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Beautiful cheese and charcuterie platter
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Porchetta and havarti sandwich
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Café Fiorentina owner/chefs Alex Chong and Tina Leckie
CAFÉ FIORENTINA (236 Danforth, at Playter, 416-855-4240, cafefiorentina.com.) Complete lunches for $15 (brunches $20), including tax, tip and a fair trade organic coffee. Average main $9/$12. Open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 7 pm. Brunch Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Closed Monday, some holidays. No reservations. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNN
Don't come to Tina Leckie and Alex Chong's Café Fiorentina on the Danforth expecting flaming cheese and so-so souvlaki. But do go for some of the most polished and shockingly inexpensive plates on this or any other local resto strip.
From a constantly shifting lineup, sandwiches on house-baked yeast-free sourdough come amply layered with the likes of seared rare steak, gooey Gruyère and pickled wild mushrooms or house-cured Berkshire pork belly and puréed kimchee (both $9).
Soups run the gamut from exotic duck broth with pastina to creamy potato with leek (all $5/$3.50 as a side) while the soufflé-like quiche du jour - one day portobello mushroom with Brie, the next caramelized onion with Stilton ($9 with salad/$18 whole) - is a meal in itself.
Charcuterie may be old hat on Ossington, but out here in Greektown it's positively cutting-edge, especially when it involves impossibly thin ribbons of house-made duck prosciutto, blond bacon lardo and fatty capicollo, a slab or two of rustic terrine de campagne and a smear of pear paste ($12 with bread and pickles/$14 with a selection of aged Monforte Dairy cheese).
At weekend brunch, Leckie and Chong interpret eggs Benny as a pair of expertly poached duck eggs in lemony hollandaise over pickled beets and Georgian Bay whitefish on toasted pains au lait ($13 with salad, today smoky roasted farro in an olive oil vinaigrette).
And if their brioche French toast spread with blood orange marmalade and finished with whipped cream and maple syrup ($9) doesn't cause a sugar rush, there's always flourless chocolate cake ($3/$12 whole). You'll be buzzing for days!