Toronto is a large city, and as busy as it can get, sometimes you need to wind down and escape. Cafes are popular, calm, yet warm places to sit down and sip a delicious cup of coffee or tea. If you are looking for a place to hang out with friends, study, or indulge in your favourite latte, here are some must-visit cafes.
In Scarborough, this cafe serves authentic Japanese drinks and treats. It is owned by Yoko Ameri, who is originally from Japan and immigrated to Toronto in 2000. She spent years as a patissier at Toronto restaurant Lily 86 (now closed). One of her most popular menu items is a tofu cheesecake.
The cafe offers hot and cold drinks, lunch and breakfast options, and if you have a sweet tooth, there are crepes and brownies. Japanese brunch foods include the onigiri lunch set with two onigiris (rice balls), a bowl of warm soup, and omurice, a Japanese-style egg fried rice.
The interior is very clean, with white walls and grey accents, and places to sit and study or catch up with friends.
Drinks to try: Matcha latte or black sesame latte
Food/snacks to try: Onigiri or omurice
Website Link: https://www.cafewanoka.ca/
Rustle and Still
Located in the heart of Koreatown, the green and light wood interior makes the café resemble an indoor patio. The entrance is not obvious but a sign directs you up a few steps to the front door.
The menu includes Vietnamese-style coffee and a variety of banh mi sandwiches as well as bo kho (beef brisket). Rustle and Still is known for its signature drinks, matcha pandan latte and sweet purple potato latte. Both have customers come back for more, and taking colorful shots for their Instagram profiles.
Because the cafe is small, avoid peak hours if you want to grab a seat. You can also get take-out.
Drinks to try: Matcha pandan latte or sweet purple potato latte
Food/snacks to try: Any of the banh mi sandwiches
Recently opened in February, this Korean cafe serves hot caffeinated drinks and croffles, a combination of croissants and waffles. These unique treats are featured at the entrance window and tend to capture the eyes of passersby.
There are eight flavors of croffles and all are made to order. The signature offering is brown sugar cheese. The sweetness from the brown sugar syrup mixes with the saltiness of grated cheese and they complement each other well. The croffle itself is moderately sweet with a crispy exterior.
New and small, the café is a great place to meet. Plus, you just might get addicted to the croffles.
Drinks to try: Sparkling strawberry or blueberry
Foods/Snacks to try: Brown sugar cheese croffle
Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/dessertfox.croffles/
(no website available at the time)
Velvet Sunrise Coffee Roasters
Formerly Cozy Coffee Co. the renamed Velvet Sunrise Roasters is located in downtown Toronto. A bright, sunlit interior beckons cheerily to customers as they walk in.
Smoothies, coffee, tea, and different milks are available as well as juices including ginger shots. Baked goods are displayed on the counter near the cashier. One of the more popular drinks is a latte topped with Lucky Charms cereal.
A wide variety of healthier items make it a good choice when looking for something nutritious and different.
Drink to try: Cereal milk latte
Foods/snack to try: Raspberry white chocolate blondie
Website Link: https://velvetsunrise.ca/
Lait Night Cafe
Attracting night owls, Lait Night Cafe is near Kensington Market in Chinatown. Open from Sundays to Thursdays from 5 p.m. – 3 a.m. and Fridays to Saturdays from 3 p.m. -4 a.m., this Japanese café lives up to its name.
The interior has a subdued, late night vibe with navy blue walls, chairs in a matching tone, and grey floor tiles. There are quite a few seating options including a nook near the back for a large group. It is an excellent space for studying, working on your laptop and recharging your phone. Don’t worry if that assignment is due at 11:59 p.m., there is free wifi, but you must buy a drink or snack.
On the menu are tea lattes with authentic Japanese flavors such as hojicha, matcha, and more. Japanese snacks include ichigo daifuku (a strawberry covered with red beans and soft mochi), dango (a sweet or savory glutinous snack), and coffee jelly.
Drinks to try: Uji matcha or kuromitsu hojicha tea lattes
Foods/snacks to try: ichigo daifuku
Website link: https://www.laitnight.com/