Cineplex VIP Cinemas, on the Queensway, in west-end Toronto, is moviegoing for grown-ups, a deluxe theatre experience that delivers all the comforts of home — and top-notch food, too.
VIP Cinemas feature specially designed auditoriums where moviegoers can watch a film ensconced in luxury seating and have their food and beverage orders delivered right to their seat. Across Canada, Cineplex operates 17 VIP locations, with 63 screens.
The experience starts with ultra-comfortable padded seats. They recline about eight inches, offer oodles of legroom, and are outfitted with trays that conveniently swivel into place to hold food and drink. During the trailers that play in advance of the movie (Life of the Party, starring Melissa McCarthy), a team of affable and professional servers takes everyone’s food and drink orders and delivers the edibles and drinkables right before the film begins.
Delivered to our seats, guacamole — freshly made, silky, scented with coriander and jazzed with lime — is better than many I’ve had at Mexican restaurants around town. Munching on first-rate guac and tortilla chips while reclining in a padded seat and watching McCarthy spin comedy gold is moviegoing heaven.
After the movie, we head to the VIP lounge for dinner (like the VIP auditoriums, the lounge is fully licensed to serve alcohol). Outfitted with a high ceiling, enormous picture windows and contemporary tables and chairs, the lounge is extremely bright and cheery.
The food, ordered off the VIP menu and prepared in the onsite kitchen, is fresh-tasting and full of flavour. There’s Asian-inflected salad loaded with thin rice noodles, carrots and cucumber tossed in Korean dressing and topped with cashews, mangoes and tender grilled chicken.
Santa Fe grain bowl brings a mound of red and white quinoa moistened with cumin-scented vinaigrette and garnished with buttery avocado, sweet roasted red peppers, corn, cherry tomatoes and black beans and accessorized by a skewer of smoky grilled shrimp. Served with salsa and sour cream, quesadillas feature diced chicken breast, Monterey Jack, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and diced tomatoes stuffed into herb-flecked flour tortillas. I could easily make a meal of the sliders built on crispy, tender chicken, pesto, three cheeses and marinara sauce tucked into a pillowy Ace Bakery bun.
Bringing the VIP food experience to a close is warm apple crumble anchored by cinnamon-scented fruit beneath an oatmeal cookie-like crust; and two large, triangular, chocolate chunk fudge brownies drizzled with salted butterscotch and partnered with vanilla ice cream.
The Cineplex VIP Cinemas movie and food experience can be booked for corporate meetings, presentations and events.
All told, the Queensway location features 20 auditoriums, five of which are VIP Cinemas auditoriums that seat between 56 and 136 people; the two largest VIP auditoriums are fully equipped to accommodate group meetings and presentations. Additionally, Cineplex theatres can telecast content from one screen across the theatre network.
The Queensway VIP Cinemas lounge is available for full buyouts and seats 70 to 80 (comfortable seating and the furniture kept as-is) and accommodates 100, cocktail-style (furniture moved and high-top tables kept, buffet allowed) and 110, cocktail-style (tables and chairs removed). During operating hours, the back section of the lounge is available for partial buyouts and seats 30.
The entire VIP Cinemas venue (all five auditoriums and the lounge) is available for full buyout and can accommodate groups of all sizes.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,500 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.