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“Almost like I remember......”
Review of Caplansky's Deli

Caplansky's Deli
Ranked #830 of 8,996 Restaurants in Toronto
Cuisines: Delicatessen
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Neighborhood: Downtown
Reviewed May 10, 2014

Caplansky's has been on my too try list for a while now... I finally got to go with my Husband just tonight and we were not disappointed.

We got there quite close to closing on a Saturday night, but it was still busy enough and the staff were very welcoming.

We had to try the basics, and then some...

Deli Sandwich combo Smoked meat with latkes and a kosher dill
BBQ Brisket Sandwich
Chicken Soup with Matzo Ball

We shared everything, and completely enjoyed our meal and the experience.
The Matzo ball soup took my back to my grandmothers kitchen; not overly salty, with a hint of dill, and a slghtly denser matzo ball than my grandma made, it was very satisfying. We used the slice of rye bread it came with to soak up every last drop.

I loved the smoked meat; sliced thicker than I normally get, it also had quite a strong smoked flavour. The Rye bread had a slightly crispy crust; delicate rye flavour and a chewy center.
Held up well under the weight of the very generous portion of smoked meat.

The brisket was tender, juicy, smoky, slightly sweet and simply delicious. Topped with crunchy onions crisps, and served on a tender onion bun. My husband liked this better than the smoked meat; i can't decide. Both delicious.

Value for money was excellent. We enjoyed each dish, the service and the atmosphere.

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Thank Laramom23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 10, 2014

Located in a great area - by Kensington Market in downtown Toronto. As soon as you walk through the door the wonderful smell of brisket hits you... Mmmm. The food is great... It clearly is all made fresh on site. The portions are huge and prices are very fair. Service is wonderful. Don't forget to try the cheesecake or maple bacon donuts... Not sure which one I liked better ; )

1  Thank TAMember06262013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2014

We went out as a family (2 young children in tow) and decided for something yummy....some of our guests had the smoked meat...very delish....some had the braised beef; out of this world. I had the fried chicken.....do not order it. Nothing fancy or tasty....stick with what they are known for which is the awesome smoked meat that is done on the premises and other items on the menu. Even the sliced pickles made our mouths water...The staff were friendly (a major plus in my books) and as the children were attentively drawing pictures, the manager brought more markers out and added more encouragement for their pictures...a delight for parents to feel welcomed...a definite place to come and eat...I'm getting hungry writing this...

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1  Thank DonkeyWho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2014

When I travel, there are a few things I seek out intentionally: a hotel where I will accumulate massive rewards points, a good cup of coffee, a well-stocked book store, and a deli. Why a deli? Why not?!? Deli food is so very yummy and, in Canada, there is the added bonus of the smoked meat competition between Toronto and Montreal, which you are going to want to get involved in. I did and I have no regrets.

In my recent trip to Toronto, my last stop before my flight was Caplansky’s because what’s better than smoked meat before being trapped in a pressurized cabin? Nothing. Nothing is better.

We’ll get to the smoked meat in a minute, but I can’t talk about any deli without noting the RYE. My husband is absolutely obsessed with seedless rye. It is his first question in any deli and the answer will determine the entire outcome of a meal. If there ARE seeds, there is a five minute breakdown of NYC delis getting it right and the entire structure of a Reuben or smoked meat sandwich being compromised. My husband’s deli needs are vast and have rubbed off on me, but –really– the rye should be considered first. Caplansky’s rye was very fresh and had a little crunch to it. A good start.

Although there is a fair amount of tension (Canadian tension, which is like American sleeping) between Montreal and Toronto’s delis over their smoked meat, the sandwich itself is called a “Montreal-style hot smoked meat sandwich”. So, I guess someone won the copyright.

Caplansky’s sandwich combo comes with a HUGE basket of fries. Fries are great, but what makes for a good meat sandwich? Well, I just explained it. It is a MEAT SANDWICH, people. If it is a little fatty, that just makes it juicer and better. This is a large sized sandwich that is filled with meat. My explanation is over and quite thorough, I think.

Yes, the food is good, but the music is good, too. I walked into Caplansky’s as “Ghost Riders in the Sky” playing. Other Johnny Cash songs played the rest of the time, including “Personal Jesus”. I found The Man in Black to be a nice choice for smoked meat consumption, like a nice wine pairing.

Now, condiments. Condiments in a deli are vitally important. Dressings with zip, special sauces with ingredients that aren’t written down, sandwich spreads crafted by the owner’s grandmother, horseradish and wasabi smears that are used for childish bets– all are important and make locations unique. But, there is no condiment in a deli more important than mustard and Caplansky’s will meet your needs. I promise.

Caplansky’s has blue and white t-shirts coating the walls and quirky signs to keep your attention while you wait for the carver to do his job. While I was there, I saw an intense and loving conversation happening between a couple and what looked to be the owner. It added to the neighborhood/special feel of this place. (Also, there are beautiful lemon squares and cheese cake in the display case that will try to convince you not to overeat all of the meat and fries in front of you.)

Yes, I seek out delis when I travel… and, maybe, you should, too. Here is my final argument: MEAT SANDWICH. For me, that makes deli exploration a noble mission.

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1  Thank Erica319
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2014

The smoked meat was okay, a bit too thickly sliced, but the coleslaw? Full of sugar -- I ended up with a mouthful of cankers. The kishka? The kishka itself was good, but the gravy was full of smoked meat. (I thought it was ground beef till I read the menu afterwards online). Why?? And the matzoh ball soup was awful. The broth was brown -- not chicken soup! The matzoh ball was the colour of, well, of nothing I've ever seen in the food realm. The waitress was pleasant but kept screwing up our order. I was so disappointed. What is happening to the great delis of the world. This sure isn't one (and what's with the menu items with bacon on them?) In fact, if I weren't so nice, I'd give this one star cuz that's all it deserves.

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1  Thank Therese M M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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