Toula (Toronto)

Toula is located on the top floor of the Westin Harbour Castle on the waterfront and give diners a great view of the city. If restaurants were all about location, I’d give this one better marks.

My mom bought a couple of Living Social vouchers for this place. It was for a 5-course meal for two. She had gone herself once, and given one of the vouchers to me. When she had come, she had a couple of complaints about the food and service, so the manager promised to bend over backwards to make her next experience more enjoyable. As I went to the restaurant instead, I got the benefits of this, which means the service I got may not be representative of the norm.

After we were seated, the manager came over and gave us glasses of prosecco and told  us that he would be serving us this evening. The menu was laid out on the table to show us what we’d be eating. There were two options for the primi and carne courses, while the other courses were set. We were brought a basket of bread, but no butter or oil for it. Over the course of the evening, we had people come by to ask how everything was about 12 times, it was definitely overkill.

Toula mushroom soup

The first course was a mushroom soup. It was alright. I liked the texture and the flavour was okay, though I needed to add a bit of salt. (Pictures aren’t the greatest. It was very dim in the restaurant and I didn’t want to bother people by using the flash).

Tagliere misto Toula

Next was a tagliere misto (mixed platter). There was a slice of tomato with some buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, a couple different salamis and cheeses, and fig preserves. The platter was generic, but filled with stuff I like. Put a piece of prosciutto and some fresh mozzarella on a piece of bread, and I’m pretty happy.

Toula gnocchi

For my pasta course I got the gnocchi. It was terrible. The gnocchi itself was mushy and bland, and it was drenched in the most basic of tomato sauces. I could only eat a few bites of this.

Tagliolini verdi

My boyfriend got the tagliolini verdi. This was a lot better than the gnocchi, but mostly just because it tasted like butter and had crispy Parmesan on it. Who doesn’t like butter? For homemade pasta, it was really nothing special.

Tangent time! When I’m asked if I’d like some Parmesan on my pasta, I expect to get freshly grated cheese. I don’t get how Italian restaurants (or any restaurant, really) can offer their patrons dehydrated, powdered “Parmesan cheese” that looks like it came out of a Kraft bottle and still respect themselves.

Striploin Toula

For the main course, we both got the Striploin. It came with an arugula salad. The serving size was very large, especially since we had already eaten 3 other courses. We ended up taking most of it home. The cut of meat wasn’t the best, there was a fair amount of gristle and fat. I ordered my steak rare, but it was more medium-rare (my boyfriend got the rare he ordered though). It was okay, but I can make better steak at home.

Toula dessert

For dessert there was a lemon pound cake and a chocolate cake, served with a shot of limoncello. Both were okay, maybe a bit dry. If I had been smart, I would have poured the limoncello on the pound cake. I only took a bite or two of each dessert since I was already full.

At the end of the night, we only had to pay the tax and tip. The drinks got comped which was nice. With the price of the voucher, tax and tip the total cost was about $120 – way too much considering the quality of the food. I can’t imagine ordering off the regular menu and paying even more. You can find better food for a whole lot less.

Besides the gnocchi, nothing was bad, but nothing was very good either. The restaurant seems to rest on its great location, as the food is mediocre at best, lazily plated, and the menu is not at all innovative. Though the service was good, I would not go back to Toula.

Toula Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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