REVIEW: Joy Bistro

photo 11Earlier this week we took advantage of another great Summerlicious deal, this time at Joy Bistro in the Leslieville neighbourhood (Queen St E. at Booth Ave).

With perfect balmy evening weather, we opted to enjoy one of their two outdoor patios – one of which overlooks Jimmie Simpson Park.

I’ll open up with that which was great about this restaurant: the food. Being the couple that shares everything, contemplating what choices to choose from a menu is always a treat – double the fun!

I found myself extra happy to be able to share my husband’s meal because he lucked out on some spectacular choices this time around.

He has some positively outstanding pork tacos, with that perfect crunch to the shell that tells you how fresh it is. Gouda cheese, grilled onion and tomato salsa, tequila & lime sour cream translated into “Oooh la la!” and much moaning as we gobbled them down.

WINNER: Crisp Lake Huron Perch Fillets zucchini, leek, maple bacon, lemon thyme vinaigrette

I ordered the asparagus, pink grapefruit and corn salad, which was mostly a base of baby kale and romaine lettuce layered over white bean and lemon hummus. It had a perfectly balanced dill dressing with some feta crumbles on top, and I found it have a very refreshing combination of tastes and textures.

Again, he chose a real winner with his entrée of crisp Lake Huron perch fillets served with green & yellow zucchini, potatoes, leeks, maple bacon and a lemon thyme vinaigrette.

You know how often with cooked zucchini, you usually end up with it either way undercooked and raw, or else so slimy you can barely eat it? Not here…this was zucchini perfection (but I digress).

Smoked Leg of Ontario Lamb merguez sausage, sweet potato, summer peas, mint, cilantro, basil, green onion, yogurtI fared almost as well as he did when it came to my main course of leg of lamb with merguez sausage, mashed sweet potato, summer peas, mint, cilantro, basil, green onion and yogurt. I’ve never been able to perfect the art of cooking lamb at home, so I’m always interested in choosing it at restaurants when it’s an offering. This one was excellent with succulent meat and a generous helping.

Our desserts were also very good: a summer fruit & berry crumble with candied ginger and vanilla custard (his) and a flourless chocolate torte with Friuli whipped cream and chocolate caramel crunch (mine).

It’s unfortunate to have to knock a place down due to less than exemplary service, but the reality of dining out is that one comes to expect a certain level of care… and not unreasonably so. Our waitress rarely checked in on us, not once provided water refills, and while she wasn’t unpleasant, she simply wasn’t the least bit engaged. Service for all three courses ordered was very slow and we were often left sitting with empty plates lingering in front of us. “Perfunctory” is the best word to describe it, and it brought the entire tone of our celebratory dinner down a few notches.

I found this to be a true shame because while we greatly enjoyed the quality of the food and the location this restaurant offered, the lackluster service means we’re far less likely to return.


Joy Bistro
884 Queen St E
416-465-8855 website