10 awesome affogatos in Toronto
Affogatos in Toronto are experiencing a seasonal surge in popularity. With another hot and humid summer in full swing in Toronto, afternoon coffees have been temporarily replaced by their iced counterparts or soft-serve frozen yogurt, gelato, and ice cream. Fortunately, many places around Toronto have begun offering affogatos, the perfect compromise between the two, to help cool Torontonians down.
The concept behind an affogatos is straightforward; a scoop of creamy ice cream or gelato (typically vanilla) with espresso poured over it. This seemingly simple combination, once confined to restaurant dessert lists, can now be enjoyed at a number of cafes, gelaterias and ice cream parlours across the city. The obvious benefit of this growth in popularity is the ability to choose from a variety of traditional and unique affogato interpretations.
Finding that perfect marriage between an expertly pulled shot of espresso, however, and smooth gelato (or ice cream) can be surprisingly hard to nail. Some use grocery store-bought ice cream, some pull less than average espresso shots, and others lop on the dairy and drown out the coffee flavour.
Here is a list of the Toronto spots that are getting it right.
Gelato Simply Italian (Yonge St.)
Everything about this place screams authenticity. Their gelato is spot on, and so are their affogatos. A quick look around at their clientele and constant traffic will assure you that you're in good hands. Not surprisingly, the star of the affogato is their house-made gelato, which melts (literally!) into their smooth and mild Illy espresso.
G for Gelato
Steps away from the St. Lawrence Market, G for Gelato has recently earned a reputation for serving some of the city's finest gelato. An affogato here consists of a double shot of Rufino espresso and your choice of hand-made gelato made on premise. Their espresso is smooth and mild, and is fantastic paired with their smooth and creamy hazelnut gelato.
Manic's new gelato offering, also made in-store, is a welcome addition to their College street café. In addition to serving unique flavours like grapefruit & peppercorn, the Earl Grey gelato alone warrants the visit to this café. As a nod to the popular Hong Kong-style "Yuanyang" beverage, ask for the Earl Grey gelato to form the base of your affogato.
Soma Chocolate (Distillery District)
Soma may be most famous for their chocolate, but it would be a crime to visit their retail store without sampling their gelato as well. A visit to their Distillery District location will also afford you the opportunity to watch their chocolate makers in action. Affogatos are available with a double shot of 49th Parallel espresso, or for the non-coffee drinker, a shot of hot chocolate. While the classic pairing of their Madagascar Vanilla is guaranteed to be satisfying, a scoop of their Epic Espresso for a double hit of caffeine is also highly recommended.
Coffee continues to be the main focus at Grind House, although you could easily spend an entire day here thanks to a full menu of baked goods, salads, and sandwiches. A serving of The Mad Italian's gelato and a shot of their mild espresso creates a stand-out affogato that's worth making a special trip to their Kensington location.
With the Trinity Bellwoods park across the street and a neat take-out window to place your order at, White Squirrel is especially nice to visit during the summer. Ordering an affogato here will get you a scoop of Greg's Ice Cream and a double shot of their Mountain View Estates Coffee espresso roast. Try an affogato here with the Toasted Marshmallow ice cream for an extra special treat and be sure to enjoy it in the park.
For the past two months, Voulez Vous has been serving Maple Leaf Dairy ice cream out of their cozy café in the Leslieville - and it's a good thing they started. Their commitment to pulling a great espresso shot from their custom Rufino coffee bean blend results in a truly pleasant affogato experience. As a bonus, their corner location includes a quiet patio with a bike rack nearby, making this an ideal place to visit and linger at.
Fair warning - the affogatos here are generously sized and perfect for sharing. Using the Portuguese Delta Café brand as their espresso, the owner explains that just one shot is more than enough for one order. Despite having over a dozen ice cream flavours to choose from, the French Vanilla is highly recommended for its smooth texture (conversely, the Espresso ice cream is ill-advised and apparently interferes with the affogato experience).
Ed's Real Scoop (Leslieville)
If you really need another excuse to visit Ed's Real Scoop, then let it be for an affogato here, and their coffee does a fine job at complementing the gelato. For a spicy twist that you can only get at Ed's, try an affogato with their Red Hot Chili Chocolate, which is reminiscent of a Mexican hot chocolate. For an extra special treat, the staff are willing to (and have been known to recommend this) make an affogato for you with an espresso shot from Mercury Espresso across the street.
Scoop and Bean
Quietly situated just off Bathurst street on Follis Avenue, Scoop and Bean is easy to miss if you're not looking out for it. The café is full of charm and comfort, and their generous affogatos follow suit. The Pralines & Cream or French Vanilla flavours are recommended as the base and both pair beautifully with the mild Reunion Island espresso. For the perpetually indecisive, the staff are kind enough to include two different scoops of ice cream flavours.
Top photos of the affogato at White Squirrel