Dark Horse Espresso Bar
With Dark Horse locations popping up all over the city, it's impossible not to find yourself eventually grabbing a cuppa in any of their four locations. Despite branching out so much, Dark Horse has managed to tailor each of their coffee shops to every one of their neighbourhoods – Queen West, Chinatown, Riverside, and the newly opened cafe in the Entertainment District – while still maintaining the same communal Dark Horse vibe.
The Chinatown location is larger and more spacious than other branches but we were still hard pressed to find a seat in the city's more favoured study spots. Surrounded by exposed brick walls and pipes, chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and artwork propped up all around (and also mostly for sale), Dark Horse gives provides the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend, read a book, or lock yourself down and for a more productive study session.
The café is also rather famous for their large communal tables--an idea inspired by a European trip taken by co-owner, Deanna Zunde, who figured Toronto could also use a little encouragement to make some new friends.
This time around, we decided to pick up a Macchiato ($3.10), Blueberry Pecan Streusel Muffin ($2.29), and a Mortadella and Smoked Provolone Sandwich ($7.50).
Left to right: Blueberry Pecan Streusel Muffin ($2.29), Macchiato ($3.10)
The coffee is as good as any other cup you can find in the city but isn't exceptional by any means, and this has been true every time we've visited any of their locations. The muffin was rather large but unfortunately, quite dry. The muffin-top maintained the pastry's honour though because really, streusel makes everything more delicious.
Mortadella and Smoked Provolone ($7.50)
The sandwich was filled with Mortadella coldcuts and provolone cheese squished between two halves of a baguette. We didn't expect much from the sandwich, knowing that it's been sitting out all day and just grilled when ordered, but we just needed something to keep us functioning throughout the day and to that end, it succeeded.
Dark Horse is good at every aspect of their business but as far as food and drink go, nothing is truly memorable. In fact, it was so forgettable, we ... wait, who are we reviewing again?