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Lovin' Latkes at Free Times Cafe

Posted by Tanja / Listed on December 10, 2007 / review policy

Latkes at Free Times Cafe
After turning down a string of Hanukkah "Latke Party" invites last past week due to work committments, I was craving those greasy taters so badly come Sunday night.

Walking along College Street at this point, a couple emerges from the Free Times Cafe and I can smell the latke take-out order in their hands from half a block away. Considering it a personal calling, I ring up a friend to join me and settle in to a booth at Free Times to satiate this craving once and for all (well, for the season at least).

Along with an order of potato latkes, we order the sweet potato, ginger and carrot soup and a falafel snack plate to share.

Ginger, carrot & sweet potato soup!
The soup ($3.25) is an absolute marvel to me. Light and intensely flavourful (thanks to the ginger), it comes with a couple slices of Rye and starts this meal off right. I've tried making similar soups at home, but achieving a consistency that isn't too thick nor too watery has always eluded me. Here, it seems just unreally perfect. They serve it up without any fanfare... but I've got to offer kudos to whoever masterminded this blend. Mmm.

Pictured at the top, my longed-for latkes ($5.50 for a dish of 5) are served with sour cream and applesauce. Don't let the photo fool you as the oversized plate makes them appear bite-sized. These were a little larger than my palm, distinctly dark and crisp on the outside yet oh-so-soft and supple within.

Greasy? Definitely, but nothing unreasonable for this kind of indulgence. I figure you either embrace the oils or go home and bake some homefries in the toaster oven.

On a related note: Free Times offers take-out latkes for $9.95 a sizzling dozen.

Falafel combo snack plate at Free Times Cafe in Toronto
The falafel plate arrives shortly after, featuring six falafel balls, hummus, pita, salsa, grilled veggies, eggplant and couscous salads ($11.50). There wasn't one item on this plate we didn't love.

The falafel balls were, much like the latkes, really dark and crispy on the outside yet with a really soft (almost buttery) centre. Each dip and salad had it's own very distinct flavour (spicy salsa, parsley-infused eggplant, couscous with plump sweet raisins, etc.) making the plate a terrific pick for the indecisive diner.

The drink special on Sunday nights is a spiked apple cider ($5) but having to head to another meeting, I opted to wash the din down with a fair trade organic coffee ($2.10) instead. Nice, but I might just have to return next weekend for that cider.

Free Times Cafe on College St in Toronto



Maria / December 10, 2007 at 03:55 pm
Thanks Tanja, it looks delicious and I walk by there quite often when I'm going to Stitch and Bitch in Kensington. I'll stop by next time.
Also, the soup looks like it may have no dairy and so does the falafel platter, great!
Chris / December 11, 2007 at 05:39 pm
The food was great but I fished a bug out of my coffee.
I still drank it, though.
B / January 7, 2008 at 09:10 pm
I hope the food tastes better than the author's style of writing... Do editors actually read articles these days?
Anon / December 16, 2009 at 03:55 pm
Went there. Was NOT impressed. Floor was covered in cheese from someone's brunch. My veggie burger was cooked on the same grill as the beef burgers. Worst of all I saw the owner go in the kitchen and water down my friend's soup!!!!!!!!!!
Anon / July 12, 2010 at 09:39 pm
Fished a cockroach out of my salad and walked out.
Anon / July 22, 2010 at 04:39 pm
EEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW hate roaches. one ran across the table during a first date i had there. she never went out with me again. ARRRRRRRRR
Myke / July 24, 2010 at 11:40 am
To "B", I actually enjoyed the light and non-snobbish tone that "the author" (Tanja, for next time you research the people you are blindly insulting-- willy-nilly, dare I say? Too conversational?)

I have actually eaten at this venue and the food is generally really tasty, regardless of the sometimes crazy vibe that can be going on.

Anhoo, my two cents... I don't expect any replies from "B", as their comment rates like a standard-issue blog troll who likes to anonymously tear down people making a living instead of sitting in front of their screen tearing down people whom-- ah, but you all know! :)

Myke Mazzei
Brian / December 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm
I went there for the first time last year and they wouldn't let me run any bill, insisted I pay upfront for each thing I wanted all because "we've had complaints about you before." It was my first time there!

Richard / December 5, 2013 at 01:55 am
Found a long hair in my sandwich, will never go back ever again.
Anon / March 30, 2014 at 02:34 pm
I was the prep cook there many years ago and reading this, the menu appears to be exactly the same, We didn't have a cockroach problem when I worked there but the place was crazy.

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