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TORONTO LIFE 2007 - DO YOU TAKE THE RATINGS SERIOUSLY?

Icey, I find Toronto Life to be the opposite for me (for the most part). My wife and I will try the 'top' restaurants as rated by Toronto Life and A LOT OF THE TIME find them sub-par and extremely over-priced. I know there are, of course, issues with consistency, but I can't see there being such a discrepancy... The other thing I find with some of the Toronto Life reviewers is that they are completely subjective. I realize the need to be somewhat subjective to hold the interest of the reader, but when it comes to aspects that many would disagree on, it is unfortunate that these reviews dismiss a restaurant based on them. Things such as decor, plate size etc.
But I guess NOW does the same (?). The other thing is (I would assume this memo came from the editors to seduce with 'shock value') I find they are incredibly rude, standoff-ish, and quipy in their dismissals, not to mention they write with the same tone and style that spoiled little eighth graders might write on facebook... From my perspective, it seems we live in a city where reviewers are not the most worldy or knowledgeable, coupled with the Canadian tradition of having to find SOMETHING wrong with everything -our communal self-deprication!!!
If you look at reviews from larger cities across America, Europe etc. you'll find they're a lot more mature, informative, and less 'bull in a china shop'... I find myself shaking my head in disapointment most times I pick up a food review in Toronto. Too bad with so many great restaurants that we don't have a better review reference.

Mar 08, 2008
jmalcolm in Food Media & News

brunch at Olivia's At Fifty Three

My wife and I are big fans of the restaurant and we heard they were doing Sunday brunch. We recently went to taste the goods with a few friends. It's in our neighborhood, so that made it easy...
You never know what to expect from a dinner restaurant doing brunch as we can attest to from numerous experiences in this city. However, we were very happy with the food and service. The brunch food remains at a consistant quality with the restaurant's dinner fare; somewhat exotic, very delicate, delicious in every respect, and wholesome, (for the most part) natural ingredients.
We had to do their micro-winery wines to accompany the food, even though it was only 1pm, but we couldn't resist.
My wife and I weren't too hungry, so we shared the club on freshly made multi grain bread. Mmmmm. Grilled back bacon, roasted tomato aioli, and a pomegranate molasses grilled capon breast. Fantastic! Our guests had a traditional crepe bretonne, which is a buckwheat deal wrapped in a sauteed vegetables with goat milk feta. And finally, a brunch place with good croissants! We were blown away by the croissants on our guests' 'plate' order, which was membrillo (!), daily cheese selections, fresh fruit and croissant. Of course we asked how such a beautiful, fresh, flakey, rich and perfectly made croissant was found in a Toronto restaurant they told us the owners pick up fresh croissants every Sunday morning from Pain Perdue. That explains it. Toronto's best croissant bakery!
Anyway, the entire experience was up there with my best brunches in Toronto. We're planning on going back soon, so we'll keep you posted as to whether everything is consistently good!

Mar 08, 2008
jmalcolm in Ontario (inc. Toronto)