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Restaurants

Black Rabbit Cafe

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Listed on March 14, 2013 / review policy

black rabbit cafeBlack Rabbit Cafe opened about two months ago in Bloor West Village, and caters to the young families in the area with healthy, freshly-made snacks for the adult, and kid-sized treats for the kids. The spot is owned by Peter and Alex Kiriakapoulos, and sees Adam Wisniewski (Lucien) whipping up the menu.

Although it's billed as a cafe, the thrust of its business seems to be in its rotating selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, and some of the baked goods sourced from Circles and Squares bakery.

black rabbit cafe torontoThe space itself opens onto a display counter, then turns into a casual dining room with simple wood tables and black chairs, and a pleasing array of paintings on the walls. There's also a selection of take-home coffee accoutrements like tea strainers, espresso and coffee makers, and Theobroma chocolate.

Black Rabbit serves breakfast through dinner (from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with slightly later hours on the weekends). Its mandate is to serve "local, natural, organic, healthy and delicious" food. Their deli meats are brought in from Beretta Farms, and are nitrate, antibiotic, and hormone-free (and also ethically-raised), and their breads come from Ace, as well as some organic options from St. John's Bakery.

black rabbit torontoTo start, we opt for the tuna salad sandwich. I was absolutely ravenous when I stopped in just after 5 pm, so I was slightly disappointed by the petite size of the sandwiches--I'd have been happy with something double the size, especially for $7.95. Nevertheless, the flavours of diced green bean, green onion, spinach, and red pepper are distinct, and the tuna has a light taste despite being oil-packed. The freshness of the crusty white baguette from Ace Bakery is a definite highlight.

black rabbit cafeWe also try the dairy-free pasta salad ($7.95). The kale pesto is rich and not too salty, the green peppers are fresh, and the cherry tomatoes are beautifully roasted for a bit of smokiness on top of their standard tart flavor. The pasta itself is fairly standard penne, and the portion size is great.

Next is the HAC ($8.25), which is similarly sized to the tuna, but more filling thanks to ample amounts of organic black forest ham, gruyere, and what I'm fairly certain was spinach, rather than the intended arugula. Those flavours alone would meld nicely, but the added touch of apple butter adds a nice bit of sweetness.

black rabbit cafeTo finish, we pick up some cookies (each just over $2). The sea salt and dark chocolate chip cookie doesn't yield much sea salt, although the double chocolate chai is truly a (and I don't much use this word) game-changer, thanks to its strong chai flavours and scatter of sour cherries. We also try a ginger molasses cookie, which is so moist that it falls apart in the bag (not a bad sign in my books).

Also on offer at Black Rabbit are juices by Joyous Health ($6.95), and their proprietary blends of organic coffee (roasted in Southern Ontario using Bullfrog Power, and lattes offered with housemade organic almond milk). They also serve tea and smoothies, and can accommodate gluten-free or vegan diets.

Discussion

45 Comments

Chris / March 14, 2013 at 11:47 am
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How is white bread and cookies healthy?
gerrard / March 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm
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This place is brutal, went there a few weeks ago and the food is unbelievably over priced especially for the portions you get. I ordered a tuna sandwich that took all of about 3 bites to finish and it was almost 10 bucks with tax! the salad with sweet potato and kale was terrible and again incredibly expensive. made it at home about a 100 times better. the coffee is not very good either.

1 coffee an orange juice 2 sandwiches and a side salad was 48 bucks!

If it was amazing i wouldn't mind the price but it sucked!
ivy / March 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm
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bad carb city...also, I could go to my local loblaws and buy beretta farmed meat and ace bread. Doesn't seem very special.
oynkie / March 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm
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there's no mention of whether gluten-free bread is a permanent menu item, but when i was there a month ago, it was an option.
Sandman / March 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm
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It's nice to see more options in BWV -- keep 'em coming!

There is also another newly opened cafe nearby called Cafe Cranberry on the corner of WIndermere & BWV.
Luke / March 14, 2013 at 07:59 pm
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Tried this place and it doesn't compare to another soup and sandwich place not too far away - Soup 'n Such. They have fresh soups that always hit the spot and a real focus on healthy options. Their in house baking, while not as showy, tastes great - especially their vegan brownies. Prices are better too - a soup and snadwich combo always fills me up.
Jamie Laidlaw replying to a comment from Sandman / March 14, 2013 at 08:57 pm
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Had a great coffee at the fab Cafe Cranberry with Rev. Gilmour from Windermere United. All good and very pleasant people.
Melotee / March 14, 2013 at 09:13 pm
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As a bloor west villager with a penchant for good coffee and healthy food I was quite excited to try this place out. I finally headed over recently with my sister, both of us famished after a sweaty hot yoga class. It was....meh. First of all we paid $38 for a tea, a smoothie, a sandwich, soup, and a salad. Secondly, nothing was really that great. Smallish portions, ok flavors, pre-made food. I don't mind spending $$ on organic and local, but I would like to enjoy it a but more. On the whole, I probably won't go out of my way to come here again. It's a shame...bloor west still hasn't quite pinned down the whole good restaurant/cafe thing.
Ben / March 14, 2013 at 09:26 pm
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I work next door at Royal LePage. I went in the other day to see what the new owners had done with the space and to check out the menu. I was a little turned off as the prices seemed high for the portion sizes offered and decided to venture down the street to grab lunch elsewhere, as there are less expensive options in close proximity that provide more bang for the buck. Felt the offerings and the pricing was very similar to what was offered by the previous owners. Hoping they lower their prices a bit and go for volume, as I'd love for this place to remain in business! I do like the fact that they attempt to make their food with organic and locally sourced products when possible and recognize the higher costs associated with going this route, but still feel their prices could be more competitive.
MrsPotato / March 14, 2013 at 09:55 pm
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Funny this is 'healthy' to some people?!

I'd never buy that as a healthy meal. White pasta & bread ... mayo, the list goes on. Anything but clean eating.

Give me some sweet potatoe please!
Shawn / March 14, 2013 at 09:58 pm
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Seriously...like others have said, white bread, cookies, white pasta, tuna salad, etc. That's healthy? That's like the earlier review of a place to get "alligator burgers" that doesn't sell alligator burgers.
Healthy or Not? / March 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm
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White bread, white pasta, oily pesto, sugar-encrusted cookies, mayonnaise. You can throw a green leaf into a sandwich, but it doesn't necessarily make it healthy.

I just don't see what is so healthy about the food above. There is a problem of perception, because this is not fast food in its most obvious form. As a society, we seem to have decided in the last few years that if the food we eat is made by a small business rather than McDonald's and there are no French fries on the plate, then the food must be good for us. Incorrect thinking.
Tuli / March 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm
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I break bread 3 days a week down at the park you should join... Good Times, Good Eats. Sometimes we break around the farmers markets...
Tanis / March 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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Just to clarify: is it the reviewer that is claiming this food is healthy or the restaurant? If it's the reviewer then we should be slamming BlogTO for inaccurate reviews, if it is actually the restaurant then they are misleading the public about what is healthy. Alexandra please clarify.
John / March 16, 2013 at 01:33 pm
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Yeah that sandwich looks kinda small. It just needs the ends on the bread to make it a little longer and a little more satisfying. 1 bun per sandwich instead of cheaping out and getting a french stick and dividing it into 3 sandwiches and throwing the ends out...
Z / March 16, 2013 at 02:47 pm
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Its mandate is to serve "local, natural, organic, healthy and delicious" food.

The quotation marks suggest that this is a claim made by the establishment.
Ken / March 16, 2013 at 05:39 pm
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Chai cookie with sour cherries - do you know if these are baked in-house, or if they're outsourced? Would very much like to find out who came up with the idea, rather intrigued.
Thanks Alex!
C-rock / March 17, 2013 at 06:14 pm
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Interesting but not surprising gang jump by folks on this site. The sandwiches at this spot that are white bread (not all) are locally made with natural ingredients (ace). The pasta those guys serve is whole wheat and organic. The serving sizes are normal healthy sized portions and not amusement park fat American portions that these health experts seem to be aching for. I go to this place every week and its super high quality stuff. Lame stream here and totally inaccurate in most every case. My 2 c.
Tinsa / March 18, 2013 at 08:26 am
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I was there on the weekend and had an amazing miso roasted tempeh sandwich, a quinoa, kale salad with house pickled apples, beets and celery and a green d- tox juice and it was awesome. Who goes to a healthy choices cafe and only orders the obvious offerings there for the folks accompanying the healthy alternative seeker? This is like rating a burger joint on its fish sandwich. The comments are as usual on this aite -seem to be misinformed hater filled arm- chairing. I wish blogTO did actual reviews with repeat visits as opposed to one offs when they are "ravenous". Some journalistic integrity would be .... Cool.
Delilah / March 18, 2013 at 09:46 am
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The only people who are going to enjoy this cafe are those who like to think they're eating healthy and organic, but really don't know what that is.
I ordered a green juice from here last week, which was advertised on their menu as being local and organic. When i saw them putting in a cucumber i was skeptical, because i know organic cucumbers are super expensive right now at the store. At a closer look, i could see that sure enough, it wasn't organic. The PLU code started with a 4 which means it's conventional, as opposed to organic produce which always starts with a 9. I'm sure the people running this place don't realize that. If you wanna sell a bunch of crappy food and call it healthy, go ahead, but telling customers something is organic when it isn't, is not only illegal, but disrespectful to customers. Before anyone asks, the menu read LOCAL & ORGANIC, not "or organic" or "sometimes organic".
C-rock / March 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm
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I'm a regular there and asked about te cucumbers. Owner showed me they are LFP spray and gmo free which is awesome. He agreed te sign that says local+organic and changed it on the spot. He also showed me other than the LFP spray and gmo free carrots, every other fruit and vegetable is organic. These guys spare no effort or expense. Sorry hater Delilah - your juicy blog is foiled. Shame shame shame.
EWS / March 18, 2013 at 01:07 pm
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This is such a typical blogTO review and the comments are so lame it's shocking. I go to Black Rabbit on a weekly basis, either to pick up a quick bite or meet friends for lunch/coffee and NONE of the food is pre-made. It's actually made on-site in the kitchen downstairs using fresh local (where available) ingredients. The blogTO reviewer never mentioned that the pasta was whole wheat and gluten free. Is it healthier than a salad - probably not, but it's a better alternative to regular white pasta. If she wanted healthy she could of had a soup and a salad - instead SHE chose to eat a sandwich and pasta salad. As for the prices and serving sizes - where are you people from? Do you ever go out to eat in the city? It's funny - because I bet you're the same people who pay $14 for a crappy burger from the joint across the street. Shame on blogTO for a really sub-par review and all those typical blogTO haters.
Delilah replying to a comment from C-rock / March 18, 2013 at 02:07 pm
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C -Rock, I fail to see how my post is foiled. I said the cucumber had a PLU code that started with a 4 which means it's a conventional product. That's a fact. If you don't understand how the PLU codes work to label organic, gmo and conventional, then that's your problem. If they had different cucumbers today then that's another thing, but it doesn't change the fact that they sold me an "organic juice" with a waxy, sprayed, conventional cucumber. Who knows what else they're selling as organic.
By the way, it's obvious you're an owner.
Delilah / March 18, 2013 at 02:24 pm
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Actually, it's obvious that C-Rock, EWS, and Tinsa are all the same person (the owner). Either that or they all have the same writing style and really enjoy incorporating hyphens into their sentences.
Deal with the criticism, and make changes so your business doesn't fail.
EWS / March 18, 2013 at 03:35 pm
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Hahah! Actually, I am not the owner Delilah - but an acutal customer. And yes, I enjoy hyphens. Are you the grammar police? Stick to what you know, which is criticising people. You must have incredible vision to be able to see produce labels from feet away. I think this whole discussion is just hilarious, and you have just reaffirmed the fact most blogTO posters are just full of hate. So easy to just sit behind your computer and type away.
C-rock / March 18, 2013 at 04:11 pm
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Poorly informed, read AND paranoid? I'm a customer that cares "Delilah" go figure! Haters just really annoy me and the rest of the educated block. Your "criticism" is anything but and if you went back to read what you wrote you might see that. Anyways this isn't about anything but sad hatin' folk. Enjoy your day everyone and stay happy, create something rather than try and tear down. :)
C-rock / March 18, 2013 at 04:14 pm
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Ps - non gmo, spray free LfP produce is labelled with a 4 digit code starting with 4 too - it's certified organic tht only starts with 9. Best o luck;)
cheKoz replying to a comment from EWS / March 19, 2013 at 10:10 am
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" The blogTO reviewer never mentioned that the pasta was whole wheat and gluten free. "
Really?
Whole WHEAT and gluten free? Where does this magical gluten free wheat come from??

From the reviews and feedback about the quality, quantity and pricing, doesn't sound like this place is going to last long...
mediaglyphic / March 19, 2013 at 10:54 am
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Bad service, poor selection and out of stock of the only thing i wanted.

The person at the counter did not know the ingredients in the food and had to scramble around to ask someone. By the time, the item i wanted was gone. They have 2 soups, 3 salada and a bunch of sandwiches. This is not a restaurant more like a food counter. Cranberry cafe around the corner is better.
Delilah replying to a comment from C-rock / March 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm
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You think I'm being overly critical because i was mad that a business falsely labeled a product as being organic? People like myself take this stuff seriously, and of course I'm going to call a business out on their reckless behaviour.
The educated block? I guess my masters in food science was just for amusement. You're the one who is foolish enough to believe that a plastic wrapped cucumber labelled with a 4 is spray free.
The only reason I'm getting fired up is because consumers should be able to rely on businesses to be honest with them, because the fact is, not everyone is up to date on food labels and such. I don't know why another customer would take it so personally, instead of feeling a mutual anger that a business was false labeling. That's why I still believe you're the store owner. That's my final thought on the topic.
Joy / March 19, 2013 at 03:44 pm
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I just had lunch with my sweetie today at Black Rabbit! So gosh darn delicious. We shared the hopper (my fave -- beets and soft boiled eggs with other deliciousness) on crusty local bread and 2 side salads. One salad (I forget the name), but it had Canadian quinoa, cranberries, spinach and another one that was Greek-salad-like. Both were superbly yummy and FRESH.

Normally I get the d-tox juice but today was cold so I took one of the raw vegan cookies (bunny hop) with my decaf americano and a dollop of housemade almond milk to go. They make the bunny hop in-house, it was infused with a lovely fresh lemongrass flavour.

I read some of the comments here and was quite surprised! The best part about black rabbit is their commitment to using whole, fresh food with as many organic and local ingredients as possible. If you talk to the owners, you will find this out for yourself. :)

So to all your negative nellies writing rude comments here, you need to go back and give it another try because most of you are talking nonsense. I've been to black rabbit so many times now and have been working my way through the menu. Everything has been delicious!

ps. You should try those joyous juices ;) They will make your liver smile. :D
Bianca / March 19, 2013 at 04:06 pm
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OMG!! I had the homemade almond milk latte this morning and it was heaven. I can't believe I've been buying crappy almond milk in a carton - grrrr. I work across the street and I'm so happy to see healthy fresh food in the hood. I will be back to try the food.
James / March 19, 2013 at 04:51 pm
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I grabbed a few things from this cafe last week and have mixed reviews. The good news was that there coffee is really nice, organic and fair-trade and I think they had three different roasts plus espresso. The muffin I had was also good, though they didn't make it there, and its the same white flour muffins they sell across the street at Max's. So I'd go back and get a coffee and a treat, however the breakfast sandwich I ordered was the worst sandwich I ever had. Sloppy wet eggs, mushy bread, bland toppings. I won't complain about prices but this was just bad. I hope they can turn their cooking around and stay around cause we could use a place on the street with fresh organic meals. Until I see the reviews turning around, I'll stick to their coffee.
Jeff / March 20, 2013 at 06:39 pm
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I popped in for a bite late last week and must say that I was pretty impressed.The ham and cheese sandwich I had was great and the side salad was a treat. The people by the counter appeared to be a friendy bunch and gave us some info on the cafe. The only thing I can knock is the pricing.
Alessandra / March 23, 2013 at 06:24 pm
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I am quite disappointed with the menu as of late- it is all the same things just altered slightly every day. Some sort of salad with kale or beet or roasted squash or some squash soup with some different spice every day.
I work in the area and i wish they would just shake it up a little bit.

Other than that, i find all the food ive ever had to date great (a little bit lacking for the prices, especially the takeout soups), the staff are welcoming and helpful, the coffee is amazing, and i am happy they opened up in BWV.

Its spring time! change things up a bit!
Yoga Babe / March 28, 2013 at 06:06 pm
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I popped in for a green juice after my yoga class and it was so refreshing. I'm really happy there's finally a healthy fresh option in the area. Next time I will have to try one of those cookie ball things.
Eric / April 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm
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One word describes this place: Novelty

Yes maybe (or as argued here, maybe not) the food is organic, it is prepared fresh, the ingriedients are as local as possible, but in no way is this stuff is healthy.

The food is alright, but this place runs solely off their reputation. The juices are served to you warm and can easily be made at home. Overheard the owner one morning telling a friend the 'freshly squeezed' orange juice comes from a shop a couple shops down on bloor. Also the kid's menu is a joke- greasy mac n cheese and oily grilled cheese with ketchup? Why not inspire the future generation of children to eat healthier instead of promoting junk food? I dont care how organic or local the cheese is- thats laziness. The house made products such as the almond milk and bunny hops are inconsistent in quality and flavour, and its just unfortunate that the owners clearly rely on this false reputation to make money.

smarten up, bloor west needs a good place to eat.
David / April 3, 2013 at 10:23 am
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Went in a while ago with my wife for coffees. We both ordered almond milk lattes and when they arrived at our table the milk had visibly curdled. It tasted rancid, and when i approached the counter service about it they told me that it was just the way almond milk was and it always happens. Obviously, we returned our drinks. Product like that shouldnt be sold to your customers until it is acceptable both aesthetically and taste wise. I would rather have almond milk out of a box.
Sabrina / April 24, 2013 at 07:30 pm
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I honestly love this place. Food is delicious and the waiting staff are always so friendly and chatty.
Eva / April 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm
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We used to be come here regularly but have moved on due to the lack of variety. Last week they appeared to have the same salads running for the entire week!! I also have noticed that they can't seem to keep their staff.
Eva / April 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm
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Perhaps my last point was a little harsh but its a quality uncharacteristic of your friendly local cafe.
Hassan / May 13, 2013 at 10:56 am
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Nothing to write home about and way too pricey. Also, the comments are a pretty embarrassing read for the owner. He should have just taken the criticism instead of getting caught out.
Gigi / May 15, 2013 at 09:47 pm
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They cant keep their staff because they treat them all like garbage and have trust issues. The brothers are the franchise owners of Java Joes- their standards regarding quality and customer satisfaction are very very low, obviously. They do not know how to run a business or respect other people.
Reviewer / July 26, 2013 at 02:59 pm
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The rent in Bloor West Village is crazy high so it's expected that the food price be a little bit higher. The fact that organic ingredients are generally 20% more expensive than non organic ingredients, it's hard to argue the prices. Although, a lot of people still want a cheap quick bite. That's why McDonalds and Timmys is always so busy.
Emma / November 10, 2013 at 11:35 am
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closed down, now into java joes

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