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Tinto Bar De Tapas on Bayview

We went two Fridays ago. The place was packed, people were lined up outside. They looked slammed and in the weeds. The manager who appeared to also be waiting tables was frantic, running through the restaurant, ignoring guests and being generally surly. After we finally flagged him down he said the wait would be an hour and we could leave our number and they'd call us when the table was ready. We left our number and walked around Bayview.

Half an hour later we swung back to see where we were on the list, only to be reprimanded and told they had tried to call us and we had lost our table and would have to wait another hour. I held up my phone, which had been in my hand the entire time and of course there was no sign of an incoming call. No apology was offered either. By this point we were starving so we agreed to wait but hung out right inside the door, where we then heard two other couples told the the same story, that they had been phoned and had now lost their tables. We asked if we could get a glass of wine while we waited as there is a stand up bar in the front window and were told gruffly, "No! We're at capacity." Why we didn't simply leave is beyond me. But we waited.

Now here's the turnaround...we finally were seated and attended to by a most fantastic server. I think her name was Anna and I also think she may have been connected to the owner. She was FANTASTIC!!! We chose our wines and then let her choose and match our tapas. And she chose perfectly. The selections came immediately, were fresh and flavourful, interesting and delicious. We loved everything we ate. Portions, as expected for tapas, were mostly miniscule and left us wanting more. But oh, so wonderful: seafood stew, garlic shrimp, grilled, crunchy, salted shishito peppers, tomato bread, cheeses, meats,mmmmmmmm. We LOVED it all!

The room is tiny and very noisy; so loud in fact at times we couldn't hear each other, but that may have been due to a table of four women at the back who basically screamed and cackled incessantly. And the grill hood is woefully inadequate, so be prepared for your clothes and hair to smell like food when you leave.

Would we return? Absolutely. I'm hopeful as they settle into a groove and learn to manage the demand, they will iron out the surliness at the door, fix the exhaust hood and treat their patrons like guests. I think they have a bright future if they can actually be nice to people.

I'd love to hear others' experiences.

Aug 27, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Can you recommend a starch and veggie to accompany this lemony-haddock?

Lemon Dill Quinoa!

Aug 25, 2014
GRobin in Home Cooking

DBar at Four Seasons: how crowded?

Not crowded at all.

Jun 23, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Paralía

Please do as the food was good and the place is gorgeous. I'd like nothing more than for this to turn out to be a great place with great service.

Jun 20, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Paralía

Three different times...all horrible. 3 strikes..they're out. And have heard the same from several others, most recently two Saturdays ago.

Jun 19, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Paralía

A new name won't help the horrible, inexcusable service and lack of management.

Jun 19, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

L'Avenue Bistro, Leaside - Any one been recently? How good is the food?!

Charles, I do think it's better than average. Very fresh ingredients, to be sure. Sadly, I have not tried their Spanish Seafood soup due to a scallop allergy.

I look forward to your review.

Jun 13, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto trip report (and thanks): Momofuku, Canoe, Bar Buca, Bahn Mi Boys

Very good and useful report by a valued and articulate CH. Spot on! Next time give Buca a try. Mmmmmm!

Jun 13, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

L'Avenue Bistro, Leaside - Any one been recently? How good is the food?!

I live in the area and enjoy L'Avenue for what it is - simple, basic, not challenging, fresh, well presented and tasty bistro type fare. Great burger, good steak frites, very good "fried chicken" but be aware it's a salad, but delicious, very nice, light fish en papillotte. Salads are lovely and fresh but small and leave me wanting more. Desserts adequate. Service is attentive but unhurried. Fill your own wine glass to be sure.The menu doesn't change so it's easy to tire.

Enjoy.

Jun 13, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Yorkville! Help!

Just slightly north of Yorkville, but certainly walkable is Playa Cabana. Excellent margaritas and very good Mexican in a casual, funky setting that won't break the bank.

Jun 12, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Your best reccomendation in Toronto

So glad you enjoyed Buca. I was hoping you'd post your thoughts. If you can go to Bar Isabel early, then absolutely try for walk in availability. It's so crappy out that you might luck out. Also worth considering are Bent and Actinolite. Enjoy.

Apr 29, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Your best reccomendation in Toronto

Oh no, they're nothing like that! Trust me!

Apr 17, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Your best reccomendation in Toronto

Excellent. I hope you enjoy it! Don't miss the nodini -
warm bread knots, olive oil, rosemary,
garlic, sea salt to nibble while you peruse the menu.

Apr 17, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Your best reccomendation in Toronto

Splendido, Scaramouche, Nota Bene.

Buca is by far my most favourite high end superb Italian in the city.

For casual mid-range Italian in a nice setting I really enjoy Terroni on Yonge Street just north of your hotel (5 minute car ride, 15 minute brisk walk).

Enjoy.

Apr 17, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

microwave in the island

Here's the drawer model we have in our island. http://bit.ly/1kz2Lmr

I like it very much. It's easy to get to, easy to clean and performs really well.

Apr 16, 2014
GRobin in Cookware

Wolf & Subzero

We bought ours from Appliance Canada. They were fine.

Apr 16, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Wow, I love this thread. So many memories. I think millygirl and I must have grown up in the same area and the same era!

I'd also add Noodles (Franco Prevedello's first resto I believe) which was very contemporary and unique in it's day! And Le Bistingo which was George Gurnon's first spot in the city after being Franco's maitre d' from 1973-1980, and offered revolutionary French country fare at the time.

My mom used to be taken on dates to the previously mentioned Julie's Mansion and Mr Tony's and considered those dates to be "good ones". Ha!

We had our wedding reception and dinner at Orso back in 1987, with cocktails downstairs and dinner upstairs with the eccentric, irrepressible John Maxwell at the helm.

The first Szchewan spot we ever went to was Champion House, downstairs on Dundas St West, back in the 80s and we loved it.

Favourite old haunts already mentioned were Bemelman's Bar where I could drink under age and then hit the resto for eggs benedict and fries at 1:00 in the morning after a night of dancing at The Generator!

And we loved Arlequin on Avenue Road back in its day, along with the original Vittorio's on Yonge Street (now North 44) where we first experienced mussels marinara served in the pan and where Vittorio himself whipped the zabaglione at your table at the end of the meal. RIP Vittorio. For a while we ate regularly at La Bionda, a tiny spot on Yonge at Rosedale where we knew the chef and owner.

And as a teenager my big splurge was to hit the restaurant upstairs in Cumberland Terrace for boozy cheese fondue. Was it called The Square?

Thanks for such a great walk down memory lane.

I found this amazing database where you can look up your old faves: http://bit.ly/1krPIWu

Apr 09, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Oh yes....Fenton's! Sigh....

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Oh yes, the Green Valley with my grandmother and her friends for a special "ladies lunch" which always started with a tiny glass of tomato juice!

And while we're talking about Ottawa, the first solid food I ate as a toddler was at The Golden Palace. I can still taste their eggrolls! Mmmmmm.

Monday night sushi

One of the reasons great sushi restaurants aren't open Mondays is because typically fresh fish arrives Fridays and Tuesdays. I make it a rule to never eat or buy fish on Mondays.

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

' La Croisee ' - Leaside's new French Bistro with cozy, romantic ambiance and delectable Burgundian Food!

We live just up the street and decided to try out this resto last night for my husband's bday dinner. When I made the rez on Open Table I indicated it was his birthday.

When we arrived we were greeted at the door by a server and maitre d', and my husband was immediately wished a very happy birthday. Coats whisked away, we were offered a choice of tables and chose the front window position. Two other tables were occupied in the long and comfortable (nowhere near "miserable" room).

My husband (not I) was offered a complimentary kir or kir royale or a dessert wine to celebrate his birthday. A nice touch, though odd that the offer was only to him.

We brought a very nice bottle of wine with us as we had read about the reasonable $20 corkage fee and limited wine list.

The amuse and homemade butter with paprika were delicious, thought the teensy bread rounds were too petite.

As the very limited menu and pricing have previously been described in detail, I will only mention we started with the onion soup, which was indeed watery and not the traditional cheese topped soup of lore and the chestnut soup which was rich, flavourful and delicious. I almost licked the diminutive bowl. Having heard raves about the bourgignon, we had to give it a try. The extremely tiny portion was very salty, yet flavourful, the best part being the small dollop of dauphinoise potatoes. We also had the honey, orange duck breast which was comprised of several very tough chunks of almost raw, very sweet meat with nary a hint of orange, accompanied by an off-putting eggplant curry mash which fought the flavours of the thick reduction.

The chocolate moelleux was beyond bitter, and we're dark chocolate lovers. This must have been made with a 90% product as was evidenced by the mouth puckering tannins which could not be tamed even by the ice cream or whipped cream. The mixed berries were beautifully presented and fresh. We passed on coffee as they do not have any type of decaf - not espresso, nor drip.

A few good notes; the service was fantastic, attentive and polished and shared between the lovely female server and the maitre d'. The china, stemware, flatware and linens are all top of the line and beautiful, most notably the plates.

The Chef did not come out to chat, but halfway through our meal, a corporate party of 12 arrived and he became busy.

I wanted to love La Croisee and I will try it again. They're really trying. I hope they can improve.

Mar 07, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Gilead Wine Bar

Perfect timing! Was there for lunch yesterday for a friend's birthday -- first and last time.

I didn't know that it's basically a take out spot with a few tables. There is no table service though they have two staff behind the register taking orders and bringing you your food. Not sure why they can't walk a few steps to actually take an order at the table???!!

The menu is a lengthy chalkboard list though many items are riffs of the same ingredients prepared in different ways. You place your order at the counter with the extremely unfriendly staff who are clearly put out about being there, then go sit down and hope you get your food in a reasonable amount of time. We were handed napkin wrapped cutlery. There is a table with filthy carafes of water and stacks of glasses and one is supposed to help themselves to water.

We both ordered soup, followed by two mains - the short rib poutine and the vegetarian cabbage roll as well as bread and butter which is $3. We asked that the soup and bread be brought out first which received a sigh and an eye roll and the declaration that they'd make the request but that's not how they do it! Turns out they did manage to bring us the bread and soup first and they were delicious.

The room was indeed freezing and the floor filthy too. Granted it's winter but really, it looked like the floor had never been mopped.

Jamie was onsite.

The food was yummy but the concept and the atmosphere leave a ton to be desired. There is absolutely zero hospitality extended. We spent $50 for lunch (no drinks).

Off my list.

Jan 28, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Costco Thread (Ontario - 2014 - part 1)

I use those strained tomatoes in soups, to make gazpacho, for pasta sauce and even for Bloody Marys if I thin it out a bit.

Jan 09, 2014
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to celebrate big birthday on mt. Pleasant

Mogette

Oct 23, 2013
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Dust is the New Foam (Cape Town and Winelands Resto Review)

We spent a wonderful 3 nights in Cape Town and 3 nights in Winelands before heading to the safari portion of our amazing vacation, and enjoyed some wonderful meals. The Test Kitchen in CT and The Tasting Room in Franschoek are often considered to be rivals. So I wrote a detailed, comparative review with pictures which you can read on our blog at http://bit.ly/YtGBI8 Enjoy! We did.

Apr 02, 2013
GRobin in Middle East & Africa

Any update on Langdon Hall's chef Jonathan Gushue?

Seems he needed a break. He's fine. http://bit.ly/X3VLlH

Feb 06, 2013
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

good brunch with a friendly, down-to-earth vibe

My fave for brunch is Saving Grace but lines are always long so I put my name on the list and head a few doors west to Ezra's pound for coffee and to read the NYTimes while I wait. Worth it.

Jan 14, 2013
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Holiday Lunch for 25

Hey CHs!
Looking for upscale, trendy suggestions for staff holiday lunch in December. Last year we held it at C5. Location not that important, though not north of Eglinton. No shared plates and must have both vegetarian and gluten free options. All suggestions welcome.

Sep 25, 2012
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Untrimmed Beef Brisket in Toronto

Nortown either on Eglinton west of Bathurst or Bayview and York MIlls.

Aug 22, 2012
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

New Juice Bar on Bayview

Anyone tried it? Know the name? Do they have a website? I always go to Big Carrot but new place is blocks from my house.

May 30, 2012
GRobin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)