Restaurants & Bars 3

Chega (New, Yonge/Yrk Mills)

abscissa | Feb 16, 200805:47 PM

This place is -- as you will hear from someone no doubt -- "so popular" that they don't even need a sign. I have had at least three different people tell me the same thing verbatim. Someone has some good advertising going on...

In fact, the like the exterior sign, the interior feels unfinished -- though who knows if this is deliberate? The faux artwork and mirrors make for a kitschy, albeit dark, atmosphere. A fleeting survey of the room counted (other than my party) exactly 2 people (who were dining with their newborn, who was in the carrier next to them) under 35. Virtually everyone in the room was over 50+. I was told there was "absolutely no way" that I could get reservations unless I booked at 6.00 -- when we arrived the place was virtually empty, though it did start to fill up around 7.00 (though not completely). What a lie -- and this was valentine's week-end, Saturday night.

The prices at this place are quite reasonable. You can expect MUCH bigger than average portions. In fact, way, way too big. I had the calamari as an appetizer... the calamari itself was utterly disgusting, aside from being miniscule (compared to the bed of who knows what it was served on -- which, as I say, could have been its own main course) it was black with carbon from whatever had been pan seared and burnt before it. Entirely appalling taste and inexcusable. Somewhere in between the bed of spinach and bell peppers etc. was rosti, burnt to a crisp. I could not bring myself to order anything on the menu other than the pizza (two of us)--those in my party who ordered pasta (two people) and risotto (one person) were not able to finish their meal (probably only 1/2 or 2/3 at most). The pizza was, in fact, satisfying -- though I really resent "having" to order pizza at a restaurant.

I had cancelled the order for desert, since by the time we had all finished dessert coffee and tea, it was not ready. I was then told that the creme caramel was "on the house". Just as well, since it was some surprise mocha/cappuccino original recipe--though it was edible, unlike the calamari.

If you are eating out on a budget and find yourself in the throes of decrepitude with an indiscriminate palette, you may enjoy this place, particularly if you need to bring some food home for the week while you wait for your next pension cheque. The plating is pretentious enough that it could fool the casual observer. The place may be busy, but so is McDonald's. I strongly advise anyone who is looking for anything other than a local, casual meal to seek elsewhere.

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