Zav Coffee Shop & Gallery
Zav Coffee Shop & Gallery is so named because it functions dually as a cafe as well as an exhibition space for local art. The cafe is also named for the owner’s son.
Owner Arya lives upstairs with partner Manya who painted the pieces on display during my visit and also home bakes treats for the cafe, using a small oven that sits right on the countertop. Take note, this spot is cash only.
The breathy, airy space has plenty of room and simple two-person tables where it’s easy to take a breather or get some work done, lots of outlets provided for extra juice and great plants and colourful rugs for good vibes.
A large table at the front provides one space for a group or to spread out while working, and comfy seats and a couch surround a low coffee table at the back that’s also good for hanging with multiple people.
They use Pilot for all their coffee, preferring their Academy and Heritage blends.
Bags of the beans are available for sale as well.
A latte ($3.75) is well balanced, the fruitiness and slight acidity of the Pilot beans blending well into the milky coffee.
In addition to doing their own iced americanos ($2.75), they also retail Pilot’s cold brew ($3.75) and Black River juices ($3).
Regular and gluten-free biscotti ($1.50) are available, baked by Manya. They always try to carry one gluten-free item, though I find the gluten-free biscotti becomes mushy a little quickly, but both taste great.
A black forest ham and swiss cheese sandwich ($5.50) is made using Celena’s baguette from the neighbourhood, perfectly crunchy and crispy on the outside and chewy and doughy on the inside. A cheddar and emmental for $4 fills you up on a budget.
A soy latte ($4.50) charges fifty cents extra for a milk substitute, but it’s served with charm in a glass that allows you to see the ripple effect of the coffee and milk mixing with just the right amount of ice.
Morning glory muffins ($2.50) are packed with carrot, raisin, and banana, and use olive oil for extra health and moisture.
Manya’s baking is simply inspired by caring for her son and wanting to know what her family is putting into their bodies.
Her banana bread ($3) is killer, the moist, cakey loaf served in thick slices.
The space is fully accessible with gender-neutral washrooms, and their simple WiFi password is posted at cash. This clean, art-filled cafe is a reliable and tranquil spot to get some caffeine and clear your head.