Mezzetta Cafe Restaurant

681 St. Clair West
416-658-5687

 

I went out on a dinner date on a cold snowy Saturday night and we did not know where to go. St. Clair West did not resemble a street full of restaurants like the Danforth, The Annex, Queen West, or Yonge street. We wanted something with light healthy food with many veggie options. We were very happy when we stumbled upon Mezzetta, a middle eastern cafe located at St. Clair and Christie. Mezzetta is 2 level casual dining establishment, which has live jazz on Wednesday evenings. Dimly lit and cosy inside Mezzetta is filled with art that reminds you of a cosy living room.

For a cold Saturday night in late February, the place was crowded with locals from the Wynchwood Park and Hillcrest Village neighbourhoods. It felt like a local bar or bistro.

Mezzetta’s menu is simple. They only serve item in “tapas” format (i.e. appetizers). There are 50 items on the menu and they recommend choosing 10 items for $28.00 would feed 2 people comfortably. Well, they were right. We ordered 9 vegetarian items and one non-veggie item for my dinner date. In addition, we ordered 2 diet Cokes and an order of pita (40 cents) to go with our order of hummus, babagonoush, morroccan carrots with herbs and olive oil, sauteed eggplant cubes, beef dolmades (vine leaves), spanokopita )spinach and feta cheese in phyllo pastry), eggplant in a hot chili sauce, and an order of pickles and kalamata olives. It was nice to share so we could taste an assortment of many different dishes. For an appetizer, portions seems pretty large and I was happy since I am known for my large appetite. Service was extra friendly and food was served fast and with a smile. Most dishes are cold but some are hot (the menu indicates dishes that are not served cold). You can order dishes separately and I think they’re $2.95 but ten dishes are more than enough for 2 people.

Accepts all cards. Offers takes out and catering. Ambiance is perfect for a nice date, casual, but appropriate. Live music on Wednesday nights. Since it’s a small cafe, it can get crowded so reservations are strongly recommended.

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Coco Banana Fine Carribean and Vegetarian Restaurant

 1690 Danforth (near Coxwell)
416-406-0534

Wendy and I decided to have a nice affordable lunch one cold and rainy Saturday afternoon in February. We really wanted to head down to Little India but since we were shopping on the Danforth, we thought we’d try out Coco Banana since the sign outside claimed that it was a Carribean and Vegetarian restaurant.

Upon entering, we found ourselves in a homey and comfortable restaurant with colourful original art (for sale!) from Jamaica, Barbados, and even some art looked African in its influence. Coco Banana contains about 10 tables and comprises one large room with a bar at the back with a medley of alcoholic creations. Decor looks like very exotic and charming and very cosy like one’s living room. Reminds me of a family owned establishment like Addis Abbaba on Queen West.

Wendy and I started by looking at the assortment of exotic juices. I ordered Mango Juice($3.69) and Wendy ordered Pineapply soda ($1.50). Coco Banana serves a medly of exotic juices, exotic juice cocktails, and Carribean sodas. Some include Ginger/Pina juice ($3.69), Guava juice ($3.69), Ting – a grapefruit soda ($2), Banana soda ($1.50), and Ginger Soda ($1.50). Some exotic juice cocktails include Guava Mango, Ginger Pineapple, and Mango Carrot (all $2.25).

For our appetizers, we both ordered the vegetarian red pea soup soup. The waiter did not tell us it contained bananas (or plantains). I knew Wendy would be grossed out so she did give me pieces of the bananas in her soup. The idea of bananas in soup may sound gross but it really very good. The banana flavour really meshed well with the soup and the consistency tasted more like a potato. It was super yummy and filling but not that spicy. A definite comfort food for a cold wet rainy day. Other soups include Pumpkin Soup and Congo Pea Soup ($3.50 small, $4.50 large). Other appetizers include Pepper Shrimp, Coconut Shrimp ($7.50), Acra (black eye bean fritters)($3.00), Fried Plantain (5 pcs.)($5.00), Beef Patties, Chicken Patties ($1.25), Patty with Coco Bread ($2.25). Salads include Jerk Chicken Salad ($6), Jerk Shrimp Salad ($9), Creole Salad ($7.50), and Garden Creole Coleslaw ($3.50).

For our entrees, I ordered the veggie roti which contained curries chick peas, potatoes, carrots, and peas. The only problem I had was that the curry sauce was very liquidy and i could not find any chick peas. I would say the roti was delicious but potato-centric. Wendy ordered the Jerk club sandwich and she found it was tasty. It was $5.50 and she would definitely order it again. Coco Banana offers entrees in small and large sizes. Some entrees include traditional Carribean dishes like Jerk Chicken ($6.99, $7.99), Curried Chicken ($6.99, $7.99), Stew Chicken ($5.99, $6.99), Curried Goat ($7.99, $8.99), Oxtail ($8.00, $10.50), Fish Dinner ($7.50, $10.50), Shrimp Cr�ole (with Creole Sauce)($10), Curried Shrimp ($11), Cod Fish Cr�ole Cabaret with salad and plantain ($12), and Red Snapper (with saut�ed cabbage pepper, and carrot) ($10.50)

Vegetarian meals include Veggie Roti with chick peas ($4.99, $5.99), Eggplant Roti ($10.99 large only), La Creole Roti (Avocado, Onion Lettuce, Tomato, Pepper- $4.99 (sm), $5.99 (l)), Sauteed Cabbage, Carrot, Onion ($4.99, $5.99), Vegetarian Platter (Rice and Peas, Acra, Eggplant) ($11.99), Cr�ole Cabaret (Veggie, Fried Eddoes, Plantain & Marinade) ($9.99), Giromont Soup (Squash) ($3.50, $5.50), and Beans or Congo Pea ($3.50, $5.50)

Non veggie Rotis include Curried Chicken, Jerk Chicken, Curried Goat, Stew Chicken, and Curried Shrimp all from $5.99-$8.99. Sandwiches include the Jerk Club and the Stew Chicken Club, both $5.50 . Combos include Jerk / Oxtail Combo ($11.50), the Jerk Chicken or the Stewed Chicken Combo ($11.50), and the Curried Goat or the Curried Chicken Combo ($10.99)

Desserts include Reversed Pineapple Cake ($3.50) and Sweet Potato Pudding ($2.99). Coco Banana also serves a variety of Carribean ice creams (Pistachio, Mango, Coconut, and Soursop, all $2.50). Lastly, they also serves frozen yogourt, smoothies, and milkshakes ($2.00, $3.69)

Although I did like the soup, Wendy was not too impressed. I found the soup hearty, thick, and delicious. Wendy found the soup to be bland and she did not like the banana taste although personally I could not taste any banana. Wendy claimed that you can taste the banana and according to her she thought it was wrong for a soup to have bananas.

 

The guy was nice but he oversold all of the food. He was not honest about the variety of vegetarian food. He said the soup was fantastic and the portion size was decent but we found the soup lacking. The roti was good but not fantastic. I did find many vegetarian options and I would go back to try out new items since I think the veggie roti just did not do it for me. In sum, Wendy and I would go back but we won’t go out of our way. Service was friendly and cheerful. Food was served quickly.