As an addendum to the Rogers Centre ballpark review, I present to you a review of Sightlines Restaurant, Rogers Centre’s exclusive open-air restaurant.
Allow me first to set the scene. It is opening day weekend, 2011. It’s a Saturday afternoon game and I roll up to the Rogers Centre’s walk-up ticket window at 12:30 and this is what is taking place:
With a massive walk up crowd and an estimated 2-hour wait time, it became clear very quickly that by the time I had tickets in my hot hands it would be closing in on the 5th or 6th inning. Usually in this situation I would have retreated to the Rogers Centre’s Hard Rock Cafe, however, as of 2011 the bar is no more. Beginning to panic, a brilliant idea popped into my head: Sightlines Restaurant.
From the Rogers Centre website:
Sightlines Restaurant, Rogers Centre’s exclusive open-air restaurant, offers premium seating with striking views of the field right from your table. Sightlines Restaurant is open on event days for pre-event and event dining and is available on non-event days for private catered functions.
Overlooking the entire outfield, Sightlines Restaurant, combined with Executive Chef Dilup Attygala’s Table, provides a truly unique, interactive dining experience.
Location: Sightlines Restaurant main entrance is located on the North side of Rogers Centre between the hotel entrance and Gate 1.
Having never been to Sightlines, I was unsure of what to expect. Entry is free of charge as long as you possess a ticket to the 100 or 200 levels. Not being in possession of a ticket myself, I was charged $30 to enter. In addition to the $30 “cover charge,” there is a chef’s table-style buffet that runs $39 on weekdays and $45 on weekends.
The view of the ballpark is really quite incredible:
That being said, there is a glaring problem that can be heard and not seen – the JumboTron that lies right above the restaurant:
Not being able to see the lineups is a big problem. It took me until the 3rd inning to find out that it was in fact new Blue Jay Jayson Nix playing third base in place of incumbent Edwin Encarnacion. On the plus side, however, there are rows and rows of televisions that show the game as well as various instant replays – something not seen on the JumboTron.
Surprisingly the food is quite good. I say surprisingly because if you look at reviews on the interwebs, you won’t find many people with good things to say about the cuisine offered. The selection is varied. There is ham, prime rib, stuffed turkey & chicken, salads, fresh seafood (the coconut shrimp is a hit from what I hear), moroccan couscous, nachos, fish & chips, vegetarian fare, pizza, desserts, smoked salmon… and on and on. It’s like the all-you-can-eat seats except good food instead of reconstituted meat hotdogs.
Admittedly I felt quite far away from the action on the field. That being said, what Sightlines lacks in intimacy it makes up for in total on-field perspective. It is much easier to see the defensive plays unfold on the field:
One might feel that there is a disconnect from the energy of the crowd but this is not necessarily the case:
When Drabek struck out Thome for the 3rd out of the inning, everyone in Sightlines was on their feet. Although the fans at Sightlines are definitely a suit & tie crowd, they still are still enthusiastic.
I would recommend Sightlines Restaurant for the Jays fan who wants to experience something new and has a wad of cash to spare. Although cost prohibitive for some, Sightlines has the potential for a swanky date experience for that special lady Jays fan in your life. Especially on a warm summer night with the roof open and a gentle breeze blowing in off Lake Ontario.