Located in the heart of Rosedale is this darling, French café. Beyond their strong roast for the strongest of coffee fanatics, you’ll find gourmet lunches such as beef bourguignon, paninis, and elegant salads. Perfect for women’s lunch get-togethers and other delicate affairs.
Although more of a chocolatier than a coffee shop, Soma offers the perfect merge between fresh espresso and spicy cocoa. Their mayan hot chocolate will cure any sore throat, while bringing your senses to a sweeter, more exotic place. Also, you can watch them at work while they make each chocolate goodie, an almost hypnotic experience to relax you while you browse the distillery district.
Located at 256 Crawford Street, this quaint, little cafe is the perfect place to go for a delicious cup of coffee. The entrance is located on Dundas Street despite its address. It has a cozy atmosphere that is both homey and rustic.
The Tampered Press is an ideal place for writers wanting to escape noisy cafes to work on their masterpieces, as well as readers looking for a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy that delightful book in the company of a delicious cup of joe. Though the atmosphere is often a quiet one, conversations are also welcomed. The pace here is laid-back and serene. It is a calming contrast from the busy city life, so if you are looking for a mellow escape, this is your place. With its colourful mix-matched chairs and mirror window frames on the wall, The Tampered Press provides the coffee goer not just great coffee but also a great space to enjoy the coffee.
The staff is always friendly and they know what they are doing when it comes to the brew. From their americanos to their lattes, they are serious Baristas. Their drinks are full of flavour and every cup is made with care. Unlike other cafes, the lattes here do not taste like hot foamy milk. The rich flavour of the espresso in a cup of latte at The Tampered Press is perfectly balanced with the amount of steamed milk so that the coffee drinker can still taste the elegant flavour of the espresso, which is how a good latte should be. If you are looking for a hot cup of steamed milk, the lattes here are not for you. This place is for serious coffee drinkers who enjoy the bold taste of strong coffee.
If coffee is not your cup of tea, The Tampered Press also offers other non-coffee beverages. Their tea selection will please any tea lover. Their London Fog, Earl Grey tea with steamed milk and vanilla syrup, is by far the best in the city in my humble opinion. The Earl Grey in this London Fog is unlike any other. The flavours are so rich that it will make you rethink your idea of how a proper London Fog should taste like. I also like that it’s not too sweet.
For those who are hungry or have the munchies, this cafe has array of scrumptious food to keep your empty bellies satisfied. The menu includes various sandwiches, samosas, and baked goods. For the vegans out there, there is quite a selection of vegan-friendly baked goods too.
The Tampered Press is one of my favourite cafes in the city. It’s not overpriced like some of the other cafes out there. The coffee and food here are kind to your taste buds but also your wallet. Not to mention that there is free WiFi and plenty of outlets to plug in your laptop. I also like the added bonus that there is always pleasant music playing in the background that is not overwhelming or distracting. With its mellow atmosphere, amazing coffee, and lovely service, it will make a regular out of you too.
At Bathurst and College is an art deco style café catering to those who enjoy the simple, natural flavors in both their coffee and their treats. Their scones are soft (the apple cranberry one is a local favorite) and their coffee is smooth yet delicate with a bold aftertaste. With short menus usually come more specialized, carefully customized dishes; and at Manic Coffee, they don’t disappoint.
Lower Ossington St. certainly is gaining recognition as one of hottest spots in town. But the hot factor is likely due to the steam rising from this sexy little café. Their drip coffee is made from their custom ground French press ($3.15 for 2 cups), but the real eye-turner is their revolutionary cold drip coffee. Taking only six hours to filter through distilled ice cubes, this impressive, mad-scientist looking contraption is sure to impress even the biggest of coffee snobs. Come see for yourself.
It has gotten to the point in Toronto where hip character-filled coffee shops are literally everywhere. They serve delicious drinks and snacks with attention to taste, allergies and of course quality. It begs the questions, what sets them apart? With everyone doing such a good job it really is almost impossible to decide based on the merit of the coffee alone.
Located on Ossington, just south of Dundas is Ideal Coffee. It’s been here for 5 years and is the second location in Toronto, the first being in Kensington market. Their espresso is a blend of fair trade South American beans prepared on a vintage hand operated machine. The decor is reminiscent of a 1920s church or grade school with long sweeping benches married to vintage wall treatments and worn chairs. The overall vibe is one of a tradition and it is certainly easy to feel at home here as the south facing windows bath the place in luxurious sunlight half the day. But again, spot on dcor isn’t exclusive to this shop and places like the common and the tampered press have achieved equally cozy styled environments. What sets this shop apart isn’t what’s on the walls its what’s in the seats.
In a recent conversation with local musician Taylor Knox I asked him why he comes to Ideal Coffee especially when he has to walk by 4 other shops on the way there from his house. “Ideal is a meeting place, and I’m not fully sure but I think only nice people come here. At least that has been my experience” And I couldn’t have put it better. Its true, Ideal Coffee isn’t just a place to get caffeinated, its a meeting place, a place where you can pick up a coffee and maybe an interaction that leaves you feeling better then before you came. Sit down at one of the three marble toped communal tables and you are sure to strike up a conversation. As I sit here writing this article “Hound Dog” by Big Mama Thornton came on the speakers and of the 10 or so people in the place about 7 of us joined in singing parts of it together. It is these types of businesses that foster this sense of community which add to the vibrant nature and character of downtown Toronto, adding to beauty of this city and its people.
So as I sit here finishing my coffee on a Tuesday afternoon watching people come and go with smiles and comments to each other, I realize its not just the coffee that makes Ideal Coffee my favorite shop in the city, its the people.
On Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market, you’ll find what some people refer to as the best coffee shop in Toronto. This long, narrow metallic café offers customers an artistic experience while they nurse their americanos in style. Their espresso can be described as a complex blend of citrus, aired berries and cocoa. But complex as it may be, their prices remain simple and justifiable. An industrial style gem in a lively, diverse neighborhood.