With a Starbucks, Second Cup, or Tim Horton's on every block, it seemed to me that local coffee shops were nonexistent. But in the past couple of years, independent cafés have been popping up all over the city and Greater Toronto Area. So many that I had to start a physical list to keep track of them, and this list includes cafes, dessert shops and restaurants. Here are my current top 5 favourite cafes in Toronto so far (not in any particular order).
1. THE BLACK CANARY ESPRESSO BAR - 329 Yonge St (inside Silver Snail Comics)
Black Canary is probably my most favourite cafe in the city. How many places in Toronto can you have a Nutellacino and be surrounded by comics and superhero stuff? It's a nerds dream come true. The Black Canary offers a variety of drinks, many named after superheroes or villains. Don’t expect too much on the food front as they only have a limited selection of baked goods.
2. NICHE COFFEE + TEA - 626 Queen Street W
Niche Coffee + Tea is a nice little shop located on Bathurst St and Queen St W. My first impression when I walked in was how cozy it looked. The staff were friendly and I ordered a tea out of the many drink options they have. I visited it again and got a Smoked Turkey sandwich, which is by far the most delicious Smoked Turkey sandwich I have ever had! They do brunch and offer alcoholic drinks. I also need to point out the amazing dessert drinks they have, like the one below. Yummyyyy
Photo Credit: @guesstoronto These are actual milkshakes served at Niche!
3. BOXCAR SOCIAL - 4 Boulton Ave (Riverside location)
When I first walked into this location, I was impressed with how beautiful it was because of the rustic feel it has. It’s a large coffee shop and the staff are very friendly. If coffee's not your thing, they also serve wine and beer. My favourite was the matcha almond croissant (yum). Boxcar Social has a few locations around the city, see their website for directions and hours.
4. ODIN - 514 King Street E
Odin is a Nordic-Canadian café and a sister store to Thor (Bathurst St. and Niagara). Unlike Thor, Odin is much bigger in terms of space and has a variety of food and drinks available. The space itself has a modern feel with angled ceilings, chairs, and tables. You can also get merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, books, and more! I tried the Matcha Green Tea Latte with a sandwich. The only downside is that the food comes in small servings, so expect snack foods and not big meals.
5. QUANTUM COFFEE - 460 King Street W
Photo Credit: Quantum Coffee
I was drawn to Quantum Coffee after seeing many pictures of their drinks and store on Instagram. I love unique spaces that aren't like your typical coffee chain shop, so I fell in love with Quantum quickly. They have two areas, one where you order and get food, and on the opposite side of the shop is a bar where you pick up your order. I got a regular cappuccino, and although it was nothing spectacular, the foam design amazed me as it usually does at local coffee shops.
Do you have any favourite cafés in Toronto? Let me know as I love to add more to my list.