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Posted by Brigitte Noel / Listed on April 25, 2011 / review policy

Ortolan TorontoOrtolan is a newly opened restaurant at Bloor West and Margueretta, in Bloordale. Tucked away in the shadow of the House of Lancaster, it takes over the spot occupied by a string of ill-fated eateries including Kathy's Kitchen and ShawarMama.

Their approach is to use locally-sourced fare to create a small but interesting menu. Though the warm, woodsy decor is inviting, the service and ambiance are disappointing.

Ortolan TorontoThe dining area is small, with a handful of tables and window and bar seating. Reservations are not an option at Ortolan, so I show up early to grab a spot for six people. As our table fills up, we get the impression that a group our size is not welcome.

Numerous questions about the wine list prompt our server to give an impatient gesture toward the wall behind her, where the menu is written on a blackboard. No recommendations are made - she is snappy and rushes our decision.

Ortolan TorontoWe sail through the menu with enthusiasm, excited about the appetizers. The sardines "two ways" ($8) are a wonderful first taste. One side of the plate offers morsels of salt-cured fish with spicy green pepper relish on a crostini, the other features sardines bathed in Riesling vinegar, served with pulpy pieces of blood orange and slivers of fresh fennel.

Ortolan TorontoThe house salad ($8) is less exciting. A mix of fennel, radicchio and escarole with a Cab Franc vinaigrette, it is light and refreshing but dull in both taste and presentation.

Ortolan TorontoThe gnocchi ($12) is overcooked, but creamy gorgonzola sauce and crunchy radicchio add tang and texture to somewhat redeem the starchy dish.

Still nibbling away as we wait for the main dishes, the server comes to clear our table. A wine glass is actually pried from the fingers of one diner, while the unfinished appetizers we are still eating are whisked away. We tell the server we are not finished and she rolls her eyes, reluctantly putting down our plate.

At this point, it's about 7 p.m. and there are still free seats in the restaurant - her apparent eagerness for us to leave is difficult to explain.

Ortolan Restaurant TorontoNext up are the entrées, a flatiron steak with ramps ($17) and a roasted chicken "à l'estragon" with pommery sauce ($16). Since these don't come with sides, we order them separately, going for the beet soubise ($7) and the dandelion and white bean salad ($7).

The steak is rare and juicy, accompanied by a tiny portion of locally-foraged ramps. The chicken (top photo) and its bed of braised celery get rave reviews. The skin is light and delicately crispy, the meat tender and moist.

Ortolan TorontoThe sides are enjoyable. The beet purée is lovely, velvety and sweet.

Ortolan TorontoThe dandelion greens are chewy with a bitter zest, a delicious match for the white beans' garlicky taste and creamy quality.

Sadly, our unease overshadows what could have been a great experience. Our food throughout is served with curt explanations and frosty demeanour. We start to feel increasingly uncomfortable with the treatment we are getting from our server.

A quick note on blogTO restaurant reviews - our policy is not to tell the staff we are writing about our meal and try to stay as discreet as possible. Until all dishes are served, we are merely patrons enjoying dinner. When all our food has reached the table, we only then might reveal our intentions to inquire about the restaurant and its menu.

In this case, our questions are not answered. We are asked not to write a review, as Ortolan is "simply a neighbourhood spot" and its staff do not wish to be "on the internet." Our server then loudly maligns our purpose to the tables sitting next to us, creating an unpleasant buzz in the dining room.

I admit there is a charm in remaining a hidden gem, and positive reviews can sometimes overwhelm small restaurants. Our server had honourable intentions, but these were delivered poorly. However, this is not one of those glowing accounts: the prices were high, the portions small. And although some of Ortolan's dishes were delicious, a side of attitude can give a bad aftertaste to even the best of meals.

Treating your clientele with respect is paramount - we left Ortolan feeling like we had been bullied. As a Bloordale resident, I can say this is one neighbourhood spot I will most certainly be skipping.

Daniel Boulud, in Letters to a Young Chef: "A great front of the house with so-so food is liable to be more successful than a restaurant with mind-blowing food and surly waiters and maître d's."

Ortolan TorontoOrtolan is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.

Photos by Courtney Lee Yip



Ehzeus d'Kayzeus / April 26, 2011 at 09:27 am
Weak. I guess it's a blessing in disguise that J & I skipped this place.
Aydin / April 26, 2011 at 09:30 am
It may have just been one server having a bad day, but that being said, I now have no intention of going to this place. Which probably makes them happy! Who needs pesky customers with all of their silly money to spend at their establishment? If they think they can run a new business by alienating their core demographic, more power to them!
michelle / April 26, 2011 at 09:44 am
did the same interior designer at gilead cafe decorate this place as well?
Alex / April 26, 2011 at 09:50 am
I for one will check out this restaurant solely based on how pretentious and tasteless this review was.
AV / April 26, 2011 at 09:52 am
Another one and done for the Blansdowne strip. I give it 8 months at most
Sean replying to a comment from Alex / April 26, 2011 at 09:57 am
Out of curiosity, what struck you as pretentious about this review?
michelle replying to a comment from Alex / April 26, 2011 at 10:03 am
Really? How is it tasteless or pretentious? It doesn't seem like she was gunning to shut this place down. She actually put a lot of good comments about the food and explained her experience? If I were treated that poorly by a waiter, I would've been way harsher.
BitMedler / April 26, 2011 at 10:04 am
Nice to see a negative review for a change.

and as a ps. - bit of a foot shot making local food so inaccessible (i.e. price, portion and attitude).
Really? replying to a comment from Alex / April 26, 2011 at 10:16 am
Please elaborate. Otherwise I will assume you meant the review was nonpartisan and informative. Because that's how i felt about it.
Adonis / April 26, 2011 at 10:18 am
Just curious, notwithstanding the shoddy service, did you still leave the server a tip?
Sean replying to a comment from Adonis / April 26, 2011 at 10:21 am

I was curious about the same thing!
agentsmith replying to a comment from Adonis / April 26, 2011 at 10:25 am
Good question... how many people still leave a tip after shitty service? I would've left her zero.
Gloria / April 26, 2011 at 10:26 am
Thanks for the honest review. Undoubtedly bad service will ruin good food. This is twice as sad considering I've had some of the best service in Toronto at Pizza Libretto. Shame they didn't bring some front of house savvy with them.

@ michelle - you are spot on! I thought they mixed up interior shots with Gilead for this review!
EM / April 26, 2011 at 10:27 am
Thanks for the review. My partner and I almost visited this place last week, but our plans changed, and we decided to postpone. Now we can just pass on it and go to places that want our custom.
Sean replying to a comment from agentsmith / April 26, 2011 at 10:28 am
I am one of the saps that do (though it is usually nowhere near the amount of money I would leave for good or just decent service).
LA replying to a comment from TheJerkStoreCalled / April 26, 2011 at 10:28 am
i really hate to overuse this, but, "LOL" at your comment!!!!
DisapperingTip replying to a comment from Adonis / April 26, 2011 at 10:38 am
I would have played the Toonie Stack game for their tip.

You know the sit down at your table, drop a stack of Toonies in the middle and every time the service is poor, you simply knock away a toonie and put it back in your pocket.

Gives the waitress some incentive to work a little bit harder if shes cognizant of why the toonie stack is diminishing.
Pro tip for BlogTO / April 26, 2011 at 10:44 am
There's a reason why professional resto reviews are based on 2 visits.

EJR / April 26, 2011 at 10:46 am
I also find it refreshing to see a negative review, sometimes it seems that every experience is a great one on review sites. Thanks.

As for service, it's the factor that can make or break an experience - it's not the be all, end all but bad service can ruin the best meal while great service can redeem an average meal.
Margaret / April 26, 2011 at 11:32 am
Some of the best restaurants I've dined in were small, neighbourhood venues and pubs where the food was good and the staff superb. There should be a mentality in the dining world - we customers are your guests, and you are hosts. If you would like us to patronize your establishment, you will welcome us at your table, and be great hosts.

Great review - the food looks amazing, but I will pass until the owner takes steps to improve the quality of service. I'm not going to spend my money on a rushed, impersonal service.
BM replying to a comment from Pro tip for BlogTO / April 26, 2011 at 11:34 am
There's a reason why customers sometimes don't come back for a second visit.
westend / April 26, 2011 at 11:41 am
amazing how many 'open minded people' skip a new restaurant because of a one-off review. not very supportive of a new local restaurant.

why not simply check it out, and - gasp - make a judgement for yourself. Heaven forbid invididual thought.

one review does not a restaurant make.
wolfshades / April 26, 2011 at 11:50 am
My guess is that "Alex" up there works at the restaurant, hence his or her snarly comment on the review.

The review, from what I can see, appears to be honest. The reviewer could have put out an entirely negative piece, based up on their treatment of customers, but she chose not to. They got full marks for the great food,

Just curious though: did she ever think to speak with the manager? I certainly would have. Yes, the server may have lost her job out of the deal - but maybe she deserved to. Certainly that seems a reasonable consequence for sabotaging one's place of business.
Alex replying to a comment from westend / April 26, 2011 at 11:54 am
(Not the impostor Alex above)

You must go to lots of crappy movies,restaurants and hotels.

You simply don't ever take a wineglass out of a person's hand...I don't need to waste an evening finding out for myself that this place isn't worth it...don't have the time or money to waste confirming they suck.
SimonM / April 26, 2011 at 11:54 am
Although one review does not a restaurant make, a review of a server who seemed uniformly brusque speaks poorly of a restaurant that wants to charge high prices for food that a reasonable foodie could probably cook at home for a quarter of the cost and a reasonable investment in time.

The fact is that the server seemed aware they were not providing stellar service when they asked not to be reviewed and yet didn't seem to take efforts to change course.

Looks like one to avoid to me.
TL / April 26, 2011 at 11:54 am
Great review Brigitte, and amazing photos Courtney.
There's no excuse for bad service. It's unfortunate that a dinner out with friends and good food has to be overshadowed by one person's negative attitude. Truly a shame, since most restaurants in our neighbourhood are so warm and welcoming.
Kasia replying to a comment from Pro tip for BlogTO / April 26, 2011 at 11:56 am
Not even a pro would have bothered returning for a second run, unless they were really sure it was just an off-day. But with an unproven, new resto like this... no way.
protip replying to a comment from Kasia / April 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm
"Not even a pro would have bothered returning for a second run, unless they were really sure it was just an off-day. But with an unproven, new resto like this... no way"

Uhh, no. A pro most certainly would have returned.

But moreover, a pro would not review a new restaurant until it was at least a month or two old.

BlogTo has a nasty habit of f*cking new places by reviewing them too early.

I'm going to go BECAUSE this review is so unfair just to balance out you clowns who hate the place based on an amateur review that's weeks too early.
max / April 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm
I would rather eat at ali baba's then drop 80 bucks on so so food and horrible service again.

Tanner / April 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm
.. you think pro reviewers go twice? bwahahahahaha!!! you probably heard that about one columnist, one time and I'm not sure I believe even that person.

Anyway, that kind of behavior is never acceptable and it's perfectly reasonable to point it out in this review.
The resto scene is rough in this city, gotta be on your game.
In fact, it's been years since I've experienced bad service, most servers know how high the stakes are. I guess this one doesn't.
Hermione / April 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm
well, the foods looks really good and the prices are very reasonable. perhaps, don't let one witch spoil the brew.

it is quite possible that the server's cat died, or her boyfriend dumped her, or she lost an audition, or her father was a dickhead, or her mother was emotionally withholding or whatever.

when i encounter someone like that, i try to disarm them by being especially nice to them. that almost always works. if not, tell them that it's too bad they are having a bad day, but they have a job to do and it is not fair of them to dump their baggage on others, thank you very much.
Hermione / April 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm
margaret replying to a comment from protip / April 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm
I've like to see your review once you've had a chance to visit to make your own assessment.
hahahahaha. gold replying to a comment from protip / April 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm
going restaurants with poor reviews just to stick it to the reviewer is pretty funny. thanks. or wait, are you serious?
Thedigital / April 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm
Wow, 26 seat restaurant. Go with a large group, order 2 entrees, and want good service? What are your qualifications Brigitte? That doesn't seem like the type of decision a qualified food critic would make. You guys making comments should check out the reviews on chow hound and urban spoon. Miss Noel, I guarantee this review will expose you for the fraud you and you will be eating these words within a few months. Blogto....get your shit together
Bonk replying to a comment from protip / April 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Weeks too early? Is this a gag of some sort?? If a restaurant experience doesn't count until long after it opens then i'll just go ahead and pay my bill in Monopoly money until it does.

Steve / April 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm
I have been there and found that the service and food was great. I'm a restauranteur and I have a few questions about this review. First, why are six people going to a restaurant that seats twenty-six to write a review? Secondly, did said group of six order all the things off the menu? It seems as though $75 worth of food was ordered for six people - a whopping seat average of $12.50 (BlogTO didnt give you enough money to order food for all OR they gave you enough for 2 and you brought 6?) I have never had a group of larger than four come in any of my establishments to write a review, and it is usually two, which had that probably been the case, things would have probably been much better.

In the future BlogTO, please ensure that when you send a reviewer out, that they are prepared to enjoy the experience rather than do it on the cheap. I'll wait for the glowing reviews from other more reputable food reviewers. I counted eight whole reviews on BlogTO as this food critic's resume.
math / April 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm
6 people (party shows up late and at different times)
3 appetizers
2 entrees
2 sides

who's the jerk here
Steve replying to a comment from math / April 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Exactly, well put. That may work at java house but not at real dining establishments.
protip replying to a comment from Bonk / April 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Uh, no, it still counts, but you need to realize that there are kinks being worked out.
Maybe you only eat at McDonald's or something.
Sure thing, Steve replying to a comment from Steve / April 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm
Well I am a 'non-restauranteur', but I still understand that poor service will ruin the experience. Bottom line. The amount of people at the table compared to total capacity of the establishment and the amount of the bill versus the amount of people at the table aren't drastic enough to justify prying a wine glass from someone's hand and rolling your eyes. It just isn't. I'd like to further address the relevancy of your questions, but your whole post screams of someone who has been scourned by a BlogTo review in the past. Or even worse, currently being scourned by this current review and resorting to posting anonymously???
Michael replying to a comment from Thedigital / April 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm
hahah "a fraud", "eat your words".

Someone took a blog review personal.

Relax little guy, deep breathes.
Mike / April 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm
There are too many restaurants out there for us to be giving second chances. Restaurants, like in most situations in life, get one chance at making a first impression. I'm sorry that my opinion of this restaurant may be forever soiled by this review, but is that my fault for not wanting to waste my time/money, or the restaurant's for hiring front of house staff with poor attitude and etiquette?
EatingLunch replying to a comment from math / April 26, 2011 at 01:08 pm
So this should guarantee bad treatment from your server? They probably had a couple bottles of wine also and, ultimately, are paying customers at a new restaurant.

I live in the area and probably won't try this place now. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than a server with a shitty attitude.
Steve replying to a comment from Sure thing, Steve / April 26, 2011 at 01:11 pm
Amusing. Scourned - never heard of this word - I have heard of the word scorned, and as a "non-restauranteur" you are naive to think that a BlogTO review can really scorn anything. Remember, it's a blog. Wait til something in print, written by people with credentials, comes out before you judge.
AhFull / April 26, 2011 at 01:13 pm
Its Bloordale folks...lighten up.
No one will go there regardless of some psuedo review.
Tim replying to a comment from Steve / April 26, 2011 at 01:16 pm
We don't send writers out to review places. Brigitte ate there because that's where her group of friends decided to eat that night. We didn't assign the restaurant or anything like that. They ordered what they felt like ordering and that's it. The review was based on her experience. If you feel like her experience isn't valid because she didn't order a certain number of dishes than that's your prerogative.
Steve replying to a comment from Sure thing, Steve / April 26, 2011 at 01:16 pm
And I have absolutely nothing to do with Ortolan, heard about it, went there for dinner, had a great time and detected none of what this review is spouting, at my table or any of the nearby tables.
Thedigital replying to a comment from Michael / April 26, 2011 at 01:28 pm
Well you seem to have taken a blog review comment personally. Fool.
q's replying to a comment from Tim / April 26, 2011 at 01:31 pm
decided to eat that night

No, that's where a party of 6 had 3 apps, 2 mains and 2 side dishes.
How much did the party drink?
How much was the final bill for 6?

It's too bad BlogTO can't get its restaurant review act together.

eurgena / April 26, 2011 at 01:43 pm
BlogTO is the new Gina Maillet.
Chris replying to a comment from q's / April 26, 2011 at 01:52 pm
If I'm understanding some of the commenters correctly, a diner at a restaurant is only entitled to good service if they order an acceptable quantity of food and drink for the size of their party? That seems to be the message from some of the commenters here, so I just want to make sure I'm not misunderstanding their point.

If that is the case, then its good to know that so many restaurants are doing so well that they can afford to only offer good service to people who order the most food. Whew! What a relief. Here I thought that the restaurant business was a tough one with a high failure rate. I'm happy to know that I was wrong.

Thanks guys, for clearing that up :)

mo / April 26, 2011 at 02:11 pm
I'm torn - on one hand I like this review because it's refreshing to read something that's not entirely positive. On the other I feel that given how poor the experience was it may have been worth trying to talk the manager to understand whether this was just a server having a bad day or if there was more to it than that.

I wonder whether the part about being asked to not write a review was just a personal feeling from the server or if the management / owners had instructed staff to say this? (I know that sounds ridiculous... but who knows?)
James / April 26, 2011 at 02:17 pm
Nice job with the review, Brigitte, and well done with the photos, Courtney.
Tanner / April 26, 2011 at 02:20 pm
C'mon people, the point here is that groups of six, bill totals, time of day, all of these things don't matter. A GOOD server does not take out less than favorable circumstances on the patrons. PERIOD.

If he or she doesn't rise above these situations, it is bad service. Bad service gets bad reviews, and that's why eateries in this town last or don't last.
James / April 26, 2011 at 02:35 pm
I have been a server for over 6 years and give every guest equally great service. This is how I make my living (until my career takes over, lol, ya ; ). As customers you need to step up and start tipping based on service. In this case the server should have been left nothing, she was probably expecting it.

It you have phenomenal service leave the server 20%. Most jerk customers still leave 10-12% when you have gone out of your way during the whole service to make their experience top notch.

If the server has a 6 person table ordering $150 or less that might only amount to a $15 tip. After a tip-out the server only gets $10. That table has been occupied for 3 hours, meanwhile you could have flipped that table three times with larger bills and made $100 in tips. This is a job and a career for a lot of people, customers need to understand that. Tip shitty service with a shitty tip, that will teach the server a lesson. Reward good service with a good tip, because it takes talent to put up with dumb ass customers for 8 hours a day 5 days a week, believe me 60% of guests are childish and brutally annoying but we put on that fake ass smile for your shitty tip.

And stop arriving late for your reservations, "camping" at tables when you are finished your meals drinking water while there is a line up at the door and stop asking for Tea, you tea drinkers are so bloody annoying, go home and drink tea. : P

Smarten up!
KL replying to a comment from James / April 26, 2011 at 02:39 pm
Sorry, James. I don't see anything anywhere that says I have to tip you. I mean, I would tip you if I had the opportunity since your life seems so miserable, but don't you dare expect a cent above and beyond the cost of the meal.

And by the way, I can tell when you're fake smiling. Don't be a shit and you'll get decent tips. It's funny that my mom waited tables for almost 40 years, used the money to start several businesses and bought a home, and not once complained about a tip. Typical entitled Toronto attitude, James. Tell me where you work so I can avoid it (or go when you're working so I can tip your co-workers more).
Kasia replying to a comment from protip / April 26, 2011 at 02:42 pm
No one is stopping you, man. Go join the grumpy service, you'll feel at home.
Kasia replying to a comment from protip / April 26, 2011 at 02:43 pm
No one's stopping you. I have a feeling you'll like the contrarian atmosphere.

PS. You're wrong, just to let you know.
LC replying to a comment from Tanner / April 26, 2011 at 02:43 pm
Of course they matter, and the idea that a server should be nice to you no matter how obnoxious you are is ridiculous. A certain level of mutual respect should be expected from both sides.

I'm not saying this server wasn't out of line, maybe she was. I wasn't there. I do know that hauling a group of six into a tiny restaurant when not everyone is even ordering and then writing a review of it is bad form though, through and through.
the lemur replying to a comment from Steve / April 26, 2011 at 02:56 pm
The word is 'restaurateur'.
Tanner replying to a comment from LC / April 26, 2011 at 03:00 pm
..overall, I kind of agree with you LC, but "maybe she was out of line"?? the server rolled her eyes at a table.. and then took a glass out of a patrons hand!! That's shockingly bad.
T / April 26, 2011 at 03:08 pm
The comments from the waitress about not wanting press seems suspect since toronto life currently has an interview with the owners on it's website.
Rafael / April 26, 2011 at 03:21 pm
I don't know but to me if I want a good and descent meal I either go to NYC or Montreal. Never Toronto. I was in Montreal recently and a simple sandwich salad combo at a Cafe on the corner came with interesting combinations of salad to chose from (think baby spinach, walnuts, cramberries, pesto pasta salad, curry sweet carrot with golden raisins, nice ham and brie cheese inside a delicious loaf of bread with arugula instead of boring lettuce they insist to call salad here in Toronto. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it has to be creative.
Sean replying to a comment from Rafael / April 26, 2011 at 03:29 pm
Unfortunately it is not practical for everyone to go to NYC on a whim when they are looking for a decent meal.
Joe-E replying to a comment from Rafael / April 26, 2011 at 03:36 pm
What are you qualifications to make such a statement, sir? Your reply should be interesting.
Aydin / April 26, 2011 at 03:36 pm
I love the inside rules we're getting from "restaurateurs".
These weird unspoken, unlisted etiquettes that we're somehow supposed to understand. We're supposed to take out a calculator and figure out how much we're costing the restaurant because we split an appetizer or stayed an extra fifteen minutes after dessert. They treat us like we are inconveniencing them by spending money there! Oh, and don't even bother reviewing something fewer than two times, within the first six months. Don't you know that new establishments have carte blanche? Hilarious.
It's just funny how defensive people who work in the restaurant industry get.
I used to manage a location of a certain, large bookstore chain. We had regular customers who would come in and loiter all day, causing wear to store product, taking seating away from actual paying customers, leaving their litter for the staff to clean up, and hardly ever purchasing anything. But guess what? We trained our staff to treat them just as well as anyone else. Because it's a BUSINESS, and that's how you treat your customers. We didn't roll our eyes when they asked for help finding something we knew they'd never buy. We didn't take magazines out of their hands because they had no intention of spending money. There is no excuse for that level of poor service.
Somehow, people in the restaurant industry come second to only TTC workers in feeling entitled to be selectively rude to their customers.
If someone has a negative customer experience somewhere, it's valid to write about it. ESPECIALLY if it's a restaurant reviewer. I love the people who are claiming "two sides to every story". If you weren't there, then you have NO side to the story, so why are you blindly defending a shitty waitress that you don't know? What reason could the reviewer have to lie or exaggerate in this review, where the food was glowingly written-up? Clearly she wanted to like the restaurant!
So to Steve, James and all of the Ortolan staff that are anonymously posting fake comments, stop bitching about the people who pay your salaries. There are far too many restaurants in this city that are on the verge of bankruptcy for you to be taking your customers so much for granted.
Jane / April 26, 2011 at 03:46 pm
QUESTION. How long has this place been open? If under 2 1/2 weeks then this review is unfair.

I think the food looks amazing and applaud the sourcing of local ingredients. I will definitely give it a try!

Maybe the waitress was having a bad day or maybe the group of 6 did something to piss her off!
eatmyarse replying to a comment from Jane / April 26, 2011 at 03:54 pm
Why is every one defending this waitress?
Her job is to serve people with a smile. Not act like a cunny.
Shes in the service industry.
If you cant handle working while having a bad day, time to go back to school and get an education.
Otherwise she shuts her mouth and serves the guests properly if she wants to make any sort of money.
Enrico Pallazzo replying to a comment from Jane / April 26, 2011 at 04:04 pm
So somehow after 2 1/2 weeks, the waitress won't be a bitch anymore?
Malcolm replying to a comment from Aydin / April 26, 2011 at 04:04 pm
Aydin, FTW
JS replying to a comment from T / April 26, 2011 at 04:07 pm
Congratulations T, you win most relevant comment (so far). Good detective (Google) work!
James / April 26, 2011 at 04:09 pm
Well if the industry didnt rely on tips and servers got paid a decent wage rather than $8.40hr things might be different. You are guaranteed a wage at the bookstore regardless of who came through the door or how many books someone bought. Servers are not. We rely on guests and we have to suck their asses to get decent tips from them only because we get paid like we work in a sweat shop.

KL I like my job and I only bitch like you do at your job, no job is Disneyland. And you are kidding yourself when you say you can tell that a server was faking you a smile, because every single one is!!!

Peter T / April 26, 2011 at 04:11 pm
I am actually quit shocked that BlogTo would allow a review of this nature to be broadcast as if it is authoratative and balanced.

If you did have an objection you should have acted in an honourable manner. Spoken with management and understood their side of the story. In fact you choose the cowardly, and destructive route, of writing a negative review and hiding behind the computer.

Really surprised at this and at BlogTo.

Full disclosure I have not been to Ortolan.
Joanna / April 26, 2011 at 04:12 pm
I am amazed at all the comments defending the restaurant. Being a newer restaurant is NO excuse for piss poor service. It doesn't matter if the customer ordered a full meal and a bottle of wine or an appetizer and a glass of water. They all get equal respect and top notch service, period.

And it doesn't matter if you had a bad day or if your dog just died.. you take all of that baggage and all of that attitude and put it on hold the moment you start your shift. You do your job. I hate that excuse the most. Not once did I ever let my personal life or negative thoughts affect the way I treated customers.
Steve / April 26, 2011 at 04:40 pm
In response to Aydin. Chapters (or whichever corporate bookstore you worked at) is not like any restaurant, so the comparison to what your corporate bosses trained you to do is of no comparison. Do you have any idea of the profit margin on restaurants versus books? Any idea of the purchasing power your corporate bosses had vs. the purchasing power of a 26 seat restaurant? Awful comparison.

Also, as for prices being high, you pay for quality, especially in restaurants. (Most fine dining restaurants use the standard 40% food cost to determine prices, so your $10 app cost $4 in materials to make, plus labour, rent, etc.) If you think that is too much, then go to a place where you get $2 worth of ingredients for $5. Our society loves to hear key words like local, organic, etc... but doesn't like paying for it.

I can find a lot of BlogTO bad reviews for places that are packed and lots of good BlogTO reviews for places that are now out of business. So people, don't put much stock in this review. Go for yourself, without the preconceived notions this review has put forth, and then decide how it is.

Finally, restauranteur and restaurateur are both acceptable terminology. Look it up.

Geoff / April 26, 2011 at 04:43 pm
Blog TO is a blog...not the New Yorker or the Toronto Star. They have every right to post a negative review (biased or not), as it's the internet.

Whatever. It the service is crap and the food is small portioned and overpriced, I won't be going. Whether that info comes from BlogTO or my buddy who ate there last night, it's the same to me.

Mr. Pink. replying to a comment from Steve / April 26, 2011 at 04:51 pm
What's your restaurant, Steve?
Steve replying to a comment from Joanna / April 26, 2011 at 04:54 pm
"It doesn't matter if the customer ordered a full meal and a bottle of wine or an appetizer and a glass of water. They all get equal respect and top notch service, period."

Sounds like the statement "we should all earn the same and be equal, and no one should be hungry in the world, and there should be no war or disease and we should all live forever"

Wrong. Utopian dream.

In our real world this is not the case. You don't seem to get the notion that a restaurant needs to pay bills to get by. If everyone who came ordered an appetizer and a glass of water, and got equal service, then that type of customer would multiply until the point that the restaurant was serving just appetizers and glasses of water. Tables for people to eat meals and drink wine are full because of this and the restaurant will go out of business. It's not rocket science, it is business.
Steve replying to a comment from Mr. Pink. / April 26, 2011 at 05:01 pm
does it matter? I am only posting on this board because I heard about the review in Toronto Life and googled it and saw this garbage. I am giving my two cents as someone who has eaten there and who owns a restaurant, a successful one at that, about proper form when it comes to reviewing a restaurant.
Hey Peter, replying to a comment from Peter T / April 26, 2011 at 05:03 pm
How is having her actual name at the top of the screen
"hiding behind a computer"? Feel free to tell all of us your real name so that we can make sure you aren't the hugest hypocrite to post on here all day.
Give them a break / April 26, 2011 at 05:05 pm
I worked in the restaurant industry for almost 10 years. (I luckily no longer need to. Yay me!:) ) I have to say that from the review, there seems to be some issue with the FOH. BOH seems to be doing some wonderful things judging by the review and photos. Perhaps after reading this review the owners will hire a different FOH manager, or adjust their training and service methods. The server clearly seemed not-good. I would never have acted the way that the server did, even if I had the table from hell- but it's unfair to completely write off a restaurant because of one server. Because the thing is, the other servers could have been great. The food was clearly good, and it looks like a stylish place.

I am going to give these guys a break and check it out for myself. It's a LOT of work to open up a restaurant. To have people not even give your business a chance based on a single review- and based a single server- is unfair.
Joanna replying to a comment from Steve / April 26, 2011 at 05:05 pm
I'm sorry, and where did I say that everyone who has ever existed or who will ever exist has to only order a glass of water and appetizer?

What I'm saying - because apparently you can't comprehend it - is that no matter what you order, the moment you sit down in that restaurant, you should be treated with RESPECT. And if you are in the service industry, it should be the first thing you give. Treat the customer with respect.

It's not rocket science. It is business.
J. / April 26, 2011 at 05:10 pm
If I'm paying for a meal (with or without alcohol) then the server should provide quality SERVICE. If the service is not provided then why am I paying your wage?

If the restaurant needs to pay bills then provide that good service and the bills will for sure get paid.

Its quite simple.
Loved it / April 26, 2011 at 05:48 pm
Would you want to be reviewed at your office job on your first day? It takes a while for restaurants to iron out the kinks, become comfortable with the new room, kitchen, clientele etc. The first couple of months are a learning experience for everyone. It's unfair to write such a harsh review so soon. I've eaten at Ortolan on numerous occasions and was excited by the fresh, delicious and honest food. don't be deterred by one blogger's negative review.
God replying to a comment from stefanie / April 26, 2011 at 05:56 pm
You must be talking about where you like to get dick not this fine establishment
Lex / April 26, 2011 at 05:58 pm
Don't you people have jobs?
Sean / April 26, 2011 at 06:15 pm
"Would you want to be reviewed at your office job on your first day? It takes a while for restaurants to iron out the kinks, become comfortable with the new room, kitchen, clientele etc."

Yeah, none of that has anything to do with basic principles of customer service.
Sean replying to a comment from Sean / April 26, 2011 at 06:18 pm
Sorry, that was in response to Loved it.
sean's dad / April 26, 2011 at 06:39 pm
Sean, please come back upstairs and get off our computer. All you've been doing all day is sitting there defending your college blog. Please get a job.
Shawn replying to a comment from Steve / April 26, 2011 at 07:51 pm
There is no proper form for reviewing a restaurant, other than what the establishment themselves would like under perfect conditions. Meaning you'd rather be set up and prepared for a review to give them the best service possible and not look bad. Otherwise a review is nothing more than someones opinion, this was their experience and they wrote about it, deal with it. Is it going to ruin the restaurant? maybe, can they still be successful? yeah..the review overall won't decide their fate. That server will cost them their business though, not because of this review but if she's treating every guest she doesn't like in the same manner, than their business will fall.

A place like this isn't going to be setting up a ton of advertisement, their business will grow by word of mouth. A bad experience whether it be the food, the atmosphere, or the service is going to be remembered more than the good. The review clearly states all the points, the food was amazing but the service was awful. How many people do you think read about how amazing the food was and even cared anymore? All they cared about is that one person making the night a living hell wasn't worth the money.

The cost is high for quality, but the cost pays for the food, the establishment itself, and the employees. Shouldn't the quality of service be just as good to cover the cost too? If the establishment is clean and nice, food is incredible, and service is equally incredible than cost is no issue, I'd gladly pay 100 dollars or more per person for a meal of this quality given that everything else was of equal quality too. But sadly, it looks like at least one of those points is missing..making the cost seem irrelevantly high.

I'm not saying give the best service to everyone, or the same service to people. I'd have my establishment treat repeat customers better than first timers, I'd want to make sure the people paying more money are treated better, but I still want to see people eating for the first time at least want to come back or tell others to try it. You don't make money by alienating your customers..and if every person that comes in is only going to eat there once and never come back, you don't make money either.
Sarah replying to a comment from DisapperingTip / April 26, 2011 at 07:51 pm
For real? Toonie stack?! That is in such poor taste. Do you have any friends that go out with you to eat? That kind of behavior is embarrassing and tacky.
Johnny / April 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm
No doubt looks like the industry peeps are out in full force to support their own.

Bottom line is their business is gonna be reduced HUGE by this review. I for one dine out 2-3 times a week and will definitely not give this place a second look. Their own fault for hiring a horrible server.

It's kind of sad they had to rally the troops. Even the Black Hoof is tweeting people to go to Ortolan. Do these people have no shame?
TO Foodie / April 26, 2011 at 10:46 pm
It is unfortunate that Brigitte had such a terrible experience. The owners have so much integrity and should be given a second chance. The food is delicious and Ortolan shows much promise.
All in all, I hope people will go & make a decision based on their experience.
Thedigital replying to a comment from Johnny / April 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm
Do you really think the black hoof is tweeting cause of this shit blog sending out twenty two year old ignorant people to write reviews of restaurants....six people going into a fine dining establishment ordering two entrees and wanting good service...this stream is a joke. FYI the guys at the hoof and the guys at ortolan are both young super talented ambitious forces in the recognize don't give a shit about ignorant ass fools who will be lining up at ortolan 6 months from now even though they posted dumb shit on this site today..HAHA nuff said
Andrew / April 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm
"A quick note on blogTO restaurant reviews - our policy is not to tell the staff we are writing about our meal and try to stay as discreet as possible. Until all dishes are served, we are merely patrons enjoying dinner."

With the photos I am seeing above, I don't fully understand how you achieved this?

Unfortunate you had such "bad" experience, but I can't help but feel we are only getting one side of the story
Henry / April 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm
I must say I was extremely excited about this place opening in the neighborhood, but then I went in and had a meal. The food was good, but I also received the same pretentious service. I felt like I wasn't good/cool enough for the restaurant. Its such a shame because I've lived in this neighborhood for 20 years, sure its had its problems over the years, but all the businesses have been very warm and friendly in that time. Its such a shame that now that this neighbourhood is deemed cool by the powers that be that these fancy up-tight places start opening up and treating the real residents of bloordale like garbage. To be honest I'd prefer if Kathy's Kitchen was still open. At least the staff there was friendly.
Jane / April 26, 2011 at 11:41 pm
For God's Sake! Give this place another chance! It looks awesome. WTF these people spent $75,000 give or take opening this place!
VanHagar! / April 27, 2011 at 12:00 am
This comment thread is out of control like Sammy Hagar!
Henry replying to a comment from Jane / April 27, 2011 at 12:06 am
They spent $75,000 and they couldn't find a polite server? Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.
Tim / April 27, 2011 at 05:20 am
As per our comment policy we do monitor IP addresses to determine whether commenters are posting under multiple user names. In the thread above, the user "Steve", "God" and "thedigital" are posting from the same IP address.
Tim / April 27, 2011 at 05:32 am
And the above example isn't the only one. "TO Foodie" and "Andrew" also posted from the same IP address, as did "Peter T" and "Westend". What this usually indicates is that a commenter is trying to manipulate the comment thread by creating the impression that multiple people share their point of view.

We will continue to monitor this thread and will close it or remove comments if comment abuse continues.
EM / April 27, 2011 at 10:23 am
I take reviews like this as "word of mouth". I think when professional critics review restos, they aren't as anonymous as they'd like the staff believe, so they get better service than the regular Joe/Jill. I trust this review as much as I'd trust one from a friend. As I sad earlier, based on this review, I'll take a pass.
KL replying to a comment from James / April 27, 2011 at 10:41 am
No, not everyone fake smiles. Just because you can't do your job properly, hate your job, and are not a nice person doesn't mean that everyone in your industry hates being alive. Some smiles are genuine and some people choose to be a server because they enjoy it, not because the GAP isn't taking applications for assistant manager.
Bloordaler / April 27, 2011 at 10:45 am
Perhaps servers would prefer that we customers call ahead to have our orders pre-approved, to see if we deserve good service, or even a table at their establishment - and let us know whether to bother coming in or not?

Hey, wait staff are not the owners of the restaurant, and their opinions, likes, dislikes, shouldn't count for squat as far as the customers are concerned. Frankly I believe that employers should simply pay proper wages for professional servers and stop this nonsense of making me decide how much I should add to my bill to subsidize servers indecent hourly wages.

Also, how much money someone spends to open their restaurant is their problem, not my problem.

However, everyone has a mind of their own - try the restaurant, don't try the restaurant - this one review is not going to make this restaurant fail. Over time it'll succeed or fail on its own merits.
agentsmith replying to a comment from Nice Ham / April 27, 2011 at 11:14 am
I've got a freezer full of nice ham leftovers from Easter. True story!
abe / April 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Well, that was by far the best way I could've spent my lunch break. I mean reading this thread, not going to Ortolan. But honestly, if you're so offended by this review--which I think is refreshing in its honesty--then go to the fucking restaurant and eat there and tip the servers and tell all your friends about it. Don't sit behind your computers getting into thread battles with people! Does that not make sense? If you take this review to heart and sincerely don't think this place deserves your business, then go to one of the thousand other establishments in the city. Jesus Christ, people. Get fucking jobs!
TO Foodie / April 27, 2011 at 01:02 pm
Tim & others, I apologize for Andrew & I putting comments from the same IP address. My husband & I both wanted to comment & had different things to say. We apologize & were not trying to manipulate anything. I wish Daniel & Ortolan only the best!
blarg / April 27, 2011 at 01:27 pm
has anyone considered that this business is owned and operated by actual people? like real human beings? it's unfortunate that they weren't on their game when the reviewer was there with her friends... and even more unfortunate that someone might lose their job because of this review and the reaction. i can't imagine that these people were providing a crappy experience on purpose and i for one will definitely check this place out and decide for myself.
Paul Jamnicky / April 27, 2011 at 01:28 pm
I was there last week and our server was very patient with us and went through the whole menu and wine list, making suggestions along the way. The service was impeccable...they even folded our napkins when we got up to go to the washroom.

The food was fantastic and inventive. Very happy to have this in my neighbourhood and if this negative review means I will actually be able to get in to the restaurant...thank you:-)

Kurt Krumme / April 27, 2011 at 07:27 pm
I went there about a week ago and had an amazing time. The server was fantastic actually. I never had to turn around and look for her even once. Water was filled, and she gave informed answers to questions about the wine. It was the end of the night and they surely wanted to go home, but they were completely hospitable and didn't rush us at all.

Sorry, but this review sounds suspicious to me. Maybe they didn't want to be reviewed and the amateur reviewer took it personally? Hard to say since I wasn't there, but I'll be back for sure regardless. The care and craftsmanship put into the food was fantastic. These guys are artists, and if that's not your thing, so be it but I'm looking forward to my next visit.
Aniechka replying to a comment from VanHagar! / April 27, 2011 at 07:35 pm
For Pete's sake, lighten up everyone! This waitress will surely get fired if the review is accurate and her bosses have any sense. Then we can move on and focus on the delicious sounding food...
mike / April 27, 2011 at 09:13 pm
anyone who thinks I need to order a minimum dollar amount per person at my table before i get good service is not someone I want to give my business to. I'd ask what restaurant steve owns so i could avoid it, but i bet it starts with an O.
Rose / April 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm
Was there on Sat. The food was well prepared. The service was fine. The girl is obviously from a fine dining background and is nervious. But who wouldn't be nervious in a brand new place. Could she let more of her personality shine? sure.

To all of you who said that she should be fired, I hope you never mess up at work yourselves. You must all be perfect all the time. No excuses. I said no excuses.

I for one have to give them credit for trying to raise the bar in a rough neighbourhood. Running a buisness in this hood is hard. There are bigger things to worry about than the rants of some self proclaimed foodies. Try drug dealers, prostitues, pimps, and crack heads on for size.

Overall the blog TO review wasn't bad. It's definatly not fair to review so soon after opening. They weren't given enough time to work out the kinks and stretch thier new legs.

I've already been back, and will go again and again.
mike / April 28, 2011 at 06:46 am
"Loved it" first complains that the place hasn't been open long enough to review it. Then claims to have eaten there "on numerous occasions"

Likewise Rose went on Saturday and has already "been back and will go again and again"? Really two visits in 7 days?

I would suspect "Kurt Krumme" "Loved It" and "Rose" are all staff, if not the same person (if not steve/thedigital)
mike / April 28, 2011 at 06:48 am
edit, i should say, two visits in 5 days.
Sean replying to a comment from mike / April 28, 2011 at 08:27 am
I have to admit, some of these comments look REALLY suspect.
Simon / April 28, 2011 at 09:07 am
How many different people can live in a house and share the same IP address Tim.

I share house with 5 people. We all have the same IP address, we all go out to restaurants and we all have differing opinions.

Should we all get a group consensus before posting?

As the monitor and someone with some sort of IT background I think you should be able to realise this.

As for the review. Well this is BlogTO - take it with a grain of salt - but don't be fooled into not trying things for yourself. Nothing worse than second hand information.
michelle replying to a comment from Pro tip for BlogTO / April 28, 2011 at 09:48 am
It doesn't matter how many visits you take when your waitress is rude to you.

I get it if the food is questionable on the first visit in a recently open restaurant and there should be another visit. But this was a case of the waitress overall attitude during service. Being nice is a common sense trait in the customer service world.
michelle replying to a comment from Nice Ham / April 28, 2011 at 10:00 am
LOL nice ham. I love you.
Kurt Krumme replying to a comment from mike / April 28, 2011 at 10:05 am
Hey Mike,

I'm a web designer. There's the new thing called Google, yer gonna love it. Seriously though, I'd prefer it if you nurtured your paranoia and never set foot in there again. There are precious few d-bag free spots left in the downtown. I said I'll be going back and I will. You can spend your time polishing your tin-foil hat.
Digs / April 28, 2011 at 10:27 am
It seems that most of the people who have commented here spend more time invested in trash talking and playground politics than actually, you know, going out and dining and supporting new businesses.

I ate at Ortolan last week, upon a high recommendation from a friend who had also eaten there. The food was amazing, the wine list was inspired, and the server was attentive and knowledgable. This establishment has a lot of soul and a lot of promise. And, wait for it, I'm recommending it to all of my friends!

This restaurant is a great addition to the neighbourhood. And if you can distinguish the beat of your own drum, you might get a chance to experience it.

Thedigital replying to a comment from Tim / April 28, 2011 at 02:24 pm
Hey Tim, just wanted to provide an update Steve and the digital are different people....and god is just god. Check our writing styles not just ip, and it will probably become quite clear. Anyway looks like most people that have been enjoyed the food the service and the ambience. Seems to me the only person whose job should be in jeopardy over this review is Brigitte for reviewing under completely unprofessional circumstances. Get your shit together blogto!
fantastic / April 28, 2011 at 03:44 pm
I went there for the first time a couple of weeks ago with friends and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, delicious food and wine and great service.

Please don't let one bad experience from a "reviewer" prevent you from checking out Ortolan for yourself. I'm proud to have this new addition to the neighbourhood.
marco / April 29, 2011 at 02:12 am
I think it's quite good that despite poor service, the reviewer still gushed about the food. To me, this indicates that the work of the chef must be superb. Based on this and the photos, I actually think this review will be good for business! It convinced me, anyway.
Rafael replying to a comment from Rafael / April 29, 2011 at 01:16 pm
Sorry I meant Nice Parma Ham - as for qualifications, besides being a Chef myself (I went to culinary school) I grew up in Italy(which by this alone should give me plenty of qualifications to know what good food is all about. Try eating a tomato there and compare to the ones you probably buy at Loblaws :))
adrienne / April 29, 2011 at 06:46 pm
I was one of diners at this restaurant and I think Brigitte was more than fair in her review. The server was incredibly rude to us and made us feel entirely unwelcome. If you aren't able to accommodate a party of 6, why have seating available for that number or more? If your restaurant isn't 'ready' to be reviewed, why open your doors? And if your restaurant is so focused on being a 'local' neighbourhood spot, don't make people like us (most of whom live within a few blocks) feel unwanted.
Recently written is Brigitte's side of this story, which you can find here...

Paul / April 30, 2011 at 10:39 am
I live close to Ortolan and was one of the first people through the door when it opened. I really enjoyed my meal (I had the pork rilletes, kale soup, and the gnocchi).

This review has great photos, but is otherwise really problematic. Going to a small restaurant with a group of six, and then only ordering two meals is pretty poor form -- especially if you're also taking a bunch of pictures -- which I would find obnoxious if I was at a neighboring table. Just because it's a local restaurant doesn't mean you can behave like you're at Kelsey's.

I find that a lot of blogTO reviews of 'nicer' restaurants have this weird anxiety about service... like the reviewers feel uncomfortable in upscale places and become hyper-conscious of perceived slights as a result.

I will be going back to Ortolan... they are a great addition to the neighborhood.
Kay / April 30, 2011 at 11:37 am
I agree with the reviewer. I went to this restaurant last week and the food was as great as the service was bad.
mike replying to a comment from Paul / April 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm
if you read the link posted above, you'll see they actually ordered much more than what was pictured. And I'd hardly call having a glass pried out of your fingers and being insulted in front of other customers a "perceived slight"

And in case you haven't noticed, photos are pretty common with restaurant reviews.
ratchette replying to a comment from Lesley / May 4, 2011 at 03:45 pm
she called ahead and asked if 6 would be ok and they ordered much more than 2 mains and 2 sides. she couldnt include it all, its a review not a novel. its amazing at how vicious you and others are just because bridgette went to a restaurant, had a bad experience, then wrote about it. restaurants only get one chance, no one goes back to a restaurant that sucked the first time they went there.

why dont you read this :
JP / May 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm
I don't suppose my opinion here will make any difference, but I ate there last night and Ortolan is great. The food is very good, the service is fine (my server was friendly and knowledgeable about the food). I imagine they are still working out some kinks, but I hope people will give them a chance.
Andrew / May 6, 2011 at 10:48 am
I just ate there and the service was bad. I think for as much as Miss Noel was attacked for this review the "attitude" at this place is apparent. Where as "The Black Hoof" can pull off having a bit of a punchy front of house, this place can't the food was mixed some good and some meh. But the service was just snooty. And the wine selection was small and in my opinion poorly chosen.

Ortolan, get over yourself. Reviews good and bad are part of the business. You just need to transcend them either way.
Neil / May 6, 2011 at 01:26 pm
If the service is as bad on a nightly basis as the reviewer says it was, then Ortolan's management will need to get it together if they hope to survive in Toronto's dining market. After reading some of the other comments here, it seems that they may indeed need a FOH attitude adjustment. But I for one plan on going and judging for myself rather than simply reading one poor review and deciding that this place is permanently on my bad list. We're all humans, not sheep.

Also, about this comment: "The prices were high, the portions small."

Really? Your photos of the food and descriptions of the prices suggest otherwise. The mains here are clearly a la carte, with sides chosen separately. So the fair thing to do when judging value-for-price is to take this into account. The $17 flatiron steak main pictured, for instance, looks like a reasonably decent portion of meat. Pair that with a $7 side (which are also fairly portioned, judging by these photos) and you have a complete dish for $24. That's certainly comparable to what you'd pay for a main in any other top resto in Toronto.
CS / May 9, 2011 at 10:46 am
I think the review of the service may have been a bit harsh, I have been to Ortolan more than once and I have enjoyed both amazing food, wine and rather lovely service. I also do not find it over priced, Two of us had wine pairings with each course, dessert and espresso and it was $90. That's not too bad in my books. I would suggest the writer of this review try it again and all those people who said they won't go, try it for themselves as they are missing out if they don't. As a resident of the neighbourhood I am happy Ortolan is a hop step and a jump from home. And if there is gnocchi on the menu, get it EVERY time!
GL / May 13, 2011 at 04:37 pm
Good review of what looks like good food. Will go once they get I hear better things on the service.
sean pierce / May 13, 2011 at 06:58 pm
you are all a bunch of idiots.
i have sworn this site off forever.
shitty people
shitty knowledge
shitty experience

restaurant is good to me, i plan to go often as i am just a block away!
Liza / May 15, 2011 at 06:07 pm
Me and my kids sat at the bar a few nights ago and had a delicious meal! Servers were very knowledgeable and friendly. The place feels great. This review makes no sense to me.
Demog / May 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm
Each day I live a story. Tonight I will take my lovely friend here for dinner to pour our curiosity. We'll exercise our placard of tastes, stroke our yes's and no's. And yet all in a fresh playground. Whoever had the idea restaurants were for eating? That's like saying talking is the first line of communication.

Roctop replying to a comment from Demog / May 20, 2011 at 09:24 am
It seems that Fops still exist. So, since you do not speak or eat at fine dining establishments, what do you do? Annoy people who do come for the main reason a restaurant exists, like the food? Smoke a better weed, mushbrain.
pk / May 29, 2011 at 01:59 am
will not be going there, ever. and will spread the word for others not to either. as much as blogto people like to have an opinion on the end of the day this is that girls JOB and she gets paid hourly to represent her place of employment(and maybe pity tips). she's in the service industry....maybe she needs to look for a new job, or understand she's there to serve anyone who walks in that door, and get happy about it and go refill a glass. Toronto has so many places to eat, who the heck cares about a place like this if you're not going to enjoy the experience....regardless of what you get or don't get. Sounds like this is someones first serving job and they felt like they're too good to be working there to begin with. In that case, most people will go somewhere else....with good food, good service, good prices, and a good atmosphere. And if you don't take blogto reviews too seriously, thats your choice...many many other people do listen.
pk / May 29, 2011 at 02:00 am
others, as in my friends....espec not an over whelming number like 3 pairs
pk replying to a comment from pk / May 29, 2011 at 02:03 am
wow blog comment fail, lets try this again...correction: ill let my friends know what i read so they can choose not to or to check the review themselves. i dont care to spread the word past that
Local Girl / June 4, 2011 at 05:17 pm
I ate there last night on a friend's recomendation and it was a lovely evening. The food was fantasitc and we had 3 different servers attending to us and they were all super friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. I loved the ambiance and the music was super chill. I will certainly be suggesting this place to friends!!
tiki / June 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm
Quite the sagacious comment there, Mr. Pierce. Tell me, do your lips move when you watch TV?
kim / June 17, 2011 at 01:28 pm
you don't have to be a professional food critic to not want to go back to a restaurant that gave you bad service. maybe they were having an off day, maybe the server was cranky. so maybe i need to take my business elsewhere.
lysenko / July 17, 2011 at 11:42 am
After reading several reviews of Ortolan I made my way there last night. My first impression was that of surprise at the hairy maitre d’ standing outside the entrance. He was wearing a mint green sleeveless shirt, his look more apt for a bar than that of a fine restaurant. My second impression was of being disrespected as a party of only two since he was unwilling to seat the two of us at a table rather than at bar stools even though it was early in the evening and half the restaurant ended up remaining empty for the duration of our stay.
I wouldn’t call the establishment pretentious as in other reviews since the quality is there. Portions are very small and prices quite high but definitely worth it! There is an arrogance though in such things as the chalkboard only menu, listing many dishes without descriptions that very few customers would recognize as well as the efficient but unfriendly wait staff.
Looking past that there was a comfortable atmosphere with a simple, elegant decor and Motown and Dire Straits on the stereo.
The food and wine were all that I expected and more. The Bordeaux blanc and the Rose were unusual and lovely, the gnocchi with mushrooms was delicate, the radish salad with dill and cumin was fresh and tasty, and the skirt steak was tasty with lemon and garlic although a bit stringy as it is known to be.
The dessert wine, Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvee was excellent as was the raspberry, almond Fool and the chocolate, hazelnut Torte served with whip crème and red currant puree.
I highly recommend a trip to “Bloordale” for a taste sensation!
BloordaleResident / July 17, 2011 at 02:15 pm
I was disappointed when I ate at Ortolan about a month ago. After spending 30 bucks on two meager dishes, I had to head over to Bloordale Pantry afterwards to fill myself up with an excellent sea bass dish.

The heavily tattooed server at Ortolan who poured me some water, claimed she was the manager of the place. I did find her to be quite cold and even received a snarky tone from her because I didn't order wine.

Overall, I found Ortolan to be extremely pretentious and disappointing - the food and the service.

I won't be going back.
ana.g / July 27, 2011 at 02:07 pm
I had dinner at Ortolan yesterday and while a tad over priced I did find the food delightful. The waitress however was so very unpleasant and rude that what could have been a lovely new neighbourhood place to add to my list, quickly made it to the don't ever go back and tell everyone you now how bad the service was list. Sad really.
Emerson Ave / August 10, 2011 at 01:50 pm
I personally dont mind shit service at all as long as the quality of the food is not affected physically (and yes that means a cold or luke-warm meal due to lapsed time sitting and waiting to be served). In fact, I would go out of my way to visit these types of restaurants solely if the quality was worth it and would completely ignore bad service, which I have done and still do many times . Does this make me an idiot, maybe to some, but I value a restaurant first for the time and effort it puts into making an excellent meal, and then maybe a distant second for feeling welcome and making friends with the staff. Again, the ladder will only affect my decision to go back if it intervenes with the actual taste and quality of the meal.
Just Me replying to a comment from Emerson Ave / August 10, 2011 at 03:28 pm
Seriously, there is a ladder there that intervenes with your meals? Scary. / September 20, 2011 at 10:05 am
Despite it's simple decor it's evident this is a fancy pants place. So it was a birthday dinner before my SO and I decided to check it out. We were expecting high prices for small portions. This would have been fine for great taste on a special occasion. Instead we got bland food and fish that tasted a little too fishy to be fresh. The service seemed fine so I left them a tip. This was a mistake! Though it's marked on the chalk board that tax is included in the price it was not mentioned anywhere that they automatically add a gratuity to your bill. It's not even marked on the bill itself, so I didn't realize till after I had paid and paused to figure out how it all added up. As their debit machine is set up to ask if you'd like to leave a tip I was left with the impression that the place is run by deceitful assholes.
Jenn / September 22, 2011 at 10:47 am
I dined there last night with friends and even before I read the comments here I found it pretentious and over priced for the quality and the service. Three of us were seated at a table for two. The server said it was a table for three but it was the same size table as the twos just turned the other way. The place was empty. When I asked if we could move to a table for 4 he said he would have to move us if the place got busy (which it didn't while we were there). Given the you order "side" the table was so crowded that I had to eat with my place to one side and couldn't find a spot for both a wine glass and a water glass (which, by the way, we almost had to beg for). As for the food, the pasta starter of ravoli stuffed with mushrooms and chard in a creamy sauce was luke warm is fairer. My skirt steak was also luke warm and just not that great. The sides were ok. The service throughout was, well, resentful is the word that comes to mind. In the end it is not a place I would recommend or return to. Just the opposite.
Marvin replying to a comment from Jenn / September 22, 2011 at 01:01 pm
What do you expect from a place named after the barbaric act of catching a wild bird, force feeding until it's very fat, then drowning it in brandy before cooking it? Diners were required to wear cloths over their heads do others would not see them eat the bird whole and spit our the beak - look it up for yourselves. YUCKO!
joe-e replying to a comment from sean pierce / September 28, 2011 at 08:27 am
Did you find any bird beaks in your soup? The joint is named after that delicacy in France.
Salem / October 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm
I live in the hood and have been to Ortolan about 5 times. I want so badly for this place to be great as its down the street from me, but each visit has been increasingly disappointing. Tiny portions, yes. Amateur service, yes (almost every time). Overall the food is hit and miss. Some dishes are good, some are cold or yes, way too fishy. Too bad. The novelty has worn off and there isn't much there that wows. There are much better places to drop 100 bucks for 2 people dining out in this city.

Come on Ortolan, pull up your socks and get serious about things!
uday / January 28, 2012 at 03:02 am

I think the review of the service may have been a bit harsh, I have been to Ortolan more than once and I have enjoyed both amazing food, wine and rather lovely service.. I Hope We Can Get More Information About Restaurants From Your Blog
Tash replying to a comment from AV / February 2, 2012 at 11:43 am
As a Bloordale resident we were delighted to see Ortolan. Reading these comments made me chuckle. I've been there multiple times, the food is always great, the service has been wonderful every time and for those of you "giving it 8 months at most" guess you were wrong! Ortolan is always packed and for good reason. Bloordale isn't what it used to be thanks to everyone who has had trust and love for the neighborhood. There are some awesome establishments that have opened up and I assure you, they are here to stay.
Ian / April 28, 2012 at 04:25 pm
Went last night (Friday). Because it was in the neighbourhood and our plans were made last-minute (couldn't get reservations anywhere I really wanted to go), I decided to give Ortolan a shot. I was apprehensive based on the combination of both enthusiastic and disparaging reviews one finds online, but we ended up having a perfect night. Food was great, wine was great, service was friendly and welcoming. Either they've made a real effort to address some of the complaints posted online or we just caught them on a particularly good night, but I left hoping that Ortolan will be around for a long time.
marshman / May 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm
Last Saturday my best friend and I decided to eat at this place and were absolutely blown away! A third friend joined us, but only for drinks and dessert, and the server did not seem annoyed that a third person was there but not to really eat. Our bill by the end of the experience was just short of $200 so I'm sure it made no difference to him.
I only wished that I could remember the wine that we had - a white from Prince Edward County, believe it or not, and it was lovely.
Our server was fantastic - he helped us by explaining all of the menu items, their ingredients and preparation - and I think he actually thrilled that we asked! Everything was so full of flavor and beautifully presented.

Aside from the food, I was very impressed with the wine selection and recommendations. I believe the both the white and the glass of port I had with dessert were made in Ontario! Who knew?!

I eat out a lot, and yeah, sometimes service can suck, and especially food can be overpriced and lacking - but please everyone, if you've got some dough to spend (because it can be pricey, especially if you like to indulge like me!) try Ortolan, and try to sample things you would never dream of (for me it was cured trout - delish!) And have some vino while you're at it! I can't wait to go back!
Heather / June 4, 2012 at 05:07 pm
Last week, my boyfriend and I were looking for a nice place to enjoy a celebratory dinner. I had called ahead and understood the kitchen would be open until 10. We were arrived at the door at 9:45pm (couldn't help the late time, it was why I had called ahead) and found it locked.

To our surprise, the waiter inside saw us and invited us in, understanding that we'd planned an evening at their location and they'd closed early because it had been slow. The service was careful and we did not feel rushed, the food was very, VERY good, and it was an overall pleasant experience.

Neither of us has ever been to a restaurant in Toronto where such courtesy has been extended. I highly recommend the place, the staff and the meal. We will go again.
raspberry ketone side effects / July 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm
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claire / July 14, 2012 at 08:21 pm
Im not sure if Ortolan has changed their mode of operations since this review was written but I ate there not too long ago and found their food delicious (very delicious) and the service was wonderful. Excellent experience over all. I would highly recommend this place.
Adam / August 23, 2012 at 06:59 am
My wife and I ate at Ortolan last night our forth visit. The food was great as always we had the pork belly with peaches ricotta brusceta, zucchini flower gnocchi, potatoes beans and ricotta and the peach / bourbon desert.. All amazing, great service as well!
Brenna / November 14, 2012 at 11:29 am
I love the restaurant and we had impeccable service.
Torontonian / November 30, 2012 at 06:25 pm
Most comments are just out of topic... You won't there because of this review? Well, you're making a huge mistake. It's not because they didn't like it that you wouldn't.

And again, when people said that the review is unfair because the restaurant just opened... they're right! A restaurant opens and the waiters come and go. That waitress might have been fired by now so the review is then irrelevant.

We are not defending the waitress by any means, use your brains and think. Are you smiling everyday? Are you ALWAYS in a good mood? You never have a bad day? Geez people, don't ask others to do what you can't! and who know, maybe the 6 of them were rude? Just asking, not stating.

Looking at their order, well, in another restaurant they might not have been accepted at all. If you bring 6 people to a restaurant, you have to order for everyone (in most good retaurants) which was not the case here. Why go to a restaurant if you don't want to eat in the first place?

I've been there twice and I love the place! The service is amazing. the 2 different waiters we had always explained the food and the wine and gave recommendations (maybe they fired the crappy waitress). They also offered a side and an appetizer because they were out of steak (which I ordered) to apologize. Yeah, what a crappy service! The food is really amazing and tasty. In other words, the restaurant might have changed since its opening and some people are just missing a great spot because of a precocious review made from people who didn't even go there to eat.

but it's always funny to see people who have never been there bashing the place... apart from a few negatives comments from people who actually ate there (eh, what do you expect? we can't all agree on food), most angry comments are from people who haven't....
AA / January 12, 2013 at 08:47 am
Wife and I have eaten here a couple of times. Nothing but good food and service. We will go back again
Guido / April 17, 2013 at 12:04 am
Great food! Great service ! Guido knows good food and good people. Ignore all the rest of this B.S.

Joey fatone / November 6, 2014 at 03:10 am
I really enjoy cock

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