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Feb 25, 2011 05:41 AM

Great coffee place in little italy

We will be visiting TO next week and have to be in the Little Italy area in the afternoon. Just wondering if anyone can recommend a great little cafe to grab an espresso in the afternoon? Also looking for lunch place recommendations in the same area.

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  1. I'm assuming you're referring to the College Street Little Italy (as opposed to St. Clair West), I'd suggest Manic for your espresso. Or you might try Woodlot Bakery, though I haven't been there yet. For lunch, you could go for something simple like Kalendar on College or stuff yourself with a halibut burrito from Burrito Boyz. There's also the fish sandwich place, whose name escapes me at the moment (Fish House? Fish Shack?). If you have time for a very short walk, you'll find yourself in Kensington Market, which is quite fun for a stroll and there are a number of casual restaurants - Urban Herbivore, Big Fat Burrito and Akram's for falafel come to mind. With another 5 minutes added on to your walk, you're in Chinatown where you could go for dim sum, pho, etc.

    Urban Herbivore
    64 Oxford St, Toronto, ON M5T1P1, CA

    Big Fat Burrito
    285 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

    546 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B1, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: peppermint pate

      I'd probably put Negroni, Goldin's smoked meat at Free Times, or the Fish Store above Kalendar. Manic works for the espresso, but I prefer Sam James if you're willing to wander away from College.

      546 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B1, CA

      Free Times Cafe
      320 College St, Toronto, ON M5T1S3, CA

      The Fish Store
      657 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B7, CA

      1. re: Wahooty

        Totally forgot about Negroni - good call. I actually haven't been to Kalendar in about 4 years but I was blanking on other spots, and I do quite like the atmosphere in there. I also prefer Sam James but if the OP wants to stay on College, Manic is great. I need to try Il Gatto Nero - I love the room but I don't know if I've ever had espresso there.

        1. re: peppermint pate

          peppermint pate, just wanted to mention Il Gatto's espresso is good, but pretty much the same as most good Italian resto espressos. It probably doesn't compete with Manic or Sam James. The subtleties of Manic & Sam James are probably lost on me. I'm usually perfectly happy with the espressos I order at Italian restaurants, cafes & bakeries in TO.

          I mostly visit Il Gatto Nero for the vibe & atmosphere. Another plus is that Gatto is open fairly late, usually until around midnight during the week and 2 am on the weekends, so it's open late compared to most cafes that are within walking distance.

          1. re: prima

            Thanks prima - gotta say that post-midnight espressos are a thing of the past for me but I'm always up for a good daytime coffee in a nice space with a great vibe. Years ago, I had dinner at Il Gatto Nero but I don't think I've been in there since - I remember thinking that the long bar down the side looked like a great place to sit for a coffee, though.

    2. In Little Italy, I like having my espresso at Il Gatto Nero. Nice atmosphere.

      I'll sometimes get an espresso & pastry at Golden Wheat. Riviera or Nova Era bakeries, but all 3 bakeries are pretty basic atmosphere-wise.

      Utopia is a decent bet on College St for nachos, veggie poutine, burgers, etc.

      586 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B3, CA

      Il Gatto Nero
      720 College St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA