Last Friday night my girlfriends and I went out for what was supposed to be a fun get together to celebrate the holidays. We LOVE Mexican food but one of our favourite Mexican bars recently closed down and we've had a hard time finding good Mexican ever since. It is my opinion that there is a sad lack of good Mexican in Toronto (but that's another rant). You know how sometimes you have such a fantastic food/service experience somewhere that you just have to tell everyone you know to go there? But then there are those horrible times when the food, service and overall experience are so appallingly bad that you need to make sure no one you know goes there ... ever? Sadly Dos Amigos falls into the latter category.
WARNING: This will be a lengthy review. But I feel that I owe it to the people of Toronto to chronicle each and every one of Dos Amigos' faults in excruciating detail. I should preface this review by saying that I don't consider my standards to be TOO high, but for the amount of money and time spent at that restaurant I expect good food, service and an exceptional overall experience, none of which we received.
For those of you who don't want the nitty gritty details, here is a summary of our experience:
-Delicious (strong) drinks
-Clean restaurant and washrooms with charming decor throughout
-SERVICE (servers were rude, did not go out of their way to accommodate our most basic requests; drinks -- both alcoholic and water -- were left empty and not refilled; there was a lot of time between each course of the meal as if the staff were trying to encourage us to leave and clear the table for the next party)
-Food (much of it was salty, some of it was good but almost nothing was better than mediocre)
-Food and drinks were both quite expensive considering we were all still hungry afterwards
-General awkward atmosphere (we felt like we were outsiders in a crowd of regulars who were inconveniencing the staff with our mere presence)
There were five of us going out for dinner and drinks. We work in the financial district so choosing a restaurant about 10 minutes walking distance from Christie station is a bit of a trek for us (one we would have been happy to make for great food a service mind you). Three of our friends got there early only to discover that the restaurant closes between lunch and dinner, so they had to wait outside until past 5 PM. This wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't winter and there was something in the neighbourhood for them to occupy their time. Regardless, when they were let in they ordered drinks and guacamole. Although their drinks came in a timely manner the staff did not return to ask them for refills or more snacks while they waited, instead they acted annoyed that their other guests had not arrived yet and they could not clear the table. The staff stood and starred at them awkwardly despite the fact that the rest of the restaurant was empty at that time. They did all liked their drinks though and the guacamole tasted very fresh.
When we finally did arrive we ordered our drinks (a lime margarita for me which was strong but delicious -- probably the best thing I had that night, but expensive at 11 bucks a pop; and a pitcher of sangria for my friend, also delicious but expensive at 30 bucks a pitcher). Our waitress took our order with some hesitation over the fact that my friend asked for no mole on her enchilada (she later returned to tell us that the chef had refused to cater to that request and we were forced to have it with mole). Three of us ordered the Pollo Asado "A combination of grilled chicken breast, stuffed chicken mole enchilada and cheese quesadilla, served with black beans, rice and guacamole." The chicken was juicy and tender but not particularly flavourful and the other two dishes were mushy and mediocre. We got some of their homemade hot sauce which was good but tasted mostly like tomato and wasn't particularly spicy. I also got beef tacos to share with my friend; they were salty and did not have any toppings which we found disappointing. I was annoyed that nothing came with sour cream. When one of my friends asked for sour cream they gave her a TINY dish of it (it amounted to about a tablespoon, pitiful), and charged her for it! Lastly one of my friends got the Tostadas (her favourite) which are "A choice of chicken, beef, vegetable or pork stew on two crispy tortillas with a spread of black beans, lettuce, “pico de gallo”, sour cream and “queso fresco". She hated them. They looked amazing and were piled with toppings but we way too salty, to the point that she could only take a few bites. When the waitress cleared away the plates she asked if anything was wrong with her food and she told her they were too salty but the waitress just nodded. She offered no apology, alternative dish or compensation at all. Even acknowledging her displeasure would have been better than that.
Our plates were cleared for more than 20 minutes before we were so much as asked if we wanted to see a dessert menu. We had all planned on eating dessert but were pretty disgruntled at this point. Not only had their ignored us for an unacceptable amount of time, they hadn't asked us if any of us wanted more drinks and all of our water glasses were empty (and they remained this way for the duration of the meal! I think it is worth mentioning though that ONLY the tall gorgeous blonde in our group had her water refilled while the rest of us looked on in shock and disgust. Just an observation.) Against our better judgment we accepted the dessert menus and each chose something off the list. One friend had the Platanos con cajeta "Plantain sliced into coins sautéed with goat's milk caramel sauce" which she seemed to like. Another had churros which she said were too hard and crispy on the outside yet uncooked and doughy on the inside, and two of us had flan which was not right at all. The consistency was more like a cheesecake than a custard and the caramel tasted burnt and bitter.
Finally (and this is my favourite part) the bill came and despite the terrible service we received, the manager (who brought the bill over himself) had the nerve to tell us that "gratuity is NOT included" as he put the bill down on the table. Furthermore, as if we didn't hear him, it was also hand-written with exclamation points at the bottom of our bill. UNBELIEVABLE. In the end we decided to tip them but did so not because they deserved it, but because we knew they would never see our money again, nor would they make money of anyone we know if we can help it.
Other small points to mention: the decor was cute and fun, the music was festive but generic and mediocre and the atmosphere was terrible. It is a very small place and as we sat it because busy to the point that people had to wait in the small entryway for a table. It seems like the kind of place where there are regulars because you could tell that the servers knew some people's names and many people came in to pick up take-out while we sat there. Another note, the bathrooms are downstairs and the door to the women's washroom is impossibly small (I felt like Alice in Wonderland ... I seriously contemplated holding it because I'm so claustrophobic) but inside it's a decent size and very clean. (Our taller friends did struggle with the low ceilings though).
Overall the food is mediocre if not bad, and overpriced. The drinks are good but expensive. The atmosphere is passable but more of a quiet restaurant than an ideal location for a drink night and the service is shockingly terrible. On our way out two different waitresses and the manager each thanked us and wished us a Happy Holidays. They must have sensed our distaste and were trying to save face. Happy Holidays sir but we shall not be back to this establishment, ever.
These reviews are the subjective opinions of ChickAdvisor members and not of ChickAdvisor Inc.