Alo is the new hype in town. Did you even read the reviews? This place has a whopping 4.8/5.0 on google and similar ratings have spanned across the other foodie websites, namely Yelp and Zomato. You must be like great, here is another review of a blogger who is going nuts over this restaurant. Fortunately, you are wrong about that. My boyfriend and I were heavily disappointed after dining at this restaurant, and honestly it was very sad. So before you start calling me names and say “How dare you?”, make sure you read on to see why I didn’t enjoy my experience at Alo. Trust me, I have both good and bad things to say. They say taste is subjective, but maybe you can understand partially what I went through.
We were told by my boyfriend’s friend that THIS is the restaurant to go to, at least if you are from Toronto. He raved about it as the most godly restaurant and experience ever. We were obviously blown away. It seems like he has visited many other restaurants in the past, especially those that were in fine dining and it gave us some hope. We love eating. Not like we are amazing critics ourselves, but we couldn’t wait to make our mark at Alo. The reservation process is deadly, we had to wait 3 months before our scheduled spot. Believe it or not, it’s like buying tickets to a Beyonce concert, every night at 12am I’m on OpenTable trying to get the next available time slot. To my dismay, the only time I could get was at 9:30pm. What a bummer.
On the night of our reservation, Toronto was blessed with the worst weather ever lol. Anyhow, we were freezing and tried to stay indoors as long as possible at a Toronto library. When we finally stepped foot into the restaurant, we were relieved. But even though we arrived early (15 minutes prior), we still have to wait a bit before our table was ready – and that’s okay. It seems like they were well equipped to serve people who came in early, small cushions near the window with a nicely lit bar in the middle.
This is where I will say I agree with the majority. Service was great, I love everyone’s attitude and attention to detail. At points throughout our stay, I did find it a little overwhelming that so many different individuals were contributing to our night. From one girl handing out our napkins, to a completely different person cleaning table, and finally our waiter (who was my fave btw) that zipped in and out throughout the night. Don’t fret, I’m not complaining, it was unique, but I’m a little traditional and wish we had less people serving us throughout the night. With less people, I felt I could probably make a better connection. Anyhow, service is still good, and I would give them lots of points for this.
How do I put it? It was a letdown, is that too harsh? No, I don’t think so. While the artsy part of the dishes were obvious in each of the dishes, the taste was forgettable. It’s like going to a gourmet burger place, only to be served with a Wendy’s cheeseburger. Just because it looks better, doesn’t mean it actually tastes good. I can tell that the chefs put a lot of effort into arranging the design, but do they know that the combination does not blend? Most of the dishes were either too sour or too salty. At one point, I couldn’t even finish my meal because the sauce was so overwhelming, a pity. Don’t get me wrong, all the dishes were edible. But for the price we were paying, edible doesn’t cut it. When I come into a restaurant like this, I’m expecting to be wowed. I want something no less than my experience dining at Jacobs or Auberge du Pommier. I’m not expecting a Michelin Star experience, and I’ve had that in New York just a few days ago (which by the way Alo cannot match with their current dishes). I do not want to sound like I hate this restaurant, but I do have a few pointers. And obviously, I’m not a great chef so perhaps someone else can point out to me how I am clearly missing the target. But when food is too sour, too salty, that to me is not meeting my expectations.
Overall, I would say it deserves 7/10.
These were the menu items:
Complimentary Puff Pastries (I gave this a solid 9/10, it was amazing. The outer layer was crunchy, and once you bite into the core, you are greeted with a warm explosion. Seriously, it was good.)
Foie Gras, Celery, Ginger (Tasted okay, a little salty)
Cucumber, Celtuce, Avacado, Pistachio (A little bland, luckily the textures were spot-on)
Steelhead Trout, Crème Fraiche, Sorrel, Caviar (Thought this was okay, seafood was fresh)
Hokkaido Sea Scallop, Sea Urchin, Meyer Lemon, Fennel (This was actually not bad, the scallops were awesome)
Salt Spring Mussels, Lintzer Potato, Toasted Barley, Smoked Butter (Seafood was good, but why does everything else have to be so salty?)
Hamachi, Cauliflower, Olives, Piquillo Peppers (I just want to say that the cauliflowers were 9/10, but they were just a decoration in this dish lols)
Muscovy Duck, Cara Cara Orange, Coco Nib, Chestnuts (The duck was a little tough)
St. Canut Rack of Pork, Walnuts, Cranberry Five Spice (I really did not like this, left it half eaten, the pork itself was quite raw, and the sauce was super salty. I had to get water refills right after).
Beef Ribeye, Cipollini Onion, Spinach, Bernaise (This was okay)
Grapefruit, Elderflower, Vanilla (Why do we even need this? The taste was forgettable)
Honey Crisp Apple, Puff Pastry, Calvados (Tasted like apple pie, give this a passing mark)
Dark Chocolate, Coffee (Finally, they presented a dish that looked good and tasted good. Too bad it was at the end)