New to neighbourhood: Toronto’s best new cafés from 2015

Toronto’s coffee scene has experienced a surge of newcomers this year, from east to west. It’s one of the things I love about the city. You can find some of the coolest cafés in odd areas and quiet corners, and busy neighbourhoods alike. From old, rundown spaces revitalized, to beautiful environments that make grabbing a cup of Joe a luxurious pastime, here are my favourite cafés that opened in 2015.

Neo Coffee Bar

1
161 Frederick St, Toronto, ON M5A 4P3

Neo Coffee Bar was the apple of Toronto’s eye in 2015 (at least on Instragram). Slinging latte art at its finest (from swan, to bear, to heart designs), this café had patrons whipping out their iPhones and snapping quintessential #instacoffee shots. They’re praised for their Kyoto matcha latte and Japan pastries like cake rolls and choux crème, made with organic ingredients. Every month, Neo offers a new single origin roast from locals around the world like Coffee Libre from South Korea and Parlor Coffee from Brooklyn. Also on offer are sandwiches made with baguettes from Blackbird Baking bakery in Kensington.

Maman

2
100 King St W, Toronto, ON M5X 1B1

This SoHo-born café and bakery opened a Toronto location in 2015, much to the delight of its Financial District patrons. Like a Parisian home, the decor is darling. Escape from the office and come relax with a cup of freshly brewed espresso, or cool down with an ice cream espresso floater. Start your day with a healthy breakfast like a yogurt parfait, come by for lunch items like sandwiches, soups and salads, indulge in baked French treats, or unwind with a cocktail after work. Open during the workweek from early morning to night, and on Saturdays for brunch only.

Quantum Coffee

3
460 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1L7

Grab your morning coffee from this ultra-chic café at the corner of King and Spadina. Orders are taken from one side of the room (skip the line with their mobile app) and picked up from the other. Their menu has all the essentials for coffee enthusiasts, from Americanos to lattes, and specials like the crème brûlée cappuccino. Also on offer: teas and tea lattes, plus organic cold-pressed juices by Greenhouse Juice. A few seats are available by the window, with more in the lounge area in the back (perfect space for freelancers, but sometimes occupied by private or public events).

The Walton

4
607 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B5

The Walton is a flash back in time, like a scene from Titanic. From brown lounge couches and tables, to beautiful chinaware, to cream-coloured walls – a gaze through the window and into this quaint interior will stop you in your tracks. It’s a great space to get inspiration for some writing or escape the daily hustle and bustle. Grab a latte, tea, or coffee with a choice delicacy (chocolate almond-bread pudding, anyone?). Stop by at dusk for an intriguing happy-hour cocktail (with names like Coster’s Lost Wallet), or opt for a little wine and cheese, or beer and charcuterie.

Cacao 70

5
28 Gristmill Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4

Warning: Chocolate lovers may drool and faint when their order arrives. Cacao 70, a Montreal-bred dessert café, opened its doors in Toronto’s Distillery District this year. Enjoy all things chocolate, like a variety of hot cocoas: dark 53.8% Belgian, white 31% French Cream, fruity and spicy 75% Tanzania, and more. They also have espresso, Americano, macchiato, cappuccino, café au lait, and a few choices of tea. For a mix of espresso and hot chocolate, try the Moka. Stop by for brunch, or bask in desserts that require sweatpants (for me at least), like cheesecakes, chocolate pizzas, crepes, and waffles.

Field Trip Cafe

6
3 Westmoreland, Toronto, ON M6H 2Z6

Putting a modern spin on the elementary-school classroom, Field Trip Café warrants a visit for its nostalgic scene alone. Picture this: a green chalkboard-wall menu, architectural lighting, and plenty of space for a work session. Revisit childhood memories with adult benefits like enjoying an Americano or a pint (yup, this Bloorcourt café has a great selection of craft beers in cans and on draft). Coffee beans come from Toronto artisan roaster Propeller and organic, fair-trade tea is also on offer. Plus, with their focus on farm, fresh ingredients, they have healthy eats like vegan sandwiches and house-made soups.

Boxcar Social

7
4 Boulton Ave, Toronto, ON M4M 2J3

What used to be a bowling alley, then a library, then a furniture store, is now Boxcar Social. Walking into this coffee bar in Riverside is like entering another world. The wood furniture creates a barn-like feel – super cozy and mellow. From the bar hails a menu of coffee (from a rotation of roasters outside of Toronto), wine, beer and whisky. Their concept is to prepare and serve drinks in its purest form (i.e. no cocktail mixes). A slow bar offers pour-over coffee and tasting flights, and, at night, turns into a charcuterie and cheese prep station.

Dark Horse Bakery

8
120 Geary Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 4H1

An ugly garage turned beautiful café; Dark Horse Espresso’s industrial space on Geary Avenue is probably the coolest transformative space yet. The fleurs-de-lis stenciled concrete floor will set your Instagram on fleek. Home to Dark Horse’s bakery, everything is made fresh (everything from cookies and vegan muffins to pizza and baguette sandwiches). During the summer, the garage door opens and the smell of baked goodies invites passersby in. The space is small with very few seats. It makes for a great spot to grab an espresso and some fresh eats, take an Insta-shot and conquer the day.

Sumach Espresso

9
118 Sumach St, Toronto, ON M5A 3J9

Named for its location at the corner of Sumach and Shuter Streets, you’d never guess that Sumach Espresso used to be a convenient store. Drawings on the wall show what Corktown used to look like in the 1930s and the subway wall tiles also add a retro-meets-modern touch. The menu is written on a brown paper scroll, including all the basics, from espresso to Americano, hot chocolate to latte (plus, a winter special, with items like apple cider and eggnog latte). Peckish? Sumach also hosts pastries and daily sandwiches, including a rather drool-worthy grilled cheese.

Reunion Island

10
385 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2N1

But first, let me take a “selfeet.” Floor titles that spell out “COFFEE” at its entrance, Reunion Island is an Instagram-worthy spot for those #FromWhereIStand shots – and a clever way to show off your outfit. This Roncesvalles café has a minimalistic vibe and a rigorous focus on coffee. Enjoy a cup of espresso, Americano, or tea to stay or go. Watch the Chemex masters behind the counter craft you the perfect pour-over or, on a chilly day, opt for one of the most thoughtfully rendered chai tea lattes in the city.

Salads shouldn’t be boring. Thankfully, Toronto has some delicious choices. Whether you’re looking for meaty options or full-on vegetarian and vegan, these are the best salad bars to hit up in the 6 – from hefty portions to unique and nutritionally packed ingredients. Warning: you’ll become a salad convert in no time. [Salad at Salus Fresh Foods. Photo by Parisima Baha]
It can be hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the hustle-bustle of Toronto city life. Juice bars are the perfect solution, offering quick grab-and-go options that are nutritious and tasty. Whether you’re looking to go on a cold-pressed juice cleanse, need a quick, filling smoothie or healthy snacks and lunch options, these top juice bars have you covered. [Photo courtesy of Greenhouse Juice]
Turmeric lattes, also known as golden milk, started becoming a trend in 2016, continued well into 2017, and now they are a regular item on the menu of many cafés in Toronto. Not only is it a healthy drink, it’s also very soothing. With a nutty base, some spicy and many unique variations, here’s where you’ll find this hot, or iced, drink in the 6. [Turmeric latte at OFFSITE Photo by Parisima Baha] 
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