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The Rhino

Posted by Tanja / Reviewed on September 18, 2006 / review policy

The Rhino TorontoWhen in need of decent sit-down place to eat in Parkdale, time and again I find myself at Rhino.

The atmosphere at this bar/restaurant is totally laid back and the menu not bogged down by the usual bar fare. Still, even though I find myself returning for more, I'm not completely convinced the kitchen can handle their own menu.

I'm there in a party of three (with very different cravings), and we order up Fish & Chips, a Prosciutto Sandwich with Fries and a Thin Crust Primavera (veggie) Pizza.

First to arrive (from friendly staff) are 3 waters (with lemon) and a beer. Simple items and for the sake of mentioning, perfect.

When it came to food, the clear winner (pictured above) is the prosciutto sandwich. The bread is soft and fresh, prosciutto and other fillings savoury, and the fries are light and crispy.

From then on it's just downhill.

The fish and chips look promising, but the balance of the dish is way off. The fish, while lightly battered was just too heavily fried. I had to donate my napkin to the owner of the dish to deal with the grease. Meanwhile, the accompanying chips/fries were SO lightly fried they were flavourless -- aside from half of them which tasted like fish from their plate-neighbour. Bleh.

Finally, my own dish, was the primavera pizza. Again, it looked pretty good. Starved, I even dug in before remembering to photograph. The other three slices though, were relunctantly finished.

The crust was ok. Thin, kind of pita-like, but not very crispy at all. The veggie toppings (ie. the best part) seemed good too. It was the ingredients that fused these two that really ruined the meal.

Do you remember when McDonalds came out with pizzas a decade or two ago? Mini ones they used to bake in microwaves that looked like pizza ovens? Yes? Well, if so, do you remember the nasty sweet and slimey tomato sauce that topped them? Fresh out of a can, surely? Well, let's just say I had the most unwelcome feeling of deja vu.

That and the melted cheese for which I have real way to describe but am assuming it was some kind of bland processed mozza, just destroyed any potential this dish might have had.

(And the stomach rumblings later that night would congratulate me again on a choice well made.)

Still, I like this spot, and something tells me I'll probably end up at Rhino again. It's just one of those places where you need to find the dishes that rock, and stick with 'em.



Georgia / September 18, 2006 at 01:55 pm
My stomach was super upset later that night too. I would definitly go back to Rhino- I'll just stay away from the Fish n' Chips
sean lerner / September 18, 2006 at 02:47 pm
This post couldn't be more timely. I'm going to the Rhino tonight for a Ruby on Rails pub night. Maybe I should eat before I go?

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myparkdale / September 18, 2006 at 02:54 pm
I eat at the rhino every other week. It's amazing that you can find something as good as the rhino burger and as horrible as the 'cajun chicken sandwich' from the same kitchen. The sandwich was a dry and flavourless piece of chicken, and there wasn't a drop of sauce on the bun. No lettuce, no tomato... just dry chicken on a dry, and stale, bun. Terrible.

but then there's the glory that is the rhino burger.... probably the best burger in the area.
Wes / September 18, 2006 at 03:38 pm
Don't ever get the calamari. It's horrible. I've also found the service to be lacking. However, they do have wicked beer selection.
Chris Dart / September 19, 2006 at 12:15 am
Rhino burger is the burger of the Gods.
I've always found the service to be solid.
Elizabeth / September 19, 2006 at 09:40 am
We go to the Rhino all the time. I adore their chicken or veggie quesadilla (with extra salsa instead of sour cream). Their salads are good and so are the delicious burgers. I've never had a problem with the fries. The Thai pizza is good. I like the crust -- it's lightyears tastier than anything Pizza Pizza offers.

The Rhino is also an awesome place for birthday parties or stags. Good food, lots of choice with beer.

No one's mentioned their awesome beer selection, which is considerable.
myparkdale / September 19, 2006 at 09:53 am
WTF is up with the patio? I've never seen such a sparce layout in my life. It's like they know that the patio might have to return to it's former life as a parking lot, so they haven't put anything down that cant be moved in minutes.
Sheryl / September 19, 2006 at 12:50 pm
Somes notes from a 13-year veteran of the 'Dale and Rhino:

- the menu has not changed since the first time I ate there in 1993

- neither have the prices

- usually the fish and chips are the best thing on the menu (but are better at lunch, always)

- everything on the menu can range from astounding to really, terribly awful, and there's no real way to determine if it's going to be a bad meal until it's in front of you

- we go back for the great (and cheap) beer selection, and usually decent desserts
Jen / September 19, 2006 at 04:15 pm
I love the Rhino, but the food is hit and miss. I once loved the burger, but they kept serving it on the pinky side.

The quesidillas and the prosciutto sandwich are delicious, the wings are pretty good too.

Despite some of the negatives, I will keep going back. The staff is great and the atmosphere is very laid back. The beer menu is one of the best. There is a huge selection, including one of my favourites, Wunderweiss.
Luke / September 19, 2006 at 05:04 pm
You have to respect that you can get a jug of great beer at the Rhino (Dennison's Weissbier, Tank House Ale, etc) for about $10.50..

You're looking at a horrible dive serving Blue Light to match that kinda price in Toronto.. if you're lucky.

But the comments re: food are definately true - it's like navigating a minefield. For instance, you get more salad if you order a burger with salad (instead of fries) than you do if you order a salad alone.
Jessica / April 20, 2007 at 01:49 am
Rhino is probably one of my fave places ever--in the entire city. I will say the hummus is always a solid choice at $4. Delectable! But yeah, the menu has done some transitioning over the years... but it's mostly good.
Ellie / May 9, 2008 at 10:44 am
The Rhino burger is so where it's at, especially if you order it with goat cheese. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.
geneva / September 14, 2009 at 02:48 am
cheap drinks - most good beers they dont have in stock. good patio. horrible service.
jameson / April 29, 2010 at 08:44 pm
What an odd place, perhaps not great to get a meal at, but man, whatta beer selection. Just oustanding.

I guess if I want good value meal wise I'll go across the street, or to one of the 10 restaurants I passed on the way there from Sorauren...
that guy / May 14, 2010 at 12:58 pm
for the record, when McDonalds made pizzas they were baked in ovens (the same ovens they cook the apple pies in), not microwaved.
Gabe / July 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm
Are the drinks actually cheap at the Rhino?

I clicked here from the story "The Best Cheap Drinks in Toronto" there's nothing about the drinks in this story all about the food.

What are the drink prices?
Do they have specials nights?
Sarah / July 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm
The article your reading is dated September 2006!!!!???!?!

I'm sure its changed since this review.... time for a new review...
Jason / August 9, 2010 at 11:17 am
I doubt the drink prices have changed much since 2006. They're still well below the city average. The food is still hit-and-miss (but the hits are good ones) and the service gets worse as the place gets busier. Don't show up at shift change time or you will have to wait for a beer while the incoming server has a coffee and reads the paper to wake up at 4pm.
Delilah / January 17, 2012 at 02:12 pm

Came here to celebrate my birthday with a group of friends. I made a reservation for 20 but when we arrived they hadn't even set up our table. Nevermind the fact that we were told to go find the table ourselves but there was only seating for 10. We had to move tables ourselves to make sure all the guests had a seat.

Waiter was despicable. Gave us ONE menu between each group of 10 and when he finally managed to take all our orders, our food didn't arrive for the next 2 hours. By the end of the night we were so fed up with the bad service and the waiter's bad manners we left tipping him only $4. To which he bitched at us for. Believe me, none of us will ever step foot in that place again.
Roctop replying to a comment from Delilah / January 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm
Delilah, it it was me, I would have rolled a quarter for his on the floor and told him to go chase it. LOL. Some servers deserve to be unemployed.
Mr Kanyo / April 20, 2012 at 03:12 pm
"arguably the best patio in Parkdale"

You'd have to argue that one pretty hard - Cadillac Lounge has a far superior patio. The only benefit of the Rhino's patio is being able to watch the Parkdaliens go by.
Jenn / May 21, 2012 at 02:27 pm
Their menu changes frequently. With the seasons any ways.
The fries are actually amazing, they must have a different cook from 2006. I find The Rhino always has such different options than any other pub I've been to without seeming pretentious either. There are also a decent amount of options always available for vegetarians.
Johnny Cash / May 24, 2012 at 03:26 pm
Spoiler alert: SERVICE SUCKS

As a local I keep coming back to The Rhino because it's a convenient place to have a beer and some snacks outside. But man, the service just keeps getting worse. I'm not suggesting the staff are evil, sometimes they're actually pleasant. The problem is that they are either severely understaffed or just plain terrible at their jobs. I've been there twice this week and on both occasions the service was crap. My girlfriend and I ordered a pint each, one came out, then food arrived, and finally the second pint came out 15 minutes later, well after our entrees had arrived. Wtf. I had side orders not arrive at my table. On my first visit I even reminded my server about said missing food, but alas it never did arrived. Yesterday my food that never appeared was put on the bill!

And about that beer list. There's a reason they ask you for a "2nd choice" in case they are out of something, it's because they never have anything good in stock. I would guess that they are stocking about 25% of what's on the menu.

I have to remind myself to go to Cadillac Lounge more often.
Diane / December 22, 2012 at 09:58 am
I went the the Rhino a couple weeks ago just to have a quick beer with some friends. We waited 17 mins to get our drink order in. After waiting another 20 mins, our drinks never arrived. The place probably had about 10 people in it. No excuse to wait that long! The service is ridiculous !!!! We just left and walked across the street to the Caddilac Lounge where we were instantly greeted and waited about 3 mins for our drinks to arrive! The Rhino is a shithole!
Ryan / April 30, 2013 at 01:41 pm
I went to Rhino this past weekend for some grub and a drink or two. The food was great but honestly it was the worst customer service experience I've ever had in a restaurant. The server was very cold and didnt apologize to one of the girls at my table when he accidentally spilled beer on her while clearing off. On top of that, we waited about 20 minutes with our bill in order for him to come over and let us pay. We even went up to the bar and asked another staff member who told us to go sit back down. There's an really lovely older woman who was extremely nice to us but I won't be back because of our server.
Katie / December 19, 2013 at 11:28 am
Don't get the Rhino beer! My friends and I went there one night as the line was too long at Stones Place. We each had 1 pint of the "Rhino beer", we were all sick that night or the next morning.
Aidan / June 12, 2015 at 08:30 pm
The Rhino is an alright place but simply put no matter what beer we buy, they all taste like soap. It's not the food that will make you sick, it's the soapy beer. Please please please Rhino solve this issue. It's destroying the taste and the beer drinking experience.

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