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Restaurants

Nota Bene

Posted by Staff / Listed on October 30, 2008 / review policy

Nota BeneNota Bene is the brainchild of Splendido chef David Lee. The menu features a lot of local and seasonal produce and ingredients with recent options like a Yucutan Hot and Sour soup and a Farm to Fork Charcuterie.

Discussion

9 Comments

Clarissa / March 23, 2009 at 11:12 am
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Avoid this overrated, pretentious and overpriced trap unless you are a masochist or a glutton for punishment! I am mystified by the rave reviews. If this is one of Toronto's best, then there is something seriously wrong with this city. The food is okay, hardly great. Portions are either too little or too much of one thing. (A main course of nothing but chicken, with no vegetables or side dish to break up the monotony!)

The service was spectacularly rude and inept. My friends and I each ordered drinks, an appetizer and a main course. After which, the waitress asked if we had time for dessert, which we did.

We were hardly done with our molten chocolate cakes when the waitress unceremoniously served us the bill, saying she would be glad to move us to the bar. (This was barely two hours from time of arrival.) I informed her that we had no intention of eating our half-consumed molten chocolate cakes ungracefully perched on bar stools, and that we will leave when we are done with our meal. I thought that was the least we could expect at Nota Bene’s prices.

Moments later a manager appeared and profusely apologized for the “misunderstanding.” The "apology" was faker than Pam Anderson's freight.

A misunderstanding indeed. The staff had obviously underestimated discerning consumers who demand value for their money.

The owner did call me personally after I sent two scathing e-mails. A misunderstanding, he said. Unfortunately, his explanation was as limp as the rabbit papardelle. No effort was made to compensate us for a ruined evening. (Not that we would put ourselves through that again.)

My advice, from one foodie to another, is to take your money and give it to a place like Sushi Kaji, where the food is honest and impeccable, and where they don't treat guests like pests.
David Morgan / May 1, 2009 at 02:10 pm
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I could not disagree more with the above comment.

I took my fiancee here for her birthday and was blown away by not only the food, but the service. Seems the previous poster hit them on an "off night".

The appetizers and mains were inventive and perfectly executed. Even to a point that the future wife and I did not speak for 10 minutes as we were soo engrossed with the food. Attentive waiters cleared the plates promptly but after we had devoured everything (not a second sooner) and delivered every dish with a genuine pride.

The mains were priced accurately and in some instances quite lower than most other "haute" resto's in the city. I'd put Nota Bene up against Canoe or any other proverbial Toronto favorite. They could learn a thing or two from David Lee & Geoff O'Connor about what Toronto wants and needs in the dining department.
Rita Ricchio / May 5, 2009 at 04:56 pm
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I'm going to sandwich my opinion between those of the two previous. Yes, this place is pretentious, overated and over priced. Yes, the menu is inventive and the service good but like so many other "best" restaurants, good is not going to cut it.

A Florida soft shell crab was grossly fishy tasting and water logged. A promise of tarter sauce really only meant a smear of it under pieces of lettuce that held the crab. Beef short ribs were tender but dry and stringy. The sauce was so minimal that half way through it ran out and it was either ask for more or stop eating. I stopped. The Cornish Hen was over salted and under done. No one wants to eat or even see birdie blood! Every dish we had was horribly presented. The service was effecient but boring and whoever designed the uniforms needs to go back to school.

It was a Monday and the place was packed but I really don't see why.
Jessie / February 18, 2010 at 12:18 am
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First time was in the winter of 2009, and I visited Nota Bene again tonight. The first experience was impressive and comforting. Ordered boudin noir and pulled pork tart and rabbit paparadelle. The tart was intricate and delicate. The rabbit was good, not great, just because it was in such small morsels and rabbit is inherently mild in flavour. The pasta was surprisingly flavourful. Because of this wondeful experience, second time was a no brainer. But this time around my perspective of Nota Bene changed. Nota Bene is what I call a high-end commercialized restaurant. Had boudin noir and pulled pork tart again and this time. Surprisingly, rather than a tart, it was cafeteria style plating. A huge plop of pulled pork with a few specks of boudin noir on it, then an oversized Yorkshire pudding fighting its way to stay on the plate without tumbling onto the beige plop of pulled pork. It was tasty, no doubt, but what happened to the tart part. How easy it would be to replace tart with yorkshire pudding. Tarts require expertise, while Yorkshire pudding doesn't. The special for today was the boeuf bourguinon. The dish was described to be boeuf bourguinon WITH paparadelle. Feeling cheated when the pasta dish arrived. Basically, it was pasta with few morsels of braised beef. The paparadelle was very flavourful because the sauce was thick enough to coat the pasta. The boeuf was really disappointing-it was dry! How can that be when it has been braising for hours? Makes you wonder eh? The bourguinon costs $27-pasta shouldn't be this expensive. The boeuf bourguinon at Le Select Bistro is $23 and they serve 3 huge pieces of beef. Tried the two soups as well: Yucatan hot and sour soup, and the Stracciatella soup. They were flat in flavour, and just wasn't appetizing. This was a disgrace to the split pea soup at Splendido. Nota Bene and David Lee's menu are such a disappointment-a third time is very unlikely.
V / August 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm
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I was taken here for my birthday in december 2009. We had a lovely time and we found the food delicious. I had the mushroom gnocchi, and it was the best gnocchi I had ever had. My boyfriend had the rabbit papardelle and it as well was excellent. The creme caramel was also spectacular.

The service did lack, as our waiter was not very attentive and did seem more inclined to serve the large table of suits next to us.

It is indeed sad for me to see these reviews, as I am inclined not to return.
Mena / June 22, 2011 at 12:18 am
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I went for my sister's graduation party the other night with a rather large party and had one of the best meals of my life. I started with lobster bisque which was heaven and then the table shared the Parmesan frites and onion rings (ZOMG-delish). I then ate sublime rabbit tortellini which was very yummy although it left me a little thirsty for the rest of the evening. Then I ate the best dessert I have had in years: warm sticky toffee pudding with spotted dick ice cream which is really just praline ice cream. With several bottles of champagne under our belts my entire table left extremely happy. Only the person who ordered the blue cheese burger wasn't happy but he had forgotten that he didn't like blue cheese. I will be back . . . for my graduation I hope!
trace / August 18, 2011 at 07:45 pm
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bitching food, the decor sucks, the drinks are OKAY!!!!!
Darren / February 18, 2013 at 11:07 am
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servers were snooty and almost absent during the entirety of our meal. we were not offered the desserts menu at the end. $30 for 3 mediocre scallops is another issue altogether. by far the most horrible dining experience in TO. this restaurant is stuffy and pretentious. Toronto Life has lost all credibility by rating this restaurant as one of "canada's best". absurd!
Joanne / November 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm
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Wow, I had nothing but spectacular service here on Valentine's Day 2012. We are, and definitely look like, college-aged kids and were treated graciously and definitely overstayed our welcome canoodling and not realizing everyone but the servers had left. The servers were attentive and wonderful. Delicious food and excellent customer service.

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