Leva is a trendy, chic café that’s seems to be busy at all times of the day. That’s a good sign in my books. It doesn’t hurt that it’s nearby the university for students to grab a quick bite to eat or drink while they “study” (aka. hangout).
The place is a hipster haven with a very relaxed, laid back atmosphere. That seems to rub off into the service, which unfortunately is for better words, lacking. Service is pretty spotty from the few times that I’ve visited.
On our most recent trip, my buddy was ordering when our waiter cut him off and said he’d come back to take the rest of our order (he took our appetizer order). He came back 10-15 minutes later. WTF? Other minor complaints – asked for lemons for water, didn’t get them till asked for a second time. Had to ask for knives to eat our appetizer. Asked for our bill to be split, they gave us the full amount.
They have a different menu depending on the time of the day that you drop by. Breakfast/brunch menu (7:00am – 11:00am), lunch (11:00am – 4:00pm), and evening (4:00pm to close). Pictures above is the evening menu.
Prosciutto wrapped asparagus ($9.75)
Made to order, baked and topped with parmigiano. These came in three bunches. I was disappointed that the prosciutto wasn’t fully covering the asparagus. There was also barely any parmigiano. For almost $10.00, I expect better execution.
Mediterranean salad ($17.00)
Tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, black olives, and feta on a bed of romaine with hummus and a grilled chicken breast. I didn’t try this but our two friends shared the salad and they were raving.
Italian salsiccia ($17.50)
Italian sausage, roasted red peppers and ricotta. The crust is nice and thin with a crisp underneath. The pizza just has a really well balanced texture to it. The salsiccia had a hint of sweetness to it and the ricotta gave a nice contrasting flavour. Look at those airy bubbles, which is such a satisfying bite.
Pesto with olives, red onion and mozzarella. This one was my choice and it was my favourite of the three we ordered. The olives were tangy and a bit salty while the mozzarella matched perfectly with the pesto. Mmmm I could eat pesto for evah.
Spicy chicken ($17.50)
Avocado, fresh cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. The chicken is supposed to be spicy but I got zero hints of spiciness. Fail. The avocado was a tad under ripe and they scrimped on the cherry tomatoes. Decent but I’d try another pizza next time.
Smashed avocado – open faced sandwich ($13.25)
Maple bacon finished with an over easy egg and served with artisanal toasted bread. The sandwich is served with a side of potato has that were like crack. Delicious.
Vegetarian grilled panini ($11.50)
Zucchini, roasted red peppers, house made hot peppers, fontina, mozzarella, pesto, red onion with fresh avocado, fresh basil and arugula. I was accidentally given the vegan sandwich but it was actually good! This must be how vegans survive. The vegetables were fresh and the avocado was creamy and perfectly ripe. My only complaint is that the sandwiches are small so if you’re looking for something substantial, go with the pizza instead. The panini was more of a snack then a full meal.
Prosciutto cotto and genoa salami grilled panini ($11.50)
Genoa salami, artichoke hearts, fresh seasonal mixed greens, mozzarella, fresh tomato and basil. The staff realized their error and offered to pack up the panini I originally ordered. Sweet, extra meal! I ate this for lunch a few days later and it was great. The salad even managed to stay fairly fresh.
Popped into Leva to grab some gelato as a snack. Prices are reasonable ($3.75 single, $4.75 double and $5.75 triple) and there were six flavours to choose from. The special of the month when we went was the fiore d’panna. Who can say no to gelato?
Pistachio, vanilla and fiore d’panna ($5.75 triple)
Why get one flavour when you can get THREE? Seems like a no brainer. I tried the pistachio, vanilla and fiore d’panna. I’m not sure why I got vanilla, it’s typical plain, vanilla. Pass on that one. Pistachio was good but we agreed the fiore d’panna was the best.
Overall, Leva is a chill spot to grab a bite to eat or drink (coffee/wine). Just be mentally prepared for some lacklustre service. Summer time is the best, when they have the outdoor patio open, you can people watch the day/night away. Did I mention that they have pastries (hello lemon meringue tart) and macarons?
11053 – 86 Avenue