Like seemingly everyone who walks through their doors these days, we went to The Lobster Trap because of a DealFind voucher. For a restaurant that is reputed to have fantastic lobster, we were looking forward to it and were disappointed in the experience. The food is good, but this is far eclipsed by shoddy management, understaffing and lack of proper customer/crowd control.
When we arrived at The Lobster Trap, it was 6 on a Saturday evening and the front entrance was already full to capacity with people waiting to be seated. No hostess was at the front desk, and the one guy who was supposed to be taking names for seating priority was rushing back and forth and doing little to calm the growing crowd. He took some names and kept telling people that the wait time would be 15 to 20 minutes. We waited for almost 90 to get our table. We would have left, but the DealFind voucher was expiring that week and that’s $25 wasted. The owner of the restaurant kept apologizing and promising to do something about it, but she was clearly in over her head and the crowd was getting hostile. I’ve seen Kitchen Nightmares episodes that go more smoothly than this. Compounding the problem is that the restaurant doesn’t take reservations for groups smaller than five people, and even when reservations are made, they clearly aren’t honored. Three groups who had made reservations ended up waiting over an hour. Unacceptable.
When we finally got our table, things started to look up. We ordered the lobster bisque and it’s fantastic, and we shared an order of mussels and a 1.5 pound lobster dinner. Overall, the quality of the food was good. As others have mentioned, the prices are very high – almost $30 per pound for lobster, but there is no disputing that it’s fresh and well done. The mussels were also very tasty, definitely a dish worth checking out. The décor in the restaurant looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1960’s, and it probably hasn’t. The carpet is worn down, the chairs mismatched and even the dishes look like garage sale fodder. For the fine dining prices you are paying, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect something nicer, but it didn’t ruin our evening. If there was a problem with the dinner, it was how the restaurant keeps running out of things. They ran out of Coke, ginger ale and juice, and at one point, they even ran out of garlic bread.
The Lobster Trap had its glory days and it’s clear poor management has dragged it down. Getting people in the door with discount vouchers probably sounded like a good idea in theory, but it’s led to crowds of customers that they are obviously ill-equipped to handle. The lack of a reservation system means that people going can expect large crowds and long wait times, coupled with slow and inconsistent service. For what they charge, I don’t see this as being acceptable. I was satisfied with the food, but the experience as a whole was disappointing. With so many other options in Toronto, I wouldn’t recommend wasting your time or money here.
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