I'd like to hear other thoughts on this topic.
Yesterday, I was at this cafe, having spent many a memorable evening there 15 years ago. Summerlicious was on, and we were there around 5.15, and and when we inquired about a table, a rather unkempt officious waiter told us that it was going to be difficult to find seating. Despite that he eventually relented and we sat at an empty table (the whole place being empty). We ordered wine...a rather unpeppy and warm red for me, and a sharply acidic pinot grigio for my husband. We were then told that the fresh menus for summerlicious had still not been printed, but the same waiter (I'll call him Basil Fawlty) was able to rhyme off the dinner menu. We ordered Caprese salad, steak for me, and mushroom risotto for my husband. What turned up, was a rather wilted salad, crowded on old plates. Ah the forgiving nature of white porcelain, when it's used! Still, no way to disguise the old lettuce. Fresh menus, but old lettuce... why not the other way around?
By this time, I'd returned to the bartender, and asked for a switch in my $9 tiny glass of wine... he agreed it was pretty bad for Beaujolais, and I ended up with a medicinal Malbec.
Courses... Mushroom risotto, the colour and aplomb of oatmeal for hubby, and a chewy, probably previously frozen, and freshly salted steak for me. Good veg and mash. Then came the dessert service. I ordered the really promising chocolate gateau...hmmm brownie with chocolate sauce was what I got. Hubby got a smidgeon of dry cheesecake.
I think it takes effort to present such a poor meal for $76, tax included, after over 15 years experience in the business. But not an uncommon experience in Toronto, to be made a fool of, when you dine out. Basically, you pay $10 for ingredients for 2, and $60 for rent, tablecloth, dishes, and table service. Does anyone else have a view on the mediocre meritocracy of the average plunk your bottom on a deck Toronto cafe? Can someone come up with a list of 20 decent places with decent wines scattered east to west downtown?