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Restaurants

The Ace

Posted by Rebecca Fleming / Reviewed on December 16, 2011 / review policy

Ace RestaurantThe Ace Restaurant has experienced a rebirth after almost two decades of lying dormant. After reading about the diner back in May, I was intrigued by the history of the place, and excited when I heard it would open once again to serve hungry people on Roncesvalles. I was also curious as to what a new iteration of the space would look like.

When closed, the space looks less like a restaurant and more like storage facility, but when the blinds are raised, the Ace exudes warmth. On my visit, the front window was beaded with condensation and soft candlelight cast shadows on the walls. We walked through the door and took a step back in time.

The Ace RestuarantThe new owners have kept all of the original fixtures and even the pagoda adorned wallpaper from its previous life. Diners can choose a booth or pull up a stool at the low counter/bar before making a choice from the simple hand-written and photocopied menu. Tables are set with mismatched plates and cups with patterns customers might recognize from their grandmothers cupboards (because we did). Its 1950's diner meets Chinese restaurant, and it works.

Ace Restaurant TorontoWe chose a booth at the back by the open kitchen and ordered some drinks to start. They have three beers on tap, from which I chose a Wellington County dark, given the chill in the air outside. Kathleen, my dining companion, went with the omnipresent Mill Street Organic (Cameron's Cream Ale is the third option). After being served our pints, I realized that I didn't see any taps. Where did this beer come from? The answer — from the vintage Hamilton Beach milkshake maker, that's where. Now, I love a good milkshake, but I love beer more, and I was very impressed with this concept. Bonus points to whoever came up with that idea.

Ace RestaurantI had heard about their fried chicken ($17) but I wasn't in the mood for it. Luckily, Kathleen was. Three portions of chicken came served with collard greens, atop a piece of cornbread, and ham gravy. The chicken breast was very juicy and although fried, it wasn't overly greasy. Kathleen enjoyed her meal, but the price didn't exactly reflect the dish. She also wished that the corn bread came on the side instead of smothered in gravy, so the choice to dip or not to dip would be hers.

Ace Restaurant TorontoI ordered the Eggplant Ragout with rapini and chick peas ($15). It was filling, and it was nice to have rapini because it doesn't seem to get a lot of play these days, and I'm a bit spinach-ed out. Although not offensive by any means, I wouldn't order the dish again. There was a hint of a spicy kick to it, but not much else. I think I might have liked the bread it came with more. Biscotti shaped, it was like a cross between corn and Irish soda breads.

Full of bread and beer and with a little one in tow that was getting a bit hot under the collar (that window wasn't steamed up for nothing!) we passed on dessert that included homemade zucchini bread with oatmeal ice cream. Dang.

The Ace RestaurantThe Ace won me over with friendly staff, aesthetics and ambience, and this is what I will return for. Next time I'll probably pass on dinner and skip right to dessert, or maybe try out their weekend brunch. I do, however, anticipate drinking my fair share of pints perched on one of their bar stools, with a side order of nostalgia.

The Ace Restaurant

Discussion

21 Comments

Sara / November 28, 2011 at 08:55 pm
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Was able to make it in on the first night. Awesome! Food was great as was the service. What a great atmosphere!
dvc / December 5, 2011 at 11:00 am
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Roncy, the only place to be!

cvd / December 10, 2011 at 04:26 pm
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Average food and overpriced. Few seats available so if you aren't into reserving to eat fried chicken then you might have to wait an hour.
Matt / December 16, 2011 at 10:29 am
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Excellent staff, excellent vibe.

But the food, while quite good, IS too pricey. The beer is very reasonably priced though, and a good selection—I'll be honest, when I heard the people from the Dakota were opening a new place on Roncy, I assumed it would be a bar or pub, and was looking forward to that. I was a bit disappointed to find that it was yet another restaurant.

But, it's open late, and becomes basically a bar after the dinner hour. That's when I'll be there.
np replying to a comment from dvc / December 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm
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Not true.

Riverside is.

#legit
shoshanna / December 16, 2011 at 09:59 pm
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We tried to go for brunch - the place was a boilerhouse and the staff frazzled, sweaty and confused. There is nowhere to wait - and at 6 mos pregnant it sort of sucked to have to stand there. We were first told it would be ten minutes ... then after awhile another server/host asked if we were on the waiting list. (um, what waiting list? Thanks for telling us!) When we said no and that we did not even know there was one, she said it would be more like 25 minutes. We promptly left and allowed the suckers behind us in line to move ahead.


dvc replying to a comment from np / December 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm
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Riverside?
guinness350 / December 19, 2011 at 02:16 pm
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http://www.thegridto.com/life/food-drink/hed-tap-that/

There's the info regarding the beer tap!
Rebecca F replying to a comment from guinness350 / December 20, 2011 at 09:35 am
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Thanks! Interesting read. So apparently those bonus points I mentioned in my article go to David Keogh!
Goods / December 22, 2011 at 04:22 pm
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Definitely a bit pricey for the quality of food, but nice vibe and good to have a place on Roncy that is open past 10pm.
PRON / January 6, 2012 at 06:32 pm
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IT'S WAAAAY TOO HOT IN THERE.
Please turn down the heat and I'll return!
Ronald / January 14, 2012 at 01:45 pm
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omnipresent mill street organic? really?
and stop calling it 'roncy'...
Good spot!
Matzoh Ball / July 4, 2012 at 02:16 pm
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Nice atmosphere, great service. Decent burger and beer special on Tuesday deflected from "overpriced" observation made by many, but $20 plate of ribs served with a 1/2 piece of corn and a thimble-sized portion of coleslaw did not. Coleslaw is not not caviar.
Jordan / September 8, 2012 at 05:02 pm
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Went today, was ignored for 20 mins. They got our orders wrong, asked for milk for coffee, they forgot that too. Then I wrote about my experience on their fb Page and they deleted it. Food was fine, but I'll never go back and will advise my friends go elsewhere.
Greg Boggs replying to a comment from Jordan / October 5, 2012 at 06:10 pm
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Hey Jordan. Greg from The Ace here. We take our service and food very seriously, and I am sorry you had a problem with the service at The Ace. I took down your facebook post because I didnt feel it was necessarily constructive or representative of The Ace. In the future, please feel free to email me directly @ Greg@theacetoronto.com anytime.
KaptainKapusta replying to a comment from Ronald / December 31, 2012 at 03:26 pm
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It's nice to have the Ace back again.
And thank you, Ronald - until the BIA's marketing antics, the neighbourhood was known to locals as "Ronces" for decades. Cut this "Roncy" crap.
Louise / January 17, 2013 at 01:58 am
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Awful service!!!
Terrible Staff!
Where do you go from there?!
Had to walk out, do to a lack of hospitality.
Incredible, and disgusting.
Pompas.

Lynn / February 5, 2013 at 10:08 am
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I have to say, I really wanted to love this place, but it's a sort of like. The food is good, but not THAT good, every time I try something I just feel like it isn't quite there. Maybe it's partially because of the price, I expect better. I don't think I would pick this as a place to go again, but I would go with someone if they wanted to.
SG / March 26, 2013 at 09:13 pm
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I thought the atmosphere was relaxed and the staff were all friendly and very attentive. I do have to say the burger was not worth $16. It was very small and it lacked toppings, also the bun was cheap and fell apart quickly. We got the pecan pie with ice cream (both priced separately) and it tasted stale and the tiny scoop of ice cream was a rip off. Not to sound like a snob but I was disappointed :(
john / May 26, 2013 at 01:25 am
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I just came back from the Ace, and I have to say...I'm not coming back.
Service was really, reeeaally bad, I can get a better service at Mc Donald's.
The food.... average and overpriced.


aNa / May 26, 2013 at 01:27 am
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If there's no table available..don't worry, u will seat at the tiny bar, then when the table gets vacant , u ask 4 times to move to a table, and the server will say that her supervisor didn't authorize ...WTF?!

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