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Caplansky's Deli

Posted by Frank / Reviewed on April 8, 2009 / review policy

Caplansky's deli torontoY'know you're doing something right when you're being called the messiah of smoked meat, your fare's got a fan club with Geddy Lee in it, and it's so popular it's spawned its very own backlash!  But fuck, people, it's only a sandwich...

Purists kvetch at the mere mention of Caplansky's in the same sanctified breathe as the Sinai of smoked meat--Schwartz's in Montreal-- thinking they have unmasked an imposter.  Here are the facts people:  I am not in Montreal, nor do I care enough about purportedly 'authentic smoked meat' to be bothered ordering myself some of Schwartz's to make at home.  I do however, love a good authentic sandwich and some good authentic conversation. And Caplansky's has both. 

In spades.

Zane Caplansky is a mensch.  Talking to him is like getting into a warm bath:  you always come out slightly dizzy but with a sense of wellbeing that carries you through the day.  Charming to a fault this youthful 40 year-old works the room like the seasoned restaurant veteran that he is; his jovial presence affable demeanor, somewhere between Jackie Mason and Jerry Seinfield, is one of the other reasons for hitting this stealthy little spot on a side street in Italia Minor.  After a little chat with him you begin to notice how aware he is about history -- his own, deli culture, the neighbourhood -- and how passionate he is about preserving it, admitting that if he ever outgrows the Monarch, he hopes to open a little deli outpost on Nassau near the spot where his granddad used to run a butcher shop and bring a little Jewish back to a neigbourhood still known in many circles as the Jewish Market.


Climbing the stairs to the Monarch's second floor is a great build-up to your meal as you're spit out of the dark staircase into a simulated '70's legion hall interior, the ambience not unlike a children's drawing:  full of cartoon menace and oozing primary coloured chaos that ultimately reveals an innocence and playful juxtaposing of elements enough to make even the hardest hearts flicker with delight.  This vibe is often derided by more grown-up elements that've forgotten the power of magic words but you get the sense on any visit that lost boys would be waxing esoteric with blue-haired bubbies next to the xxx crumb-inspired '70's pinball machine while discovering the dirty on how to make a fool-proof chicken soup that'll cure asian bird flu (the tetra-granny-ton) all presided over by Zane's clown princing.  The only thing missing is dogs playing poker at one of the corner tables.  Jaime Kennedy once stopped in for a bite, congratulating Zane on the fact that in the Monarch he's got a ready-made cool-factor that usually costs restaurateurs thousands in fees to fellas usually named Yabu or Pushelberg.


So how's the food then?

You mean you haven't tried?


The sandwich ($7) is a meaty interface of pure, oldschool un-diluted joy (despite what the haters'll tell ya).  Fresh, chewy Silverstein's rye groans under the weight of 7 juicy, heart-stopping ounces of succulent, smoky, hand-carved brisket (ordering the meat "fatty" is the only way to eat this bad boy... if you're worried about the waistline, remember you walked up stairs to get here).  It doesn't taste like Schwartz's (which should in no way detract from how fine a smoked meat specimen this is); it has more in common with the brisket at Phil's Original BBQ than Montreal's meat.  The "Fresser" ($12) nearly doubles the meat quotient for 13 oz. in a Chuck Norris sized fist of smoky, beefy goodness.


The fries ($4) are perfectly crispy, without a hint of grease and salty enough to stand up to the aggressively flavoured sandwich.  They're even better smothered in the thick, beef-flecked gravy and squeaky cheese curds available in the poutine 'upgrade' ($6).  You'll struggle to finish an entire serving along with a sandwich--it doesn't mean you won't try though.



The knish ($5) is has gravy laced flaky pastry stuffed with much spicy chopped beef bits from the smoker mixed with chunky potatoes; an homage to corned beef hash that would definitely be kosher, or at least not out of place next to some over easy eggs for breakfast.


The borscht is a wonderfully ruby sweet and sour broth and the split pea is hearty stick to the ribs soup is the perfect antidote to winter (both $4).

If you still have room after this comfort food feast, indulge in some of Catherine's creamy cheesecake.  I nearly LOL'd at the sheer moxie as it was brought to the table dusted only in powdered sugar.  Not a single blueberry or cherry in sight.  My laughter was quickly silenced once I tasted the perfectly creamy confection that was neither overly sweet or overly heavy and inhaled faster than a dime bag of coke at last year's Bear Stearns X-mas party.

Believe me, I'll be back to Caplansky's once I've been fitted with the pacemaker.  Til then, I'll settle for spreading the word that there are still pockets of resistance out there making heroic, slow food, preserving a tasty tradition for hungry future generations.

Keep an eye open this summer as Zane promises to extend his hours in honour of the coming patio season offering the beer-soaked College Street masses a chance to hit their culinary g-spot with a tasty late-night bite.


I asked Zane a little about his inspiration and plans and...well...never one to shy away from a chat, here's what he had to say:

What's your favourite TO deli?

Do you have a regular order when you're there?
corned beef, fries, cream soda

Describe a formative food experience, one that made you realize that food was something more than just sustenance.
One experience? Hmmm... In her early '70s, my Nana baked and froze a dozen little blueberry pies. She then packed them into her luggage and brought them to me in London, England. She knew how much I loved her blueberry pie and I knew how much she loved me.

Does it bother you when people compare your smoked meat sandwich to Schwartz's?

Is there such a thing as too much smoked meat?
How could there be? Its like saying "too much love". Pish tosh.

Which Iron Chef would you challenge to battle smoked meat and why?
I really think my product is special so it doesn't matter who I'm up against. In a Deli Battle, I'd take Bobby Flay because he's so darned good. I'm sure I'd learn a lot from him.

Why is deli culture important?
That's like asking "why is breathing important". Food is the soul, the mortar of life. Jewish life and and non-Jewish alike. We all have to eat. But Deli is Jewish comfort food. It makes us feel safe and warm and loved.

Who would you like to play you in the film adaptation of your autobiography?
Johnny Depp. LOL.

Who would play your sandwich?
Steve Martin only because I'm mad that he did the Pink Panther and Cheaper by the Dozen Movies.

What would you eat for your last meal on Earth?
I'd start with my mother's chopped liver, followed by my Bubbie's chicken soup with matzoh balls (with sailboats and eggies). my father's Caesar salad, maybe a piece of knish with caraway rye for the gravy (my gravy) and then my own version of the Schwartz's Combo: rib steak char-grilled rare, point cut of my smoked meat, my braised bbq brisket and a few pork ribs. For desert? Nana's blueberry pie and ice cream (vanilla) and some of Catherine's cheesecake. 


Photos courtesy Alex Vickers



Sam / December 3, 2008 at 10:09 pm
Caplansky's is the best smoked meat in the whole city.
Best everything actually, they have a flawless menu, and great service.

P Arrow / December 5, 2008 at 04:08 pm
I have no clue how this was voted the #1 deli. I went there today and was very disappointed. The smoked meat sandwich was average at best. It was small and a bit dry. The service was horrible. Katz's and Corned Beef House blow this place away. By far. I won't be going back anytime soon.
Matt / December 17, 2008 at 03:07 pm
I ate here. It was not good. It wasn't even go-back-and-try-again good, let alone "rivals" "Montreal" good. Silly. The mustard was bad and meat was dry and flavorless.
Jason Raphael / December 26, 2008 at 07:22 pm
I've lived in NY for a long time and the deli's are horrible: fatty, rubbery corned beef at Katz's on Houston St. and rip-off tourist traps like the Carnegie and Stage delis on 7th Avenue. More importantly, the local, neighborhood places have all but vanished - pushed out by unaffordable rents or the bulldozer. The opening scene at a quintessential New York deli (meaning a good one worthy of the assembled comedy talents) in Broadway Danny Rose is a celluloid illusion.

Please tell me, anyone, where to get a good CB on actual rye bread for less than the $20-plus charged by the 2d Avenue Deli at its new spot in the thirties.

BTW, what is the state of Jewish dairy restaurants in Toronto? I had a memorable plate of boiled potato pirogen in a Montreal restaurant when I attended Expo '68, but that has been my only visit to Canada. But I'd go to Caplinsky's or Yitz's in a eye blink.

JC / January 8, 2009 at 12:27 pm
I love that it is set up right in the Monarch, but my smoked meat sandwich was really dry. The poutine was pretty good.

I miss Schwartz's...
whattheheck / January 12, 2009 at 03:14 pm
Don't know what the original reviewer had, but the meat was very dry - "douse in mustard" dry. Poutine was OK if the gravy was not so runny. Not a repeat.
Caplansky's Deli is #1?!? / January 20, 2009 at 05:28 pm
I too had a 'dry' (figuratively and literally) experience at Caplansky's... It was a slow and snowy Wednesday night...Could that have affected the quality of the meat? Did they have some moistureless ends and decided to give them all to me on purpose? Everyone who likes the place espouses on and on about the meat's distinctive flavour, but I've tasted that flavour before, and it's far from distinctive... It completely reminds me of the slices of Schneider's packaged bologna I used to 'Broil/Grille' in the toaster oven when I was a kid...

The best smoked meat/corned beef sandwich I ever had was at Toronto Hadassah-WIZO Bazaar... Moist, generous, and fantastic with the pickles...
soren-k / January 24, 2009 at 04:27 pm
this place is awful. got take out on a weekday. meat was dry and tasteless. no idea what the reviewers were smoking. either that or the quality has gone in the craphole.

even druxy's blows this place out of the water.
SAG / January 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm
Tried it on a busy Saturday afternoon, so there is no excuse for the following problems:

- Dry meat. Smoked meat is steamed to heat it up, so it must have been left under a heat lamp.
- Grey meat. It was probably overheated / cooked by the heat lamp.
- Mediocre fries. They were not salted while still hot with fat. Come on people, this kind of JV mistake shouldn't happen.
- Poutine. Poutine with smoked meat is poutine italienne. This should be identified as such. The gravy-to-smoked meat ratio was also too low, so it lacked the necessary graviness.
- Where was my pickle? I ordered a pickle and got a sliver of pickle. Caplansky's isn't cheap, so they should spend the extra 25 cents and give me the whole damned pickle. Additionally, the pickle lacked crispness. Probably cut and left out too long.

All in all, 1/5 stars. This was a very disappointing experience. They should take a trip out to Montreal, take notes, and fix this operation before they lose all the good press they gained from BlogTO.

Judy / February 5, 2009 at 02:41 pm
I went to Caplansky's last night and it was horrible. The meat was so smokey it tasted like an ashtray, the coleslaw was dry and don't get me started on the gravy. At the end of the meal a lovely sevage smell filled the room and it was over for me.
Do not go here, go to Pancers or even Katz's.
Cynthia / February 11, 2009 at 08:39 pm
We went there this evening and were very, Very, VERY disappointed. After reading wonderful reviews, we were so excited about trying it.

After paying $38 (sandwich, fries, small container of gravy and we bought one jar of mustard for $9) we threw most of it in the garbage. Meat was TERRIBLE, and fries were below average. The container of gravy tasted like the meat so it rendered the fries inedible. The "homemade" mustard was chemical tasting and waxy - it's now in the garbage.

I was so excited to hear that Toronto had a place that had good smoked meat - I was wrong. I will never go back. 1/2 star (if even). Even the pickle was disappointing.
Malford Octrosa / February 16, 2009 at 10:29 am
Just went there last night for the first time, and it was the closest I've ever come to having a religious experience. This is my favourite deli in Toronto, tied with Schwarz's for the whole world.
LM / February 22, 2009 at 10:28 pm
wtf...what's with all the negatives...1. its just a sandwich..2. its delicious...3. combo with a beer for perfect match...don't judge, just enjoy ..
wha / February 23, 2009 at 08:51 am
It's amazing how completly pointless restraunt reviews seem if you ever follow them. It's like they are written by people who still believe in the easter bunny. This place has no significant improvment on other smoked meat sandwhiches. What's worse is the entering the place makes you feel like you've gone back to a high school locker room. I think sports desk was even on the tv. Disgusting.
Biagio / February 23, 2009 at 04:17 pm
overrated. don't waste your time.
roma_fan replying to a comment from Sam / April 1, 2009 at 02:44 pm
After reading all the hype about Caplansky's Deli, here is my review:

Service = awkward and terrible (After finally figuring out who to order from and actually getting their attention, I asked to eat in house and was given my food in a bag to go, with take-out mustard - not impressed).

Smoked Meat = dry and cold (flavor was OK, but not equal to the hype. This I could live with if it was warm and moist, like smoked meat should be served).

Pickle = soggy and flavorless.

Overall experience:

Caplansy's = Overrated and not worth it.

I feel like calling Schwartz's and apologizing for having blasphemed!

the dude / April 8, 2009 at 11:56 am
Amusing to read reviews from people that claim the pre-packaged commercial stuff from Corned Beef House is better then this.

Compare to Schwartz's ? First off, Schwartz's has been in business for what, 80 years or something? Caplansky's started out last summer. Give the guy some time to adjust and tweak.

As a native Montreal who has spend lots of time at Schwartz's and Ben's, Caplansky's flavor far outdoes those bland Montreal sandwiches.

Sure, it's in a tavern for now. Get over it. It means great cheap beer. It's a matter of time before Zane get's his own place. Give him time. It's been hit and miss on a few occasions for me as well. Am I ready to throw the place out? No.

So all you haters can take a 6 hour drive for "real" smoked meat in Montreal, or your clueless ones can go eat Lester's smoked meat at Corned Beef House or Druxy's.

Some of us appreciated craft food.

Thank you Zane
Jordie67 replying to a comment from wha / April 8, 2009 at 05:18 pm
According to my research, the Monarch has been around longer than most of us have been alive. If you want to be snotty and judge the place by something as menial as what's on the TV, you probably can't be pleased, and your review shouldnt be taken seriously.
Peter / April 9, 2009 at 09:32 am
Went there very late on a Friday night, so i hope that had something to do with my very mediocre experience.

service - not good at all, why do they need one server for food and one for beers? weird.

the sandwich - not bad, and i'd be willing to give Caplansky's a try again based on this alone... but absolutely no comparison to Schwartz's!

we got a quarter of a pickle and the coleslaw was absolutely rank!! one mouthful was enough, embarrassing that they would serve something like that. fries weren't anything special either.

Overall experience = C
after hearing so much about this place, I have to say I was a tad disappointed. I'll give it another go on a busy wknd afternoon... hopefully, it'll be a better experience next time!
badbhoy replying to a comment from Peter / April 9, 2009 at 09:53 am
Isn't there a BlogMontreal site that all you haters can go to and share your wet dreams over Shwartz's bland sandwiches and surly service?

Caplansky's is better. Done.
Human Fly / April 9, 2009 at 10:03 am
What a backlash!

To all those who complain of the meat being dry -- did you get the fatty cut? 'Cause it's pretty moist every time I have it.

The service has always been fast and friendly on my visits. As for why they have two servers (one for the bar, one for the food), it's because Caplansky's operates in the Monarch but the Monarch doesn't own Caplansky's. He's just renting space in there. Don't like it? Go to the Pickle Barrel.

Remember, everything is hand-made here and the quality will vary with every batch. If you want the same thing every time, go to delis where the meat is injected with chemicals to give it that smoky taste, then painted black to make it look like it's actually been smoked; where the environment is cold and sterile with nothing offensive on TV. Enjoy!
Human Fly / April 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm
Update: Zane has posted a response to the negative comments here on his blog, where he explains why a recent batch of meat was not up to snuff... http://blog.caplanskys.com/2009/04/08/reality-check/

To quote "If its not hot enough, not fatty enough or too fatty we will replace any sandwich. If you hated it and didn’t say anything so you could go home and write that it sucked and people shouldn’t go, what can I do?"

Well said.
b29 / April 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm
those of you who thought the meat was dry, did you order lean? because yeah, the lean cut is going to be drier than the medium and fatty. some people dig that though. if you want really moist meat get the stuff with more fat in it!
and quit it with the schwartz's comparison! this isn't fucking montreal. yes, schwartz's is fucking awesome. but you can't have it. so cut it out!
jeff / April 9, 2009 at 12:56 pm
Wow. Do people have anything better to do than to attempt to ruin a good man’s honest business? I’ve gotten to know Zane a bit and he’s definitely a stand up guy doing something he loves to do. In my opinion the food was amazing. I’ve had pretty much everything on the menu and loved it. I even took some left overs home to my 2 year old and her innocent tastebuds loved it too. Now, it’s understood that not everyone’s got the same tastes, but if you don’t like it, maybe just try not coming back. Do you really have to go out of your way to trash it? If it’s aggression you got, try sports, where your opponent can actually hit back.
Laura / April 9, 2009 at 01:02 pm
My partner and I go nearly every weekend for lunch and we both love it. We get the medium cut and it's perfect. I've had the lean once and it was too dry, but that's to be expected. The fries are always perfect and the service is also great.

My only complaint is with the coleslaw; hardly any taste and no zip.
Laura / April 9, 2009 at 01:06 pm
PS - the pea soup is to die for!
keven replying to a comment from the dude / April 9, 2009 at 01:12 pm
>pre-packaged commercial stuff from Corned Beef House

what on earth do you mean? AFAIK Corned Beef house uses fresh brisket, I've seen them cut it fresh.
Joe Canada / April 9, 2009 at 02:57 pm
If anyone is willing to make the trip north of Steels Ave, Centre St Deli has a by far better sandwich. Don't believe me? Go on the weekend for lunch and the lineup will be 30 deep to get a table. I've been here and have to agree with most people's comments, dry meat with bad service to boot. Try Centre St and you will be amazed.

PS Centre St Deli was voted no 2 best in T.O. for Smoked Meat Sandwiches, right after Caplansky.
ager. / April 9, 2009 at 07:18 pm
dear reviewer -

i suspect you made yourself known as such and resultantly got extra special treatments and extra special cuts of smoked meat, the way you rave about this spot. since it opened last summer, i've given it THREE (count 'em, THREE) chances to prove itself (i wont say himself, that sounds personal), and each time my sandwich was not good. not sparse in quantity, but FAR from juicy on all occasions, my dining partners and i were unanimous. caplansky's is about 80% hype, and although i wish we had more places downtown that did smoked meat properly, i'll go to zupa's or yitz's all the hell the way uptown before going to the monarch again - for anything but beer and a hot california sandwich.

ALSO - smug mr. caplansky says he's happy to give you another sandwich, but i tried this on my last visit - and he was NOT HAPPY to do so. i consider myself a passionate eater, and a grand lover of sandwiches, but if this were to be put beside a shwartz's pile - there would be a joke. and im also very pro-toronto, so it pains me slightly to say.

and to JEFF: people are entitled to their opinion when they feel ripped off by an establishment; and ten people will read the overly glowing review before one reads what average people thought in the comments. ultimately, good restaurants are good because they're consistent - and this place is definitely not that. so don't shvitz over poor little zaney's feelings. who 2publicly rebuts critics?! no serious cook - that is on some brock sheppard (of the former azul) embarassing type shit.
rek / April 9, 2009 at 09:51 pm
The hype on this place was huge. I went once, and I will not return. The sandwich was sooooooo medicore. Whoever praises this place, is just not educated on what a real Smoked Meat sandwich is supposed to taste like.
abby / April 10, 2009 at 01:43 pm
I've been to this place twice - shortly after it opened and earlier this year. First time enjoyed the unique taste, second time the recipe had been changed and the sandwich was mediocre at best and knish was bland and cold.

There's great hype about this place and it is inconsistent at best - unfortunately those who dare say they didn't enjoy their meal are often shouted down on the boards and told their opinions are uninformed.
kstop / April 10, 2009 at 03:47 pm
I'm no expert but the 3 times I've been I've always ordered the fatty and never been disappointed. And you have to love a place with a pool table with the chalk on a string.
ddt / April 10, 2009 at 08:09 pm
been there 5 times.1 great, 3 ok, and 1 crappy....
Richard replying to a comment from badbhoy / April 22, 2009 at 01:39 pm
I've been to Schwartz's twice...
First time i thought "I don't know what the big deal is..."
It had great mouth feel, but that was about all.
The second time, my fiancee said, "I don't know what the bid deal is..."
When in Montreal, we skip Schwartz's.
When in Toronto, i make a v-line to Caplansky's. My only disappointment was the pea soup. Othewise, everything on the menu was excellent - especially the knish.

The Schwartz lovers are like the emperor sans clothes....
The Caplansky haters (and Monarch haters) just want something to whine about. Perhaps they should wonder why every Toronto publication is tripping over the accolades thrown Zane's way. Tongue, meet tastebuds.
Andrew Helmer / April 27, 2009 at 06:48 pm
I just had my first experience with Caplansky's (I had no idea this treat was just down the street) and I was very very impressed. I went with the $12 combo, which while a bit pricey was worth every penny. I've experienced some good smoked meats in my day, I've visited Schwartz's and several other less publicized Montreal delis and I have to say this ranks right up there with them. There's something to be said about the dank location, the handcut, freshly prepared meals that will always win out over the popular busy delis. With the press Caplansky's is picking up these days (with it's fair share of nonsense haters who just seem to like going against the grade) it won't be long before they're in their own establishment...but I'm definitely going to enjoy it while it's snuggly located in my neighbourhood pub.
Bobbiemac / May 10, 2009 at 09:02 am
Went first time last night and it was awesome. Loved the monarch and the super friendly staff. For a place that looks like such a dive at first glance, it really exudes a welcoming vibe. The smoked meat (got the fatty) was fantastic and so was the poutine. The cheese curds lacked the squeekiness that's really required for great poutine. I'd agree it's a tad pricier than most places, but definitely worth the quality for an occasional lunch.
Pwok / May 22, 2009 at 07:03 pm
I stopped by the first time and ordered their combo.

The smoked meat sandwich was heavenly! Instead of the fries (that come with the combo), I ordered the Borscht soup, which was a big mistake. Too sour and salty for my taste. Added to that, the combo is served with another sour dish: a big plate of slaw. After my meal, my stomach was churning in acid. I could feel it.

Next time, I'll just order the sandwich and fries. Much better mix.
juno / June 6, 2009 at 05:44 pm
After reading the rash of negative comments, I guess I've been remarkably lucky in my half-dozen or so visits to Caplansky's. I ate well each and every time. The medium cut of smoked meat has always been delicious. I try to make it my business to turn up just after 2 p.m., after the rush has subsided - I suspect lunch is best at Caplansky's - when Heshy, an old pro, is usually cutting the meat by hand in the tiny kitchen. The fries, I find, are among the best in Toronto. The cabbage borscht is the tastiest commercial borscht I've had - I like its zingy bitterness, which gives it a distinct character. If it's not to your taste, the pea soup is what you should go for. The vinegary cole slaw is what cole slaw should be. And the pickle is just fine. "Distinct" is the word I'd apply to Caplansky's. It's a joint with a distinct character. Agreed, Centre Street Deli and Pancer's also turn out respectable deli sandwiches - I don't think any other Jewish deli in Toronto is worth considering - but Caplansky's has distinct character in spades, which is pretty good for a place that has only been around for a year or so. If you don't like it, don't go back - that'll just leave more room for those of us who enjoy it.
katerine rollet / July 14, 2009 at 10:11 am
OMG, this is a serious war between Toronto and Montreal! I live in the same city as Schwartz’s, and I just love their smoked meat. Instead of debating the point, why don’t you come and try it in Montreal? You just need to know the rules on how to order it. http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Blogs/Epicurean-Life/Schwartz-s-Restaurant-it-s-all-about-smoked-meat
Kyler / August 8, 2009 at 12:07 am

Caplansky's at Brunswick and Bloor. You heard it here first. Who's excited?
Kyler / August 8, 2009 at 12:07 am
Oooops. Brunswick & College. You heard it here second.
Kyler / August 8, 2009 at 12:08 am
It's opening on Brunswick & College!!!!
Matt / August 11, 2009 at 09:24 pm
So, time to backtrack.

I read Caplansky's explanation of why the meat was bad around the time that I first tried it, which motivated me to give it a second chance. I tried it a couple weeks ago for the second time. Not only was it a completely different experience, it was honestly better than Schwartz's. Seriously: the best smoked meat sandwich I have ever had, period.
tonin / August 27, 2009 at 01:41 pm
I'm a bit of a connoisseur. I like my smoked meat, and I've been to all the institutions, and now I don't bother going to Schwartz's since Main across the street is better, and less insane (and the service is amazing!) in Toronto, for years, I went only to The Center Street Deli, which is way north, but worth the trip. I also went to Moe Panzer's, which is less north but also less spiritual. Since having had Caplansky's, I've put them into a category all of their own... since they make what they described to me as "Toronto Smoked Meat" taking the best of Montreal, and adding the amazing spices that Southern BBQ is famous for... I don't know what all you folks are complaining about. I assume you're merely ignorant, you MUST say you want fatty, hand sliced. Anything else will not do. The friction of the spinning blades of machine slicers change the subtle flavours of the meat, and of course, just as you wouldn't enjoy a hamburger that's got no fat in it, smoked meat is equally best enjoyed fatty. On a downer though, their fries kinda sucked. I highly recommend getting the borscht instead. Happy munching!
Sharon / August 30, 2009 at 11:37 pm
As a former Montrealer living in TO now 33 years, it has been a problem finding deli restaurants to compare to Montreal. Centre Deli, on Centre St. is the only authentic Mtl. deli. It is owned by family of Snowdon Deli(Mtl). Order the old fashioned smoked meat sandwich, medium fat is the best. All the food is wonderful and the fries are crispy and sweet. It may be out of the way for some of you, but it is worth the trip.
Moishe / September 15, 2009 at 01:12 pm
I went to the new Caplansky's this and was horribly disappointed with the quality of food and the service. Over the last couple of months, I had been to Schwartz's in Montreal and Yitz's / Pancer's / New Yorker deli in Toronto, all of which were good.

In fact, I have never waited so long to get a sandwich, as I did at Caplansky's and by the time I got it, the person I was eating with was already finished their meal (brisket). There were hardly any people in the restaurant on top of it all. Just because I'm eating a matzah ball soup doesn't mean my sandwich shouldn't come at the same time or at least shortly after. Even the pickles lacked freshness and sliced thinly like i've never seen at a deli. Finally, it was completely overpriced and felt ripped off. Do yourself a favour and stick with Yitz's, Pancer's, Centre Street and the New Yorker. There is no deli feel to Caplansky's --- not sure where the flawed reviews came from. I really hope Caplansky's could improve, as Downtown needs the deli revived!
MH / October 26, 2009 at 03:44 pm
smoked meat was dry and had a really over the top smokey flavour. fries were spectacular. cole slaw was pretty weak, no flavour, just malt vinegar. highly overrated.
Rory Blion / October 27, 2009 at 09:32 pm
I am a big fan of smoked meat and was very excited when I heard about Caplansky's. I finally made it there over the weekend. There was a very long line up that was definitely NOT worth the wait. Our fries came out first (they were really good!) but our sandwiches took another 20 minutes. When it finally came, the meat had no flavour except for SALT and a lot of it. I love my fair share of salt, but they really overdid it to the point that my sandwich was disgusting. I couldn't even finish my sandwich. Seriously disappointing. I will probably not go back. It was overpriced and service was mediocore. It really was the worst smoked meat sandwich I've ever had - too dry and way too salty.
Brad / November 9, 2009 at 03:33 pm
The following pertains to the newer College Street location.

I went there with some friends for lunch today. I got the chopped liver sandwich on challah with a side order of latkes. For seven dollars, the sandwich was rather small and plain, and four tiny latkes for four dollars is kind of ridiculous. (My friend got fries with his sandwich, and I'd say they were worth their price.) The latkes themselves were all right, and the apple sauce they came with was pretty good -- there just wasn't enough latke to go with it. I was disappointed with the sandwich. The liver was okay, but the bread was very dry -- almost stale. My friends were reasonably satisfied with their orders, but all agreed that it wasn't worth the price (especially given the other places in the area). The service was okay, though they forgot our side orders at first. I kind of understand that, it was very busy.

I don't see myself going back.
MR. PIPIK / November 13, 2009 at 09:25 pm
Smokie / November 24, 2009 at 10:14 am
I gave in to the hype only to be disappointed. Smoked meat sammie was flavourless, portions small and pricey. Wolfie's Deli at Bathurst and Sheppard is tops in T.O.
Marc Bernstein replying to a comment from P Arrow / November 29, 2009 at 05:58 pm
Pretencious Chowhound snob! Kaplanskys is superb. Typical Chowhound Snob: Have a Lion and Bengal Tiger Steak,with chopped liver from a Kosher Coyote!!!
Marc Bernstein replying to a comment from MR. PIPIK / November 29, 2009 at 05:59 pm
Schmuck! Chowhound Pretencious Snob! Eat Kosher Rhino Steak in Eagle and Owl Sauce!!
Roy / December 9, 2009 at 11:06 am
The driest smoked meat sandwich I have ever had. The server lost our order. And my fries were served at least 15 minutes before the server realized that our sanwiches were missing. How did this place get any good reviews?
Leslie / December 12, 2009 at 09:44 pm
This was the worst food experience I have ever had. My husband went to get a deli sandwich. He was told he could only have brisket, which turned out to be some sort of shredded beef dish with some sickly sweet barbeque sauce. There was no rye bread, instead just a terrible grocery store onion bun. The french fries were cold and soggy. Finally he asked for a pickle and was told he could not have one. Needless to say the entire dinner went into the garbage. I've been to many delis in New York and in Toronto and this was by far the worst excuse for food I have ever experienced.
Caplansky's Deli is #1?!? / December 17, 2009 at 04:18 pm
I decided to give Caplansky's another try at the new location on College, about a month after it opened. This time I sat in, thinking it would better my experience... Here are the lowlights of my visit:

1) Sandwich came out looking meagre at best... I counted 6 (yes, SIX) tiny slices of 'Smoked Meat', mixed in with some shreaded bits probably scrapped off the cutting board (why am I always being given the bits?)... Sad...

2) This WAS the SALTEST (and chewiest) sandwich of ANY kind I have ever eaten in my life, no exception... When the waiter came back and asked me how I liked my sandwich, and I told him I didn't, he retorted, "Hmmm, I'm surprised cuz everyone who tries it likes it!' (Guess he hasn't seen this comment section!)... I then informed him of the meat's saltness, and he suggested I cut the salt down with mustard... Sorry, but if the sandwich was any good, then you wouldn't have to cut it with anything (except with a knife to share the goodness with a friend)...

3) Coleslaw was a soggy and stale mess served in undersized custard bowl...

I think Zane should really look into the consistency of his restaurants before he decides to open a new one (or decides to deride anymore of his unsatisfied patrons)... As for the remainder of my sandwich (what, you thought I finished it?), I took it over to my parent's place for my Pop to try (he's a man who KNOWS his deli) and he refused to eat anymore after the first bite... It was then taken directly to the trash... Sandwich, met garbage...
Jon / February 11, 2010 at 08:41 pm
This place is horrendous, I have been twice,( only to give the kitchen a chance to redeem itself) on both occasions the meat was overly salty, cut horribly some pieces were as thick as half an inch. People who rave about this place are yet another example of uninformed sheep following the herd. "the meat is more like what you would find at phils BBQ" WTF??!!! Let's compare this deli brisket to the horrible American style BBQ served at another mediocre Toronto restaurant. High praise. That's like saying the hamburger I ordered at McDonalds was more like the pizza sub from 7-11. Mmmmm, order extra for me. Bottom line, the brisket sucks. I don't know or care what the "seasoning" is that they rub into it, and nor do I care. Throw it out, Learn how to smoke meat properly and consistently and hire somebody who knows how to wield a knife properly. Or buy a meat slicer. Who cares if the meat is hand cut, if it's not cut well. I'll take Katz's or Moe Pancers before this place anyday. Get a grip Toronto. And some tastebuds.
nomnomnom / February 16, 2010 at 07:10 pm
Well, whole lot of people here who didn't like it. Good. Stay away. I'd hate to have to sit next to you and have to hear your endless pissing and moaning. The food is just fine. If you've a problem with something served to you, speak up then and there instead of rushing home to shit all over the internet with your whingeing. The kitchen is turning out some damn good product, and while there might be service hiccups, that happens everywhere. It ain't Montreal smoked meat, it ain't fine dining. It's good, honest and tasty food.
Jeryy Steinberg / February 17, 2010 at 02:02 am
I agree with the majority of people on this board. The food here is horrible, the sandwich is dry, accompanied by an even drier sliver of a pickle all for 8f&*^%&%* bucks, are you kidding me. The poutine is downright disgusting, it taste like a tomato meat sauce, what a rip off.

I will NEVER go back to this place it should be known as Toronto's WORST SMOKED MEAT SANDWICH. I feel violated and the service was a JOKE. If this place is around in a year I will be very surprised.
Marc Bernstein / March 4, 2010 at 04:06 am
I can't believe all the super nasty and negative comments on here. Holy Roasted Marmot Sandwich Batman!! What a phony bunch of Chowhound Snobs!!! I have been to Caplanskys twice: The smoked meat sandwiches are so good,and better than even Schwartzes. The staff,waitresses are wonderful,really caring and make you feel at home. Zane's desserts are the best I have ever had. I have had smoked meat (fatty) with the most fantastic fries,both were perfect. I enjoyed every bite. I have had the lox and cream cheese platter,also wonderful. Coffee is a great blend. Zane is a real mench. Don't compare New Yorker deli to Zane's! Here's my suggestions for Chowhound snobs: Soup: Cream of Penguin with moldy onions and Ant-Lion Kishka,+ baneberry noodles in sour cream. Salad: Monkshod,ragweed and pokeweed in a roasted succatosh and tweety bird base,with fresh + poisonous wild hellebore flowers in Scotch Broom!!! Sorbet: Lily Of The Valley flowers with Kommodo Dragon Bits!!!! With Count Chocola cereal + Ajax!!!! Din Din: Roasted,Kingstonian or Londonian Ontario Wild and deadly poisonous cow parsnip,with Woody Woodpecker and Tasmanian Devils in Southern Fried Exlax +Marmot+Pirana with Kosher Lion,Rhino,Bengal Tiger,Coyote and Jimsonweed in rancid butterscotch + tender Dolphin + Killer Whale Ice Cream!! Dessert: 1000 owl Pie,with Pepe Le Pew and Kibbles + BITS.
eyeontoronto / March 14, 2010 at 12:49 am
Definitely over hyped. Service was decent but the meat was dry and the poutine was also very dry and quite frankly disgusting. In other words, don't go out of your way because you won't find anything special or better than what can be had in the other numerous Jewish deli places around the city.

ivan / March 15, 2010 at 02:22 am
If i did'nt know any better, I think Mr. Bernstein has a man crush on Zane, he raves about this place like its the best ever. This place is terrible, i went on Friday and the place as you enter smells like bacon, service is bad food is horrible, desserts are nasty.

Maybe Mr. Bernstien needs top spend some more time visiting some other top notch delis in Toronto as Caplanskys is probably the wosrt, and it looks like alot of people would agree
moishe / April 3, 2010 at 02:10 am
This has got to be the worst food ever served in Toronto. What a ripoff, The smoked meat sandwich is so dry I almost choked on it. Who the hell is reviewing this place as I can not understand all the hype. Save your money and do not go. The owner is always freaking out on his staff.
goldberg / April 15, 2010 at 05:29 pm
the owner is a snobby psycho and his food refects it. the smoked meat sucks and it gives you the shits and its full of chemicals! down with caplanskys!
TJ / April 19, 2010 at 03:01 am
salty as all hell

i heard the monarch tavern location was better but too bad for the college spot
Denise / May 4, 2010 at 04:04 pm
I was very disappointed with the service. I was getting takeout and waited by the sign, I'm pretty sure it was the owner who looked at me, went behind the counter and then turned his back to me. Twice! I don't like bad service. When people are willing to pay exorbitant prices for food, the service should always be stellar. Needless to say, I won't be back.
Stan / May 7, 2010 at 11:00 am
Mr>Bernstein... you lose all credibility when you start to criticize other posters for their opinions. It seems there is an overwhelming agreement on the quality of this place. I have to side with the majority... not only is the food terribly inconsistent, but Zane himself is not the nicest character. I was trying to choke back a tough sandwich while Zane was berating his staff in the dining room. Yelling at staff and having a a hissyfit in public is no way to run a business. The guy's ego has definately gotten the better of him. I live up the street, thus walking by almost every day, and have noticed the crowds have definatley dwindled. the patio may bring back the crowds, but I guess not "chowhound snobs". I Won't be back, not after the way he yelled at his employees.
Denise / May 8, 2010 at 01:28 pm
I agree with you Stan. Went for dinner last week with my husband and I believe the person yelling at the staff was the owner I could'nt believe it. The smoked meat sandwich was not very good, I could'nt finish half and the potato latkes were the size of a quarter. Maybe the owner should concentrate on the menu then freaking out on his staff.

I will never come back to this place
Frank / May 27, 2010 at 06:13 am
I dropped in last night at 9pm. on a hot Spring Wed. night and the place was empty inside with the outdoor patio 25% full. The word is out I guess. The meat was smokey which I thought was great but it was DRIED OUT and the fries were truly awful; dark dark brown, greasy and way too salty. I tried the place - won't be back. Centre St. is consistent and much better. When food like that gets served it means everyone has not been trained properly to turn around and get it right BEFORE serving.
StuArt / July 23, 2010 at 08:14 pm
I have no Idea where the other posters have been eating...but it doesnt sound like the Caplansky's I went to. I have had lunch a few times at this place and it was just fine- not dry, not too smoky, and the fries were good too- the brisket was AMAIZING. You want a complaint? I didn't like the slaw, and there wasn't enough of it ether.
Aside from that I always left content.
Where do Trolls on this site eat?
StuArt / July 29, 2010 at 09:36 pm
Went back just to check it out on saturday last - A great meal was had by all- 4 people 4 different dishes and 2 appitizers - all great.
ALL READERS should know that most of the posts above are Compeditors or TROLLS just trying to have some effect in the world, they cant get a job, or make friends so they write nasty things in the web.
It is a good place to eat. Not GREAT but just fine.
Suck on that Trolls

Tom Mama / September 15, 2010 at 07:31 pm
Had lunch yesterday at Caplanskys. Service was great, but the food was of poor guality. I thought I was at Subway. Who is the fat cook that yells at the staff. I plan to tell other students not to eat there.

Marc Bernstein / October 7, 2010 at 05:09 am
I stand by my earlier comments about Caplansky's Deli:
I have been there about 4-5 times: each time it is great. I know and love,respect great deli: because of my background in the projection motion picture industry,through my late father,Jack Bernstein,President of Famous Players Theatres, I grew up with wonderful,long gone great delis in this city: the original Switzers, (on Spadina) Yitzes,Shopsys 3
(when Sam Shopsowitz owned+ran it) I do wish to correct my post regarding Gina Mallet however-I think there is alot of pure snobbish hate,or put downs towards Zane Caplansky and his deli. He is as good if not better than Schwartzes in Montreal-give him 5 years,he'll grow and get even better. There are delis in Toronto which to me are a disgrace: Marky's Kosher Deli: it is dirty,everything was overcooked and tough,Katzes Deli (Yorkdale) is quite poor-I found the meat and sandwiches nothing special.
Dun's is a chain-it is ok. New Yorker Deli is pretty good,but in no way can it compare with Caplanskys or Yitzes or Schwartzes. I've also read put downs of United Bakers too. Whenever I or my family have had out of town visitors or friends/relatives we always take them to #1=Caplansky's, #2=United Bakers, #3=Yitzes. A good Kosher (gourmet) restaurant with fine dining in Toronto is a rare thing to find. Also Zane should be encouraged and supported for bringing back to the heart of old Jewish Toronto a deli that people like myself,who love a great deli,or a place they can point with pride to visitors from outside Toronto: United Bakers, Yitzes,Caplanskys Deli are my choices.
karine / November 25, 2010 at 11:07 am
wow,what a disapointement that caplansky...
comparing himself to montreal smoke meat,
I wonder if he is even been to montreal...
It's where i'm from and can tell you,
it's a shame to have a restaurant comparing itself to
la belle province,his food is as bad as my english...
jeff / December 29, 2010 at 07:22 pm
Too bad he ever moved... the food, atmosphere and THE FOOD have never been the same.

Inconsistent on every level be it food, quality, service.
mike starkman / April 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm
Today I tried Caplanski's for the first time having been put off by what seemed to be negative comments.

I have to say the service was not great but the smoked meat was great (ordered medium fatty). The meat had a definite smoked flavor that Schwartz's does not (kept thinking of BusterRhino's smoked bbq in Oshawa . As for size it was not big, I did not see a larger (fresser) choice on the table top menu but that may have been my oversight. For size I still love Wolfies at Bathurst and Sheppard but for the Montreal fans I do like Shwartz's but I like Main deli's more peppery taste better however Zanes smoked flavor is now my number 1 choice corned beef choice.
moe@knac.com / July 18, 2011 at 10:27 am
Very good service. smoke meat + fires + Dunkel, nothing better you could ask for. I went there Sunday night after being rejected @ Stockyard's (They close @ 20:00) and I am glad that happened.
mrTEH / July 25, 2011 at 04:10 pm
typical blogto food review, they claim its amamzing, every commenter disagrees..

Laura / August 5, 2011 at 09:30 am
I finally had Caplansky's fried chicken last week, after many months of anticipation.
I can say, without hesitation: I will NEVER purchase their food again.
I ordered the 4 piece take out special of the maple fried chicken and it was absolutely terrible.
First off, there were only three pieces and they were all dark meat. It came with a side of the WORST fries I have ever tasted (they seriously looked at least four hours old and were stiff as a board and incredibly dark brown and bland) and some type of steamed (eggplant and green beans, I think? I can't remember now..) veggies that were super soggy and also tasteless. The maple syrup dip concoction thingy was also awful and tasteless. It had the consistency of water, ugh.
At $15, it was definitely a complete robbery and just really, really bad.
I had heard only good things about this place and I am super disappointed as I was looking so forward to some delicious fried chicken that evening... sigh.
On to the next one.
Maureen replying to a comment from Laura / August 10, 2011 at 11:19 am
After reading all these comments, my friends and I are TOO SCARED to go there. That "poutine" looks like something left out in the rain for a week. EEEEEWW!
Marc Bernstein / September 2, 2011 at 02:37 am
What a lousy,super-despicable bunch of crummy trolls & stiffs!
Miserable toads!
Eat roasted owls in pokeweed sauce with bosco-flavored milk of magnesia and porcupine legs pan fried in arsenic and French Fried bastard toadflax!!!
I was last at Caplanskys for my birthday,Zane personally looked after me-the smoked fatty meat sandwich was great as usual, coffee was superb, French fries were the best I've had anywhere, knish was a fantastic,joyous,filling,super tasty meaty treat, and the dessert-blueberry pie: was absolutely the best I've ever had anywhere-total perfection.
I think all of the negative and hostile comments are from snobs, Chowhound foodie phonies,pretencious chowhound or yelper schmucks and a horde of frigging anti-semitic Toronto farts! To all the haters of Caplanskys deli: BUGGER OFF YOU bashi-bazouks!! Eat this meal: Soup of the day: Cream of wasp with rattle snake venom and rancid milk of magnesia!!
Sorbet: Monkshood and White Hellebore with bittersweet chocolate-flavored praying mantis soaked in captain crunch cereal-with peach scented Black Flag!!!!
Salad: Lily of the valley flowers,mandrake roots, wolverine feet in sour cream and fly mushrooms with Marc Bernstein's Splendidly horrible fatal dressing of buttercups,liquid plumber,drano & wolf piss!!!!!
Din din: Panda and wombat stew,with real polar bear crap!!
Dessert: 100 tasmanian devil pie with castor oil ice cream! Hasta La Fucki Assholes!!
Justme replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / September 3, 2011 at 07:05 pm
Finally, there is proof (undeniable) of someone out of his tiny mind with bullshit. Mark, get a grip.

This deli, I am sure, is a good place for a sandwich, I have been told by those who have tried it. SO, try it before you utter foulness, toadies.
Marc Bernstein / September 4, 2011 at 12:57 am
All of the haters of Caplanskys are trolls, snobs,hostile anti-semites,wasps.
I find all of you Chowhound, Yelper snobs to be total schmucks-and bloody despicable toads!
lindasinger / September 4, 2011 at 10:40 am
I am from Montreal, and I grew up on great smokemeat. We used to go to Be's, The Brown Derby, an of course Schwartz's. But the best fat, double mustard,old fashion smoked meat is Snowdon Deli, on Decarie in Montreal.
They know how to cut the meat, they balance fat spice and meat just right and juicy.
Now i say all this in advance of my first visit next week to Caplansky. I am worried about all the reviews, so I'll view before i eat. I know right away what ral somked meat looks like. I am forever hopeful.
Just Me replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / September 6, 2011 at 01:16 pm
Look, some people do want to give the place a try, so why don't you go and hunt for toads somewhere else? Maybe you are a frogleg addict.
Marc Bernstein replying to a comment from Just Me / September 8, 2011 at 08:12 pm
Troll!! You are in the same league as these two other God Damned internet worthless trolls: "Weev" and "Jason Fortuny"
both of whom are now under investigation by FBI.
Marc Bernstein / September 9, 2011 at 10:41 am
I stand by and repeat my supportive comments about Caplanskys deli: My recent dinner there was perfect: the soup,a wonderful Matzo ball soup had a hearty,full flavor,
my smoked fatty meat sandwich on rye was better than ever.
The fries were outstanding.
Dessert: apple crumble pie was superb.
Cotts black cherry soda,excellent coffee,joyous,warm-hearted service,Zane is a real mench in my opinion.
To the internet troll named "Justme"-you don't belong on this forum. Your comments : Re Toads "froglegs" are insulting and worthless,just like yourself,troll.
I ask that Zane Caplansky ban you from this forum now.
Just Me replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / September 9, 2011 at 01:05 pm
Just way too much time on your hands, master troll.
Marvin replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / September 13, 2011 at 10:54 am
Is this what happens when YOU eat there? Spouting all kind of weirdness and drivel? You sure are doing this fine establishment a BIG DISS-service, Marky-boy. Get a grip, man!
Marc Bernstein / September 16, 2011 at 10:27 am
It is clear to this loyal supporter of Zane Caplansky's deli that there are alot of internet trolls,haters,anti-semites and snobs on here.
There is a line being crossed here it seems-
trolls,haters,anti-semites,food snobs and Chowhound assholes out to ruin this man and the hard work he's doing.
Bunch of bullies as far as I'm concerned.
Marc Bernstein / September 16, 2011 at 10:34 am
To Zane Caplansky: I support what you are doing and think your deli is wonderful.
I'm sorry that you have to put up with so many nasty remarks by trolls and phony Chowhounds,Yelpers,etc.
You are a mench and a pioneer,have courage.
Marc Bernstein.
The last time I was at your deli,everything was great.
Smoked meat was fatty,rich on excellent rye,
fries were crisp and superb,service was full of joy.
Soup-Matzo ball was really good-very full bodied broth.
Dessert: apple crumble pie was very special.
Marvin replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / September 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm
Well said, Marc. Time now for now of those wonderful sandwiches...
Marvin replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / September 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm
Well said, Marc. Time now for a few of those wonderful sandwiches...
Marc Bernstein / September 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Thank you!
Because of my family background in Toronto's motion picture industry,I have always valued and loved great deli places anywhere,esp in Toronto.
I think that most of the Chowhound posters are snobs,hostile and anti-semites,esp Duckdown from Brampton,who is a schmuck. Ditto about the twirp from Chowhound Toronto board: Vinnie Vindamangi,or whatever the schmuck calls himself.
jeff replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / October 1, 2011 at 06:44 pm
For all your noise and supposed background it's a shame you demonstrate you neither have manners nor good taste in deli.
Bellagia / November 9, 2011 at 08:14 pm
Haven't been, but saw it on Dragon's Den.
Hmm.. sounds like it's worth trying. I also enjoy reading everyone's positive and negative experiences. People's comments are important to restaurant owners to learn from and stay in business.
personal loans with bad credit history / December 2, 2011 at 02:46 pm
if you want, I'll write you articles. Copywriter looking for work
Yuk / January 31, 2012 at 10:27 am
Caplansky's gets nailed on Dinesafe infractions more often than a three week-old sushi buffet.
landsman / January 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm
there you go M. Bernstein..... you like it dirty?

Caplansky's Delicatessen
Inspected on: January 26
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional Pass)
Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 0, Significant: 2, Crucial: 2)
Crucial infractions include: Inadequate food temperature control, operator fail to ensure premises cleaned to prevent food contamination
January 2012
Rahdoo replying to a comment from landsman / January 31, 2012 at 01:06 pm
What is the matter, Landsman? Zane not yelling loud enough to the kitchen boys? Maybe the meat is dry because it's left out dripping too long, you think? Wipe it up, boys - they're watching you. LOL
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I’m a long time watcher and I just believed I’d drop by and say hello there for your very first time.
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Ava / May 11, 2012 at 09:39 pm
Whats rough now is how the systematic approach to life is not fixed. You know what I mean? It is nearly as if we crawl through the life experience with blinders on, not appreciating the true meaning of our own lives.
Brandon / November 9, 2012 at 10:53 am
Very overrated! The Corned Beef House at John/Adelaide is FAR superior in every aspect (price, quality, flavour, etc). Sure, they don't serve all the other Jewish/deli offerings, but their sandwiches are waaaay better.
Justin / January 7, 2013 at 02:19 am
Caplansky's is the worst deli. I am always shocked to hear someone say something good about it. Makes me question their standards.
JonasOfToronto / March 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm
I have experienced Caplansky's in both incarnations - a few times at the Monarch Tavern, and numerous times at the College location. Monarch Tavern's 'crumbly drier' version of the meat could be very uneven, and I thought some of the sides were questionable.
At College St. I stick mostly to smoked meat and these days 80% of the time I think the sandwich is pretty respectable. Repeatable for a good meat fix, ie. not to gorge on high carbs, fats and sugar (well not every time). It's a reasonably healthy nosh. Sometimes I think the staff let this place down and the food presentation slips but overall quality appears much better than it use to be. I'm not blaming them either - as I understand everything from proper service to consistent food requires thorough systems in place & good training, all responsibilities of the owner and manager. The service is sometimes random and careless, and yes, I don't like to wait for unaccountably long periods of time.
I get the impression this is just one chef trying to run a place, with all the quirks it entails to do so and yet it still kind of works. That's something at least.
Oh, and going to Moe Pancers inspired me to read about all good Toronto delis this week.
jei / March 15, 2013 at 03:01 pm
Weird -- usually when you don't try out a restaurant because of reviews, it's because the reviews were bad. But the guy who's scaring me away from trying this is the *supporter* with the paranoic, mean-spirited spew. Why should I try out a new restaurant if I'm likely to get pilloried in case I don't like it?
I'm going to drive a bit farther, if I need a deli fix, and head up to Pancer's. I've been quite happy with their food and service for over 50 years.
Alfred Ayache / May 8, 2013 at 09:56 am
Wow. Old article. I've visited both the Monarch and College locations of Caplansky's. I have to agree, he is a mensch and a half. But he slices his meat thick. This reduces the surface area, and reduces the flavour. (IMO)

I also had the pleasure of being in line at the College street location when I saw Geddy Lee exiting the restaurant. Minor thrill. I was, at the time, with a friend who had gone to high school with Geddy. Apparently, Geddy didn't much care for my friend, back in the day. Friend also had a problem with Gian Ghomeshi, having been in uni with him. And now he has a problem with me. Hmmm.

Getting back to Zane and his sandwich: it's still a very good sandwich, and a definite stop on any tour of the city's notable delis. I just prefer Wolfy's which, happily, is within walking distance of my front door. Also, Wolfy's slices their meat the One True Way, which is thin, and flavourful.
Howard bagelman replying to a comment from Jason Raphael / June 28, 2013 at 07:16 am
I was in New York in decembrrrr I was very disapointed in katzs deli I thought they had an off night but I hear the corned beef is always dry like that wouldn't go back I never tried carnage or 2nd ave but maybe next time .
madadada / July 15, 2013 at 06:46 pm
#1!!!! is this a joke....one of the worst restaurants in Toronto. dont understand the hype.
mm / August 5, 2013 at 03:30 pm
I don't get all the negative comments about caplanskys. It smells very fishy to me.

Every experience I've had there has been fantastic. The food is classic and excellent.
madam replying to a comment from mm / September 7, 2013 at 01:45 pm
you are....an idiot
PL / September 30, 2013 at 02:29 pm
Meh... used to go alot.. food is VERY inconsistent.. service is the same.. don't really get all the hype..
Doodle / February 9, 2014 at 10:52 pm
First off I was there last week with my GF and after we were attacked by a dirty door curtain we sheepishly Paid a little over $20 for 2 smoked meat sandwiches on rye, totally over priced for the size, there was hardly any meat and the meat was chunked in not sliced nicely like true Montreal smoked meat, which by the way they no longer serve, just some mediocre second rate house smoke meat they say is equivalent, HA! they slopped the mustard on and when I asked for a pickle they gave me a sliver of something that resembled a blade of grass. My gf asked for her rye toasted and that didnt happen either. we waited more than 20 min and the place was empty. In my opinion this place is GARBAGE. not worth the money.
Barry / February 16, 2014 at 08:01 pm
What a joke !!! Being from Montreal and longing for a taste of home.... I was told to visit this so called "best in town" for smoke meat... Toronto I have no idea what u are using as a comparison but this shack is far from it... Street vendors in Montreal have a better product and are certainly a lot more friendlier ... Note for the Joint, don't let fame go to your head, I'm sure a couple of ex pats ex pats will start their one joint here and your generations of lies will be forgotten memory .
Barry / February 16, 2014 at 08:03 pm
Oh ya .. U may want to dig up a equal Mazda ball
Barry / February 16, 2014 at 08:05 pm
Oh you may want to dig up a real Mazta ball soup recipe... Man somebody's grand am is spinning in her grave with cold bowl of slop
Vince / February 19, 2014 at 09:00 am
best deli in toronto is unfortunate not exactly in toronto! the trip to vaughan is worth it. I go hear for when i crave schwartz, its not as good, but who is? it holds up: http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/centrestreetdeli
laura replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / February 28, 2014 at 09:25 pm
hey Mark...I think you are probably bi-polar, and I think you're full of shit when you say your family is ultra famous yadda yadda yadda...repeat it a few more times for us please..also, we GET that you think Zane is a mensch...get over it. Or ask him on a date already, you have the biggest hard on over a fucking sandwich that I've ever seen in my life. Chill the fuck out psycho.
ps- I like this place, decent sandwich. I've always gotten the best food, and I keep hearing people go on and on about the pickle. It's delicious and I got like 6 huge fucking slices, maybe you're all a bunch of rude assholes getting shortchanged for being....rude assholes.
Peewee Herman / June 9, 2014 at 01:27 pm
This place is highly overrated!.. inconsistent, expensive and dirty! i don't have any idea what all the hype is about!.. my .2 your money is better off spent elsewhere!
Shawn Fitzpatrick / August 26, 2014 at 10:33 am
My GF and I ate at the Terminal 3, Kaplanskys when awaiting a flight last week. Specifically August 18,2014. Although the cost was a bit on the expensive side if you are being unrealistic, the entire dining experience was WONDERFUL!! The ONLY EXCEPTION, was the tiny piece of pickle served with the sandwiches. When I pointed that annoyance out to the server, he suggested I could buy another pickle order for an extra dollar I was a bit disappointed and declined. However, I think he realized that and soon returned to our table with a couple of a better proportioned size for nibbling on with each delicious bite of two of the best sandwiches that I have eaten. Be realistic though and understand that we are talking only of a sandwich meal. With that said though, my mouth is literally watering as I type thinking about just how damn good that lunch was. I had the Corned Beef on Rye, and my GF had the Smoked Meat on Rye. Hers was definitely the better of the two, (we exchanged half of our sandwiches, in order to know how we felt about each). Yes, only a sandwich, but what a sandwich! Mmmmmm. Now, I said in the beginning, "Experience" because it was. And the experience consisted of the aforementioned sandwiches, but they were accompanied by the said disappointing pickle offering, and two Heineken draught beers, and a shared order of the BEST french fries I've EVER eaten! Damn, but they were good. Are they deep fried? Anyone? Soaked in a brine first and then oven-baked? I mean seriously, my GF knows I am not a person that orders french fries as a side usually. But, these were something that keeps popping into my mind as the best!! For those of you that think a sandwich or dining experience that is of any fare is ONLY a sandwich or ONLY a steak or ONLY a whatever,....I humble state a difference of opinion. When one has the opportunity to indulge in a fine dining experience it can come surprisingly out of the blue from anywhere. Most places likely have good and bad days, sadly due to too many reasons to cite here in this extended blurb of mine, but substantial to say that nothing in our world is a perfect as we'd all like it to be. However, in keeping it with the food. I'd eat at Kaplanskys again, in heartbeat, and moreover, and looking forward to the next time I'm back in T.O. to do just that. Fix the pickle problem though, nobody should be allowed to leave you wonderful establishment with such a trivial memory of such a little thing sticking out in their grumbling abilities. Oh, and do not mess with those fries, I'd hate to have them cold, it would have totally detracted from my meal, as it has from another post that I read from. Thank you, for the great experience and I truly look forward to a return experience. Cheers

Shawn Fitzpatrick, whom was awaiting a flight to Newfoundland!
tony / September 4, 2014 at 09:25 pm
The smoke meat was extremely dry. Terrible. No mustard on the bread. Smoke meat to thick. I worked half my teenage years at Bens. Don't compare this to Montreal. Its an insult. The brisket they use is not even steamy. Awful.
Foodiegirl replying to a comment from Marc Bernstein / December 18, 2014 at 03:40 pm
Zane, is that you?
Zane / January 7, 2015 at 09:25 pm
I'm too cheap to pay for advertising so I go on dragons den for the 3rd time with a fake deal with no intentions of an agreement.
Marc Bernstein / January 30, 2015 at 01:17 pm
I am repeating my earlier comments today about Caplansky's deli.
Have been a loyal customer since 2009. His version of smoked meat sandwiches are not Schwartz of Montreal,but they are very good. The fries are excellent,as are the desserts. I also love Yitz,and United Bakers Dairy-have gone to both with my family & friends for many years. Increasingly,blogto has become a forum for a bunch of rather miserable people,or trolls,with nothing good to say about Caplansky's or other delis in Toronto. Aside from attacking Zane Caplansky personally,I have also received personal attacks by mean spirited hateful bullies on here. I am NOT Bi-Polar! Bunch of insulting hostile miserable posters on blogto-uncivilized cyber-bullies! I guess constructive critiques are dead,as this forum proves to me. Owning a business takes hard work. Years of building it up,trial & error. I know-as I own a small,independent business myself. Investing in time and money. Tearing down anyone just because one is a miserable unfriendly troll!

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