Had a strange and wonderful lunch today.  I went to Caplansky’s Deli in the Monarch Tavern at College and Clinton in Toronto.  The Monarch is a dark old tavern, which represents the best of the hodge podge melange of Toronto.  Zane Caplansky has now opened his deli in the Monarch, serving delicious home made smoked meat (a cross of the traditional Jewish deli sandwich with a southern bbq taste).  It’s a really strange set up.  Caplansky’s is a separate venue from the bar.  So you order your sandwich, (don’t forget the delicious fries, pickles and coleslaw) from the Caplansky’s waitress, but you order your beverages from the Monarch bartender, and you pay them both separately.

The Monarch Tavern has a long tradition of allowing outside food to be brought in to eat with your lunch time beer, and that tradition continues.  So enjoy eating your smoked meat sandwich while watching the people around you.  There’s the Zaydes in their leisure suits (one was wearing an excellent green one) and hipsters enjoying the jewish deli, local workmen eating their Bitondo’s calzones, and secretaries enjoying their San Francesco sandwiches, all under the same roof.  It’s Toronto at it’s finest.  And Zane Caplansky is a treat, he’s so enthusiastic about what he’s doing, smoking his own meat, making his own mustard, that he’s a delight to talk to and if you’re a smoked meat fan (I have to confess to be a corned beef girl, myself) you’ll be looking forward to coming back for more.

Caplansky’s Deli in the Monarch Tavern-12 Clinton St., 416-500-3852, Tuesday to Saturday, noonish to 9 p.m.

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