Just wondering what the Chowhound's impression of the all you can eat Italian buffet restauraunt Frankie Tomatoe's (Woodbine and Steeles area) is?
What type of food do they serve and what would you recommend trying?
Also, what is the best (i.e. least crowded) time to go?
Frankie's quality is your typical buffet quality. Meaning, not really fresh and prepared hastily to serve the masses.
They have a noodle/sauce bar (spaghetti/fetuccini, red/white sauce, w/without meat), salad bar, veal parmigiana, roasted chicken, misc. pizza, gelato, other stuff i can't remember. I believe non-alcoholic drinks are included (1/person).
I'm not a big Italian food fan, so I'm not rushing back.
But the less crowded time to go is probably weekdays (late lunch or early dinner).
"and everything taste exactly the same...no matter what you order"
While this may describe Frankie's, it certainly doesn't describe Mandarin or any of the multitude of Chinese buffets in the GTA. The food at the Chinese buffets may be mediocre at best but they don't taste exactly the same.
Frankie's, on the other hand, was bad. Very bad. Tasteless and worse than food court food. Everything was sub-mediocre, below buffet "quality." Not sure why they've survived for so long.
A trough to which to take your children. Find out when they they have a special for children.
With so many excellent Italian restaurants in Toronto, why go to Frankie Tomatoe's ?
As stated previously, the food is mass produced and not particularly fresh tasting. That is, it probably is fresh--it just doesn't taste particularly fresh.
I've been there once--for a large group social occasion--and will not return--unless it is for the same group social occasion. :)
Indeed, the comparison someone else made to Mandarin is apt. I've been there quite a number of times because my office is near there, and buffets offer a convenient and fast choice for team lunches. The food is fine, but certainly not outstanding. It's also cheap, and plentiful and varied, and it results in a bill that can be easily divided.
For Italian Buffets, I prefer Vinnie Zuchinis at Steeles & Dufferin, but it's only a slight cut above. It's still a buffet. Pretty good for what it is, but it's never goin to be great.
Well last night I gave in and took my late teen son and two of his friends to Frankie's. Afterwards, we all agreed: DON'T!
To begin with the positives: we were promptly seated at our reservation time. The waiter kept drink glasses full and was attentive without upselling, The Calabrian garlic toast slices were very good: crisp and garlicky. Chicken chunks (from a big hen, I guess) that were juicy and flavorful. Sorry folks, that's all.
The negatives: Really third-rate food, with many plates at times empty. Disgusting, chewy and unflavourful meat-light lasagne. Chicken parm that tasted defrosted, limp "crust" and unpleasant, mealy taste. Overdone roast beef with little flavor. Three dessert offerings emptyish and watery sitting on ice bowls throughout our time there. Hostess-style mini cupcakes.
Need I say more? Mandarin far better value at approx. same price point, Not worth the trip. And when seated in a characterless room (think 1960's Holiday Inn convention hall) on a busy Friday evening, no sense of atmosphere or fun to compensate.
That's the problem with many buffets, cause it's produced for the masses, not much love goes into it. I find them to be a waste anyway, yeah you get the variety, but how many plates you really going to eat anyway?? The only time I go to a buffet is on weekends at the mandarin, cause they have all you can eat king crab legs, which for the price you NEVER do better as if you go to the Keg or something, it's like 30 bucks for just like 4 crab legs..