Fortunately, I'm staying in Little Italy, which means I'm just down the street from the infamous Cafe Diplomatico, known as "Cafe Dip" or "the Dip" to the locals. Located on the corner of College and Clinton Streets, the Dip was opened in 1968 by Rocco Mastrangelo, Sr., and has been family-run ever since.
The Dip has grown through the years from a bar to a full restaurant, with a store next door. Its a part of the history of the neighborhood, and was even featured in Chloe in 2009, which was based and filmed in Toronto, showcasing the local landmarks that make Toronto the unique city that it is.
The atmosphere at the Dip is decidedly modest and low-key, and the menu is reasonably-priced. Its large patio was the first in Little Italy and is bustling with activity every afternoon and evening.
A patio means people-watching, and my favorite part of the Dip. A meeting place for all walks of life, the Dip hosts families, businesspeople, older couples, young lovers and friends alike. It's not unusual to overhear a pitch for a new business endeavor or an aspiring artist's new album.
The staff at the Dip is kind, prompt, helpful and accommodating. This morning, in particular, my server was extremely sweet without being overbearing or intrusive. She made sure I was taken care of and graciously allowed me to sit in the sunshine on the patio, reading, making notes and sipping my coffee for over an hour.
Given my ravenous a.m. appetite, I scanned the menu for the largest portion of eggs they served, and ordered a Diplomatico Omelette (filled with mushrooms, green peppers and a bit of mozzarella cheese), brown toast and a side of sliced tomatoes in place of their traditional potato puffs. It was at my table in no time.
The food is not out of this world, but it's good and it's filling. You get what you pay for and I've never left unsatisfied. The Dip serves breakfast all day, but costs an extra $1 past 11 a.m. The food almost has a diner quality to it, but with a local, Italian patio flair. I grew up on diners, so once in a while, I wake up craving it. This morning, an omelette at the Dip was exactly what I wanted and I was a member of the clean plate club in no time.
So the next time you wake up jonesing for eggs and coffee, and you want to relax on a sunny patio, be taken care of and still leave for under $10, head to the Dip.
Where is your favorite breakfast spot?