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Not a 7 Numbers fan

  • c

I'm here to spoil the party for 7 Numbers. I just went there for dinner and while the food was tasty, I wouldn't go back. The place exuded too much "un-attitude" (wine list written on brown paper, none of the chairs match). They want you to believe that appearances are not important -- but then work really hard to appear as if appearances are not important. Yes, the food was good, the price was relatively low, but I wouldn't go for a second visit. And that's a weighty statement for me considering I live to eat.
(Okay 7 Numbers fans, I'm ready for your rebuttal)

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  1. There isn't anything to debate. The good is good, the prices are low, but you don't like it because you think they're superficial? That hardly sounds like a reason not to dine there, at least for me. Even though you quite obviously were annoyed by how the restaurant presents itself, you still couldn't hold back your positive feelings on the food. If I go to 7 Numbers, I'm going for the food, not for the ambiance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chris

      I fall in the middle. I've had good meals at 7 Numbers, and you have to admit the lamb shank and osso bucco are ace, but if I want that kind of dining, I prefer Five Doors North or Gio's really really nice restaurant.

      Just a matter of taste, I guess.

    2. Very interesting comments. The attitude and presentation at 7 numbers is so pretentious and annoying. They try so hard to be hip. It smacks of effort.

      Many of the patrons also seem to fancy themselves among the in-crowd even though they're clearly mostly middle-class squares like me.

      I don't like the place. I didn't like the Nose, and I don't like Five Doors North. Too much attitude. The food is only ok.

      1. v
        Vinnie Vidimangi

        I like the cooking and ordinarily I am indifferent about ambience. However the room is so dark and there is so much noise from the stupid banging that passes for music that I can't wait to get out of there and resist, no refuse,to return. As for price, given how little it cost the owners to open up and how jammed the room is, the cost is not low, and I have a bit of resentment that it is not lower. But they do have the right idea. It should not cost 300-400K to open in order to serve a decent plate of food. The problem is that a sensible and honest operator is not appreciated in Toronto, and if the owners of 7#s have to go overboard on the shtick in order to get people to come, perhaps one should accept it; if like me, the delibarate oppressive vulgarity of the room takes away all the pleasure from the food, then don't go. VVM

        1 Reply
        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

          I went to 7#'s a few months ago and had the sampling dish with a small group of people. Almost all of the dishes came with a tomato sauce base. Not very imaginative dishes. Also, since the sauce was not very good the food was just passable (given the price). We ordered polenta as a side dish, and guess what, it also came with a tomato sauce base. I will not go back.

        2. I don't understand the hype. It is pleasant food, occasionally rising above or falling below that level. It is not, and never has been, memorable dining, at the current location or the previous one on Eglinton.

          It is dark, but is not romantic because it is, indeed, too noisy for any reasonable conversation. And the staff and management are, indeed, nasty, vulgar, and extremely pretentious. They manage the extraordinary feat of being pretentious about their contrived unpretentiousness.

          If a customer asks for something they don't have (try asking for butter in lieu of their olive oil bread dip), one can expect (depending on who one asks - some staff have been nice) to be insulted instesd of simply being told that they don't have any.

          If you like this style of cooking and presentation, go to Gio's at Queen and Leslie. It's loud, but more bearable. The food is better, and I've always felt welcome despite being hopelessly out of style.

          1. I'm very sorry for anybody who was insulted/harassed by the staff - I guess they see that as fitting in with their "edgy" image but that kind of behaviour definitely crosses the line.

            HOWEVER, I've been to the Danforth location more than once and always have a great time, a lot of fun, and enjoy my meal. Have been especially happy with seafood and fish. The food isn't a super bargain, nor is it overpriced. The staff have always been friendly with me. (Example: we were seated on the patio and it started to rain so several people rushed over to help us move inside to another table.)

            A lot of the complaints here seem to stem from the ambience. This is an extremely subjective and personal aspect of dining out, probably even more subjective than the food itself. If you went out to a new restaurant and didn't like the colour of paint on the walls, would you post about it? I think not. Not sure what the point of this thread is. Seems to be a 7 Numbers bashing session. Again, I regret that people felt insulted and I don't condone that kind of behaviour, but who cares if the wine list is written on brown paper or if the chairs don't match?

            Is the music loud? Yes. If you don't like that, you're under no obligation to go back. Do you feel they're "trying too hard to seem like they don't care"? If that kind of thing is important to you and you don't like it, you're under no obligation to go back.

            The place has been packed every time I've been in, so I guess there are people like me who find 7 Numbers a lot of fun and a good meal.

            1. I've been many times, old location and new. And to the nose, and to Five Doors North. More or less the same comment for all of them. Good food. Good prices. Very loud (prepare to not hear most of what your tablemates say), very tight fit (prepare to be elbowed once or twice). And often, loads of unjustified attitude. They're here for the today, not for the tomorrow.

              "Is the music loud? Yes. If you don't like that, you're under no obligation to go back." Really? Thanks, I feel much better now, 'cuz before you told me I had no idea. The point is to have a discussion so people will know and will go / won't go if they do / don't want that kind of experience.

              1. I hear you Cardamom. I was a huge fan of the Nose. I loved the ambience and the food. It wasn't all great, and by the end of an evening, all those little dishes could really add up. But I didn't care, I just loved the place. 5 Doors didn't really live up to it for me. It didn't have Mama Rosa's calamari.

                I was pretty excited when 7 Numbers opened on Eglinton and even more excited when it showed up closer to home on the Danforth. But none of my visits have really lived up to the hype. The last time I sat inside, almost every dish was barely passable, and some (the tilapia) even awful. The noise was TOO much. My husband swore never to return and has kept that promise. I went back another time and sat on the patio with a GF. Waiter was fun, not too much attitude, noise was not an issue as we were outside, food was okay, but it still didn't live up to my fond memories of the Nose. I guess they could call it the NOISE.

                I may stop by and have a couple of dishes on the patio again, but I will never again submit myself to that level of noise. I just don't understand any restaurant that willingly makes it uncomfortable for their patrons to enjoy a little conversation with their food.

                And yes, to all those proponents of voting with your feet, I absolutely do, every time I pass it by without entering. I only wish they could live up to the Nose.

                1. You people are SO FUNNY! I've worked in the restaurant trade in Toronto for 20 years and I am not surprised by some of your comments about 7 Numbers. It has always been, and will always remain to be, difficult to please everyone. Some will like your food but not the ambiance, while others might come for the mood-lighting (it's important to look good while out on a date) only. I've even been guilty of such things myself! There's a little place that I go to a lot (great food, great service), but I don't go there if I want to get dressed up & feel hip! (Shallow and silly, but I totally do this!) That being said, it really upsets me when I see disparaging comments made about places that I love - like 7 Numbers - that I have not found to be true. Yes, we can all have differing opinions of certain places...but to say that the food is not good at 7 Numbers, or that the servers try too hard to NOT be concerned about serivce (what?!?!), well I just don't get it. Someone also commented that they didn't spend a lot on decor, which was good but bad, both, at the same time.

                  This is what I know. I've eaten dinner at 7 Numbers about 100 times since they opened - they're in my 'hood! - and I have to say that I have never, EVER, received food that was anything short of superb. I take chef friends there, I take my sommelier friends there, and I take my parents there. Never have they had anything short of a great time! Yes, my sommelier friends could complain that they don't have fancy wine glasses, and my chef friends could complain that they don't use high-end, organic incredients purchased from the Five Thieves in Rosedale...but they don't. They enjoy it for what it is - good, honest cooking. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, and that's that!

                  7 Numbers is a place for people to go when they want to enjoy some good cooking and have fun. If you don't fit into either of those categories, go to the library!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gigi

                    I don't understand why this is turning into a flame war. I, and some others, described experiences there that have lead us to avoid the place. My comments accurately represent my experiences. I've found the food OK - not superb; not terrible. I don't like the ambience. You like it. What's the big deal here?

                    I like what 7 Numbers purports to be. I don't find that they deliver on this. I find them pretentious and rude. I'm happier at Gio's. I feel welcome there. Others may not. I didn't enjoy the original Yonge St "Nose", even though the cooking there was often better than the cooking at Gio's now, because I couldn't stand the server schtick there. That's why we post our opinions. If EVERYTHING you've had at 7 Numbers was "superb", your luck has been freaky. I certainly can't say that everything I've had at, say, Perigee, was superb and 7 Numbers isn't in that league and doesn't claim to be. If you've been treated well there, good for you. I haven't been, and I'm not someone who insults or patronizes my servers.

                    Now don't get me started on Kubo Radio...

                  2. There is no spoiling the party for me, just a extra seat available because you're not there.
                    Big fan of 7 Numbers and continue to be.

                    1. Good food is good food. You're not disputing that in your post. I haven't had any bad experiences there. Agree with others that you're not spoiling any party. You have not presented any good reasons not to go there for those of us that appreciate good food for good prices.

                      1. I recommend going for dinner early (6-ish), before they crank the music and it becomes a "scene". I love 7 numbers - the food is always good, the service always friendly in my experience, and they are great with my kids (who love their lasagna, though, frankly, I find it a little on the salty side). The glasses are declasse, to be sure, but it doesn't bother me in the least. The wine list is well-chosen (interesting Italians, Australians and some great smaller-production wines from Niagara) and reasonably priced. The apps are almost all great, as are the salads, fish and braised meat dishes.

                        1. My favs are the calamari, figs with blue cheese, the mixed greens (I LOVE their dressing!), grilled red pepper with arugula and goat cheese, and the shrimp - although the "spicy" tomato sauce could use a bit of heat. That's why I ADORE their housemade hot oil!! Ask for it...it's amazing.

                          I'm not a big fan of pasta - oh, the carbs! - but at 7 Numbers I'll usually have a bite of something. I can't resist. For the mains, we usually have one of their fish options: the tilapia is great, in a lemon/caper sauce & who can resisit Tony's long, thick Italian sausage? For sides: rapini (it's bitter, as rapini is supposed to be, but good for you!), spice olives, oyster mushrooms, grilled asparagus...need I go on?

                          For dessert: the flourless chocolate cake is a must! To be honest, I haven't tasted any of their other desserts, as I am a bit of a chocoholic. If you haven't yet been...you should go!

                          1. if food is good, the service is fast and the place is clean, what does the rest matter?

                            i love the place, i love the attitude, i love mama rosa...more importantly, i love the lasagna, the calamari, the lamb and the rapini..and yes, the flourless chocolate cake.

                            if attitude didn't come w/ good food, seinfeld would be out of a job. Some of the best food i've had comes w/ a side a attitude from the owners.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: superchick

                              I saw this restaurant recently on Food TV and was interested to give it a try. Could someone provide an update to this topic. Also, what are the differences to the Eglinton and Danforth locations? Is the menu the same? I've been on the website but only saw a sample menu for a large party. I'd like some idea of the prices as well, for example, the calamari, pastas, osso bucco and desserts. Lastly (and very important to a dessert lover ...lol), I don't think I've had a flourless chocolate cake. I've had very dense, flat cakes before. Would this be an almost fudgy, stick to the roof of your mouth and sweet type of cake?

                              TIA :)

                              1. re: red dragon

                                I can't help you with comments on 7 numbers, but a flourless chocolate cake is usually very dense, but the texture can vary from baker to baker. The be all, end all of flourless chocolate cakes for me is the one at Starfish. It's dense, incredibly smooth, dark chocolate goodness (almost like a ganache). Other cakes have a bit more crumb. I've not had any that I would think of as fudgy and they are generally not too sweet. The ingredients are usually not much more than chocolate, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Whatever the texture, they are usually very good. :)

                            2. I'll weigh in here. For background, I have been the 7 numbers on Eglinton once 5 years ago, and once to 5 Doors North a couple of years before that. We went to the Danforth location Friday night.

                              Verdict: I do think they've gone downhill, while at the same time my food sophistication & cooking skills have gone up.

                              Appetizers: the arugula/goat cheese and the prosciutto/fig salads. I remember really like the arugula/goat cheese mixture, stuffed into roasted red peppers. Well it's not stuffed anymore, and both the cheese and red pepper were present in small amounts that I had to hunt for in the arugula. A whole or half red pepper, at this time of year when they are cheap, would have been nice. The flavours are the same but without the presentation, it became something I could easily do at home. Hubby enjoyed his, the prosciutto did seem to be good quality.

                              Pasta: The menu promised fusilli with "strong aged ricotta". Huh? I was intrigued enough to order. Too bad we got fusilli in an umimpressive tomato sauce with a few mushroom chunks. But I never order tomato-sauced pasta out so I have no basis for comparison.

                              Sides: Grilled Rapini and Oyster mushrooms with parmesan. Again, years ago I was impressed by the grilled asparagus at five Doors North. But this rapini was not grilled; it was simply blanched, and rendered devoid of the lovely bitterness. The mushrooms were tasty enough.

                              Mains: osso bucco and rabbit. I've never had osso bucco before so again I have no basis for comparison. I expected the meat to be super tender and it fell just short of that. The marrow was fabulous. The sauce was an oily, chunky, tomato-carrot- celery thing. I know they are going for rustic but again I had the feeling I could have made it myself. Hubby's rabbit was quite tasty with good rabbity flavour.

                              Dessert: I was somewhat surprised at the $5.95 pricetag especially given the small servings - compared to their other prices it seemed expensive, although I realize the things we ordered were most likely brought in. I had the dark and white chocolate mousse - the dark was too sweet for me, but probably I should have ordered the flourless chocolate cake to truly judge. I had one bite of hubby's key lime pie, which was really a tart. Now the first bite of dessert is always the best, but I was impressed: lots of the slightly bitter lime rind flavour, nice graham crust.

                              Atmosphere: we don't get out much so we enjoyed the bustling atmosphere - they were quite busy and it felt much later than 7pm. At our table we could hear each other just fine. It reminded me of Montreal for some reason. Not at all romantic but good for a first date, or married couple out on a date - but not a special occasion.

                              Verdict: Overall, it was enjoyable. I liked being able to sample many dishes because of the low price point. But for my money ($115 before tip including $40 bottle of an Italian cab), I would rather go to Batifole, for example, and eat fewer dishes of a higher quality, ones that I can't cook myself.

                              1. Aside from the typical shunning from the servers when they find out I'm not buying wine-
                                I love this joint.
                                This restaurant is not noisy-It's the yakity-yak of the young business "ladys" who come there and HARDLY EVEN EAT.They just run their gates at volume 11 and get their "sex in the city" on.
                                Never had a problem with the tuneage-twas cool.
                                Order the sardines-I think they are marinated in morphine!one plate per person.At the minimum.I could eat at least a half dozen.Dream about them in fact.
                                The duck leg rocks mmmmmmmm! get extra bread to mop up the duck grease-SO GOOD.
                                All the pasta is good too-had 'em all.
                                A great place to go for sure.
                                p.s the green P parking out back NEVER gives tickets so i guess FREE PARKING.

                                1. I was very underwhelmed with my meal at 7 Numbers. The chef seemed more interesting in gabbing on the phone than preparing food. The food took too long, was chintzy for the price and while decent, I could certainly have done better with less hassle.