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Restaurants

Capitano Burgers and Gelato

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Reviewed on March 13, 2013 / review policy

capitano burgers torontoCapitano Burgers and Gelato opened up about a week ago in Basha's former home. I'm told that the interior hasn't changed much, retaining a look that almost approximates an airport lounge.

The combination of "x" and gelato seems to be gathering steam, following in the footsteps of Parkdale's Gelato Pizza, but unlike that spot, Capitano actually takes the harebrained leap of combining its two eponymous foods (more on that later).

capitano burgers gelato torontoManned by first-time restaurateurs Lina and Yannick, the space already boasts repeat customers and a fair amount of curious first-timers. Lina makes the gelato in-house, and offers fruity non-dairy options, as well as decadent and evocative flavours like hazelnut (an easy best-seller) and espresso. Meanwhile, Yannick handles the meat, and says he "wanted to care a little bit more about the burgers." To that end, buns are baked fresh in-house using organic flour, the triple A black angus beef is grain-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free, and the fries are hand-cut Yukon golds.

The menu ranges from a basic burger ($4.95), to a chicken breast burger, which can be grilled rather than cooked on the flattop if you prefer ($5.95), and two vegetarian burgers.

capitano burgers gelato torontoWe start with the Ringer ($6.50), which sees onion rings, cheddar cheese, the usual fixin's, aioli and their special in-house sauce packed tightly atop a patty. The meat is perfectly cooked, and the onion rings add a pleasant crunch, but for my money, I would've preferred white cheddar to the fluorescent yellow that never fails to remind me of Kraft squares. The softness of the freshly-baked bun does in fact make a difference.

capitano burgers gelato torontoFor our sides, we choose onion rings ($3.50), which are fairly standard--lightly-battered, nicely-portioned, and cooked to an ideal golden brown. The poutine ($5.50) is a pleasant surprise, with rich, salty gravy and ample cheese curds--one of the better ones I've tasted recently--and the fries are thin-cut and not overly salted.

capitano burgers gelato torontoNext is the Wild burger ($8.95). Easily my favorite, it's a blend of goat cheese, sautéed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions (as well as the Capitano sauce). My patty arrives slightly too charred for my tastes, but the meaty mushrooms and acidic peppers smooth out the taste. The goat cheese is a nice touch, offering up a tart counterbalance to the slight sweetness of the onions.

capitano burgers gelato torontoFinally, it's time for the gelato ($3.95 for small), and the modest range of flavours sticks to classic favourites like pistachio, strawberry and espresso. Those with nut allergies should note that nuts figure heavily in several flavours, and as everything is made on-site, nothing can be guaranteed as nut-free. Lina tells me the banana is freshest, but I can't resist the combination of raspberry and hazelnut.

Both are incredibly flavourful, with the hazelnut being (obviously) reminiscent of Nutella, but also retaining the slightly bitterness of hazelnuts. The raspberry might become my go-to flavor in the summer months, when the sourness would do a good job of rousing parched tastebuds.

capitano burgers gelato torontoAlmost as an afterthought, Yannick mentions their in-house specialty--the gelato burger ($4.95). A slightly-sweet bun filled with gelato that's then fused in something that resembles a domed waffle iron, and it's a nice play on a filled donut. A crowd of onlookers gathers as Yannick prepares my raspberry gelato burger, and when I taste it, it's remarkably similar to a jam sandwich, and the gelato begins to melt quite quickly. It was tasty, but there are perhaps a few kinks left to iron out--a touch of powdered sugar on top might be a nice touch, or a thinner bun.

capitano burgers gelato torontoAs for the future, I'm told that they're planning to branch out into more exotic meats, with bison coming soon, and the possibility of alligator being considered.

Discussion

26 Comments

Rich / March 13, 2013 at 08:43 am
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If you're going to use the headline "Where to eat gelato and alligator burgers in Toronto" then maybe they should actually sell alligator and not just be considering it? Sloppy "journalism"
McRib / March 13, 2013 at 09:53 am
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that gelato sandwich looks fucking disgusting.
Ryan / March 13, 2013 at 10:53 am
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You guys are my favourite part of blogto. A ray of bleakness in an otherwise sunny day. The commenters are this website can certainly find the grey lining in the silver cloud.
Jason / March 13, 2013 at 11:01 am
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hehe @ Ryan, love your comment....
TheRealRyan / March 13, 2013 at 11:25 am
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hehe @ Jason - YOU SUCK
i8pasta / March 13, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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Glad to see someone is finally attempting a gelato sandwich in this city. Though I'd like to recommend that instead of using any old sweet bun that they try a brioche. No need to make it look like a burger, just split it on one side and stuff! I also recommend skipping the fusing part - who needs heat on their gelato! And instead of icing sugar, go for the gusto and top it off with whipped cream. My reason for these recommendations is entirely selfish - it's how I had my gelato as a kid in Calabria
loper / March 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm
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there is a reason why no one has invented the ice cream burger before. because it's stupid. soggy bread is gross.
wazoo / March 13, 2013 at 01:00 pm
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Pianttini Ristorante in NYC has been making out of this world Gelato Sandwiches for years and use twice the amount of ice cream then these do
Jason P. / March 13, 2013 at 03:36 pm
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@ loper I've had the gelato burger at this place before. The bread isn't soggy and the gelato stays cold. It's fucking magical.
doyourresearch / March 13, 2013 at 05:06 pm
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"gelato burgers" aren't a trendy new fad. Sicilians have been serving these for ages. the bread soaks up any melty bits and (attempts) to keep your hands clean. sigh... toronto. people making rude comments on this blog need to chill out before they just shoot down an idea.
jeff g / March 13, 2013 at 07:00 pm
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So does this place sell alligator burgers? No? Worst piece of lazy-ass BlogTo writing then!
jd / March 13, 2013 at 07:24 pm
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I noticed this place the other day and was gonna go in and try it. But then I saw a dumpling spot opened up a couple of doors down and had to try that first.

Will try it out this weekend. If that dumpling spot doesn't suck me in. Now, everytime I see the women making dumplings in the window, I feel like I need to eat there.
Francesco / March 13, 2013 at 07:43 pm
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Reminds me of the old country , Bella Italia
andy2394 / March 14, 2013 at 02:41 pm
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Reading comments sections remind me that Canadians are *not* nice as they would like to claim. In fact, all this repressed "niceness" brings out a lot of assholery.
Uzair / March 14, 2013 at 06:43 pm
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Just had their Veggie Burger (added sauteed mushrooms) and Fries. Really good patty. I loved the size of the burger itself too, not too big and not too small. The bun is organic and perfectly baked. The fries were a little over done but I will be sure to mention it when I go for another visit. Did not try their gelato but it is made in house fresh every day and they do offer dairy-free choices which changes every day.
Alex / March 16, 2013 at 07:45 pm
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I tried their Capitano burger and rasbery Gelato. It was absolutely amazing! By far best Gelato ever, much better than the overpriced place in Yorkville. Burger was juicy and just the right amount of crisp. Would highly recommend it.
Ken / March 16, 2013 at 11:29 pm
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Thanks for the write-up Alex. Great descriptions.
zambianIndian / May 3, 2013 at 02:53 pm
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I had the Classic burger and pineapple/ pistachio Gelato for lunch today. Loved the gelato and the nurger was nicely cooked, juicy and just the right amount of crisp. I look forward to trying out the rest of the burgers till the end of May, as they have a promotion for a free sample of Gelato for every burger purchased!!
Rémi / May 14, 2013 at 09:33 am
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One of the best burger I had in Toronto, the gelatos are just amazing. Very good job !
Sue / May 14, 2013 at 06:53 pm
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Just had the Capitano burger with fries. Wonderful food and fantastic staff. Will definitely be back!

PPB / June 7, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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Just came back from lunch at this place. Good job on the Spicy Burger. I wish the fries were crispy. They were so limp. I sampled three gelatos. I'd go for the mango again.
anonamy / July 13, 2013 at 10:13 pm
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NOPE.

I would have very much liked to try this place, except the owner has hired a grotesque man to stand outside waving coupons in people's faces and whistle at women.

Yes, actually whistle. I regularly pass by this slobbery character and today he whistled at me after I walked by. I turned back and asked him if he thought I wasn't a person and why did he think it was ok to do that, and he started yelling at me telling me I'm ugly.

In addition, a couple months ago a greasy fry cook man was standing directly outside in his filthy spotted apron. I walked by with my yoga mat and he said "you must be really flexible". Mmmmm, appetizing.

A plea to the owner - please, please get rid of these guys. I love burgers, fries and anything slathered with gourmet ingredients and would love to potentially be a regular patron... And I recognize that this troll of a man needs employment... But please - obese manics whistling at unsuspecting women is a very poor marketing tactic.
Josh replying to a comment from anonamy / July 17, 2013 at 03:47 pm
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hahahah oh come on
michelle replying to a comment from anonamy / July 18, 2013 at 12:08 am
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I live close to this place and have eaten there several times already, and after reading the above comment, I wanted to inquire from the staff of this place about the mentioned concerns.
I found out that the owner of capitano is a young woman in her 20's who seemed very friendly and honest, and she told me that it is part of their restaurant routine that all the staff is always polite and respectful to all people, customer or not. I also spoke to the man handing out flyers outside their restaurant. I found out that he is a married man with two children, and I found him to be kind and mature and a very lively & outgoing person, and, as I noticed myself, he likes to whistle all the time, either to music or just to add some life to this normally dull yonge street strip.

I have enjoyed each visit to Capitano and I can only say that the employees were always friendly and kind.
I believe the above mentioned concerns must have either come from a misunderstanding or through some kind of personal problem or vendetta - which, if the case, I think is very sad.

I think that the above poster could have at least walked into the restaurant and talked to the owner like I did before spreading such harsh comments.
Amanda / July 24, 2013 at 03:55 pm
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Ok, so I've waited a long (looong) time to do a review about this restaurant in particular. I think, mostly, it was because I couldn't believe that everything is actually this great.

I've come back to this place for lunch multiple times now (I honestly cannot even remember how many exactly). One of my favourite burger places in the area, by far. I am not even comparing these guys to Hero Burger, Gourmet Burger, or any other 'professional' restaurant chain out there. These guys make one of the best burgers I've had.

I usually build my own burger, but my absolute favourite is the Canadian Banquet (a cheeseburger with bacon on it). I also like to get the Mushroom Melt when I'm not feeling like eating meat, and that is fantastic as well.

The service that this place has is wonderful. Everybody is cheerful and happy to help! They keep the space neat and the ordering is very straightforward (if you aren't a troll of course).

I don't eat fries or onion rings, so I'm not able to comment on those, but I hear that they are both home-made.

The gelato is out of this world. I've tried gelato at many different places, but this one is def. one of the best I've had. They keep their display well-stocked with 24 flavours, around half of them are the regular gelato flavours you would find, and the other half is a rotation of unique flavours (I got to try the Rose, Apple Struddel, Honey Yogurt, and Lucky Charms).

All in all, you guys should visit this place. It's definitely worth it, I promise!
evilseeds replying to a comment from anonamy / June 14, 2014 at 01:30 pm
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@anonamy I totally agree with you. I live close to the restaurant and walk almost every night by it to go home. I wanted to try their burgers but the old guy at the entrance was the reason why I didn't step in for months (until he was gone actually). The guy was unpleasant and agressive to people on the side walk and I don't understand how an owner can't notice that the guy is a customers scarecrows!
However, now I've tried, I can confirm that their burgers are very good. The team is pretty welcoming and most of the time smiling. I appreciate they cook the meat rare, as I don't like it well done. I recommend this place!

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