Located in the middle of the financial district, the newest significant addition to downtown Toronto’s dining scene is South of Temperance, 20 Adelaide Street West (just south of Temperance Street, of course), beside the new Bay-Adelaide Centre.
Boasting “the biggest patio in downtown Toronto”, it conjures up the image of a restaurant in a tropical resort town. Even those sitting inside the building can have plenty of fresh air due to the absence of walls obstructing access to the patio. Some of the patio area seats are couches, providing great spots for relaxing after hours drinks.
I arrived for lunch at 11:30 am, and the staff had just finished their morning meeting (you can see the meeting in the first photo). Still, I was quickly seated and provided with menus. After an appropriate pause, my order was taken.
For appetizer I had the Short Rib Poutine ($9). These were made with sweet potato fries, which for me are much better than regular fries. Despite the word “rib” in the name, there were no bones to deal with, just tasty beef. The only area of improvement would be the slightly insufficient amount of cheese; double the amount would be ideal. Nonetheless, it was very good, and I saw a few other bowls pass by me on their way to other diners.
(The Pepsi in the background of the second photo is $2.95, with free refills)
My main course was ready by the time I finished the poutine. I had the Lobster Mac n Cheese ($26), a personal favourite. The highlight here was the actual visible chunks of lobster meat, instead of mere flakes. This indicated good value for the money. The taste was perfect, and the cheese was of appropriate thickness. Definitely an excellent dish.
Throughout the meal, my server checked up on me in appropriate intervals, that is, I was not intruded upon nor was I being ignored. Teamwork was also evident: other servers always smiled when making eye contact with any customer, and offered to pick up empty dishes. Territoriality is always a threat to good customer service, and it is heartening to witness its absence.
Regarding another essential feature of any restaurant, the washroom – gentlemen’s side, at least – was clean and well kept. While I question the wisdom of placing the paper towels directly underneath the soap dispensers, nature’s call was answered pleasantly.
The total time spent for my lunch was only about 40 minutes, which was amazing for a sit-down restaurant. With a steady stream of customers, efficient service greatly reduces the wait time for a table during peak periods.
It would be remiss of me if I fail to mention a most welcomed aspect of South of Temperance: the servers’ uniform is an elegant little black dress. Shoes worn are stylish yet appropriate for occupational safety requirements. No frumpy aprons or worn sneakers here!
Overall, it was an amazing lunch experience and I highly recommend South of Temperance. While it is not the cheapest spot around (nor do I believe that they desire such status), the value for money was excellent – every penny paid was worth it. A next visit – perhaps in the evening – is in order.