Toronto Life - The Dish

The latest buzz on restaurants, chefs, bars, food shops and food events. Sign up for the Dish newsletter for weekly updates. Send tips to



Toca relaunches with a new head chef and a new menu (and without Tom Brodi)

The Ritz-Carlton Toronto announced yesterday that Montreal-born and European-trained Gihen Zitouni is the new chef de cuisine at Toca, replacing Tom Brodi, who left at the end of May. Zitouni has been in the Ritz-Carlton family for years, working as a cook at hotel restaurants in Florida, Barcelona and the Caribbean. In her most recent stint she was head chef of the Ritz-owned Arola Restaurant in Portugal. With Zitouni’s arrival, Toca is changing its menu from Brodi’s focus on classic Canadiana, to a Mediterranean-Canadian concept built around small plates designed for sharing. At a preview dinner on Wednesday evening, she presented an array of dishes, including B.C. octopus salad, smoked Nova Scotia trout and Tunisian sandwiches with tuna and harissa mayo. The new menu officially launches on Oct. 29.

  • Bullycharlie

    “Small plates designed for sharing”…In other words be ready to drop some serious cash in order not to leave hungry. So much for losing the pompous /stuffy label. This place is a joke!!! From how they treat their staff to how they gouge their guests… My advice.., Stay away…tons of better restaurants within walking distance from the Ritz…..Canoe, Bymark, Ki and the list goes on…

  • Jenn Harrods

    I have been there yesterday. Coincidentally their first night with a new menu. WOW I absolutely loved it. The dishes are delicious and quiet an experience. The price is very reasonable compared to before.
    The ambiance was great.
    ( don’t know how they treat their staff but they were amazingly friendly)
    I can highly recommend the place.

  • Sam Tresniewski

    Sorry Bully. Go try first, why is this city so closed when it comes to new stuff??? A friend of mine works there, she loves it!!! Get your facts right

  • JNom

    this city isn’t closed minded. it’s just easier for people to be negative instinctively than to find the positive in things. I’m not justifying Bully, but people generally are lazy to be open to things (new/old) and would not try harder to look for the postitives (that sometimes outweigh the negative). haters are always going to hate. can’t please everyone.

  • Bullycharlie

    Sam, I’m happy your friend likes it there, she’s in the minority then. For your information I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for over 20yrs. I had many friends who went to work there when it opened and a few that still do. The ones that have since quit have nothing good to say about how its run. The 2 that are still there are only biding their time until they find something better.

    As for you JNom, the negativity is less about bashing the place and more about telling readers there are better places to go spend your money in that neigbourhood.

  • Reg

    I would love to see the numbers from hotel restaurants and restaurants in general that measure how many original ‘opening team’ staff members are still around a year after launch, or better yet three months after open. Generally it is understood they never open on time, the staff gets frustrated because there is a ton of new/learn as you go service and training info, it’s a lot of ‘roll up your sleeves’ labour, and people bounce because another hot spot around the corner lured them away with promises of more money and less headaches etc, etc. I have worked with the F&B team there and they run a tight and professional ship while still being respectful to the team. If that’s not your thing there are plenty of other jobs you could be doing, worse and better. In closing, suck it up Bully. It’s 2012 any employer that looks at your resume containing 20 years of ‘expertise’ is going to wonder why you’re still in the business and why you have not carved out some sort of path to success rather than wasting your time bashing former employers online. I believe the Ritz has been in business for over a hundred years and is one of the most recognizable and respected brands in hospitality so obviously the are doing something right. I’m sure it’s just as easy to find a disgruntled former employee at Canoe, Ki, and Bymark.

  • jujyhttg

    go to new york city and eat at REAL restaurants !

    the toronto scene is an insult!

  • Bullycharlie

    Hey Reg for your information I never worked at the Ritz, re-read my post or learn to read before you tell me to suck it up. I wonder if your employers are aware they’ve hired someone who can’t read. As for my 20 yrs of experience I’m sure my resume would put yours to shame but don’t be mad, sometimes the truth hurts and it’s your narrow minded thoughts about me not “having carved out a path to sucess” that are killing this industry. Employes like me are few and far between now a days. The industry is made up mostly of ppl with your narrow mindedness and that are in it stricktly for the $$ and not as a profession. For me its a profession!!! On that note I’ve wasted enough of my time on you (Reg). Have a good life cause I sure am!!!!

  • rich

    seriously Bullycharlie, clearly your an idiot, why are you online at 5:19pm on a saturday night, shouldnt you be polishing cuttlery or cleanng toilets, its people like you that make the industry in Toronto so sad, the feed is about a new menu at TOCA and your on here bleeding your life story, clearly in the industry to long.

  • Bullycharlie

    Ohhh Rich you’re so scary!!!! Clearly you also work at TOCA and are here trying to defend your shitty restaurant…I’m on line cause I’m entitled to a day off JACKASS!!! Why are you so bothered by what I have to say anyway. Clearly I’m striking a nerve. Between you and Reg you guys seem to know so much about the business and me personally that maybe you should open your own restaurant and I’ll be your head toilet cleaner or we can have a cutlery polishing competition and I’ll show you how a “disgruntled” professional will kick your ass…hahaha….

  • Reg

    If you haven’t worked for the Ritz then you have no business commenting on how they treat their employees as well as spreading your negative views which lack any validity.

    In addition you’d make a terrible head toilet cleaner, clearly you are already full of shit and haven’t cleaned up your act in years. So please apply elsewhere.

  • Bullycharlie

    Hey Reg if you care so much about your shitty restaurant why dont you defend it prove that what I say is wrong, but you can’t therefore instead you attack me. Who’s the “Disgruntled” one now? You can put makeup on a pig but in the end it’s still a pig, you can change the menu and the decor but in the end…

  • rich

    let me guess Bullycharlie, you have another day off

  • Bullycharlie

    Reg, still no defense just another personal attack goes to show the quality of ppl that work there. Maybe your the one that’s been in this business to long and has become disgruntled by your lack of advancement, and for your info yes another day off. Just because you choose to work at a place that treats their employees like slaves doesn’t mean we all need to. I just enjoyed a beautiful brunch now going to enjoy the rest of my day off.

  • seriously

    this is hilarious! keep going!

  • Bullycharlie

    I apologise, my last comment was directed towards Rich and not Reg. Reg I guess I have as much time off as you do since your here as often. Or worse yet your probably one of the managers at TOCA and instead of being on the floor insuring your guests are taken care of your in the office wanking one off…

  • Bullycharlie

    Reg, I am sorry for the way I spoke to you, and Rich, I am just insecure about my ability in the industry and need to vent on a website that dosnt reveal my indentity, I will go home and take a good look in the mirror, and restrain myself from hurting other people, I realize this is an article about a new chef and not an oppourtunity for me to be hurtful and disrespectful,

    I remain yours

  • From Reg and Rich

    We are two of many reason’s TOCA is struggling in this city of fantastic restaurants. We can’t handle critisism therefore we attack others. We suggest that anyone thinking about checking TOCA out refrain from doing and so and go spend your hard earned money somewhere else where you will be treated as a guests and not as customers.
    As for Bullycharlie we apologise we now realize that one of the things that makes this wonderfull world go round is the opportunuity to express ones opinion and not be lambasted for it. We also hope that our General Manager (C.P.) at TOCA doesn’t come across this and sees how petty some of his employees are and fire us. Once again we deeply apologise to you Bullycharlie….

    From two incompetent and irresponsible TOCA employees…

  • Reg and Rich

    PS: Bullycharlie, to make up for our irreprehensible behaviour we would like to offer you a GC to come and enjoy dinner on us at TOCA.

  • Bullycharlie

    Even if I was on death row and I had the opportunity to have my last super was at TOCA I would rather go to the electric chair on an empty stomach…


    Coming from a guy who has been FOH & BOH for over THIRTY YEARS. Bully,Reg and Rich you guy’s should get together and have a group hug.Or a group session.

  • Reg

    Listen Bully Charlie…you wanna talk swine?

    Never get into a wrestling match with a pig.
    You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.

    Tell you what I’ll do my disgruntled little friend. Shoot me your mailing address and I’ll send you a postcard in a few weeks from Cozumel as soon as I finish my first Margarita. It’s unfortunate I can’t upload photos of my trip to Bermuda, Cognac, Russia, Brazil, Hawaii or the other 130 destinations in the world that I’ve traveled to as a successful independent business entrepreneur. Perhaps you would like to send me photos of Eggs Benny or the plate of French Toast you had for breakfast at Cora’s. Stop wasting your time here you should be working on your resume. I’d forward the numerous articles that have been written on my work, and the events I am involved with however the last thing I need is some out of work nut job crashing one of my gigs to drop off his CV.

    Rich I’m sure you’ll agree that this guy’s suspicious string of ‘day offs’ is a good indication of his current employment situation.

  • Bullycharlie

    Its brings me great pleasure knowing that this unemployed nut job is getting under your skin enough, for you to keep coming back here to respond to my witty repartee. So you’re a world traveler. Staying in hostels, and taking pictures with your disposable camera doesn’t impress me. Neither does the fact that your claim to be a successful independent entrepreneur, all your telling the world is that you drive a fancy sports car to make up for your small penis. Sorry about your luck but God only blessed some of us.
    Everyone knows that those who brag are only trying to make up for their deficiencies.
    As a matter of fact I love Eggs Benny, whether at Cora’s, Four Season’s or if its your MOM making them for me. Yummm..
    Your best bet is to walk away my friend you can’t handle this. Your book smart and I’m street smart I’ll squash you like a preppy bug!!!!


    All bets on BULLYCHARLIE!!!

  • MPW

    This is awesome. Please don’t stop!

  • Reg

    I’m over this guy. Clearly he missed taking his medication.

    Later pal, good luck on your job search.


    This is the funnest poop I have ever seen. A blogging pissing contest.

  • Bullycharlie

    Ohh look at Reg whimpering away w his tail between his legs…… Champion of the worlddddddd!!!!!!!! BULLYCHARLIE ……and the crowd goes wild….haaaaaa, haaaaaaaaaaaaaa ……..

  • sandra

    Sorry Bullycharlie, we tried the new menu and loved it! We will definitely go back again and again! You can stay away… no problem!

  • Peter

    I have lived in Madrid, Berlin, Paris and New York in the last 15 years and I have never come across so many agressive comments on blogs and online-news like in Toronto.
    I have been to TOCA and I loved it, that is just my humble
    opinion. You inferiority complex with other cities shows in this conversation, just accept the city as it is.
    You Torontonians have a talent to embarasse yorselves over and over again with your comments.
    Get over the New York’s, Paris and London’s of the world.
    enjoy your city and be proud!!