Meet the owner

One sign of a good restaurant is the quality of its staff. If they’ve been there a while, you know you’re entering an establishment that’s trusted and focused on delivering a great experience. And if you find a spot where a staff member thought so highly of it he wanted to buy it, like Nathan Arulappu did at Café la Gaffe, then even better.

Nathan started working at the restaurant and immediately fell in love with its ambiance, food selection, location and team atmosphere. So when the opportunity came up in 2004 to take a more active role in the business, he leapt at it.

“When I went to university, I worked here,” says Nathan. While most of us leave our university jobs behind when we graduate, Nathan was drawn so strongly to Café la Gaffe, it felt like home. His connection to his team is strengthened by the fact that he has maintained his original position in the kitchen, remaining hands-on preparing the food, instead of hiding away in the back.

His employees appreciate seeing him working alongside them, and they can see how invested he is in the restaurant. “We work together as a team,” says Nathan of the staff and owners at Café la Gaffe.

Read the story of Cafe La Gaffe

Ratings & Reviews - Cafe La Gaffe

How would you rate this business?
  • Atmosphere: 3/5
  • Food: 5/5
  • Service: 3.5/5
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Restaurantica12
By

Everytime I think of this place I salivate

Great food! The Lamb Shank, the Chicken and pasta, the Risotto..ALL AMAZING! A must visit. I work close to this restaurant and my co-workers grab lunch from here once in awhile and each time I have been impressed. The fact that we go for lunch..indicates the fast service. The extension of the restaurant is..well imaginative.

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Restaurantica12
By

Best of Baldwin

I've been to Cafe la Gaffe several times, for both lunch and dinner, and I've never been disappointed. The food is delicious. I'm a vegetarian and have tried a few of their pizzas as well as their mushroom risotto, and all have been great. I've never had problems with the service (except for one silly incident where the waitress kept forgetting to bring me a tea bag for my tea). Overall, I find the place cozy and pleasant. The only issue is that their portions are huge and I always end up so full!

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Restaurantica12
By

If I'm on Baldwin, I'm probably at Cafe le Gaffe...

If I'm on Baldwin, I'm probably at Cafe le Gaffe. End of story. It is a cozy little French restaurant that I fell in love with many years ago. Although I find the accompanying salad over-dressed, they're pizzas are great. Well layered with toppings, I've never had a bad experience.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Food: 5/5
Service: 3/5
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Restaurantica12
By

Based on the lack of reviews you would think this...

Based on the lack of reviews you would think this place is a hidden gem. Fresh ingredients, interesting combinations, and an affordable wine list - what more could you ask for? The goat cheese pizza with madras curry spices sounds odd, but it's a wonderful combination.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Food: 5/5
Service: 4/5
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August 21, 2018

Food was great and so was the service.

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

August 17, 2018

It is small cozy restaurant with a great informal atmosphere. The restaurant itself is not sure conditioned and with heat wave in Toronto sitting inside would have been unbearable. Fortunately we were able to get the last table in the back patio where it was more comfortable. The patio is first come first serve and even though we had a reservation a patio table could not be guaranteed which is unfortunate

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 4/5

August 16, 2018

Excellent as always!!

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

August 14, 2018

Had high expectations for this restaurant. Love the location. I adore French cuisine but am open to all other styles of cooking. Sadly the food was a bit disappointing. The only thing that was consistently excellent was the service. The salad was wet and soggy, had no flavour despite the ingredient list, it had to be salted and I never salt excellent food. Seafood pasta was ok. The use of bay scallops was disappointing.The steak was to be rare, but wasn't.Too thinly cut for a steak.Creme brulee also flavourless, not a hint of even vanilla. The cheesecake: unremarkable not exquisite.Very tight seating outdoors and a huge ant problem that made the dining somewhat unpleasant.

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 3/5

Service: 5/5

August 12, 2018

Food and service were very good. But we sat in the terrace at the back and it was frankly a bit shabby and run-down.

Ambiance: 2/5

Cuisine: 4/5

Service: 4/5

August 12, 2018

food was great and the service was great just needs a little updating for the seating area

Ambiance: 3/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

July 22, 2018

Service was great, fast, sat on front patio was nice. Main course was great. Only issue was the escargot app tasted burnt. Other then that everything was great

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 4/5

Service: 5/5

July 22, 2018

Probably would normally have passed by it without going in, but I booked it online as it was part of this year's Summerliscious and the menu looked pretty good. It had a small patio area which is where we sat. We were a little early and waited inside for a table to clear. It was pretty warm inside, the doors were open so I suspect there was no air conditioning on. It looked a little grubby but we were seated on the front patio right at 1:30pm which was the time I had booked for. They did offer to seat us earlier but in the back and I didn't want that. The service was excellent; the staff were really friendly and the food was plentiful and fantastic. We had salads to start which were very fresh and well presented. We had the chicken for the main, which was in some kind of mustardy sauce. It was very good and was accompanied by potato, a chunk of beetroot and carrots and green beans, all fresh and lovely and hot, followed by Crème Brulee. Wine is available by glass and 1/2 litre as well as bottle. We will be back!!

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

July 23, 2018

Seating was not very comfy. Atmosphere quaint as expected. A few repairs wouldn't hurt. The service was okay. Food was good. Salad too much olive oil...grilled chicken was amazing and ice cream with poached peach was great.

Ambiance: 3/5

Cuisine: 4/5

Service: 3/5

July 21, 2018

Our waitress was very rude. We ordered Summerlicious and it was clear the salads just came from the fridge because they arrived 30 seconds after we ordered. The restaurant was extremely hot. It took 20 minutes for us to pay for our meals because the waitress kept taking away the payment machine after each person paid, and only returning 5 minutes later. Overall a very poor experience.

Ambiance: 1/5

Cuisine: 2/5

Service: 1/5

July 21, 2018

This restaurant was ridiculously hot as there is no A/C inside and one sad little fan to cool the entire space. It was difficult to sit through to finish the meal since we were all sweating while we tried to eat. Food was mediocre and the dessert didn’t even come with all the components listed in the menu. Difficult to get the attention from the waitress as they seemed a bit understaffed, though she was pleasant enough. Will not be returning again.

Ambiance: 1/5

Cuisine: 3/5

Service: 4/5

July 20, 2018

My colleagues and I came by for lunch for their summerlicious menu. We ordered the beef carpaccio and caprese for starters and the seafood pasta and mushroom risotto for our mains. While I cannot speak for the caprese and seafood pasta, I can say that their food is not good. Our beef carpaccio (which is supposed to be raw) was cooked. How did you manage that? The mushroom risotto was a mess. We literally dug around for mushroom in a plate full of roasted red pepper and way too much sundried tomato which was incredibly overpowering. On top of that, blue cheese was added to the risotto. There was so many different flavor profiles going on that I did not enjoy it. My colleagues felt the same way (three of us ordered the "mushroom" risotto). Aside from the food, the restaurant does have a very nice atmosphere to it. It felt cozy but a tad too warm inside. The service was great. Servers were attentive and quick to pick up our plates and fill our water. Much appreciated! We would not return or recommend.

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 1/5

Service: 4/5

July 20, 2018

our reservation was at 4:30 but when we got there the server said kitchen is not open until 5. I was expecting better/same quality of food as when i had it last time for winterlicious. but I was disappointed. the snail was bitter, the boulabbaise wasn't good. the mussel (appetizer) smelled fishier than normal.

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 3/5

Service: 4/5

July 19, 2018

We went for summerlicious and had a great time. I enjoyed my seafood pasta (though it could’ve used more seafood) and cheesecake.

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

July 18, 2018

My wife and I last came here 25 years ago when we were at UofT. We were very sad to see that almost nothing had changed. Yep same 25 year old chairs, benches, tables and decor. The bohemian look was great back then but now it just looks dumpy. Service was okay and the food was good value for the money. I wouldn’t recommend the basmati coconut rice that was just bland.

Ambiance: 1/5

Cuisine: 4/5

Service: 4/5

July 17, 2018

Food is amazing but the place is really hot. The place need a better ventilation and need an AC.

Ambiance: 2/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

July 17, 2018

it was a very good visit at your place, we'll come agian... thank you

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 4/5

Service: 4/5

July 14, 2018

Great little place.. Food was excellent.. However furniture could use some updating especially chairs.

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 4/5

July 13, 2018

It was very pleasant to sit outside in the shade of a large tree. The food was very good. I had the soup. It was delicious but more appropriate of a cold winter day. The risotto was also delicious , the presentation a bit blah. My husband had the caprese salad and the duck. Both were very good. The crème brûlée was nice and creamy with a beautiful crust. A bit more vanilla would make it even better. I did not enjoy the unorthodox Sangria ( fake cherry flavoured drink, reminds me of cough syrup ) it was however replaced with my choice of beer, no problem. I appreciated that. The service is most efficient, a little smile here and there would have been welcome. The draft beers were unfortunately not available, neither was the IPA one.

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 4/5

July 13, 2018

Lovely place with great service and food. People who treat Summerlicious customers as 'real' customers are excellent.

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

July 11, 2018

Services was very good but everything else was subpar.

Ambiance: 2/5

Cuisine: 2/5

Service: 4/5

July 11, 2018

When we arrived at Café la gaffe, we were surprised to find that there was no air conditioning. This is surprising since it was hot and stuffy inside the restaurant and everyone was sweating. We asked to be seated on the patio. The first thing we noticed was how old and damaged the chairs were. The waiter was nice but there was nothing special about service- just normal. At the end of our meal, we saw a rat outside on the patio and decided to leave. What I ordered and what I thought: Salad: There were lots of withered leaves in the salad. Unfortunately, there were hardly (four tiny knobs) any goats cheese. I did not enjoy the salad at all. Entré: I ordered the Bouillabaisse and it was NOT good. Very fishy taste from the first bits. The mussels were the only saving grace as the rest of the seafood was not fresh. This was very hard to eat. Dessert: The cheesecake was not bad. It was a normal piece of cheesecake- nothing special. I also had the opportunity of trying the creme brûlée- it was one of the worst ones I’ve tasted. If this is French cuisine at Café la gaffe then no thank you. I will not be returning to this place for their regular menu. Thank goodness we tried it during Summerlicious.

Ambiance: 2/5

Cuisine: 2/5

Service: 3/5

July 10, 2018

The food is really good, but my girlfriend seems overly picky. Excellent service, great food (for me), will come again with a different girlfriend so it's all good.

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 4/5

Service: 5/5

July 10, 2018

Amazing!

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

July 8, 2018

Delicious food and terrific value. Attended for Summerlicious with a group of 7 and we took awhile to order as friends gradually arrived and we were not rushed, service was professional and kind. Atmosphere was casual, the back patio was a great place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon.

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

July 7, 2018

Good effort on your part to produce a good summerlicious menu. Food was nice enough, escargots were almost too salty to eat. We are fairly regulars there, and go for lunches. Good luck! Hi

Ambiance: 3/5

Cuisine: 3/5

Service: 4/5

July 2, 2018

We made a reservation, for Sunday. When we got there they where closed. We drove in from Mississauga, only to find they decided to close and take the day off. The very leased they could have called us and told us they were going to take the day off. Bunch of clowns.

Ambiance: 1/5

Cuisine: 1/5

Service: 1/5

June 26, 2018

Excellent = as always!

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 4/5

Service: 4/5

June 21, 2018

Wonderful as always!

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

June 16, 2018

Thank you! Food was delicious.

Ambiance: 4/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

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