turn off for me - grubby unshaven servers, grotty food, indifferent service, dirty room..... it was as though a bunch of art students lugubriously dragged themselves off their futons after an all night LSD bender and collectively said "hey dudes, let's sling some hash!"
                          No management in sight. But that's the Drake way I guess.
                          Home of the Brave - don't know it, but will avoid based on your advice.

                          1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                            LSD bender? They were twisted under their cars fixing the limited slip differential right? I hope you don't mean they were doing windowpane and purple microdot

                            1. re: foodyDudey

                              Cars weren't involved in the all nigh bender I had imagined the staff to be involved in....

                        2. re: kbdid

                          Thought the same thing about Grand Electric. I joked to my DCs that the waiters had to be trained in lip-reading!

                        3. Guu - especially the one at Bathurst & Bloor

                          1. Of the places I've been to lately, #1 goes to Electric Mud and #2 to Grand Electric (tho we were there during off-hours).
                            My experience of Ascari (sitting at the bar) was it was too loud for much in-depth conversation, but discussing the menu, ordering, and checking the dining companions' satisfaction were all possible.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Klafouti

                              Red Sauce - Could barely hear the person next to me and the person across from me. After several "what?!"s the other diners agreed to discuss things after we left.


                              1. re: abigllama

                                And how did you digest your food after having your eardrums murdered?

                                1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                  We went somewhere else for digestives so we could have a conversation.

                                  There were just a couple of people in there besides us. We definitely would have stayed there and spent more on booze if it wasn't so loud.

                                  1. re: abigllama

                                    Nice result for you - a loss for Red Sauce.
                                    Conversation is probably the best part of going out for dinner - no need for it to be ruined by the house imposed noise. Restaurateurs need to listen to this message - - that is if they can still hear anything at all at this stage of their permanently damaged eardrums.

                            2. young people are opening restaurants

                              that's a good thing

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: frogsteak

                                It's a good thing if they are in the HOSPITALITY business, as opposed to the "all about boosting their ego business".
                                Hospitality means making diners feel comfortable. Means making THEM come before YOU - a pretty simple concept - but one that has escaped 90% of ex art students turned restaurateurs in Toronto.
                                Is damaging your diners eardrums (and your own by the way) really a way to make them feel welcome?
                                Oh, wait, it's not about building a long standing restaurant business, it's a "pop up" - AKA a "get out" - no penalties paid, just a party, a whim.

                                1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                  oh yes the hospitality business yet many of the restaurants in questions pack the house which lead me to believe that their clientele likes the vibe, myself included. There are plenty of quiet stuffy restaurants in Toronto but if what you want is the cuisine being pumped out by young art school types then deal. You clearly are not their target demographic if the music is such a huge problem for you.

                                  1. re: frogsteak

                                    I completely agree with you, I am not the right customer for restaurants with loud misogynist rap music - I will re-direct my large dining out budget elsewhere.

                                  2. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                    Vinnie has a great recommendation for a nice quiet restaurant... Bistrot 92! But guess what? nobody goes there and so it is for sale...

                                    Grand Electric, Gino Ranas, Drake, Guu etc... have been around for a while and are fairly busy if not packed each night so who is meeting the "2014 customers" demands of the type of hospitality that they want?

                                    A restaurant is not required to cater to the least common denominator of potential cliental or else all restaurants would be the same bland cookie cutter places.. This is 2014 not 1974 restaurants are in the ENTERTAINMENT business not the hospitality business, chefs are celebrities, you line up to get in like a concert. This is the Twitter generation everything in 140 characters or less at the speed of wifi... including dinner conversation..

                                    1. re: pourboi

                                      I hope you're not saying that it's a GOOD thing that restaurants in Toronto are now entertainment venues, and not those lovely warm hospitable places we've all been to in European countries? Where we go to relax with friends, have great chat, great food, and we're not screaming at each other.
                                      Can't we just go out for dinner in Toronto, to a place that's civilised and hospitable? Why is there so much aggression - the noise levels, the deafening misogynistic rap "music", the affectless staff, in the so called "hospitality" industry. Such an irony! And so very bad for the digestion.

                                      1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                        and why are there no orphan boys to shine my shoe at union station?

                                        1. re: frogsteak

                                          They look for people with two shoes as they can charge them more

                                        2. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                          It is a GREAT thing that they have loud places playing Rap as I know I will not have to dine with old fuddy duddies... And just so you know they have these type of places in Europe, Asia, South America everywhere... it is not just a Toronto thing...

                                          1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                            It's good that we have all sorts of restaurants. I'm inclined to agree with you that we've seen too many of your "loud" openings that don't have any interest in cooking decent food. But the Electrics and the Hoof (at its best) and especially Isabel have great food. They're the wrong target.

                                            If you want a bit more hospitality, you can have it with your party at Bar Isabel, on the first floor of an old house at Edulis, with your business deals at The Chase, overlooking the city at Scaramouch, in a neighbourhood bistro at THR and Co., and that's just in the last year or so.

                                            1. re: BigBabyYeezuS

                                              I ate at THR & Co last week and was not impressed.. tables were way too close together it was like dining at a table for 6 when in fact it was 3 tables of 2. The food was blah... I specifically said I was picky about fish crocettes and the waitress said that their were amazing. Then she brought over 3 burnt balls just by looking at them I could tell they were over done, tasting it just confirmed my thoughts as they were hard and had a definate burnt taste. The waitress asked how they were and I said not great... she looked at them ans stated "yes they look burnt". They did remove them from the bill but what really peeved me was that 15min later the table adjoining ours ordered the same thing and the same waitress brought out 3 identically burnt balls!... And the pasta was not great.. had the mushroom parpadelle and it was chewy and bland.. Timing was also off as there was a huge wait between dishes even the desert (3 scoops of ice cream) took 20 minutes to get to the table...

                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                Tough experience. I've found the food to be decent and the room civilized (though I've only been there on off nights). The black spaghetti is one of the better pastas in the city, though the rest of the menu is good "if I'm in the neighbourhood" food.

                                                Never had an issue with the service.

                                                1. re: BigBabyYeezuS

                                                  This was last Wednesday at 7pm .. they were full but not packed..

                                              2. re: BigBabyYeezuS

                                                Did you mean Bar Isabel? One of the loudest places in the city? And The Chase???
                                                I think we are out of synch on the level of sound that drives diners away.
                                                Scaramouche I would vote to be the most civilized and most amenable to quiet conversation, but few can afford it.

                                                1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                  Bar Isabel is very loud but they are very hospitable. Just because a restaurant is loud, doesn't mean that the restaurant doesn't have a great sense of hospitality. Don't confuse a restaurant that is loud with a restaurant that fails to show hospitality.

                                                  The Chase is not that loud (but also not that good).

                                                  Have you been to Edulis? Zucca? Cava? There are plenty of good restaurants where noise is kept to a reasonable volume.

                                              3. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                Folks, we removed a bunch of posts from here that were discussing other posters and whether or not they should be discussing this issue rather than actually talking about restaurants in Toronto. We'd ask that people please not go down that path -- it's off-topic and not generally very friendly. Thanks.

                                              4. re: pourboi

                                                That's it! The noise does not matter because you can just text your dinner companions.

                                                I have seen a few tables where 3 or 4 people are staring at their phones, texting obliviously for most of the meal.

                                            1. re: hal2010

                                              Always unbearably loud, no matter how early you go. Love their food, but have quit going because of the noise levels. Even when I have booked the wine cellar for a group, the noise level from the main room carries over and we all end up having to yell at each other.

                                            2. I was surprised to find myself yelling across a table at the Bell Lightbox Canteen recently. Then I noticed the tremendous noise all around the room. Last thing I expected to find there.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Herne

                                                Thanks for that - I was just thinking of taking a client to lunch there - but now I won't, since yelling over a meal is pretty undignified to say the least, and possibly the worst stance when trying to negotiate a contract! :)

                                                1. re: Herne

                                                  We eat there regularly when seeing a movie. The room can get loud but it's not because of the music level.

                                                  We are TIFF members and the Canteen menu is available in the member's lounge on the 3rd floor. If you can grab the corner table, it has a great view of King St. It's very relaxed and quiet up there and a nice place to enjoy a meal.

                                                  They will ask you when you come in if you're a member and just seem to record numbers of members and guests that come through. I've never had them actually ask to see my membership card. So just say that one of you is a member and it should be fine.

                                                  We just ate there Saturday night and it was excellent.

                                                2. Parts and Labour was unbearable.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: thebutcher

                                                    Good to know - won't spend my $$$ there!

                                                  2. Ruby Watchco so I never went back.

                                                      1. The loudest I've run into is Khao San Road. Absolutely ear splitting. Nothing could get me to go back there again. And that food wasn't all that great either.

                                                        1. Parts and Labour
                                                          The Saint
                                                          Grand Electric

                                                          I don't mind a lively restaurant - and these three have great food - but the last time I went to these spots it was unbearably loud. I like talking to my friends between bites.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: MeMeMe

                                                            I believe I've made my point, gathered a lot of common opinions about LOUD Toronto restaurants, and took some static along the way, which is fine, Chowhound is a democracy, thanks for all who voiced your opinions, and I hope you still have full hearing.

                                                            But if you work in a really LOUD Restaurant, you might want to read this article about hearing loss - and remember one thing, hearing is IRREPLACEBALE, and I'd hate to see a large number of people in their 30"s wearing hearing aids.
                                                            Are you not protected by WSIB from working long shifts in an environment that will inflict permanent ear damage?
                                                            I'm sure there is some loop hole, otherwise there would be no DJs!

                                                            1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                              Totally agree. It's a work hazard in Toronto. When I was in Amsterdam in a bar they had a decibel meter on the wall with big numbers everyone could see that showed the decibel level and the DJ was required to keep it below a certain level.

                                                              1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                                Completely agree. My dad has almost full hearing loss in one ear and partial in the other from his younger days working when there were lax safety regulations with regards to hearing protection. Hearing loss doesn't only impact the individual, it impacts everyone close to them.

                                                            2. Let's not forget to factor in day, time of time, patrons, etc., etc.

                                                              1. I find that even if a restaurant is too loud, if I'm in a good mood and am with great company, I tend to get used to it. I found the Saint loud but got used to it after drinks started flowing,,,

                                                                About to order Grand Electric using their delivery service... excited!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: rosieintoronto

                                                                  You get used to not being able to hear someone and having to shout at eachother?