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Cafes

Cafe Pamenar

Posted by Adam Vrankulj / Posted on January 27, 2011

Cafe PamenarCafe Pamenar has recently opened at the northern tip of Augusta Avenue, adding to the already congested coffee scene in Kensington market. But while the market sure has a range of cafes, something tells me this spot will do just fine thanks to its well thought out design, front and back patios (opening in the Spring) and commitment to high quality, artisanal coffee.

Cafe PamenarOwner Pouria Lotfi spent one year constructing this cafe with designer Guido Costantino (who sourced items from Junction store Smash), but nearly six years planning it. Inside, there is plenty of smooth concrete, clean glass and of course, re-claimed wood. A long wall across from the counter is reserved for photography (photographers take note: Pamenar is looking for serious submissions).

Cafe PamenarCafe PamenarThe first thing I ordered was a shot ($2.38), and it took the barista two tries, but it was worth it. Watching the barista sewer the first shot, I knew my coffee was in meticulous hands.

The shot had a good head of crema, well-pronounced tiger-striping and was fairly elastic. I was told this was a blend, and it tasted the part. This was a complex espresso with a variety of flavours: citrus, dried berries and cocoa.

Cafe PamenarNext, I ordered a cappuccino ($3.10), and it was equally satisfying. The coffee held up to the milk and the 5 oz. size was a refreshing change from some of the enormous milk-dominated cappuccinos that many cafes serve. That being said, I would have preferred a denser tasting milk.

Cafe PamenarAs Cafe Pamenar has only been open for a few weeks, they are still getting their legs. Right now, the pastry case is filled with a few Circles and Squares pastries, and some loaves from Wanda's down the street. With plans to expand their food selection to artisanal panini and soups, this will be a spot to watch in the market.

Cafe PamenarCafe Pamenar is located just south of College on Augusta, and is open from 9 am until - 7pm. Cappuccino and latte are $3.57, shots are $2.38 and macchiatos are $3.10. For a brew, the french press is $2.14.

Cafe PamenarPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

51 Comments

limonana / January 27, 2011 at 03:53 pm
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Truly a fantastic Cafe!
polaris / January 27, 2011 at 05:56 pm
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Is there a bylaw in Toronto forcing all independent cafes to close at 7 or 8? Does nobody in Toronto drink coffee after supper.... How are we supposed to try all these great new cafes if they're always closed? Just saying....
Elle / January 27, 2011 at 06:03 pm
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I'm not a big fan of espresso shots but the cocktail that the owner - Pourya - made for me was amazing. Now I'm hooked :) Great atmosphere too. Love it, Love it, Love it!!!
hbr / January 28, 2011 at 09:27 am
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I usually instinctively have something negative to say about any food related business in Kensington market, but the design of this place is terrific, what a well planned space given the restrictions of the existing architecture, well done.
Brandon / January 28, 2011 at 09:56 am
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I walked by this place the other day. Looks very nondescript from the outside as you can see from the picture, so they should work on making the facade a little more eye catching.
grid / January 28, 2011 at 09:59 am
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Excellent coffee, but sigh. The world does not need more paninis.
ChristineLouise / January 28, 2011 at 10:44 am
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The stools they have at the bar are THE WORST. A surefire way to make sure you don't stay longer than a half hour. Try to nab one of the chairs at the front if you're planning on parking yourself.
NorthernSoul / January 28, 2011 at 10:45 am
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‘The shot had a good head of crema, well-pronounced tiger-striping and was fairly elastic’

Phew-Thank goodness for that! Was it served with a generous dollop of pretention or were you inspired to jot this down in your moleskin journal mid savouring?
geg replying to a comment from NorthernSoul / January 28, 2011 at 10:48 am
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why are you reading espresso bar reviews if you hate reading about technical coffee details?
If it offends you, the city is chock full of starbucks and timmies that won't bore you with such pretentious natterings
NorthernSoul / January 28, 2011 at 10:59 am
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Actually, I was just having a nosey from a far about developments in Kensington as I read BlogTO!.

Nice looking place & a good review. A bit too mid afternoon food network host for my evidently uncultured palette though, but nothing to spill my PG tips over-just being a long distance dick!
Coffee Snob / January 28, 2011 at 11:03 am
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Looks like a great spot - will check it out next time I'm in the Market...
Sunday / January 28, 2011 at 11:08 am
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Adam,

The space was designed by Guido Costantino, not Smash.

Smash is a great store and although a few of their pieces were used [the scale and the Viewing Booth sign, specifically], they were not responsible for the design of the space and any credit to them is incorrect

Billy replying to a comment from polaris / January 28, 2011 at 11:17 am
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Totally agree with your comment polaris.

Also, 9am seems a bit late as many people have already walked through the market on their way to work by then.
Steve replying to a comment from NorthernSoul / January 28, 2011 at 11:23 am
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I thought it was funny.
Regina / January 28, 2011 at 11:45 am
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My butt hurts just looking at the chairs.
Will / January 28, 2011 at 11:52 am
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Hey Adam,

What espresso machine were they using? What about the espresso beans?
Sean replying to a comment from ChristineLouise / January 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm
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Yeah, those stools look like a sure fire way to ensure you won't feel your ass for days.

Outside of that though, the place looks truly fantastic.
Max / January 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm
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That photo of the cappucino is absolutely terrific. Great job on the coffee itself; the photo made me want one immediately.
b / January 28, 2011 at 02:11 pm
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Pamenar looks like The Bell Jar looks like Lit looks like Communal Mule looks like Darkhorse looks like...
Milton / January 28, 2011 at 03:27 pm
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"Is there a bylaw in Toronto forcing all independent cafes to close at 7 or 8?"

^ this. When I first moved to Toronto from Montreal, I was excited to see so many awesome coffee shops in my vicinity, but alas, they all close around 6pm!

What gives? I'm tired and need coffee around that time... are there no places to congregate in the evening that isn't alcohol related?

Such a silly, sleepy town.
Pal / January 28, 2011 at 03:31 pm
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The more decent coffee within reach of U of T, the better. It's a Second Cup, Timmies, and Starbucks wasteland.
Leah replying to a comment from Milton / January 28, 2011 at 05:46 pm
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"Is there a bylaw in Toronto forcing all independent cafes to close at 7 or 8?"

Thirded. I would so make every independent coffeeshop in this city rich if they'd only stay open late enough for me to get out of the office.
Ben replying to a comment from Leah / January 28, 2011 at 06:55 pm
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No, it would not make them rich.
JJ / January 28, 2011 at 08:26 pm
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Very nice place and tasty coffee. Love the atmosphere and the staff. Looking forward to try their new soup and sandwich next week!

PS : the stools are not that bad. Sitting at the bar is nice.
the lemur replying to a comment from grid / January 29, 2011 at 12:54 am
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We could always use more <i>good</i> panini and fewer people calling them 'paninis'.
the lemur replying to a comment from grid / January 29, 2011 at 12:54 am
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We could always use more <i>good</i> panini and fewer people calling them 'paninis'.
Rachel / January 29, 2011 at 11:59 am
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Nice write up! I am always on the look up for creme of the crema espresso and I am really glad this place is in my hood. I'm looking forward to trying it ou!
Elizabeth replying to a comment from Leah / January 29, 2011 at 07:13 pm
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As an owner of a different indie cafe - we tried. Especially outside of patio weather, we're slammed until the sun goes down, and then magically it clears out.
Unless there is a ton of walk-by traffic late at night, it hurts financially. First couple years of a business it is hard enough trying to scrape by, the fat has to be cut from somewhere..
Sandman / January 29, 2011 at 07:33 pm
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It's a shame that most cafes don't open past 7-8 pm (except fot Timmies & 'bucks). BUt, I can understand from an Indie owner.

Is there free wifi at Pamenar?
Erica replying to a comment from Sandman / January 30, 2011 at 11:23 am
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There is free wifi - just ask at the counter for the password. There were also several power outlets in the back seating area.
local / January 31, 2011 at 09:54 am
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I love the look of this place. K Market needed a clean looking space.


polaris replying to a comment from Elizabeth / February 1, 2011 at 01:54 pm
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I go to Coffee Culture on College after work, usually around 8... it has about 20 booths and tables and it's hard to get a seat... open till 1 A.M.. Same goes for the chains which bother to stay open... the Timothy's on my street (Roncesvalles) is crammed with people every night of the week, yet the indies all close around 6.... in the Annex, every coffee shop which stays open late(about six within a 2-block area are overflowing until late at night... On weekends, I've been in indie coffee shops that close at 6 p.m. even when every table is taken... they actually tell people to leave... With all the students looking for work and a place to study, I can't believe a shop would not be making money....If the owners don't want to stay late, hire a student to keep the place open... Unfortunately, Toronto still has a Presbytarian mentality in some respects when it comes to nightlife... Just go to Montreal and see for yourself...
none / February 2, 2011 at 04:12 pm
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I was in today, chatted with the owner about photos. He's looking documentary type photos, or at least something with a cohesive narrative. Photographers take note.

Also, good americano, albeit it was to go.
none / February 2, 2011 at 04:16 pm
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I was in today, chatted with the owner about photos. He's looking documentary type photos, or at least something with a cohesive narrative. Photographers take note.

Also, good americano, albeit it was to go.
Anon / February 10, 2011 at 04:24 pm
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What's the process to present work for consideration?
anonymous / February 18, 2011 at 11:09 am
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Process- send your portfolio or a selection of your portfolio (or website if that is more convenient) to info@cafepamenar.ca... we would prefer if you also sent a c.v and an artist's bio. Although we accept digital, we are primarily interested in film. If you have a particular idea or trajectory, feel free to propose it!
Htn / March 6, 2011 at 07:47 pm
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had heard about this place and was stoked to go and give it a try, unfortunately i faced the most unwelcoming greeting or better say i was given the impression that we are not welcomed there as first time visitors to the coffee shop, me being a coffee addict expect a welcoming social house with great coffee as my ideal cafe, however pourya the owner who was chatting it up with his mates at the bar while there were guests sitting in the area turned us away before 6 pm due to closing, i would understand if a store owner turns away guests because they are closing but there are ways to do that politely specially since you're a new cafe where there are lots of competition around.
i can surely say that i would never go back there and will not pass on a good word about this location.
fix up your attitude if you wanna be successful.

over 80 percent of food & beverage business go out of business in the first 3 years of their operation specifically due to such reasons.

thank you for reading this comment.
Shane / April 7, 2011 at 08:46 pm
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Does anyone know where I can find/buy the metal chairs used in the cafe?

Thanks....
Serenissima / May 22, 2011 at 03:36 pm
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Excellent coffee, ambiance, and service. I will definitely be frequenting this place.
megr / July 1, 2011 at 06:16 pm
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i went in when it first opened and also found the service to be quite cool (i'm pretty sure it was the owner behind the counter) - not friendly at all. doesn't matter, the place was already swarmed with 'studying' university students, so it's definintely not a place i'd want to frequent.
Sali / July 6, 2011 at 03:37 pm
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they've got a great macchiato!
Robert replying to a comment from Shane / July 7, 2011 at 09:56 am
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Pamenar is really excellent.

Shane, I guess I'm responding pretty late, but I think they sell those same chairs at Commute Home up on Dupont between Spadina + Bathurst.
YR / January 3, 2012 at 05:03 pm
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Amazing coffee shop. Amazing staff. Really creative with the design and the coffee. Keep it up guys!
MeanoMeano replying to a comment from Milton / February 12, 2012 at 10:52 am
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Try The Common in College just east of Dufferin. I think they serve coffee until 7 or 8, and then turn into. Wine bar. Perhaps holding out just long enough on the alcohol to refuel.
owefeder / February 27, 2012 at 03:46 pm
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you definitely love chanel collection 2011 online shopping
James / May 6, 2012 at 01:22 am
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Love this place! Great Americano and an inviting atmosphere. The back patio looks
Great! Keep up the great work!
M / May 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm
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I am in Atlanta, Georgia, USA and after seeing your web page I am already thirsty for your coffee. Hope to visit your great city someday soon and visit your cafe, M.L.
kevin / June 2, 2012 at 03:55 am
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Love this place! Great Americano and an inviting atmosphere.
jcitizen / June 20, 2012 at 09:40 am
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My wife and I have been in love with this place for a while. It's our go to morning date spot. Barristas are on about 90% of the time and when they are they are the cappucinos are killer. I think they use Discovery beans, and they have some nice subtle fruity notes. The location is beautiful inside, and outside Kensington is a great hood. I highly recommend this to espresso soots and coffee simpletons a like.
dana replying to a comment from Milton / November 30, 2012 at 09:56 am
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ahhh finally someone else who knows my pain. i just moved from montreal 3 months ago and i'm having the same problem. it's really crappy.
extranothing / November 29, 2013 at 11:57 am
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This became my favorite spot very quickly once it opened - the excellent coffee and food, the spot etc. But then I realized no matter how much I frequented it (and recommended), the owner and baristas remained cold, snooty, and rude. I grew weary of the attitude and stopped going - and it turns out, a few others felt the same. Worth noting, maybe, if you're the owner and reading this? On the other hand, it's seems to be doing well, so maybe people like getting their Americano with a side of douche. *shrug*

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