RESTAURANT REVIEW | Lit Espresso Bar | Leaside
Walking into Lit Espresso Bar at 1517 Bayview Ave in Leaside you will note that both patrons and staff alike wear the same satisfied expression. Not just satisfaction with the smoothness of the coffee brew, but the knowledge that there is finally somewhere to meet for coffee that isn’t… well, you know! Somewhere to go that is locally owned AND serves up excellent drip coffee as well as all of the typically expected specialties.
The interior is funky and bright, and I am told that it was heavily influenced by owners Nicole Angelotti and Joe Angelotti’s father. The tin ceiling and unique lighting pair nicely with the assortment of wooden tables and a giant clock for a pleasantly eclectic balance. Some personal touches to the décor includes some of his own photography from a trip to Italy. And of course the coolest wolf this side of London.
I popped in when they first opened to grab a quick coffee to go and was most impressed with the richness of the brew. I was told that they work with Pig Iron Roasters which is a local roasting company. The staff helpfully informed me that if I came back the next morning I could expect Glory Hole to have delivered their well known and thoroughly decadent doughnuts, which by the way is the only thing that Lit doesn’t make fresh on site. Inviting a few hungry friends would be essential for the completion of this task.
On the drinks side above and beyond their exceptional coffee and specialties they offer a cold brewed coffee and not to be confused with the Iced Americano or latté which were good, but I expect they would be better warm. Probably should have taken the barista’s look of doubt on that one, next time. But back to the cold brew…the process uses cold water and a much longer brew time which results in a smooth cold coffee with zero bitterness. Definitely waiting for the perfect steamy hot day I know is just around the corner to give that one a try. The iced hot chocolate was thoroughly enjoyed but one has to wonder, isn’t that just chocolate milk?
I knew the gang I had invited to join me would not disappoint and did in fact order a wide variety on the food front.
Straight off the top I must rave about their canoli. They are shipped in weekly from Italy and are piped upon ordering. Crispy, creamy and not overly sweet I could easily begin the descent down a very slippery slope with these little beauties!
The apple muffin it was noted is gluten free and while moist, mildly bland, which is exactly what I expect when tasting something designed for the sensitive palates abound today. Lots of choices are available for those with dietary restrictions. It should be noted that this is likely the only time you will read a reference to that particular problem in today’s society in my writings on food.
What is it with Nutella? You don’t even have to be a particular fan of the trendy sweet du-jour to enjoy the Nutella brownie. Surprisingly un-Nutella-ey and very much a decadent, rich and moist brownie.
The BLT on the freshly made ciabatta bun with a spicy mayo was a very wise choice. It was widely shared and commented upon much to the dismay of the guest who had ordered it mistakenly assuming she would get to enjoy it without assistance. If one hopes to enjoy this bit of sandwich perfection I might suggest going alone.
Doughnuts were sampled of course with the standout being a lemon filled, sublime to say the least.
The combined effect of the ultra friendly yet genuine staff, the quality food and coffee drinks and the hip surroundings and Leaside has a winner.
Visit: Lit Espresso Bar, 1517 Bayview Ave
Try this amazing Recipe below from Stacia Carlton
Cold Brewed Coffee
1 cup medium-coarse ground coffee*
3 cups filtered water, cold
- Combine water and coffee in a large mason jar or similar covered container**, ensuring that all the grounds are fully saturated.
- Cover and refrigerate for about 14 hours. Strain through coffee filters or fine mesh sieve.
*Grinding the coffee too finely heats the coffee up and this could negatively impact the desired bitter free outcome.
**You can also use your french press for this method. Just be sure to put aside the press for straining at the end of the 14 hour “steep” period, opting instead to cover tightly so as not to absorb any other aromas.
Stacia Carlton is a culinary school graduate and food writer. Seeking out new food experiences is her passion. You can follow her weekly for recipes and more at www.bestillandeat.com