A Liberty Village Gem: Ciao Europa CaféNeighbourhood | Written on August 28, 2016
Desaret Dulaj loves what he does and it’s undeniable. And when you hear him speak about opening and running Ciao Europa Café in our neighbourhood, it’s hard for you not to fall in love with this incredible neighbourhood eatery as well. Not that the café itself doesn’t provide enough reason for that on its own. If you haven’t already been, you should definitely make the trip to 80 Western Battery Road for a morning, afternoon or evening meal at Ciao Europa Café.
It speaks volumes about the kind of neighbourhood that Liberty Village is that among the array of restaurants, take-out places and delivery establishments to choose from in our city, those in Liberty Village stand out from the crowd. Be it the stunning restaurant layouts, memorable service, unique murals, eye-catching artwork, welcoming décor in an equally inviting location, or simply incredible food, there’s just something special about enjoying a meal in Liberty Village. Ciao Europa Café exemplifies that concept. It truly is special. It’s a café, of which there are many throughout our city, but first-time Ciao Europa patrons and frequent visitors alike know that it’s anything but ordinary.
Desaret explains that Ciao Europa was modelled around a European concept. You can enjoy coffee by day and wine by night. There’s no particular crowd that Ciao Europa caters to. It’s for anyone who enjoys great food, great atmosphere and appreciates good service. And that’s just that start of what makes this café a must-visit Liberty Village locale. Let’s talk food, shall we? We must warn you though, the descriptions that follow are bound to make you hungry.
Ciao Europa is a place where you can enjoy it all – breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks. There’s nothing frozen and reheated in this café. It’s all fresh all the time and always deeeeeelicious! All the pastries are made in-house, from scratch! Many cafés don’t have a live kitchen; foods are prepared ahead of time, off-site, stored and delivered. Not at Ciao Europa. Desaret explains that, for them it was important to stay close to tradition and that means freshly prepared foods. Hang on. It gets even yummier! He also added that their pastries are made using very little butter; instead they use olive oil which enhances the flavour and freshness. We promise that you’ll be able to taste the difference and you’ll absolutely love it! The paninis are “street-style” and the selection includes:
Chicken (provolone cheese, hummus, eggplant, chicken, greens, avocado)
Melanzana (eggplant, peppers mozzarella cheese, hummus, prosciutto, greens)
Caprese (tomato, hummus, basil, mozzarella cheese, arugula)
Crudo (hummus, prosciutto, salami, provolone cheese, peppers, arugula)
And the pizzas….oh, the incredibly delicious pizzas! They’re thin and light, something that’s achieved from the technique used when kneading the dough. They’re also made using a slow-rising dough! Ciao Europa’s pizza offerings include:
Margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, fior di latte, fresh basil)
Calabrese (tomato sauce, onions, sausage, chilli flakes)
Quattro Formagi (mozzarella, fior di latte, gorgonzola, parmigiana)
Ortolana (mozzarella, red peppers, baked eggplant, mushrooms, artichoke)
Pizza Pazza (tomato sauce, anchovies, artichoke, tuna, eggplant, olives, light mozzarella)
Salad options at include:
Arugula (arugula, red vinegar, gorgonzola cheese, dates, walnuts, prosciutto)
Spinach (spinach, pomegranate vinegar, orange julienne, olives, onions, mushrooms, feta cheese)
Mediterranean (tomato, balsamic vinegar, bocconcini, marinated eggplant, raw onions, hearts of palm
So yes, there are lots of great, vegetarian options and also several gluten-free options available! Ciao Europa Café also offers pasta dishes (all with homemade pastas of course) and the choices include classic, non-meat and meat varieties. Many of the usual suspects are available for breakfast – scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, street-style frittatas— but really, there’s something about the way that they’re made at Ciao Europa that makes them taste that much more delicious!
Some may say that we’ve saved the best for last. Ciao also offers a range of wines priced at $1 per 1oz. There are 21 different wines offered by the glass, including table wines, whites, reds and rosés. 80% of the wines are Italian, some are local and others are from various other locations (California, Australia etc.). And we won’t dare to forget the coffees! Ciao Europa offers fair trade, organic (and very delicious) coffees, or if you’re feeling for a different sort of hot beverage, you can also enjoy an espresso, latte, cappuccino, tea or hot cocoa!
Ciao Europa Café is open Monday to Thursday from 7:30am to 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday from 7:30am to 1:00am and Sunday from 7:30am to 9:00pm. On Tuesdays, you can enjoy pizzas for $10.00. This offer is also available on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11:00am to 2:00pm. You can dine in, get your meal to go or, beginning just last week, you can also get catering from Ciao Europa!
Ciao Europa only opened in February, 2016, but we already see it becoming a Liberty Village favourite for years to come! Everything about Ciao Europa is impressive. Above all though, what stood out most from our conversation with Desaret is his rationale for choosing to open Ciao Europa Café in Liberty Village. He explained that this was where he wanted it all to begin because of how welcoming people are in Liberty Village. Our neighbourhood embodies the very values that he wanted to be the cornerstone of Ciao Europa. As Desaret put it: “for a sense of community, there’s no better place than Liberty Village”. Desaret, we couldn’t agree with you more! Welcome to the family!
Written by L. D. Moore