Frequently travelling for business across Canada (mostly West) and the U.S. (periodically), we are privileged with eating in various cities, experiencing the life of the city and through the magic of food, different cultures.

The reason for starting this site was because we can't tell you the number of times we would look on other sites to find reviews of restaurants by the general public, only to come away scratching our heads. Yes, that likely will make us sound like snobs, but hey...there really is no accounting for some people's taste.

Unlike most "reviewers", we never, ever tell the restaurant who we are, or what we are doing. This ensures that we receive no special treatment, and that the establishments aren't on their "best behavior" just because we're there. So you'll hear about the worst of the worst, the best of the best and everything from fast food to luxurious restuarants in our travels, as that is the range and diversity of our palates. Please join us on what has been one hell of a food ride thus far, as we finally unveil, without prejudice, what we really think of the food and let you decide where to eat your next meal.

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12 Restobar - Winnipeg MB

Located at the top of the Radisson hotel in Winnipeg, this restaurant was one of a few options available to us on Christmas Eve. Having searched around for a few places to eat we decided that this, based on reviews, and the menu was probably something we could give a shot.

A few things stuck out as odd as we arrived. First the parking was covered for the Radisson, not enclosed but covered. For those of you who have been to Winnipeg in the winter, you would appreciate an enclosed parkade to a covered one. Needless to say, we dodged the snow drifts that had accumulated in the parkade and found a spot close to the stairs. Then after making our way down the stairs, we noticed that the parkade was not attached to the stairwell, and had to fight the bitter cold to the hotel door. Not a big deal when its warm outside or when not in the middle of a blizzard, but just odd that they wouldn't have a enclosed or attached parkade. Arriving at the front desk we were instructed to take the elevators up to the 12th floor to the restaurant.

Service started off rather quickly as we were only the second of two tables currently seated in the restaurant, and the waitress took our drink orders right away. Now, I haven't really commented on the ambiance of the place thus far, mainly because the name gave it a more elegant feel than the restaurant yielded. With a bar directly located to your left when you walk in and a gaming lounge sharing the space of the restaurant, this place just didn't live up to the image in my mind. Ordering our usual drinks we scanned the menu and decided to order Ravioli bites ($9), and Wonton Prawns ($9) to start, and Spaghetti and Meatballs ($14) and Lobster Ravioli ($19) for entrees.

By now another couple had arrived and been seated, and had been provided bread at their table. Noticing this, and being a bread lover and hungry, I asked our waitress if we too could get some bread, only to be notified that it was an additional cost for us as we had ordered the pasta entrees, which didn't come with complimentary bread. Now I'm not sure that telling a customer who has just ordered two main courses, two appetizer dishes, and a round of drinks, that they have to pay extra for bread is the smartest move. I can understand if we were only having drinks and salad or soup, but really...come on. Needless to say, we declined and waited for our appetizers to arrive.

Onto the food. The Ravioli bites were presented well and looked tasty enough...which isn't that difficult to do. I mean, really, there isn't a whole lot you can do wrong with this dish. But they managed to do it poorly. The marinara sauce that accompanied the bites was horribly bland and barely warmed, so we were left to eat them without, leaving them dry and chewy...something I could definitely do at home better. The Wonton Prawns, based on the description was the most interesting appetizer on the menu. SJ and I were curious how the establishment could deep fry prawns with tempura AND wonton? Did they roll them in tempura then wrap it inside the wonton? Was it diced and mixed with something then stuffed into the wontons? Well to our surprise, the Prawns were indeed deep fried in tempura, and had absolutely nothing to do with the wonton...which was only on the plate as a garnish to hold the aioli dip. How strange is it that a restaurant would call a dish Wonton Prawns (on the dish title in the menu) and the only wonton was one holding the aioli sauce! Really, really strange...

Entrees...again, weird....Two entirely different dish sizes arrived. The Lobster Ravioli that came had a maximum of 8 pieces, which were all undercooked, leaving SJ with a few good bites around the edges of the ravioli. My entree however, the Spaghetti and Meatball dish, was ridiculously enormous! I ate maybe 1/3 of it and passed as much as I could to SJ to eat. The meatballs were unseasoned and bland, and although an option was given on the menu to get Bison meatballs, I decided to get regular. Not sure if the Bison would have been any better, but the regular meatballs, as enormous as they were, were tasteless and a complete waste of food in my opinion.

So finally, after 4 failed dishes and two double drinks we decided to cut our losses and go back to our hotel. Flagging down our waitress for the bill, we asked if the parking would be validated. Our waitress, either new to the country or new to the establishment had to run back and forth a few times to find out. When she returned she gave us instructions on how to pay for the parking, not whether or not it was validated. On our way out we confirmed with the bartender that the parking was indeed not validated with our meal.

For an establishment looking to get patrons, this place has a long way to go. May I suggest you do several things. Get rid of the VLT's. Nothing says "class" like the constant sound of slot machines during dinner. If you are so hooked on the revenue they bring, then just turn the place into a lounge with a small menu. Perhaps offer bread to everyone...really what does it cost you to provide it? Have a little better quality control on the food and portions, and take "Wonton" off the menu...it's completely misleading as far as I am concerned. And validate the parking. If you want people to come, then for god's sake cover the $3 parking charge. Not doing so makes you look cheap and unappreciative of people who come to your establishment from somewhere other than the Radisson. The sad thing is that the view is pretty nice, and this place could have so much ambiance. In a city that doesn't have a whole lot of high end fine dining options (other than steak houses), this place could have been a real hidden gem.

We will not be returning, nor would ever recommend it to anyone looking for a good meal. If you happen to be staying at the Radisson, walk to the street, catch a taxi, and go somewhere else. Based on our experience, our bill being $85 plus tip, we should have spent that money elsewhere.

Location Visted: 288 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg Manitoba


Ambiance: Casual
Cuisine: American
Presentation: Average
Price: $25-$40/person
Service: Average
Value: Below Average

12 Resto bar on Urbanspoon

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