Once upon a time, there was a charming restaurant called Adriatico. Nice food. Pretty dining room. KICK ASS PATIO. Really. It was stunning. Stunning in a who-even-cares-if-the-foodâ€™s-good kind of way. It was that great. Made you feel like you were far, far away. This is another weird thing about patios in Toronto: the more they make you feel like youâ€™re anyplace but Toronto, the better. But I digressâ€¦
The kind folks at Adriatico upped and left. Heavy sighâ€¦Adriatico, R.I.P. And now, itâ€™s been replaced by Lure. Another restaurant. Another fish place even. But, sadly, just another patio. Another mediocre patio.
My man and I went to Lure last week for our anniversary. It was funny because I wanted to go there but forgot the name, and then didnâ€™t want to tell him as heâ€™d already made reservations somewhere. Turned out they were for that very same restaurant: Lure. It was fate! Kismet! We were so in syncâ€¦ we were so in loveâ€¦we were so on the same page. We were soâ€¦.about to be disappointed. You see, weâ€™d been to Adriatico (R.I.P.) and loved it. Aside from being a stunning spot, and having awesome food, we could pretend we were still on our honeymoon. For real -that patio looked like just like a place we stayed at on our honeymoon. So we were excited. Look out Lure, here we come!
And then we got there. And, despite being loved up and all, we hit the patio and saw that the honeymoon really was over.
The place was in need ofâ€¦ something: a cleaning, a paint job, a sponge-downâ€¦ Anything. And we both noticed it, not just anal â€˜ol me. Since it was customer-challenged (aka almost empty) we got to pick any seat we wanted. The first was, we were told, too dusty. The next had personal space issues. Finally, we headed to the back. Where once there were stunning wicker couches with fluffy white cushions and plants, there now lay a dusty rattan mat, the same furniture, only older and cushionless, and empty terra cotta pots. Were they going for the dingy look? If so, it was working.
The waiter arrived. He, like the patio, was a bit dim. But we ordered: seared tuna for me and fritto misto for him. We also chose the â€˜chefâ€™s choiceâ€™ starter platter, joking how the chef would probably choose all veggies for the meze plate. Joke was on us, because he did. It arrived and amid the various veg concoctions was a single shrimp split in two, a spoonful of crabmeat, a lone scallop and, to quote the waiter, â€œthing-a-ma-bobsâ€. I swear, he said â€œthing-a-ma-bobsâ€! Who says that? And who says that instead of saying, oh, artichokes? Yeah, artichokes. It was bad enough the guy had to read the specials off his paper (he couldnâ€™t remember grilled whole fish? Or seared tuna? COME ON!), but then he couldnâ€™t even identify what we were having. It was a good thing that whatever it was we were eating proved to be tasty. Unidentifiable, to be sure, but tasty.
Did I mention we couldnâ€™t see? The fairy lights of Adriatico (R.I.P.) mustâ€™ve burnt out last summer. And I suppose the new management figured theyâ€™d replace them with fog lights. At least they seemed like fog lights â€“ or some other kind of bright yellow spotlights. Theyâ€™d come on for a few minutes, and then turn off. Maybe they were motion sensor lights. Too bad they didnâ€™t have â€˜em at the back where someone was emptying glass bottles into recycling bins. I kid you not. Surely it couldnâ€™t have been the restaurant. Or maybe it was. Who knows? We couldnâ€™t see anything. Honestly, we ate blind. I donâ€™t know about you, but I always find it a bit weird when I canâ€™t see what Iâ€™m eating. As my brother-in-law says, â€œwe eat with our eyesâ€. Yeah? Not at Lure we donâ€™t .
Determined to celebrate, we tried to find each other over the tiny candles and gazeâ€¦But instead we discussed what a bizarre place Lure was. We agreed: great food, but service and ambience were lack-lack-lacking. Aaaaw, we both felt the same way! So in syncâ€¦ so in loveâ€¦ so ready to get the hell out of there. If Lureâ€™s patio was like being away, we were ready to come home. R.I.P. Adriatico, R.I.P.