Location1002 Seymour St.
My, how Seymour Street has changed. Commune Café, in the new boutique Level Hotel, adds a punch of liveliness to this formerly decrepit strip. Tina Fineza (Flying Tiger, Abigail’s Party, Les Faux Bourgeois) was the opening consultant chef who created the organic, free-range, sustainable seafood blueprint for its sandwiches, salads and Iranian flatbreads.
What’s Hot: The paninis and hoagie-style sandwiches are amply stuffed with tender house-roasted meats and delicious fixings. Go for the silky-fatted porchetta panini with earthy roasted peppers ($9) or hot Fraser Valley shaved beef ($9) with melted stilton and caramelized onions.
What’s Not: The smoked sablefish and quinoa salad is lovely and light, packed with fresh mint and zested with lime. But the $12 price tag ($9 for chickpeas and greens) is fairly steep for this type of venue.
Libations: The all-Canadian lineup – from wine and beer to tea and Pop Shoppe soda – is impressive.
Sweet Sensations: Baked goods are from Mix Bakery (as is the bread), but the display of granola squares, strawberry rhubarb crumble and cupcakes didn’t look all that enticing. Nutella brioche toast on the other hand…
Service/Decor: The doodle people in the cheerful Keith Haring-style graffiti murals outshine the servers, who could use a bit more personality.
Bottom Line: Premium ingredients aren’t cheap, but this cute neighbourhood hangout will quickly lose its allure if the food quality drops after the opening consultant chef moves on.