Cool cafés to find a flat white in Toronto

Coffee snobs revere this espresso-based drink from Down Under, which features a double shot of espresso combined with dense micro-foam milk for a rich and velvety texture. Big name coffee chains might be jumping on the trend, but Toronto’s’ indie coffee shops are still your best bet for an authentic version of this specialty drink. Here are a few cafés that get the flat white right.

Te Aro Coffee Inc

1
983 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1K2

Housed in a converted auto garage, this Leslieville coffee shop and roastery attracts a steady crowd of neighbourhood locals throughout the day. Owner Andy Wilkin originally hails from Wellington, New Zealand (legendary birth place of the flat white) and is responsible for introducing the velvety drink to many Torontonians. The flat white here is made with the café’s signature Big Bro espresso, a smooth full-bodied blend with rich notes of milk chocolate, toffee and fig. The café also offers a wide selection of pastries and lunch fare (sandwiches, soups and salads) and free Wi-Fi for laptop wielding workers.

Dineen Coffee

2
140, Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5C 1X6

In an area rife with chain stores and grab-and-go cafés, this elegant coffee house is a lovely spot to escape the fast-paced downtown grind. Housed in the historic Dineen Building at Yonge and Temperance, the beautiful interior features elaborate patterned tiles, floor-to-ceiling windows, majestic columns and plenty of red leather banquette seating. The ambiance alone is worth the trip but the flat white, made with the café’s signature Temperance Espresso Blend from Pig Iron Coffee, is sure to impress. The drink isn’t listed on the official menu but the baristas are happy to take requests.

White Squirrel Coffee Shop

3
907 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G5

This popular West Queen West coffee shop gets its name from the legendary albino squirrel that inhabits Trinity Bellwoods Park just across the street. The coffee here is almost as famous as the café’s namesake, as evidenced by the crowd of customers lined up outside the door on any given morning. Made with fair trade and organic espresso beans, the flat white is served in a short cup and delivers a rich and creamy consistency. There are tables and chairs on the upper level but we suggest taking your drink to go and enjoying a stroll through the nearby park.

Crafted

4
117 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z6

A spin off café from Leslieville institution Te Aro, this west end hangout attracts a hip crowd thanks to its prime location on the Ossington Strip. The inviting café features plenty of unique décor touches — barn board walls, Mason jar light fixtures and local artwork on the wall. Flat whites feature the house Big Bro espresso from Pilot Coffee Roasters and the velvety smooth drinks are always poured with artistic flair. Once you’ve finished Instagramming the intricate latte art, there are a variety of indie publications strewn about for a little light reading.

Kanga Foods Incorportated

5
65 Duncan St, Toronto, ON M5V 2C5

Aussie expats craving a taste of home can pair their caffeine hit with a savoury meat pie at this downtown pie shop. Owners Megan Chan and Erynn Mayes were inspired to open the Down Under themed snack bar after spending time living together in Australia. Visitors can wash down their handheld pies (filled with various meat and vegetable ingredients) with flat whites made with locally roasted beans from Propeller Coffee. The pint-sized shop doesn’t offer much in the way of seating (although there are a few bar stools) so plan on taking your food and drink to go.

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