As father to an infant, my expectations shot through the roof for my dining experience compared to where they were a year ago. Now that my evenings away from home have plummeted in frequency, I want every time I’m out to be an amazing one, and I pity the establishment who’s lacking in their skills.
But on those odd occasions where I’m out and someone gets it really right, the effect stays with me, seeing me rave about it to friends and family seeking a solid recommendation.
One of the good ones is G… for Gelato and Espresso Bar, run by Shant Behesnilian, a man whose dedication to customer service is readily evident in the dining experience his patrons receive in his restaurant.
This wasn’t my first trip to G for Gelato, but I enjoyed my first trip there so much that when invited back for a second, I made sure my schedule was clear so I could attend. I was a little late, choosing to go home first to see my son before he slept, and unaware that the TTC was doing major construction on the eastern streetcar tracks — but when I got there, Shant was ready for me, finding a spot for me with a Tankhouse Ale on the ready, hoping I came hungry for the deliciousness ahead1.
1 I am stupid and got hungry at home, so I was not as starving as I should’ve been for everything G for Gelato has to offer. Worst plan.
The G… for Gelato Experience
Let’s start by laying it out there — G …for Gelato and Espresso Bar isn’t just about gelato and espresso; they serve up some mean meal fare as well, more than enough to sate even the most demanding of appetites.
Shant offered a special menu for the event, catering to bloggers from across the GTA to try his food (it’s true — I crossed paths with one of my baby brother’s high school friends), with a number of selections to show what the restaurant can really offer.
The Caprese Salad — The Palate Preparer
Will be honest — got it largely ‘cuz I wanted to try something different. I’m often not the biggest fan of fresh mozzarella — it usually strikes me as wet and flavourless — but I was happy to eat this salad! I don’t know whether it’s where they get the cheese from or how it’s prepared, but the salad proved a flavorful apertif for all that came in the rest of my night!
Being so late to the party, though, I barely got a few nibbles in before the next course came a-callin’….
The Maialina — A Journey Through Flavour Country
It’s a poorly-kept secret that Pizzeria Libretto is my favourite pizza joint in town. I could easily shove an Nduja sausage pizza and a half to my face daily with unlimited funds and free time.
That said, G for Gelato’s Maialina pizza could be the pie to change all that!
Made with a mix of spicy Italian sausage, spicy soppressata and fresh basil, the flavour in this pizza is not for those seeking some bland ingredients on flatbread! I’ve stuffed the Maialina to my face every time I’ve visited, and I won’t stop anytime soon — when you’ve got a pizza this good, you don’t let an opportunity pass to treat your taste buds!
Looks like Libretto’s got some competition for my hard-earned cash!
I brought a friend out to play who doesn’t really dwell in the social media circles (yes, that’s right — I have friends who aren’t from the blogosphere!), and she’ll take leafy greens over delicious animal by-products in a second. She was quick to tell me that her arugula salad and Fungi pizza were both quite delicious, but also insisted that I wouldn’t like ’em.
I guess I’ll take her word for it.
To make our visit extra-memorable, they even let us try our hands at making pizza that we’d take home to enjoy later! While I’m utterly horrid at it (some of the staff I’d befriended jokingly — or perhaps not so jokingly — informed me partway through that I’d rushed it and should call it quits), I popped it out of the toaster oven the next day, and my three-meat pizza was pretty much as delicious as I was going for!
You’re welcome, stomach. You’re welcome.
G for Gelato — Worth a Return Visit
The night ended in a flurry of swag and gelato, shoving as much lemon, tequila lime and strawberry mint down my throat as my belly could still hold. I got to meet several of Shant’s friends as we held the “non-blogger table” down and enjoy a great night out without worry or complaint.
I hit the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood less often than I’d like, but when I do, I’d like to make G… for Gelato and Espresso Bar a regular stop. The food is great, I’ve met all sorts of cool people in the times I’ve been there, and who wouldn’t stand behind a restauranteur who donates extra food to the nearby Salvation Army shelter rather than let it go to waste?
So seriously — go pay Shant a visit if you’re ever in the neighbourhood and tell him I sent you! It’s a lovely little place that won’t break the bank, and when you get your nom on, I promise — there’s no regrets you’ll be harbouring as you walk out the door.
Get your nom on, friends, and I hope to see you there,