My monthly bookclub event took me to Dooney's Cafe on Bloor, which I'm told is a cultural mainstay in the area.
I started with the soup special which was tasty, though somewhat oversalted, and then ordered the risotto of the day. My assumption was that a restaurant with a risotto of the day must do a great job of risotto. Not so much, really.
It was bland, mushy and soupy. It had none of the creamy consistency that makes risotto great, nor the toothiness of al dente rice grains that gives it texture. The grilled shrimp on top were quite good, and portion was generous bordering on huge but a huge amount of bad risotto is no treat.
Other items at the table looked quite a lot better. A grilled calamari salad, for example, looked amazing and fresh, as did the buffalo burger served on a crusty baguette.
Service was friendly (especially as the waitress had read the book of the month). The room is shabby/comfortable and pleasant enough, though stuck, as we were, in a corner between the kitchen and the bathrooms, we didn't have the best seat in the house. That might prove a problem for any group of 8-10 since that seems the obvious place to put them.
511 Bloor St. W. (Bathurst Subway Station)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. (7 days a week)