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“Unreal!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tommy Cat Bistro

Tommy Cat Bistro
Inverness, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, Inverness, Nova Scotia B0E 1N0, Canada
902-258-2833
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Ranked #4 of 9 restaurants in Inverness
Cuisines: Seafood, Contemporary
Restaurant details
Orillia, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Unreal!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

The food was out of this world and the portions were huge. Bring your appetite when coming here and be prepared to leave with a doggy bag!

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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19 reviews from our community

63% Recommend
    8
    4
    2
    2
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Halifax, Canada
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Disrespectful and Dowdy”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

The short version if you don't have time to read anything else is: Avoid this place at all costs. Nothing from the moment our group walked in until we left demonstrated that the owners, servers, and kitchen staff had any respect for their customers. We waited 1.5 hours for our food. We were watching our watches and the restaurant's clock and am definitely not exaggerating this fact.

Let's start from the beginning:

PRE-DINNER:
Our party arrived on time for our reservation and was greeted by the single server who responded with shock and hesitation at our large group. She then began to insinuate that we needed a reservation to get a table assuming that we just walked in out of the blue (without asking if we had one first I might add) to which we responded that we indeed had a reservation. Taken aback, she led us to a table near the back of the restaurant. This was the first sign of unprofessionalism and/or disrespectful behaviour towards customers.

I have to add that there were several empty tables at this point with a maximum of 6-7 tables in the entire establishment. These other tables were smaller than our party but the square type which could easily be moved together if we hadn't had a reservation. No food was waiting at the kitchen window and the kitchen staff seemed to be milling about.

We sat for about 5 minutes without any recognition after we sat down. No offer for drink orders or even just water. The server also didn't ensure the correct amount of cutlery was on the table - for a reservation I might add.

2 more tables filled up while we still sat waiting for the server to take our orders.

Here's the kicker - while still waiting for our orders to be taken, I overheard the server go to one of the tables seated AFTER our table (with only a single man sitting at it) and say that she was going to take his order first. She even mentioned that she was doing so because otherwise he'd have to wait behind the large table of orders that she hadn't yet taken. She said this to him in a hushed voice which was an indication that she knew what she was offering to him was not the appropriate procedure (for any restaurant!). This was the second sign of unprofessionalism and/or disrespectful behaviour towards customers.

Once she meandered over to our table to take our orders, we all ordered our drinks and food altogether because we hadn't been acknowledged since being seated and didn't know when we'd have service again.

Still missing cutlery from the table, she walks away and attends to the other tables.

We began to notice the time as we sat with our drinks and realized we hadn't been noticed or attended to in a very long time. If you read the top, you know the spoiler in our wait time for food.

In the meantime, the single man who ordered received his order promptly.

Let me explain the ridiculousness of our wait by means of the food we ordered. In our party, we ordered chowder, fish and chips, and an asian seafood noodle bowl (without soup). The chowder took about an hour to bring out and only then did 1 of 2 orders come out. Were they making soup in the kitchen one bowl at a time?

We were considering leaving the establishment (which we should've done) but decided to give them a chance.

Then while still waiting, we was one of the tables that was filled after our arrival receive their main courses and finish eating BEFORE we got our main dishes. I was excusing them for the first dish that came out to the couple as it was the same chowder we received. Apparently this 1 bowl at a time cooking rule in the kitchen was sticking to my theory. BUT then they received steamed mussels which could be excused for their quicker steaming? THEN their THIRD plate came out and it was FISH AND CHIPS! This was the third sign of unprofessionalism and/or disrespectful behaviour towards customers.

Are you kidding me? 2 of the people at our table ordered fish and chips as well BEFORE the couple put their order in.

As we waited further, discussion was growing at our table at the 1.5 hour mark. Let me include in our tale that we had not bothered the server about when our food was coming out at any point and she came over once and said (in exact quotation), "Does anyone need anything else? The food will be out in… I don't know" in as apathetic a tone as you should be imagining AND while she was looking elsewhere and walking away. This was the fourth sign of unprofessionalism and/or disrespectful behaviour towards customers.


I decided to go up to the counter and ask the server when our food might be coming out to see if we should cut our losses or if it'd be moments before we'd be able to finally satiate our hunger. She yet again gave a vague apology (without leaving the counter) about the kitchen being overwhelmed. This was the fifth sign of unprofessionalism and/or disrespectful behaviour towards customers. I then said with an over-exhuberant smile, "I'll wait here while you ask the kitchen and get back to me". She reluctantly took about 5 steps beyond saloon-style doors into the kitchen behind the counter to ask. She said, "they plating it right now and it'll only be 1-2 minutes". I thanked her and went back to our table.

We finally get to DINNER:

We finally have to ask for the missing cutlery and get most dishes. Missing are some fish cakes and… a bowl of chowder. I mean, how difficult is it to make a whole pot of chowder to serve in multiple bowls all at once? If I can figure it out, surely a restaurant that gets all the orders around the same time can figure this out.

My asian bowl had soba noodles substituted for what seemed like Mr. Noodles doused in soya sauce. It was so salty that I had to chase it down with something else at every other bite. I didn't mention it to the server who came by and asked if "the food was worth the wait" because nothing was going to save this meal or restaurant.

In our pre-dinner discussions, we all wanted some dessert but ultimately opted out of it after the inordinately long wait and mediocre food.

POST-DINNER:

We get our bills and those of us who ordered lemonade or tea had their prices stricken from the bill. A token gesture of $1-3 was not going to cut it for the lack of requisite service anticipated at any level of restaurant and the half-hearted attempts to excuse the kitchen staff.

As we stand around the counter, the server asks us to wait a minute to drop off food for a waiting table. We understand at this point that anyone still in this place probably deserves to get their food before we pay.

When she comes back, she decides to make turn into the kitchen first (right behind the counter I will remind you) and I can see her whispering to the staff while looking like she's busying herself. She reappears through the swinging doors and starts to take our money. Most of us see ALL the kitchen staff standing around with drinks in their hands (pop AND alcoholic). The staff very apparently/intentionally crouch between the doors' slats to peer out to see us with a smirk on their faces. Smirks are clearly visible as they aren't standing far away and there are large gaps between the slats in the doors themselves as well as between the swinging doors. This was the final blow of unprofessionalism and/or disrespectful behaviour towards customers.

The owners sat in chairs behind us while we were paying, watching our every move as we paid with smirks also wide across their faces.

There was no point in making any kind of fuss as it was clear they felt superior and any reasoning would have fallen to deaf ears and have had an inane retort. It was clear that in their minds, it was insane that a customer had felt the need to get a specific estimate on his/her food after 1.5 hours of waiting. Favouring one table over another regardless of reservation, arrival time, or readiness for service is just par for the course and any other expectation is absurd.

In summation, you'll read in other posts that people may have gotten speedy service while noticing slower service for others. You may be a lucky one and not come across the horrid experience I had. But do you really want to take the risk that you won't be so lucky with food, service, and spite that couldn't possibly offset the gamble?

  • Visited August 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
“Average”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

Food was good. A bit expensive. Service for me was normal but other guests seemed to have slow service for some reason. I only ate breakfast there.

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Keep on Driving”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2012

We were told by a local that Inverness had this seafood restaurant and another that was a grill so we picked this one.. We arrived at 12:30 pm for lunch. The crowd consisted of 3 guys on their lunch break. They had ordered greasy fish & chips. The blackboard had stuffed flounder "today's special" - I ordered it. My wife just a salad.

There was only one employee in the "diner", so he took our order. When I said I wanted the "special" he said is was "yesterday's special" but would check to see if it was still available. It was so I made the mistake of ordering it! The portion was small thank goodness because it was tasteless - but still expensive.

The decor of the "diner" was like an old corner store/poolhall far out in the country.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Talk about gone down hill!!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2012 via mobile

My husband and I have family in Inverness so we vacationed there this summer. My mom wanted to take me out for a good 30th birthday supper so I picked the Tommy Cat because I ate there in 2010 and it was excellent. Well the menu has changed drastically. There are no supper items on the menu. I ended up ordering Fish n chips. It was greasy, too much doughy batter and the fries swam in grease. The service was sub par, took forever for someone to acknowledge we were even there. I've heard that the great cook they used to have was from New York, and has left....apparently taking the good menu and great food with them!!!

I won't eat there again.

    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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