Da Leonardo Bistro

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1239 St Clair Avenue West
Toronto
ON M6E 1B5
416-651-9025

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Da Leonardo Bistro: awful + owner is a thug!‎

My girlfriend and I have waited since September to write this review, as we thought we should have a little "cooling-off" period before documenting our experience. It's now Dec 17, and we still can't believe how we were treated. In the hopes that you, dear reader, will be spared the abominable service, disappointing fare & wrath of the owner, here is our review of Da Leonardo Bistro, or as we like to call it, "worst dining experience ever" (quite a feat as we both dine out 5-7 times a week in all kinds or restaurants from burrito shacks to fine dining establishments).

One Sunday afternoon in September 2009, we we shopping on StClairAve and decided to have brunch in the neighborhood. We often share a plate if we're not very hungry and always leave a great tip in lieu of spending more money. A sign out front bearing the words "ALL DAY BREAKFAST" caught our eye...we strolled in at 2pm and asked if breakfast-y things like eggs & pancakes were still available, to which the server replied "Yes. Sit anywhere, I'll get you a couple of brunch menus".

As we perused the menu, we watched a couple at the next table being served 2 pasta dishes, which according one of the patrons was not what they ordered. Within a few seconds a Burly Man dressed in street clothes wandered onto the scene and attempted to take away their dishes. He grabbed her plate and was in a tug-of-war with her until she yanked it out of his hand. The couple both insisted that "It's OK..." and they would eat what was brought to them. We wondered what THAT was all about, and who THAT guy was.

We decided we'd share the "Blueberry Pancakes & Eggs" menu item which included "fruit and hash browns"...we ordered the eggs "poached hard"...we also ordered a single side of sausages, a tea, a coffee and 2 waters.

The server appeared shortly with a meager plate of food consisting of 2 runny eggs, 2 small sausages, 5 small cubes of potato (approx 1 cm sq), 2 tiny pieces of melon, 3 grapes and one pancake.

We decided to not say anything about the eggs which were very "wet", but did mention that there were no blueberries in the blueberry pancake. The server replied that they were out of blueberries, which lead to a brief discussion that evolved like something from a Monty Python sketch about blueberry pancakes. The Burly Man then appeared within a minute of this exchange to point out that "there's fruit already on your plate and you should be happy with that" in a angry tone, and then stormed off.

We realized that this must be the owner (although he never identified himself and was very rude). We decided we should just pay and get out of there as soon as possible. While referring to the menu for the price of our order, I noticed our menu selection was called "PancakeS & Eggs" (plural).

Figuring I would just pay while my gf finished her tea and we would quietly leave, I approached the cash register where The Burly Man was standing. I mentioned in passing that the menu advertised "pancakeS", and that we only got one. At this point he immediately became very aggressive, storming past me to our table and began removing our plate of half-eaten food, yelling at us to leave, and that I should "be ashamed of sharing a meal", inferring that i was a cheapskate making my gf share my food and as he tried to take her glass of water out of her hand when she was drinking. He also wondered aloud "What kind of people eat breakfast at 2pm?", and who did we think we were ORDERING breakfast at 2pm (hey...we are guilty of read signs & menus bearing the words "ALL DAY BREAKFAST"). He yelled at us and bullied us out of the restaurant (just short of GRABBING ME), threatening to call the police if we didn't leave. During this outburst we were completely speechless and a little scared. He was nuts.

We were chased onto the street, bewildered and rattled. To this day, we've marveled at what has to be, and will be, our worst dining experience EVER. I encourage everyone to skip this place and hit the BigSlice one block East where you'll feel less threatened and get to finish your meal.


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