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Eat & Drink

10 awesome affogatos in Toronto

Posted by Alison Ku / August 2, 2012

toronto affogatoAffogatos 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 Coffee
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.

Grind House
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.

White Squirrel
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.

Voulez Vous
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.

Eagles Nest
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

Discussion

16 Comments

Paul / August 2, 2012 at 02:44 pm
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I can't compare to all the affogatos on this list, but Terroni's is pretty affogattin' good.
Alex / August 2, 2012 at 03:07 pm
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The real question is do you drink your float with or without a spoon? Since our ice cream is usually super hard from the fridge, I generally go with spoon. But without is also very nice, if a bit messy.
Mount Pleasant Village / August 2, 2012 at 04:08 pm
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Cavaillon Fine Food Boutique by Chef Julio Bonilla (http://www.chefjuliobonilla.com/) has a killer marscapone affogato! He'll also sometimes put a shot of gorgeous espresso into the cup first, which creates an amazing flavour combo.
sianara / August 2, 2012 at 04:23 pm
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i had a good one the other day, but "affagato" where it was!
Go replying to a comment from sianara / August 2, 2012 at 04:33 pm
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Ha!!
DThor / August 2, 2012 at 09:33 pm
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I suppose some purists might complain, but Jed's Frozen Custard on Yonge north of Eglinton makes a seriously mean affogato, yes, with custard, not gelato. It's sinfully decadent, wife and I prefer the simplicity of vanilla custard, the flavoured ones collide with the coffee.
Shawn / August 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm
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Is it normally taken with a "plainer" type of gelato (vanilla, etc.)? Or will I look crazy if I try to order one with strawberry or mango? And is it too sweet so it ends up like eating a gelato soup?
Amanda / August 2, 2012 at 11:29 pm
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Shawn: You can get an amazing Affogato at Hollywood Gelato and you can choose any flavour of gelato you like! They have over 20 flavours to choose from. I personally love the mango. It's made with fresh fruit, as are all their fruity flavours!
belvedere / August 3, 2012 at 07:15 am
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"yuanyang"?? i think u mean yinyang in cantonese, tea mixed with coffee. hou leng!
GELATO SIMPLY ITALIAN / August 3, 2012 at 09:41 am
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To set the record straight, we DO NOT use Illy coffee. WE IMPORT OUR OWN BRAND OF COFFEE FROM A SMALL ROSTERIE IN ROME. The brand is called Gran Caffe Santos. Thanks. We make coffee granita too. Yorkville only, at the moment.
Alison Ku replying to a comment from GELATO SIMPLY ITALIAN / August 3, 2012 at 10:17 am
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My mistake - thank you for clarifying. I always ask where the beans come from, but it must have slipped my mind and I made an assumption when I saw the Illy bags on display at the store. Glad to know about the coffee beans, no wonder the affogatos taste so good!
Abe / August 4, 2012 at 09:47 am
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Buddy, The Good Neighbour at Annette & Quebec. Insane coffee and affogatos.
Dairy Man / August 5, 2012 at 06:41 pm
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Well researched for the limited number of good affogato's around.

The Grind House's is quality, and they do it with hazelnut too (which i think is the best combination). Manic's gelato isn't quite there yet, the texture is too grainy and far from smooth.
Kate / November 16, 2013 at 04:51 pm
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you missed cafe el cito!
Alanna / November 17, 2013 at 02:57 am
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We do Gelato affogatos with authentic Italian espresso at Faema Caffe at Christie and Dupont!
Megan / November 17, 2013 at 03:08 am
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Noce by Trinity Bellwoods has an excellent affogato! They add something alcoholic to it too - and mannn is it good!

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