Of all the years of studying at the University of Toronto, I've walked past L'Esspresso Bar multiple times, but I've yet to try it. Now that I have graduated and I was requiring lunch somewhere close to my interview, I decided to finally check it out. The restaurant environment was quite enjoyable! I looked around and saw business people having lunch together, students on computers at their seats - typical downtown crowd. I liked the fact that you were assigned a seat, go up to order and pay, and then served your food. As such, there was no rush to leave the restaurant and when you left you didn't need to worry about the bill when you leave. I didn't know that tips were not charged so I was quite appalled at the prices (though should have been expected on Bloor Street), though I expected the portions to be a little larger. Now in hindsight, I realized they don't charge a tip so the higher price is justified.
The Caesar Salad I had rang in at around $9 (but I had 20% off for showing my student ID). It was a good salad, but I just couldn't wrap my head around the price (at the time). Prior to ordering the Caesar Salad I was debating if I should get the Chick Pea Salad for $11. The woman who sat beside me ordered it and the portion was larger and was worth the $11.
I wouldn't make a trip to go to the L'Esspresso, though if I was in the area I wouldn't mind trying it again (since my review is based purely on a Caesar Salad). Next time, I will most definitely be trying something else (most likely the Chick Pea Salad) as the dishes that other customers ordered looked artisian-esque and quite delicious.
L'Esspresso Bar by Mercurio
321 Bloor W
Toronto, ON M5S 1S5