Tinto (89 Roncesvalles, at Marion, 416-530-5885) Complete meals for $18 per person, including all taxes, tip and a fair trade Americano. Average main $9. Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 8 pm, Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. Unlicensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Colombia is responsible for what is perhaps the world's favourite drug - coffee. So it makes sense that Bogota-born Elvia Saenz and Ricardo Rozental would name their west-side coffee house Tinto, the Colombian slang for a cup of joe.
Launched last summer, the former Polish restaurant is now an airy two- storey space where moms with strollers take a break over fair trade Americanos and St. John's Bakery whole wheat English muffins spread with organic cream cheese (both $2).
Up a few stairs, there's a more formal art gallery the current show features street-scenes of Palestinian children photographed by Jon Elmer as well as a dining area that appears to be permanently occupied by bloggers taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi.
Servers are laid-back but approachable and our order quickly arrives at table. Inga Pirca Salad ($6.75) finds a mess of organic greens blanketed with nutty quinoa, lentils and bulgur plus decidedly non-organic winter-pink tomato awash in nippy sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Here are those same greens again with Cuenca Salad ($8.75), the groovy grains replaced with roasted red and gold beets, organic chèvre and black olives in honey-orange dressing.
The unusually short but mostly organic card also includes a lineup of salad and baked burrito pronounced "boo-rrhee-toh," it informs the uninitiated combos. Al Trote ($6.50) comes stuffed with yummy mashed sweet potato, black beans and cheddar, while the Altiplano ditches the yams and adds chipotle and avocado to the mix. More of a wrap, the Parima (both $8.75) sees roasted organic veggies sweet bell pepper, zucchini and eggplant combined with more chèvre 'n' beans. Besides appropriate sides of organic sour cream and tangy pico de gallo salsa, don't miss the house hot sauce, a hellacious synthesis of puréed Scotch bonnet and jalapeño.
We finish with warm slices of St. John's marvellous apple pie ($3.50), content that earnest Tinto makes the world we live in just that little bit more delicious.