8/10. Prices could be a bit more student-friendly. A little more variety of sandwiches would make this better
Whyte Ave has a new upscale bakery and café that is straight out of the 90s. PhatBar (10813-82 Ave) opened in February 2023.
Walking up to it on a chilly Tuesday afternoon, it was closed. I might have missed the hours on the door, but I did not see them anywhere. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, an error on my part for not looking at the website. (Side note: I was passing by after my initial visit and saw the hours in the window art were done the day of my first visit.)
Coming back on Thursday, I was very impressed with the initial décor of the place. It looked like a cross between a café and a back alley. There was a graffiti-laden couch that looked like the graffiti was placed with care. The washroom had some fantastic art as well. Instead of a standard “wash your hands” sign in the restroom, some interesting graffiti on the wall told you to do the same. When I was there, a person was decorating the front window with art that reminded me of a character from a retro 1930’s style cartoon.
The place also had a retro 90’s style arcade machine with hundreds of games. I would be in heaven if they had a pinball machine from the 90s.
Ordering the Delhi sandwich and a cider from the barista–or bartender as they serve wine and beer–I sat down and enjoyed my meal. The sandwich was great. It had deli meats, a cheese I believe was provolone, pickled or marinated purple onions and some jalapenos to give it some heat. It was served cold but still tasted great. I wish they had a panini press or microwave to take off the chill of it. They also offered ice water with sliced oranges in the tank to give it flavour, which I found a nice touch.
I could not leave the place without trying a sweet item. I asked the barista what they would suggest, and they told me what they liked. I had to interrupt them halfway through; if I had allowed them to keep going, the barista would have recommended everything. I took 3 things home: a rainbow cheesecake, a chocolate cookie and a cereal bar.
Everything had the right amount of sweetness. The colourful cheesecake looked terrific and tasted better. The chocolate cookie was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, a perfect cookie. The cereal bar, I was expecting to be too sweet because of the icing on top, but it wasn’t. Its taste brought back memories of eating Lucky Charms and milk while watching “Biker Mice From Mars” or “Darkwing Duck” on a Saturday morning. That cereal bar hit my nostalgia memory, a rare feat in food.
The cleanliness of this place is top-notch. The washroom was spotless, and I did not notice any dirt. The initial health inspector report had no violations, which is extremely rare.
Sadly, when I asked, this place offers no student discount, but the barista said they are working on it. The owners are full of new parent energy.
Next time you are on Whyte Ave, stop by this delightful fresh place not in Bel-Air, except on a Monday or Tuesday when they are closed.