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Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

I've tried some of the food trucks downtown (Toronto), and can't say I've been overly impressed. Similarly, bland food, high prices, and small portions. I wouldn't mind the small portions (I'm not a big eater) if the prices were right and the food was good.

May 24, 2014
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

OK, so I'm not sure who amongst you have recommended Baldwin St. Burger, but I just drove across hell's half acre to get there (maybe not that far, but in Saturday traffic from Ajax, it felt like it) to have lunch, and it was goddamned terrible.

First, the burger. The patty was overdone, not juicy, and tasted bland - not beefy, not flavourful. The meat was dwarfed by the bun, and was just an afterthought to the slathering of ketchup and mustard.

Next, the fries were just so-so. They claim they are double cooked, but all I noticed was thin, brown fries that were not really hot or well-done. Just soggy and salty.

Finally, my daughter ordered poutine. The gravy was clearly canned gravy, but the bacon and curd was pretty good. However, the whole mess was overly salty.

I doubt I'll go back. At $7.50 for a burger, there are lot's of places that are much, much better.

May 24, 2014
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

Mexico Lindo is terrible. And so is that shitty place, El Dorado, which is also a golf course in Whitby.

I don't like Starr Burger either. Damn thing falls apart all over the place. What I find most people say about places like Starr Burger is, "You get soooooo much food!!"

Shamrock, the burgers are not that great - about the same as Harvey's if you ask me. But their onion rings are the best I've had in a long while. I don't eat many burgers, so I expect quality over quantity.

Apr 02, 2014
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

Maimana Naan & Kebab in Ajax, in the plaza across from Wal-mart on Hwy 2, serves Afghani food. Personally, I've never really found Afghani food to be all that good - seems pretty bland.

Maimani is alright. I've been three times, and in that time have tried the tandoori, the ground meat kebab, and the other chicken that they serve. Have also ordered the dumpling-like appetizers. Overall, not bad, but the menu doesn't hold up to multiple visits - after 3 visits I was already bored. Waaaay too much rice was served with every meal, and along with the naan, it was overly carb-y. The sauces served with the meal are pretty good, but I found myself mixing it in with my rice so that it would taste different.

Not too expensive. The service is OK. I will say, the staff are a lot more friendly with Afghani patrons and those who speak Farsi, and they seem to have access to a much broader menu. Oh, and not really fast service.

Feb 22, 2014
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

BTW, I'm going to mention KB once again. I've been 6-8 times now, for dinner, and I have to say they are great. I have not had a bad meal here.

The only time I was disappointed was when I went and wanted to try the roasted pig's head, and I found out I'd missed it. But, I had a great meal anyways.

The menu changes frequently, but there are some staples that seem to stick around, like the duck liver pate, and the pickles. Order a plate of pickles, they are probably the best pickles I've ever eaten. And the whiskey sour from the bar is a nice drink to have with dinner, if you don't want beer or wine.

Feb 22, 2014
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

Pho Metro, up at Taunton/Salem plaza in Ajax, is not bad Vietnamese. Not great, but given the lack of good Vietnamese, you take what you can get.

I've been twice for supper. Warning - the service is absolutely terrible. Seat yourself, and like most Pho places, you pick what you want and write it on those little order sheets. Don't expect the following:

1. Every guests food to come out at the same time
2. Appetizers to come out before mains
3. Drink orders to be correct
4. Quick service

I've had the pho, and I've had the noodle bowl. The pho is the better choice, as it has more flavour. The noodle bowl, while it looks good, doesn't have the depth of flavour that hole-in-the-wall pho places in Toronto have. We've also ordered the spring rolls with pork; again, not bad, but not the best I've had.

This place, like most pho places, is cheap. Dinner for 3 of us cost around 45 bucks, tax and tip included.

Feb 22, 2014
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

The cheese shop is good because it is the only one in the area. And the selection is OK. But, don't bother asking for wine and cheese pairing recommendations - they don't have a clue.

Feb 03, 2014
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

Thanks for the recommends - Debbie's is definitely a great place!

Oct 01, 2013
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

I've had a great meal at The Brock House. I agree with Buster Rhino - the Whitby core is starting to populate with decent eateries.

Dec 06, 2012
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

Stay away from Pasta Tutti Giorni! Just opened at 259 Kingston Rd in Ajax (across from Wal-mart), I took my family there last night (Saturday, December 1) and it is one of the worst meals I've ever had in a restaurant.

First, I will give a pass to any service mistakes for a new restaurant. I know that going to a brand new place, the service staff is just getting their feet wet, so I will focus only on the meal quality.

Here is what we ordered:
Calamari fritti
Me: Osso bucco with linguini in tomato sauce and a Caesar salad
Wife: Veal del bosco with rigatoni in tomato sauce and Caesar salad
Daughter & Son: Linguine alfredo with chicken added
Son: Carnivore pizza

The calamari was passable, but not great. Instead of the light tempura batter that most places serve, this has a dark brown, almost breadcrumb batter. It is served with a terribly bland marinara sauce. Unfortunately, this calamari was the best part of the meal.

The alfredo dishes came and the 'added chicken' was 4 bite size pieces of white meat. Hardly a side of chicken. But, portion size aside, the alfredo had no flavour. If you have ever had those pastas that come in a pouch, the kind that come with a powdered sauce mix, you have had a better linguine alfredo than what is offered at Pasta Tutti Giorni. This tasted like...nothing! It was barely creamy and tasted like plain pasta. There was very little flavour to this dish.

The Caesar salads were no better. It has a couple of croutons, bacon bits, bagged romaine, and dressing. It tasted like wet lettuce. Even though it had a lot of dressing, the dressing had no garlic flavour, no creaminess. It tasted like thick water.

My wife's veal was a thin cutlet of veal dressed in a mushroom sauce. The mushroom sauce tastes *exactly* like watered down mushroom soup. The meat was salty. And the tomato pasta sauce on her pasta (and on mine) tasted like watered down tomato soup. There was no taste of herbs or spice. None at all.

The osso bucco was terrible. It was tender, I will give it that, but let me tell you, it must have been marinated in a salt bath, because it was overly salty and did not have a nice braised flavour. It came with inedible soggy carrots and large chunks of onion.

My other son's pizza was a thin crust meat pizza. He said he liked it (he's not a food sharer, so we didn't taste it) but it was crisp on the edges and soggy in the centre.

While waiting for our table, the bartender told us that PTG will be opening 10 restaurants and 10-20 mall food court locations. After having supper here, I can tell you that they are serving food that is low-end food court quality. I imagine they are sourcing all food from the same place and using the same recipes whether in a food court or a sit down.

And, the kicker - while eating, a waiter was walking to a table with a bread basket and one of the buns fell out of the basket. He reached down, picked it up, another waitress saw him, they both looked at the bun, and the waiter put it back in the basket and delivered it to a table!

The meal cost $110, we bought our drinks at the bar, so that doesn't include drink cost, just a really bad meal. We won't be going back.

Dec 02, 2012
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

Well, here's a little secret - I generally don't enjoy chip truck fries, but there is a place in Ajax called Friar Truck, and I've got to tell you, his fries are magical! First, you get a tonne of fries - my family of 3 teens and my wife and I can eat two large with much leftover. The fries are crispy, hot, and creamy inside, and just plain delicious.

Friar Truck is located on Doric Street, two streets south of Hwy 2 and Harwood. You can't miss the yellow truck in the parking lot.

Oh, and not completely certain, but I think he's only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. But I could be wrong.

Jun 07, 2012
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

Il Fornello opened up a new location in Ajax, on Kingston Rd., across the street from Chapters/The Keg, in the same plaza as McDonalds. Here's my advice - save your money and go to McDonalds.

My wife and I have tried Il Fornello in downtown Toronto twice, and both times left disappointed. Overpriced, bad, almost rude, service, and the food is simply substandard. But, we are always excited to see a new restaurant open in Ajax, so we thought we'd give it another try, and off we went on Friday for supper.

We arrived around 6:30pm, and had to wait about 30 minutes for a table. Not a long wait, so we went to the bar where I ordered a negroni and my wife had a bellini. I suspect my negroni had been made with a double shot, as it was overly gin-y and not bitter enough, and I began to feel it after I was around halfway through. But, hey, dinner was soon, so I'd endure a free double shot ;)

We got our table within 30 minutes. Opened with an order of calamari and we split a large Caesar salad with anchovy. Bread arrived - it is just plain white baguette, nothing to write home about. Then came our calamari and salad. The calamari was very greasy and became soggy after a while. The garlic aioli was nothing special - mayo and garlic. The Caesar salad was very disappointing - romaine, oily croutons, bottled dressing. And the anchovies? 5 canned anchovy filets thrown on the top of the salad. At $13, I was expecting a lot more. I can get a better Caesar at East Side Marios (so you get the idea how crummy this salad was).

The main entrees are weak - the menu isn't fully available yet. Basically, you can choose pizza or pasta. So I ordered a pizza with artichoke, prosciutto, red pepper, and mozzarella. My wife ordered chicken parmaggiano.

The pizza was terrible. Thin crust, but soggy in the centre. I could not hold a piece to eat it - I had to use a knife and fork. The cheese was sparse, the prosciutto plain and tasteless, the sauce almost non-existent. The only flavour came from the black olives. At $17, this was a waste of money.

The chicken parm was not any better. The pasta was overdone, the sauce had that over-salted from-a-can taste (almost like Ragu), and the chicken was a bit dry and overbreaded with little to no parm flavour. Again, $19 down the drain.

For dessert we split a slice of chocolate mousse cake. Blech! This was highly recommended by the server. Well, the cake was dry, and if you can believe it, the mousse was even more dry! The icing was over-sweet.

The service was alright. The wait staff are friendly, unlike the downtown location. But, aside from the Stella Artois I had with dinner, and the company I was with, this was a really bad way to spend my dining out dollars.

Jun 03, 2012
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

I don't want to start a bitter argument - hey, we are all food lovers, right? I agree with others here - Sushi Mountain is terrible. I happen to think they've always been terrible, but I know others used to enjoy them.

Sushi T&T is a recent discovery for me. I happen to like the service and the speed. For an AYCE, it's not terrible.

Now for the controversy. Perhaps I need to revisit, but the one time I went to Kobo, I didn't find it was much better than anything else I've had. A few friends said it was worlds better than anything else in Durham, but I disagree. It just didn't seem to be all that awesome. Maybe I need to give it a second chance.

Apr 02, 2012
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

Many good picks here, but I'll add a few updates:

1. Makimono was good a couple of years ago, but since the introduction of all-you-can-eat, they have gone downhill - poor service, fish quality is low

2. For an alternative, Sushi T&T, on Harwood, south of Hwy 2, is a good all-you-can-eat sushi. Fresh, fast service, I recommend it

3. Never had Mt. Everest for Indian, but right by Mt. Everest is Bombay Grill. Quite good.

4. Wings - You can't got wrong with St. Louis Grill on Harwood, south of Hwy 2. I know they are a chain gig, but the wings are pretty good. I also find Kelsey's at Harwood & Hwy 2 serve wings that are quite good.

5. My wife raves about Burb's Bistro. I've yet to go.

6. The Keg sucks. Major loss in quality

7. Costco hotdogs and fries - best quick lunch for value when shopping

8. There is a European deli in the plaza across from Costco in Ajax (same plaza as the McDonalds). Absolutely delicious schnitzel style sandwiches.

Off the top of my head, that's what I like in Ajax.

Jan 05, 2012
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Source for Hot Dogs and buns used by street vendors?

Have you tried Costco? They sell Olympic (or Olympus?) ball park franks, and also Shopsies franks that are about the same size. About $8-$9 for 24, i think...

As for the buns, never seen them.

Chris.

Aug 15, 2010
cwheeler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)