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“Excellent Service, Good Food but a little disorganized”

L'Espresso Bar Mercurio
Ranked #17 of 139 Coffee & Tea in Toronto
Certificate of Excellence
Neighborhood: Midtown
Restaurant details
Neighborhood: Midtown
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Excellent Service, Good Food but a little disorganized”
Reviewed March 29, 2014

My wife and I enjoyed a late afternoon meal today at L'Espresso. This is the second time that we have visited and the first time that I have done a review.

Greeting: we arrived about 3:45pm and were seated promptly. The restaurant was about 50% full and was alive and bustling.

Waitress: the young lady arrived shortly after we were seated with a big smile, menus and an offer of beverages. She continued to provide very good service throughout the meal. (see note below on the "hand off").

Food and Beverage: Both my wife and I selected a cappuccino and along with these we received a glass of ice water, which was appreciated. I ordered the "Crab Stuffed Ravioli" with asparagus and mushrooms done in a creamy tomato sauce infused with truffle oil. The sauce was very good and overall flavour chemistry was great however the ravioli was only lukewarm. A minor issue but took away from the enjoyment of the dish. The portion size was small, but sufficient for lunch however no bread was provided and this dish would have benefitted from its inclusion. My wife ordered the "Frittata with Goats Cheese" which included sides of roasted herb potatoes and arugula salad along with toasted slices of garlic french stick. I tried a small portion of the Frittata and found the taste pleasant, my wife was very happy with her selection. The goats cheese on the Frittata was particularly pleasing for her.

Presentation: No garnish on the Ravioli at all, the Frittata with all its side dishes did not require this. Overall fine but needs more attention to detail.

Value: at $16.50 and $14.00 respectively our food was not over priced but neither did it represent good value. Considering the restaurants location at Bloor and St. George the prices were acceptable.

Counter Service/Cashier: Staffed by a young woman who was very pleasant but who at times seemed to be struggling with keeping things organized. We received everything that we requested but it all came together slowly in a little bit of a hap hazard manner.

The Hand off: because of our arrival time we were in the restaurant during a staff change. Our waitress continued to provide service until about 4:30, asked if we wanted dessert, promised to come back and get our order and then vanished. The new staff arrived, although it took a moment to recognize what was happening, our new waitress cleared our table and seemed to think that we were done and had paid. We had planned on taking our dessert to go and so after a few minutes we went to the counter ordered our dessert and paid for both lunch and dessert. No major problem but again a little disorganized.

Cleanliness and Condition: Overall the restaurant is in good condition but is showing signs of wear and tear. My chair had a broken back stay (vertical support), we were given dated (dingy looking) mismatched water glasses and the use of Via Rail embossed espresso spoons all contributed to a sense that the restaurant may be struggling. Nothing really significant that is screaming at you but several small things.

We will probably go again at some point as the experience was fine. It is the location close to Innis and University Colleges which makes it a convenient place for us to enjoy a light meal.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank CDN-RS-Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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76 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“nice place to sit and talk”
Reviewed March 18, 2014

While the coffee isn't the best in the 'hood (you could go to Coffee Pocket, down Bloor, for that), it's a nice place to sit and talk over breakfast. I dawdled, and they didn't try to turn over the table; the food was good, the light and ambience were nice, and (once you sat down -- you have to stand in line at first) the service was helpful.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank AmumKabir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas, United States
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“A nice spot for breakfast or snack”
Reviewed December 29, 2013

Delicious coffee; excellent breakfast; petulant counter staff. This locale is a hang out for University of Toronto professors so you are sure to meet someone interesting; overhear worthwhile conversations when spending time here.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Mamia77005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“If I could give it "zero" stars, I would have”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

This was perhaps the worst breakfast/brunch experience we have ever had. We were a party of 6, keen to have a delicious breakfast in a fun and welcoming environment. None of this was to be. Upon arrival, we were un-greeted by a yawning hostess who led us to a table and gave us breakfast menus. In a few minutes, someone came back with a different menu - for "brunch" - with very few breakfast-y items for a hungry palate at 930 am. We proceeded to be served in different phases: my husband's oatmeal, watery and pale, arrived first. No one else got food for another 20 minutes...and then, cold toast arrived for my cousin. Then my other cousin's "Florentine Panini" arrived - hardly a panini, more of an open frittata. Then her daughter's and my prosciutto panini arrived, and it was a toasted sandwich, again cold toast - not a lovely pressed, gooey panini per the definition of the word. I sent mine back, choosing not to eat at all -- by then, 45 minutes after my husband's watery oatmeal came to the table, I had lost my appetite and simply sipped my green citron tea for the remaining time we spent at the cafe. Adding insult to injury, my daughter's eggs benedict didn't arrive for another ten minutes after asking, twice, where her dish was. The waitress let us know it was just being made then, fresh - "confusion in the kitchen." Confusion in the kitchen for Sunday brunch? The server proceeded to blame us -- the customer -- for making substitutions so we confused the chef. Really? Then don't allow substitutions. If you have 3 hours to waste and don't care about food - just want coffee and tea - you are most welcome to try this cafe. If you want to eat hot food, good food, with a helpful and engaging staff - this is not the place to spend your hard-won dollars.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank BotticelliDiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Haven, Connecticut
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great vibe, good food”
Reviewed September 22, 2013

I stopped in to grab a late lunch after visiting the Bata Shoe Museum and was pleasantly surprised at the variety of offerings L'Espresso Bar Mercurio had -- specialty coffees, gluten-free, vegan and regular baked goods, and a creative menu of lunch offerings. I ordered an Angus burger which was tasty, albeit a bit small, and served on delicious, thin, herb focaccia bread. I ordered a side of zucchini "fries" - strips of zucchini coated in cornbread and fried - served with an awesome spicy, aioli sauce. Yum!

While dining alone can feel awkward at times, I felt very comfortable here and welcomed by a friendly, helpful staff. I opted for the patio, which was cooler than the inside of the restaurant. Free WiFi, too.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank WeezieH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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