Panorama boasts having "Toronto's Best View," and frankly, I can't really argue with that. However, my sky-high expectations (no pun intended) were not entirely met by this cozy little locale up in the air.
When I went to Panorama and the initial enamour wore off, the first thing I thought was, "Hey, this place has the potential to offer a great night." There is a $5 cover charge at the bottom of the elevator, and when you walk in, there's a restaurant area with a bar in the middle. The setup is definitely very fresh and summery with a white and metallic theme throughout the venue.
My strongest suggestion is to keep your credit card cool and avoid showing up for dinner. It's crowded, and the dinner crowd inevitably gets mixed in with the partygoers. Furthermore, the food is not really worth the price. There's a big difference between food that sounds good and food that actually tastes good. The price range is about $30-$50 per person, which is normal for a place with this kind of reputation, but the selection and the flavours failed to impress me. Also, if you're thinking that you'll be okay with eating mediocre food as long as you get to enjoy the view, think again: the only view you'll have while you eat is of other people eating.
by Michael Johnson
Another problem in the food department is that the service is rather lacking for both food and beverages. I spent more than ten minutes waiting at the entrance to even be greeted by a hostess, and when I got to the bar? Well, the cocktails were good, but the service was just too slow. The staff clearly has not been trained to be efficient, helpful, or any of the other things that would land them a good tip — and finding this out the hard way is not cheap.
However, going back to my original statement, the view really is too good to pass up. Located on the 51st floor of a building on Bay St., you'll get to experience a breathtaking sight of the Toronto skyline. It's absolutely gorgeous, and there's nothing else in Toronto that even remotely compares. Again, though, I have to throw in another "but." Everyone wants a good view of the skyline, right? Well, in celebration of basic common sense, you would assume that the patio is large and spacious, right? Wrong. The patio is extremely cramped compared to the volume of people that show up, and to make it worse, they decided to incorporate a bottle service booth on the patio. There's a patio on the north side, but, as you would expect, it's empty. It still bewilders me why the designers thought that anyone would be interested in checking out a view of the north side.
Not all hope is lost, though: you can still incorporate Panorama into your night and have a great time. Whether you plan on eating or partying or a little bit of both, my biggest suggestion is to do it somewhere else! I returned a second time at the end of my night, grabbed a drink, and headed straight to the patio. I went around midnight, and surprisingly, it wasn't as crowded as the first time I had gone. All in all, it can be a great place to wrap up a date or just chill out after a long night. As I say about many places, keep it sweet, simple, and short, and you'll be sure to enjoy the only good thing about Panorama — the view.
Manulife Centre - 51st Floor
55 Bloor Street West - Toronto
Phone: (416) 967-0000
Hours of Operation:
Sunday - Wednesday: 5pm to 1am
Thursday - Saturday: 5pm to 2am