Around 4:15PMish, we headed back out for our 4:45PM dinner reservation at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower. Yesterday night, I realized I screwed up the original reservation by making it for two days from now on Sunday. I’m not sure how it happened, but if my mom had not insisted that we go to the CN Tower for dinner instead of lunch as I originally planned, I would have probably not discovered my mistake on time. While 4:45PM was a little early for dinner, that was the only reservation left for today until 9:00PM which is way too late for my parents. 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, uses OpenTable for reservations which made it much easier for an American like myself vs other restaurants in Canada which use a local service.When we arrived at the tower entrance, we passed through airport style security painlessly before we were directed to the line that would lead us to the checkin area for the 360 Restaurant. I gave the receptionist my name and she confirmed my reservation and then asked me if all 10 people were with me. I was like uhhhhhh no, my reservation is only for THREE people. I joked that 10 people can come up with me but I’m only paying for THREE. I didn’t think it was that funny but she cracked up laughing. The receptionist confirmed my reservation for three and I was given a piece of paper and directed to the hallway leading to picture taking and elevators up to the restaurant.
Before anyone is allowed on the elevator, group photos of your party is taken so they can try to sell the pictures to you later while your up in the restaurant eating. The elevator arrived after a short wait and after packing everyone in loosely, we were up up and away. None of the pictures that I took through the glass elevator door came out good due to the movement and other obstacles in the shot on our way up. The doors opened and we were directed to the hostess stand where the hostess again confirmed my name and number in my party. Again she asked me if all 10 people were here, and again I corrected her that there was only THREE of us. She punched away on her computer before confirming that she found my name and that it showed that the reservation was for THREE people.We moved over to the side to wait for one of the managers to take us to our table. Less than 30 seconds had past before someone came and escorted us to our table. On the reservation, I had requested a table by the window and that is exactly what we got. The 360 restaurant, just like the SkyCity Restaurant at the Seattle Space Needle, have tables up again the windows and others that are further away towards the center. When we ate at the SkyCity Restaurant in 2015, we were given one of the inner non window tables so this time, I made sure to request a window table. At first, when we sat down, my mom and I sat by the window, but my dad asked my mom: “Why do you get to sit by the window and not me.” I switched with my dad and let him have the window seat since being right up against the window wasn’t really important to me. Just close enough to take pictures. The 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower rotates slowly while you are dining just as the SkyCity Restaurant at the Seattle Space Needle does. It does not matter which window seat you sit at because the view is not stationary. We were told by the lady that sat us, that the it takes a little over an hour for the restaurant to make a full 360 degree rotation. Luckily the windows were clean and the overcast weather made it good for picture taking without any glares. Nothing is more irritating than to go up to a high building such as the CN Tower to be greeted with dirty windows that really obscure the view and ability to take pictures. Our waiter came by to greet us and explain the menu and how the prix fixe section of the menu works. Afterwards, he left us to give us some time to go over all of the items before coming back to take our order. My mom ordered from the non prix fixe, the New York Cut StripLoin Steak with a side order of baked potato and sautéed mushrooms. My dad and I went with the prix fixe menu. For my appetizer, I chose the Albacore Tuna Crudo and the Crispy Pork Belly and Seared Scallops for my main. My dad went with the Celery Root and Fennel Bisque and the same Pork Belly and Seared Scallops main that I ordered. The bread and butter, which was brought out by one of the other staff member was quite good and when seconds were offered, we accepted. We were in absolutely no rush! As far as we were concerned a little lateness with the food was absolutely acceptable with the view in front of us. While our table was facing Billy Bishop Airport, our appetizers arrived. My tuna crudo appetizer looked and tasted delicious and by dad’s bisque arrived in separate components and the waiter poured the soup over the scallops into the bowl at the table. After couple of bites, I gave the other pieces of tuna to my parents to taste. I’m not a fan of fennel so I passed on tasting my dad’s bisque.
When we were finished with our appetizers, the plates were promptly cleared away by the staff. We went back to focusing on the view outside while we waited for our main course to arrive. By this time, our table was facing east with views of railroad tracks below and a group of skyscrapers in the distance. As a train buff, it was great being able to watch Go Transit and UP Express Trains passing by below. My parents were quite busy themselves looking out the window and pointing things out to each other.We were only interrupted from our view when our main course arrived. Visually, all of the main courses were stunning. Taste, was a different story. My mom’s New York Cut Steak was tough and flavorless. The steak did come with a side of sauce but that did not help the meat at all. My crispy pork wasn’t crispy at all. The scallops were well cooked and good, but expecting crispy pork as described in the menu and not getting ruined the whole dish. The best part of the meal was the sautéed mushrooms that my mom ordered. The mushrooms get a two thumbs up. My dad wasn’t fond of any of the main dishes either. While if we had a meal such as this on the ground, we would be sorely disappointed and have a word with management, especially for the price we are paying, BUT we took into consideration that 99% of the cost of our bill was for the view and the table we were sitting at and not the food. One of the big deciding factors to eat at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, was that the cost to visit the tower is included and one gets priority elevator up vs paying an admission and waiting in line to visit the observation deck alone. The general admission for an adult to the observation level is $36 CAD and if you want to go up to the SkyPod, it is another $12.00 CAD per person. At those prices, your better off paying a bit more to have dinner and get priority access up via dedicated elevator to the restaurant. Eating at the restaurant does NOT give you access to the SkyPod. Only to the two observation levels. After we finished our main course, the plates were cleared and after a short wait, our waiter brought us the dessert menu. Of course we were having dessert with this view! I ordered the carrot and quinoa cake, and the rhubarb and strawberry crumble for the three of us to share. My dad and I also ordered coffee to kill more time up here in the restaurant. As it was getting dark and we were now facing the skyscrapers of downtown Toronto, the two desserts that we ordered earlier arrived. The carrot and quinoa cake came with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and, strawberries and other garnishes. The rhubarb and strawberry crumble arrived with a “dollop of sheep’s milk yogurt” according to the menu. Both of the desserts were great and refreshing after the disappointing main course we had earlier. By my second cup of coffee, we arrived back where we started when we first sat down, which means it has been over an hour. We sat around some more until every drop of my coffee was finished before we reluctantly got up to leave. I asked our waiter for instructions on how to get down to the observation level and he explained that there is a door and to take the stairs down to the observation deck. I thought the observation deck was above the restaurant but it turned out that the restaurant was higher up than the two level observation deck. Once we got down to the observation deck, it was quite lackluster after enjoying the spectacular view from the 360 Restaurant. I went over the glass floor but with the dirty glass didn’t find it very interesting. We even went outside onto the open air deck but the wire fencing was ruining the view. After an hour+ of watching the view from the restaurant through clean windows, neither my parents nor I were impressed with the observation deck so we decided to call it a night a head back to our hotel and get ready for our early departure tomorrow for Quebec City.