SanRemo Bakery is actually much more than a bakery. Yes, it offers an impressive array of baked-daily loaves, buns, pastries and cakes, but SanRemo doesn't simply begin and end with its signature stuffed Vienna breads. Rather, the sprawling space on Royal York Road south of Evans Avenue in Etobicoke is also a deli, also a café, a gelateria, a pizzeria, grill, and grocery store. Overwhelmed? Head there around noon on a weekday, and you'll know what overwhelmed actually means.
Despite the hordes of people I encountered when I recently stopped by, SanRemo has a pretty efficient system of getting you your good and either out the door or to its room of tables. Aside from the breads and some pastries that are self-serve, customers order their gourmet pizza slices ($2.99), prosciutto and cheese sandwiches ($5.99), red velvet cupcakes ($2.50), or Americano ($1.75) at separate stations. They then bring their orders to a central counter with several cash registers to check out. The method is not unlike that used at Richtree or other market-type restaurants.
I walked into SanRemo feeling slightly peckish but not sure of exactly what I felt like ordering. This resulted in lots of aimless wandering, but--on the plus side--several informative chats with the women working at various stations, who filled me in on SanRemo's mantra and history.
SanRemo first opened in 1969 with Natale Bozzo at the helm, along with his brothers Giuseppe, Peter, and Giancarlo. The ownership has since been passed on to the next generation--Natale's sons Nick, Edward, and Robert. The bread, most of the pastries, the pizza, pasta, sandwiches and more are prepared at this location, which was renovated and updated a few years back.
The breads are certainly one of SanRemo's big sells, especially its stuffed Vienna breads in varieties such as sundried tomato, roasted red pepper, and black olive. Not having to stray too far for a complement, SanRemo's grocery section offers many sauces, olive oils, and spreads, some of which are homemade and others that are imported from Italy.
I linger at SanRemo's coffee/gelato station, where the woman behind the counter tells me that the gelato is made fresh onsite with natural ingredients. That was enough to convince me. I ask for a small mango gelato ($2.99) after scanning over the cooler of lemon, raspberry, pistachio, hazelnut, chocolate and more. Though the cup is fairly small, the woman packs it full and high, so much so that's I'm actually surprised by the weight of the cup when she hands it over.
I can't help but start to dig away at it as I line up for the register; it's sweet and refreshing with the odd little bit of mango pulp, which some may find displeasing but I quite like, especially since it confirms the gelato is actually made with real mangoes (hey, you never know). The outdoor seating provides a perfect (and quiet) place to enjoy.