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Saving Gigi Cafes on Bloor West

By: Kevin

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Saving Gigi is a coffee spot on the south-west corner of Ossington Station. At first glance, it doesn’t look appealing at all: a fairly run-down joint with furniture and décor that would outside on the sidewalk with a “For Free” sign, than decorating the inside of this establishment. The music they play is unmistakably indie (depending on how you enjoy your café music, this may or may not be a draw for you), but they do play from b-tracks, which definitely adds a new flavour to the café experience. Like the other less mainstream coffee spots in Toronto, Saving Gigi offers books and magazines available for customers’ perusal and reading pleasure. The staff allege there is free WIFI but I was personally unable to access Internet while there (they said it was because of my laptop’s network card, which is working fine otherwise).

There is an open concept kitchen in the back of the café that offers a decent-sized menu of food, which also serves to warm the small shop. The salad I ordered was well-made and, more importantly, clean and fresh (not a quality I can claim about other downtown cafés offering “fresh salad”). The price (7.50) certainly reflects the quality of the food you get, but the portion of salad was more than sufficient to serve as a light lunch. Another customer, who ordered a sandwich and espresso, mentioned as we were leaving that it was quite good, although it took a lot longer than he had expected. The latte I had with the salad (an unusual combination, admittedly) worked well with the cold day, but as I was dressed for trekking around Toronto in the winter cold, it felt slightly uncomfortable (the ceiling fans don’t do terribly much in the way of helping circulation, and the open kitchen, while it’s a nice distraction and greatly enhances the overall appeal of the small café, means the temperature inside can get awfully warm.)

What was most notable about Saving Gigi was the atmosphere. There seemed to be a fair number of regular customers who take up a fair number of seats in an already small café. The staff was courteous, but not the most welcoming and preoccupied their time amongst themselves and their regulars (albeit another customer who I talked to attributed this to the more personal feel of the café, which is definitely a positive element if you’re looking for a café to consistently visit). The staff element doesn’t make visiting Saving Gigi an uncomfortable experience, but it was certainly lacks a certain attitude that other joints I’ve visited in the past have possessed. As someone who views professionalism in staff a positive trait, I probably wouldn’t revisit Saving Gigi—well, maybe for the salad. But then again, it may be just the kickback, indie joint you’ve been looking for in west Toronto.

How to get to Gigi:

By car:
Saving Gigi is unfortunately located in a very obscure location; getting there by car is not hard to manage, but finding parking may be a bit of a hassle. There are parking lots closer to Ossington station, and Saving Gigi is then only a short walk away.

By bus:
Take the subway to Ossington Station (Bloor line). Saving Gigi is on the south-east corner, past the martial arts gym that takes up much of the view on that side of the street.

SAMPLE MENU
Salad (house selection) $7.50
Toast $2.25
Cornmeal lime ricotta muffin $2.50
Old white cheddar, tomato, avocado, lettuce and bacon sandwich - $7.50.
Hot cocoa – $3.00
Latte – $3.50

Date published: 05-Apr-2011

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