Cafe Frappe is a Danforth institution serving up Greek frappes and Livadeia-style souvlakis.
Sitting in an old bank building in the main drag of Greektown, this corner cafe has been around for decades, though it's switched hands a couple of times.
After a seven-month-long renovation period, the latest owner, Thanos Karokis, has managed to transform what was previously a sleepy hangout for older Greek residents of the neighbourhood into a lounge for a younger generation looking for caffeine and an earful of club beats. A fresh coat of paint (they kept the classic bank pillars out front), new washrooms, and a revamped menu have redone this place up as a Greektown institution.
As the name suggests, frappes are a specialty here.
If you've never had this cultural staple, you might be surprised to know that it uses Nestle instant coffee powder, which seems like the direct antithesis of proper coffee culture.
The drink was invented accidentally by a Greek Nescafe representative in the 1950s, who didn't have any hot water for his brew, and so made a glass of iced coffee in a cocktail shaker instead.
Here, frappes ($5.31 each) are made using a blender to mix Nescafe and water, with a foamy layer on top. You can request your level of sweetness; "medium" is usually a perfect balance of sweet and strong.
Also on the menu, freddos, in espresso or cappuccino form ($5.31 each).
Every order comes with two shots of Portioli espresso, and a portion of frothed milk on top, if you order the cappuccino.
Iced chocolate ($6.19) is essentially a full dessert. This decadent drink, which comes with milk chocolate, dark, or regular, comes in a chocolate-lined cup with milk and whipped cream on top.
I'd suggest having it after your meal, which you can order from a revamped menu of Greek fries ($13.27), pita bread, platters, and souvlaki.
The owners are from Livadeia, so souvlaki is marinated in the style of this central Greek town (which, by the way, broke the Guinness world record for longest souvlaki ever, with an outrageous 200-metre-long skewer).
A single souvlaki stick comes up to $4.42 each. My favourite is the chicken souvlaki wrapped in bacon, though you can also get a pork version.
If you get the Souvlakia Supreme ($53.10), you'll get six sticks of bacon-wrapped meat with fries, pita bread, and three different dips, including tzatziki and their signature Frapp sauce, which is a mix somewhere between Russian and tartare sauce.
Wash it down with some hard-to-find Greek beer, like Fix, Volkan, or Mythos.
There are patios surrounding Cafe Frappe, where you'll find youngsters and elders alike gathering for some classic Greek caffeine. Later in the evening is when the lounge vibes strike, with loud music, and maybe even some napkin-throwing.