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Fat Cat Wine Bar

Posted by Staff / Listed on May 31, 2007 / review policy

Fat Cat Wine BarFat Cat Wine Bar has two locations in Toronto including this one on Roncesvalles. As would be expected from the name, they offer many wines by the glass (3oz or 6oz) and feature a menu heavy on shareable plates including glazed pork belly, smoked salmon and antipasto.



Stephen van Egmond / April 29, 2009 at 12:30 pm
I have found this place to be consistently irritating, but always for different reasons. Much of it boils down to lousy service and unimpressive food. If you're out for a party among friends you won't notice, but as a date place I wasn't taken with it the 2-3 times I've been there.

Their menu is Tapas focused, and the thing about tapas is timing. If I order 3 plates and I'm sitting at a small table (and their tables are small) don't bring them all at once! They brought them all at once. And both 2 times 2 glasses of wine, when we asked they be timed to match the dishes.

Sort of a duh moment.

It's the kind of thing could be fixed by a change in the kitchen (maybe the sous was working that night) and letting the server move on to Kelsey's where they belong. For all I know this resto has made those changes already and it's alright.

Nice wine list, though.

Maria / July 26, 2009 at 06:56 am
I am posting this comment the second time. I am not impressed by the fact that it was removed. I have not used language that would have justified that.
I had an evening with friends at Fat Cat and the service was horrible. The waitress looked angry and resentful the whole time. Every time we asked for something we felt that we inconvenienced her. She made faces and was telling us we should synchronize our orders. I will not return despite the beautiful patio and if you like your server smile once in a while, stay away from Fat Cat!
Brian Slowey / January 24, 2010 at 12:24 am
The street is under construction and the restaurant had 2 other couples in it.

4 of us went out for dinner @ the italian place on queen but it was full.

So we decided to support roncey and were disappointed.

- good wine, but the price on my bill didn't match the pice on the menu (issue was fixed after I pointed it out...and I am not a guy who usually checks his bills - aka I roll.)
- Insanely small size portions make hotel soaps look like noah's ark
- each micro portion? $12 minimum
- over charged on my corrected bill for
- $200 bill for 4 of us with a $40 bottle of wine was not what any of us were expecting

- Free dessert (to apologize for the 2 billing issues) was delicious (chocolate mousse)
- Bread was endless and yummy and $2.00 for the first basket
- The dip was amazing
- $20 for approximately 20 potato slices = mad irishman
Taralyn / June 2, 2010 at 04:00 pm
I've been here once and had a wonderful experience. The food was delicious, the wine was even better. The owner was serving us and did a fantastic job. He even joined us for a drink on his patio.

Fat Cat also turned me onto olives~! Now I'm hooked!!
DDB / August 13, 2010 at 10:07 am
We had dinner there last night and honestly, it was so disappointing. I live in the area and had been meaning to try it out, but now that I have I'd never return.

First contact with female server - attitude. Get seated and asked if we need a minute, which we did....20 minutes later our drink order is taken. Service was horrible, the food UNDERWHELMING.

Every time we needed something we had to ask, and the servers seemed positively resentful that we even existed. We had to bring our credit cards to the bar, which was met with more attitude.

First time in my life I've left NO TIP! Too bad it's so terrible because it has a lovely patio.
d-brown / September 27, 2010 at 09:19 am
On Saturday I went to dinner there with my husband. We were immediately greeted with smiles. When we sat down we were given menus and water (nice touch). the food was really good. It is sort of in between tapas and normal sizes. .You are looking at about 2-3 dishes each. The ribs were ah-mazing! Our waitress was very pleasant, serving us with a smile and even some humour. The owner was there that night cooking in the kitchen. It was a nice warm atmosphere. We would and will definitely go back.
Theo / June 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm
Avoid this place and especially the LOBSTER.

What began as a pleasant experience with a friendly server ended in a lobster with black sludge pouring out of it.

It was extremely unappetizing - the staff insisted with a smile that it was completely normal and didn't offer to replace the item or take it off the bill. One claimed this black goo was her favorite part.

While it may be the case that this occurs occasionally in lobsters (I've eaten lobster my entire life and have never seen anything like this) when a customer can't even stomach looking at the item - let alone consume it - the establishment has a duty to serve the customer a replacement or offer to take it off the bill. Two servers weighed in on it and both didn't take initiative to make their customer happy with their meal.

Massive fail on their part - shame on these servers. I hope saving the replacement cost of this item, losing a tip coupled with a unfavorable photo of their food on the internet was worth it. Welcome to the internet age Fat Cat!
Mathew Sutherland / June 10, 2011 at 04:35 pm
I am the Owner of Fat Cat. the picture in the above review is of a female lobster and the eggs that often go along with that. The reason they are that colour instead of the sometimes red is because we try hard not to overcook our lobsters Which leaves the flesh tough but the eggs cooked. Most of our guests prefer to have them cooked a little less as it keeps the meat a little more delicate.Add to this that the eggs are actualy in the body of the lobster and if not pulled out and spread all over are easy to avoid. And by the way the eggs are very edible and considered a delicacy by many who enjoy lobsters. Sorry to hear your experiance at Fat Cat was anything less than fantastic. I may have handled it differently if I was in that night but support both servers in thier choice.
theo / June 20, 2011 at 12:59 am
Dear Chef,

Thanks for weighing in. After the experience at your establishment I showed the photo to two other chefs who indeed confirmed that the lobster was under cooked.

Your servers, however, didnt say it was eggs- they both confidently and incorrectly described it as tomalley. I'm aware of the eggs being a delicacy - but that is when cooked- so you don't score any points for mentioning that. It also should have served as a red flag for your servers the item should have been replaced (as if a disgusted customer wasn't enough.)

Standing by a servers decision to do nothing in this instance clearly highlights a serious issue with customer service at your restaurant.

Thanks for your input.
Roctop replying to a comment from theo / June 22, 2011 at 10:43 am
I agree, but with all the words going back and forth it brings up a question: Is this a chef or a con man passing off bad food as an excuse for poor management? There are much, much better places to dine in across TO.
Mathew Sutherland / June 22, 2011 at 11:36 am
And as I have said roctop. After 10 years in buisness and and the last three years of constuction. You stay behind your key board and I will stay running my restaurant and satisfying guests again and again. Sorry to hear you experiance was less than fantastic. Please come back and give us another try. And if you wish say hello. I will be sure you are well taken care of. Yours truly.
Roctop replying to a comment from Mathew Sutherland / June 22, 2011 at 03:15 pm
Thank you. We might at that.
Tim / April 18, 2012 at 11:24 pm
This place is horrible. My wife and I went in for a drink and shared plates, and all we got from the wait staff was attitude all night. Mediocre food and wine. Lots of great places closed on Roncesvalles during the streetcar construction. I really wish this establishment did instead.
lockrobsta replying to a comment from Roctop / November 28, 2012 at 11:19 am
Don't do it. If you mention this thread, he's going to piss in your food. And then when you grimace at your meal, he'll just say "Sorry to hear your experience was less than fantastic."
Mathew Sutherland replying to a comment from lockrobsta / February 8, 2013 at 02:36 pm
Why would you say that?
Marc / June 4, 2013 at 09:53 am
I had an expired Groupon to Fat Cat, & I left a voicemail with Fat Cat with my options. Matthew Sutherland personally returned my call and left me a detailed message of my options - including honouring the full value of my expired Groupon if I visited Mon-Thu. We are going toniight, and if customer service matches the food, we're going to have a great time! Keep an eye for an update tomorrow morning!
Marc / June 5, 2013 at 10:29 am
As promised an update from my first meal at FatCat last night. We redeemed a GROUPON for 4 that included 24 oysters, antipasto for 4 and 4 desserts. The Oysters were Canadian east coast oysters and were fresh and delicious and well-shucked (no pieces of broken shell). The anitpasto plate was excellent and generous considering the high quality choicss including two great cheeses - not your typical Italian type antipasto, which was a nice change. Tastefully presented. The plate was cleaned out by the three of us (my wife couldn't join us). We ordered an extra plate of crab cakes which were excellent, and a flank steak salad, The flank steak was very finely shredded and was a little light on the meat for the price but the tast was there. For dessert we had the brownie, lemon tart pudding and the poached pear. The brownie was 'uneventful as far as brownies go, but mixing it with the lemon tart made a whole new taste! The poached pear was satisfying with all dessert accompanied by various berries and cremes/compote/. Service was great, and as we sat in the patio, we found that we did not feel crowded. Other guests that we observed seemed to be pleased with their meals and their services too. We'll be back for $25 lobster Mondays & Tuesdays !
Torsten Westwood / August 13, 2013 at 07:13 pm
I live in the Roncesvalles area and have for 8 years. I can tell you that I have enjoyed the patio at FAT CAT, and I have had a decent lobster dinner there too. However, I am very disappointed to see that after having multiple horrible experiences from a service perspective, and having read multiple horrible reviews about the service on three different blogs, that the owner has not addressed the poor, poor quality of the staff. Last I checked, restaurants were part of the hospitality industry.
I recently attempted to book a reservation for the Civic holiday, hoping the lobster dinner would be served. I did not receive any replies to my inquiries about the availability, and when I made the effort to visit the restaurant to inquire in person, I was greeted with the same miserable and condescending attitude attached to the same miserable and condescending server I have experienced three times. The server rudely informed me that the restaurant was closed on the holiday and "I would not be getting (my) lobster." Here I am two weeks later, still thinking about it and writing this as a result. My only conclusion is that consistently offensive server has part ownership of this venture, because no business person in their right mind would keep this woman front of house.
The good qualities of this place are ultimately tarnished by the wretched service, leaving a taste of regret in your mouth so foul, its best to plan for a different restaurant altogether.
Michelle replying to a comment from Mathew Sutherland / October 19, 2013 at 06:33 pm
Hi Mathew,

I'm looking up places in the neighbourhood and after reading your responses I'm not going to check out your establishment. Maybe swallow your pride when dealing with customers, listen to them, and earnestly try to make changes. They're literally only trying to help, a little bit of humility might actually fix your business' perception and maybe performance.

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