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Cafe Bernate

Posted by Amanda DiPasquale / Posted on March 28, 2010

Cafe BernateCafe Bernate is easy to miss with its modest stony grey exterior. On a recent visit, owner Angelo Cassani greets me and I feel like I've entered a 1970's grandmother's house. The circular shaped lavender tables and creamsicle and mint-green coloured walls are groovy.

I start with an organic tropical green tea ($2.50) and it comes in a large rustic orange mug with a silver spoon. The fresh coffee options are reasonably priced. An espresso or Americano goes for ($2) while cappuccinos and lattes start at ($3-$4). Cassani uses Kenyan beans and coffee addicts can take home their own Kenyan coffee beans ($15) or Kenyan coffee grounds ($8). While there's no Wi-fi access, there's minimal noise and it's a good space to get some work done.

Cafe BernateMy friend and I decide to order the sandwich and soup special ($8.50) of the day. The sandwich is filled with prosciutto, spinach, mushrooms and goat cheese on multigrain bread. The warm soup is a fresh zucchini and tomato type minestrone with an extra piece of bread on the side. With each bite, we declare the sandwich delectable. The creamy goat cheese and warm mushrooms complement the savory cured meat and earthy spinach. The extra piece of bread is perfect for dipping in the soup.

Cafe BernateCafe Bernate offers a myriad of sandwich options to satisfy a grumbling stomach. With 30 sandwich options including the chicken, brie and asparagus sandwich on an Italian baguette or the Thai vegetarian sandwich, the possibilities are almost endless. A regular sized sandwich is ($6.95) and a large is ($8.95). Add a cup of soup or side salad for only ($2.50).

In business since 1991, Cassani explains that he has no intentions of changing locations or opening up another shop. He has a strong loyal customer base, and it's apparent in how he greets most customers by first name. He explains that the same kids who used to come in with their parents now come in with kids of their own.

Cafe BernateThe soft jazz music in the background is soothing and the conversations overheard are revealing. After receiving a sandwich, a customer declares this lunch just made her day. A woman and her toddler arrive and Cassani addresses them both by name, and already knows what they want to order. In the back room there's more seating space in the form of mismatched retro dining sets with vinyl studded upholstered chairs. There's a tiny patio that opens to the back alley when the weather is warm.

Cafe BernateCafe Bernate is open from Monday-Saturday from 11am-5pm.

Photos by Cory Vanderploeg



/ March 2, 2009 at 01:53 pm
Is there free wifi here?
anonymous / March 28, 2010 at 03:40 pm
Um, how about the address?
lol / March 28, 2010 at 04:57 pm
its west of queen/ossington intersection. no wi-fi but food is good! :D try the chocolate home made cookies.
marc replying to a comment from / March 28, 2010 at 05:01 pm
"While there's no Wi-fi access, there's minimal noise and it's a good space to get some work done."
Amanda DiPaq / March 28, 2010 at 05:22 pm
Address is: 1024 Queen Street West!
Tim replying to a comment from anonymous / March 28, 2010 at 06:36 pm
For all the reviews on blogTO the address can be found on the right hand side of the page along with the Google Map, phone number and other info.
Brian / March 28, 2010 at 07:01 pm
When I used to work in the area many years ago, Cafe Bernate was a favourite lunch spot. We even had them cater some office lunch meetings... the sandwiches are light years ahead of standard corporate fare, and not much more expensive.

I see the decor in the back room has been refreshed, but it looks they kept the same, familiar tables and chairs! The father of a good friend of mine held an exhibition of his paintings at Cafe Bernate a few years ago, after the renovations. Actually, he has a funny story to tell about that back room... I'll have to get him to share. :-)
Steve / March 28, 2010 at 09:39 pm
Nice piece.

RE: the above question about the address... I too have often missed the fact that accompanying alot of your articles is a map for directions. Clearly it's because you guys have mixed the map in with banner ads, and also because there is no design element that connects the middle copy column with the right "ads and tools" column, and the map seems out of place there. For this story, the map is below a banner ad, further complicating the viewing experience.

But on that note, is it so hard to lead off articles about establishments with name, address, phone number, key intersection and web site address anyway?

pk / March 29, 2010 at 01:50 am
you took a picture of the mug but not what was in it?

Food reviews tend to have better/more pictures of the FOOD/ BEVVYs etc...whatever it was that was served to you...the point is to invite that into the experience...not into the empty room
CT / March 29, 2010 at 10:32 am
This is a great review! I feel the pictures really give a good indication of what the cafe has to offer.

re: you took a picture of the mug but not what was in it?
Do we really need to know what hot water and a tea bag look like? Come on.

Cynthia / June 3, 2010 at 04:17 pm
I love this place! :)
Philippa Baxter / June 5, 2015 at 12:16 pm
I've been going to Cafe Bernate since 2001. I get treated like family and I love it. Great food and with lots of healthy choices. Highly won't be disappointed! Phil

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