Restaurants on the Edge season 1 review – location isn’t everything

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: February 29, 2020 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
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Restaurants on the Edge (Netflix) season 1 review -


Location isn’t everything in this laidback Canadian series which attempts to bring restaurants in gorgeous locales back from the brink of failure.

It seems people never tire of watching struggling businesses being brought back from the brink, and so Restaurants on the Edge, new on Netflix after having been acquired from Canada’s Cottage Life network, seems the perfect show for such an audience. In it, chef Dennis Prescott, designer Karin Bohn, and restaurateur Nick Liberato visit five far-flung locations in the hope of renovating restaurants with business models and menus that unfortunately can’t match their sensational views.

That’s the hook of Restaurants on the Edge – from Malta and Hong Kong to Tobermory in Canada, Austria and St. Lucia, its struggling businesses are all in sensational, picturesque locales which have been left to pick up the slack of bad practices. The tone is a gentle, uplifting one, a far cry from something like Kitchen Nightmares, in which part of the pleasure is watching a blotchy nutcase furiously berate everyone. And that’s a problem since screaming chefs and bizarrely delusional restauranteurs make for much better telly.

And there’s another problem: Restaurants on the Edge mimics the focus on aesthetics that have blighted these restaurants in the first place and without any sense of irony. Any actual insight into where the business is going wrong and what might be done to change it is thin on the ground; the overall effect is a bit like those daytime-TV makeover shows, where a host talks to the camera or to various walk-on personalities while a cesspit is magically transformed into a luxury home behind them, just in time for the emotional, life-changing climax. The restauranteurs in question seem a bit dopey at the best of times, so it would have been nice to hone in on not what attracted them to the spot in the first place, which is always obvious, but more on the silly mistakes they’ve made along the way. Again – it’s better telly.

But whatever. I imagine people will enjoy the more laidback and positive vibe of Restaurants on the Edge as opposed to the frantic no-holds-barred style seen elsewhere, even if it gives the show – which only runs for a trim five episodes – a lot less staying power. I guess it’s true what they say about Canadians being nice, but perhaps when it comes to reality television they’re a bit too nice for their own good.

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4 thoughts on “Restaurants on the Edge season 1 review – location isn’t everything

  • March 4, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    I like the show, Restaurants on the Edge, but I cringe when I see the chef cooking with all those rings on his hands. It just seems unsanitary.

  • April 1, 2020 at 2:41 am

    I love this show. I can’t wait to see what kind of bug or weird thing the chef Dennis is going to eat next on his discovery trips, this is big watch for me even though I cringe ha ha. I am not completely sure what Restaurateur Nick does exactly as it is not clearly outlined for people like me that isn’t familiar with his position but he is cute and likes to drink and I have written down a few drinks to try bc of :D. Designer Karin, I love her investigations but so far it is love/hate for the designs, either way she does better than I could ever imagine as I am not a designer. (And she is so positive, invested and beauuuuutiful! inside and out, you can feel it from just watching) Really like how the hosts go out and invite us to see the culture of other parts of the world, especially Chef! I can’t wait for the next episode because of this aspect of the show!
    There were a few episodes where the owners seemed unopened and aggressive in their response to what the customer’s experience in their establishments was…my question is…customer service is changing with the generations, the old school experience of customer service is rare and seems less important now-a-days. It seems to be becoming less and less important and the opinion of the servers and owners and TIPS appears to be more important than what the customer experiences. How does the show ensure that aspect of the establishment is addressed? CST for the whole is important.
    I saw the owners being given all the tools for success except their take on customer service which is HUGE!
    Will you have such a person added to the show! A great one would not only be great to watch, but would probably open a whole new world of tips for some of those watching your program trying to decide if they should apply or not…if you wonder if you should apply…you probably should…customer service training and advice is the only thing I wondered why wasn’t included.
    I am a fan 😀

  • April 1, 2020 at 2:42 am

    I did at first too. But this is a tv show and I think as a professional he would not do that in his own kitchen. I feel like that is done simply for show on camera.

  • April 4, 2020 at 8:47 am

    This show is amazing!!!! The whole concept including beautiful scenery and camera work on top of helping real people with their businesses all over the world. Love it. This is my favourite Netflix show. please continue with more.

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