Think It Cafe
Think It Cafe, short for Think Italian Cafe, has transformed the space that long sold French fare as Chabichou into a true Italian café bar hangout.
Specializing in panini, but also serving coffee, breakfast, salad, and even house pizza, the place is meant to emulate new generation aperitivo bars in Italy.
As such, you won’t find any checkerboard tiles or tablecloths here, rather an assortment of cobbled-together crates and pallets, which is apparently a popular style in Italy.
Baked goods are supplied by Amico Chef, as well as bread for sandwiches. Cornetti actually come from Italy, baked in the oven here.
The Spinacino ($8) is their best-selling meatless breakfast sandwich, with a free range egg, pecorino and a healthy portion of spinach all on a crusty roll.
This sandwich might be even more successful with the egg cooked to order and runny, though I appreciate the pre-made, pressed-to-order ethos of a panini bar.
The Vintage ($10) is a panino of turkey, brie, arugula, tomato, and some subtle artichoke paste.
A drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of pepper complete the lovingly made pressed sandwich, which is warm and melty, but fresh and there’s just enough oil to moisten the floury bread without making it soggy.
Bread for a Tonnodoro tramezzini ($6) was apparently baked by the folks over at Il Cavallino, and exemplifies the elevation of this seemingly simple sandwich. The cloud-soft artisanal bread sandwiches tomato, mayo, arugula and tuna from Italy.
An Avocado Caprese salad ($13) has the right ratio of fresh avocado, tomato, cheese and extra virgin olive oil to arugula, the creamy richness and bright acidity of the toppings balancing out the peppery greens in a classic flavour combo.
The cafe brews using Italian Trucillo beans, and they use Mighty Leaf teas.
A latte ($3.50 - $4.35) is served traditionally in a glass, so you can see exactly how much milk there is and that there isn’t too much foam.
A marocchino ($3.25) is a shot of espresso with milk foam and cocoa powder, a sweet little traditional drink that’s a serious wake up call.
You can get pretty much anything iced for zero upcharge, and fluffy foam and a couple cute coffee beans on top of a latte are nice touches.
Fresh squeezed orange juice starts at $4.40, but it’s irresistible, like drinking a glass of dang sunshine. Easily worth as much as any overpriced chain latte.
Husband and wife team Marzia Giancarli and Enrico Marinelli designed the 30-seat space themselves, and chat in Italian with locals. There’s also a darling patio out front with picnic tables. Yet another reason I wish I lived in Harbord Village.