neruda toronto

Toronto restaurant shuts down but not before leaving diners stranded in the cold

Neruda, the 400-seat Woodbine Beach area restaurant that served an eclectic mix of Mediterranean and South American cuisine is under fire after standing customers up.

The restaurant, named after famed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, silently closed its doors in December after only a year in business, yet apparently failed to notify people who had made reservations well into 2020.

Angry would-be diners have taken to Neruda's social media pages over the past month to complain about the fact that they arrived for their confirmed meal only to find the restaurant was surprisingly shut down.

Residents cited waiting at the door in the cold and rain, confused about whether the restaurant was closed at the time of their reservation and if so, why.

"This place is ridiculous and pathetic," one user wrote on the Neruda's most recent Instagram post from mid-December, which advertised a New Year's Eve dinner that never actually ended up happening. "You can't even follow basic business protocol to advise your customers that you are closing down when people made reservations."

"When we got here the restaurant was closed and we had guests commuting all the way here for dinner," another wrote about their experience on the date of a confirmed reservation at the establishment. "At least have the decency to call your customers... this is beyond unprofessional and unacceptable."

On the restaurant's Facebook page, some are stating that the restaurant did in fact call or email them to cancel their reservations for certain advertised meals — like a brunch buffet that was due to take place on the last two weekends of 2019 — but said no explanation was provided.

It seems like Neruda was already struggling well before it closed in December, with food critics like The Star's Amy Paraki deeming its meals "dismal" and "dull", noting a number of major staff changes and calling the restaurant "a dysfunctional workplace where staff come across as inept or, worse, scared."

Lead photo by

Herman Wong


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