We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Confrontational owner - will never return” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Dougalls on the Bay

Dougalls on the Bay
75 Harbour Street, Brighton, Ontario K0K 1H0, Canada
+1 613-475-4142
Improve this listing
Ranked #7 of 23 Restaurants in Brighton
Cuisines: Canadian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Casual, waterfront dining overlooking Presqu'ile Bay. Serving Angus Beef, Seafood, fresh made burgers, unique sandwiches, pasta, house-made soups and chowder. Locally sourced food, wine and beer. Children's menu available.
Brighton, Canada
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Confrontational owner - will never return”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

We retired and moved to Brighton a year ago and tried Dougall's a couple of times for dinner. Nice location! Chicken, fish and pasta entrees were adequate - consistent with their "casual dining" claim. Wine was a little expensive for the small portions, and service very much on the slow side.

I love beef and have had it in many fine Toronto restaurants including, but not limited to, the old 54th Restaurant in the TD bank tower (now the Canoe), Auberge de Pomier at York Mills and Yonge, the old Fenton's on Gloucester Street, the David Duncan House at York Mills and Don Mills, and the old Winstons on Adelaide. If you hit the right Keg, their beef can also be delicious.

On our third visit to Dougall's I made the mistake of ordering their steak. I seldom complain at restaurants unless something is very amiss, and when I do I am invariably polite about it. When the server came around during our meal to enquire how everything was, I was less than enthusiastic about the flavourless nature of the meat.

Soon thereafter a male (the owner?) approached the table with a confrontational "You got a problem here?" I was astounded by his attitude, and even more so by his snort of derision when I informed him that I was somewhat a connoiseur of fine beef and found this cut flavourless. He replied that it was top-notch Angus beef and that he had never had a complaint about it before.
His attitude prompted a suitable reply from me, and we have never been there since.

Even though we had found previous meals adequate, and this flavourless steak may well have been an exception - and even though I had low expectations compared to fine meals I had eaten elsewhere - I DID expect it to taste at least as good as the steaks I barbeque at home myself. It didn't even come close, and I cook and eat my steaks at home with no sauces or marinades.

A good example of how an owner's poor interpersonal skills can turn away
potential repeat business!

  • Visited October 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

101 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“Great view of the Lake Ontario bay in Brighton... and the swans. The food is average, but we enjoy the location.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

Great view of the bay in Brighton on Lake Ontario. There are often many swans. The food is average, but we enjoy the location. The restaurant itself could do with some decor updates, but the price is fair, so not complaining.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trenton, Canada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Lacklustre service, average food, high price.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

We ate here a month or so ago on the advice of a co-worker.

It's a nice clean place with a great location, but that's where all the good ends.

It was Saturday and we were seated at 4:40pm. At 4:50pm our waitress finally showed up with the menus and took our drink order. We were told that we could not order from the dinner menu. We had to order form the lunch menu or we wouldn't be ordering at all. Even if we waited the 10 minutes until it was 5pm, we were told they don't start serving dinner right away. There would still be a bit of a wait as the kitchen prepared for the dinner service.

When questioned further, she got a bit testy about the issue and practically refused (without actually saying the words) to bring us a dinner menu.

What the....? We looked at the waitress with a "surely you must be joking?" look, but she was downright serious.

Fine. Whatever. I ordered some sort of steak sandwich (that arrived with a grand total of 11 french fries) and my girlfriend ordered, if I remember correctly, a chicken caesar salad.

After waiting a bit longer than is normally expected, we were served mediocre meals that were far overpriced for a typical lunch-sized meal. I believe our final bill was over $40 (including 2 soft drinks.)

We suspect it was just an off night with a waitress who was trying to get herself fired, so we will try again at some point in the future. But it would have to be pretty close to a perfect meal for me to have anything nice to say about Dougall's.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
darknstormy, Owner at Dougalls on the Bay, responded to this review, September 27, 2012
Thank you for your review and the information you provided. From that we were able to determine exactly what happened when you visited Dougalls on the Bay. You and a guest were here on Saturday July 7, 2012.

From our computer records and security camera, you were seated by a server WITH menus at 4:42 pm. At 4:45 she came back and took a drink order, leaving your table 2 minutes later. Drinks (large Pepsi and Smirnoff Ice cooler) were served at 4:51. We see that you were given a dinner menu at that time, but it appears that you had already decided what to order and that food was served at 4:59. Five minutes later, a different server appeared checked on your table. At 5:12, another pop was served to you. Plates were cleared at 5:20, billed delivered at 5:22 and you paid at the front desk at 5:23.

Our kitchen is always ready to start dinner service at 5:00pm and we are sorry you were not given a dinner menu in the beginning. Though you were seated at 4:40, a tad early, it is foreseeable that your main course would have been on the table shortly after 5 if you had been given the chance to order from the dinner menu.

I am surprised you think waiting 8 minutes for a New York steak sandwich (with mushrooms, onion and Swiss Cheese) and Chicken Caesar Salad was a longer wait than you would normally expect. Same that you feel the value wasn't there...New York Steak sandwich $11.49, Chicken Caesar Salad 11.99, 2 Pepsi 5.58, Smirnoff Ice 5.25...Total with tax 38.77. Your bill was over $40 as that included a very generous 20% tip.

We hope that you have returned since that visit or If you have not, that you will soon.

Jackie MacDougall/owner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Delicious, simple, fresh food and an excellent value”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

We've eaten at this restaurant three times in the past, and were impressed each and every time. It has delicious food, albeit rather simple in its preparation. But it is fresh, tasty, and reasonably priced. The portions are huge. The list of wine by the glass is also quite extensive and affordable.

The ambiance of the restaurant is nice too. Inside it is somewhat of a cosy pub or sports bar, and it has a lovely patio.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leiden, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“the best thing is the location”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2012

OK, I get it. A seasonal restaurant can't necessarily invest in a big enough kitchen to handle the Saturday evening rush. But surely a restaurant that's so blessed with a stellar location - right on the water, with a beautiful view and a refreshing cross-breeze - can do a better job than Dougall's.

Upon arrival, we're told the food will be at least a 45-minute wait because everyone arrived all at once. OK, no problem. We settle in on a patio table, order drinks, and enjoy the atmosphere. Oh, yes, drinks: Dougall's carries a few craft beers on tap... But can the server tell you anything about them? Not really. Do they offer to let you taste them? Nope.

After a while, our toddler is quite hungry, we run out of Shreddies to feed her, and we ask for some bread. We don't really offer bread, they say. We can bring you a basket but there's a charge... Whatever. They offer to bring crackers, which the toddler loves... and then it takes 10 minutes to get them.

In the end, the food takes well over an hour to arrive, not 45 minutes as promised. The burgers are OK, nothing to write home about. Certainly not worth the wait. The server, who's nice but wouldn't last a day in a professionally run restaurant, tells us that the kitchen is way too small to accommodate the rush they get on summer weekends. Well, then why offer a multi-page menu that runs from burgers and steaks, to Asian stirfries, to pastas, and everything in between? Keep it simple, and do it well.

And treat your customers like customers from the minute they walk in, not an annoyance to be tolerated until you can manage to get their food on the table.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Dougalls on the Bay also viewed

Brighton, Ontario

Been to Dougalls on the Bay? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Dougalls on the Bay, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.