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Cafe Novo

Posted by Amanda / Posted on April 16, 2010

Cafe NovoCafe Novo just opened today, right atop High Park station, facing the park. The location, which has gone from a convenience store, to a Latin bar, to most recently a New Zealand themed pub (the Kiwi-Kick), is perfect for a cafe. The cafe's arrival is welcomed, as the neighbourhood has been needing one for decades.

When I walk in, Elizabeth and Sadie really do have their job cut out for them. It's 7:30 in the morning and, despite being an early riser, it's not easy for me to be a beaming bubble of joy at this time of day. They take the challenge with stride, greeting me with glowing cheer while filling someone's order.

cafe novo menuElizabeth makes me a press coffee ($1.75) using their fair trade organic Planet Bean while Sadie, a pastry chef by profession, fills me in on all the freshly baked goods up for grabs -- including steaming hot pumpkin vanilla muffins and the cookie of the month (meringues), from which all proceeds go to charity.

cupcakesEverything is organic or fair trade, and most of the goods are either vegan, or gluten-free, or both. I get an almond butter chocolate chip cookie ($1.50) and head over to the back to enjoy my treat.

cafe novo high parkThe cafe is beautiful. I'm blown away. The dark wood and light green walls are lit up by the park-facing, full-wall window. When it's nice outside they roll up the window to let the sun shine through.

There's a large kitchen behind the coffee counter where Sadie will bake fresh goods twice a day, and a small menu might come in the fullness of time.

cafe novo torontoI love the size of the tables, the cozy little chairs, the board games and the huge amount of space between the tables. I'm used to cafes cramming me into corners, especially in this neck of the woods, but instead I've got room to sprawl out.

I bite into my cookie. It's chewy at first and then crumbles richly in my mouth. It's a sensational texture. The almond really comes through and is kicked up with a strong hit of vanilla. The scattering of sweet, buttery, milk chocolate chips melt lusciously on my tongue.

I sip my brew. The press coffee is full-bodied and delightfully grainy in taste, though smooth in texture. I'm usually an espresso person, but this has me converted.

Cafe NovoAs for options, they have mild, medium, and bold press coffee, decaf and regular espresso, and an admirable selection of tea from Tealish. They have the standard soy milk, cream, and 2% and are thinking of adding almond milk to the roster. Having so far been unable to find a cafe that has almond milk, my fingers are crossed.

elizabeth and sadieThe girls welcome their customers with a sincere joy that simply pours over the counter. It's obviously contagious as everyone who comes in leaves with a pronounced bounce in their step. The girls even run around the counter to help strollers up the stairs.

Their patio, which wraps around the corner, is large and is only waiting on the city for the permit to come through before it'll be up in full swing.

Cafe NovoThis is a beautiful stop on the way to the park, on the way to the subway, or as a final destination itself. I'm excited to finally have a cafe to call my own where I can enjoy a morning cup of joe before hopping down the stairs to the subway and squeezing into the sardine can that is the Toronto transit system.

As evidence of my new-found love for Cafe Novo, I only leave to go get my computer, come right back, and settle in to study.

Cafe Novo is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day but Sunday, when it opens at 9 a.m. It's closed Wednesdays, and extended hours are to come.



Anne DeCunha / April 16, 2010 at 08:33 pm
I have visited and loved the cafe! Great atmosphere, wonderful location, sincere, hardworking and friendly girls, and I agree with everything you have reported - I feel it will do very well because the location is well suited, especially when the patio opens! I'll be back for sure, for the scrumptious desserts and coffee!
Lisa / April 16, 2010 at 08:53 pm
My husband and I had been following the Cafe Novo blog leading up to their opening since we were very excited to have such a groovy-sounding cafe opening up around the corner. We were two of their first customers this morning and were not disappointed in the least. Sadie and Elizabeth were good enough to suggest their fave drinks to us and we sampled one of each. Both were scrumptious! We will definitely be frequent customers.
Allison / April 16, 2010 at 09:33 pm
Congrats to Cafe Novo! It's wonderful to have a cafe in the city that has taken into consideration the growing number of vegan and/or gluten-free Torontonians! There are not many coffee shops where we can enjoy both a soy latte AND a freshly baked muffin. Looking forward to great things from this place!
Lainey / April 16, 2010 at 11:29 pm
Cafe Novo is such a refreshing place to be in Toronto--even the washrooms are clean enough to eat off of (and where else in Toronto can you say THAT?!), and it's true--you really can feel the love pouring from Elizabeth and Sadie as they fill your order. I absolutely love the place and can't wait to spend many an hour studying in those amazingly comfy wicker chairs near the fireplace/people watching on the bench in the summer. Amazing place to go!
Matt / April 17, 2010 at 11:15 am
I love Cafe Novo! I've been one of their blog followers also, living just around the corner and came in as promised on opening morning. The vanilla pumpkin muffins are delicious and the lattes creamy!
Congrats to these girls for opening up this wonderful little cafe! I sincerely hope it does exceedingly well.
Amanda / April 17, 2010 at 11:22 am
I went in again today, as an update, and got another coffee--this time dark roast--as well as a freshly baked walnut ricotta muffin (very savoury! And their muffins are a steal at $1.75).

It was absolutely bustling today! Very happy for them, it looks like they'll do just fine. :)
5andman / April 17, 2010 at 04:34 pm
To add, the location was last a Pita/Shwarma resto for a short period.
Long overdue in that area! Surprised it's taken so long!
I'll definitely drop by for an expresso (though Coffee Tree is my favourite) from time to time to enjoy the scenery.
mondayjane / April 17, 2010 at 05:33 pm
Lovely - the photo of the girls is adorable, they look so sweet and proud. It's not in my neck of the woods, but our next trip to High Park will include a stop at Cafe Novo for sure. <br> <br>Pumpkin vanilla muffins? Um, yes please.
Jo / April 17, 2010 at 05:59 pm
Does the venerable old Grenadier Cafe not qualify as a comfortable place for coffee and abit of nosh suddenly ?
Amanda / April 17, 2010 at 06:00 pm

Jo, you're right and I must apologize--it is a cafe in High Park.

That being said, without going into a discussion about the quality of the cafe itself, many High Park residents reportedly will walk to Crema over in the Junction rather than to the Grenadier Cafe. I know I've made the trek.

Nonetheless I made a mistake by forgetting it.
Amy / April 17, 2010 at 09:27 pm
would love to try their coffee, before hit to High Park and enjoy Cherry Blossom on the upcoming week.
Jon / April 18, 2010 at 07:25 pm
I stopped by today on my way to High Park. The place is really nice, as are the girls. Their coffee is also very good. I will definitely be back soon. Good luck to them!
Tim / April 18, 2010 at 09:57 pm
I have to say, that's the first business at that location that I'm inclined to actually go into and spend some time. :-)

Best of luck - and hope to visit soon!
over her / April 18, 2010 at 11:08 pm
Stopped in today after walking through the cherry blossoms of High Park. Great way to end the day. Tea, cappuccino, cookies and a nice atmosphere for some weary feet.
TOgirl / April 19, 2010 at 11:19 am
Hmmm…Some comments:

1. No non-fat milk-only 1%
2. Long wait times-I ended up waiting for my latte for 7 minutes.
3. Expensive. I am ready to pay $5 for a latte, but it so far only Starb and Dark Horse are worth the price.
4. Lack of food. For someone who watches their carbs and sugar intake, the place has literally nothing. Would appreciate some salads and proteins, and some breakfast options too! Oatmeal and yogurt anyone?
5. Am I the only person in the area who works 9-5? Seriously, how is Café Novo planning to make money? They close at 5!

Overall, the idea of booze-free coffee shop on that corner is not very wise. There was a bar there for at least 10 years, and, aside from a the owner's personality, it was a success. There is only one bar in the area now, and it can hardly accommodate everyone who want a beer on a summer evening. I word of advise-get LLBO license and start serving wine/beer/food.

amanda replying to a comment from TOgirl / April 19, 2010 at 11:25 am
hey TOgirl,

so I stop in daily now, and know that their milk issue is getting sorted out--they went through what they thought would last a week in two days, and have been running out to loblaws like madwomen with one car between them and the shop bustling way above their expetations in order to find it.

They're just the two of them right now, with their family and friends coming in on weekends to help. They're just about to hire, and plan on making wait times less, the patio open, and hours longer (especially on weekends) soon enough. Right now its just two women who get up at 4am and finish work at 5pm, only to go out and buy more milk, bake more, etc.

Regarding 'real food' and liquor--you may have a point. :) Maybe they'll look into that! I know right now not even a full week in, they're far from ready for it, but eventually it could be. :)
TOgirl replying to a comment from amanda / April 19, 2010 at 12:12 pm
Hey Amanda, and thanks for your reply. You are making great points, but I am looking at the situation from the consumer's standpoint. Someone who comes in the café shouldn't be concerned that the owners ran out of milk, or are too new, or too busy. $5 coffees call for exceptional customer service and exceptional products.

It looks like the two ladies who run the café are doing it for the fun of it, and not to turn any profit.

Another thought… High Park is full of Eastern Europeans, and is very different from, say, Kensington Market's crowd. Everything vegan, fair-trade, and organic is not so crucial for them. Just saying...
amanda replying to a comment from TOgirl / April 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm
of course, no problem. ;)

re: eastern european...--You're right, except the fact their lineups are long in itself means that there is business. I'm a regular now, as are many others I recognize, so there obviously is demand for it, even if not from the eastern european crowd. The fact they're bustling also means they likely are turning a profit.

re: vegan, organic, etc.--Sadie is vegan herself. If their values lie in vegan, organic, fair trade, then it makes sense for their business to refelct that. Generally, even if its not what you 'need' from a place, you're willing to get a great coffee for 1.75 whether its fair trade or not. If it IS what you require in a coffee shop, then you can get it there too.

re:shouldnt have to worry about.. true and good point, my only reason for mentioning it is that it means they can only improve with experience. As it is they've altered the delivery dates and amounts for their milk etc to avoid such an issue again, and are hoping to hire a pastry chef to help them deal with the demand for food, workers to extend their hours, etc. If it's already permanently deterred you, it's their loss and you have every right to feel how you do, but so long as they learn from their mistake it hopefully wont deter future customers.
amanda replying to a comment from TOgirl / April 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm
gee I sound like I work for them or something. Sorry, I just take an avid interest--as I mention in my review, I've never had a cafe to call my own. -_-' sorry guys, I do try to be unbiased, they've just really captured my heart.
TOgirl replying to a comment from amanda / April 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm
And I probably sound like a complete a-hole, so my apologies. I am very biased by working in consumer-centric marketing
Elizabeth replying to a comment from TOgirl / April 19, 2010 at 12:37 pm
Hi TOGirl - just wanted to address some of your concerns.
We're very sorry you didn't find the drinks and service up to the price.
Regarding the no fat milk, we did a lot of testing prior to making the decision to only go as low at 1%, and found none of the skim organic milks make great lattes.
I do apologize for the wait time, did you come by on Sunday afternoon? We found ourselves quite busy!
Our $4 lattes are priced slightly higher than cafes that don't offer organic milk or espresso - organic milk is just over double the cost of non-organic but we feel it's important enough to not skimp and go cheap.
About the food, we have always envisioned a cafe / patisserie environment. So many cafes try to do too many things at once, and something ends up giving. We don't want the coffee or baked goods to suffer. We are always open to suggestions however, please do feel free to emails us with yours.
The current hours are set to give us an idea of when we should be open - hence why we plan to extend them for summer once the patio is up and running.
While it's an amazingly fun job, we definitely need to turn a profit to stay open and ensuring we are serving the area when it calls for it is a concern of ours.

We did look into the LLBO, however the requirements are very demanding, and would change the dynamic of the cafe to more of a restaurant slash bar which isn't what we want to offer. With booze must come a full food menu, which in turn means a larger kitchen, chefs, restrictions on the patio (no dogs).

Hopefully we haven't deterred you as Amanda said, and will see you back soon.
Asha / April 19, 2010 at 03:11 pm
I disagree with the idea that Cafe Novo needs to serve alcohol or food, or be anything other than what it is: a coffee shop. The Starbucks down the street is always hopping, which tells me that there is plenty of demand for just coffee shop fare on that stretch of Bloor.
Besides, there are many, many pubs and restos within five minutes' walk, for those who want to drink alcohol or eat.

The opening of Cafe Novo has been the single most cheerful, positive thing that has happened on that block in the five years I've lived in the neighbourhood. I wish the two owners all the best...they have absolutely the right idea.

And p.s. I'm Eastern European and I'm all about the fair-trade coffee. :)
bah-humbug replying to a comment from TOgirl / April 19, 2010 at 03:59 pm
Starbucks worth $5??
TO Girl you can't be a serious connoisseur of coffee if you put starbucks on the top of your list, unless your referring to their clover press.
Jessica / April 20, 2010 at 02:07 pm
Stopped by this place the other day after a lovely hike through High Park and was really impressed. The only thing I foresee being a problem is the counter is so close to the entrance, I'm not sure what they're going to do with the lines once people start crowding in...
Still though, the place is absolutely gorgeous. I loved the set-up, the colours, everything. It has such an open feeling - so sunny and peaceful. Really well done on the atmosphere.
Also, for tea-lovers: they've got a tempting selection of teas and made one of the nicest tea lattes I've had in a while! I will definitely be bringing friends back. Good luck girls!
breton / April 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm
As a vegan moving to bloor and high park on Saturday, I am so delighted that Cafe Novo has opened! I'm so happy that soy milk is on the sugar/milk bar and your customers don't even need to ask for it! Thanks for opening and good luck!!
emmay / May 18, 2010 at 10:59 am
I was in Cafe Novo on Sunday afternoon this past weekend - for over 2 hours i think. Sadie, Elizabeth and Alex were extremely genuine and welcoming. I had to bring in my leaf blower with me, and it didn't even phase them. I'm pretty sure that's a first for cafe owners everywhere. And again, if they see this, thanks folks! I hope that the last time garden power tools have to occupy your gorgeous space.
Elizabeth / May 23, 2010 at 09:08 pm
Emmay - you're more than welcome! Glad you enjoyed the space, and hope to see you back soon.
jaja / May 24, 2010 at 06:24 pm
As a vegan living in this neighbourhood, I'm so excited to try this place out! And my boyfriend is Eastern European AND vegan, so there's no need to stereotype that Eastern Europeans aren't interested in veganism and consuming organic and fair trade products.
Dinheiro Fácil / January 7, 2011 at 02:06 am
Então como é? escreves temas deveras engraçados no teu blogue....
jessica rubinstein / January 25, 2011 at 01:34 pm
I went to cafe novo the other day and the service wasn't that great, the girl behind the counter was moody and rude(for some reason she didn't feel a need to make eye contact or even say hi).
the place was dirty, people were mixing up clean with dirty spoons and tables and floors looked as if they had not been cleaned in a few weeks.
this place just depressed me overall. It was completely dead-no one came in for the few hours i was in there with my laptop. not good!
The mint green walls and the decor reminded me of my bubba's basement from the 50s.
I will stick to starbucks-thanks!
Sandman replying to a comment from jessica rubinstein / January 25, 2011 at 04:22 pm
@jessica rubinstein You must work for Starbucks?
jessica rubinstein / January 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm
no i don't work for starbucks, i think that was a little passive aggressive to say that. do you work for cafe novo? .I'm just disapointed with the quality. I thought a bakeshop would have more to offer than two cookies and an old muffin. I'm sorry but the quality just isn't there. The cookie tasted like the bag it came in.
I don't like the decor, but to each there own. I just live in the area, and like supporting the locals but like i said, i'll be sticking to starbucks:)
have a better day !
Amelie / January 26, 2011 at 01:11 pm
@Jessica - wow sounds like a bitter angry comment more than disappointment!
Dirty floors in winter when sidewalks are salted? Wonder why!
You sure you don't work for their competitors? I'm in there at least once a week and they've never had only one muffin and a couple cookies.
Grow a pair and let them know if something is off while you're there instead of anonymous angry ranting online.
Sandman replying to a comment from jessica rubinstein / January 26, 2011 at 01:36 pm
No, I don't work for Novo (see my previous post).
Maybe it's best if you stick to Starbucks until it's spring or summer. Then, maybe you'll be in a better mood.
mwb replying to a comment from jessica rubinstein / January 26, 2011 at 01:44 pm
I'm not sure I'd have eaten the bag. Particularly if I did not like the cookie.

My own experience with Cafe Novo is that it is cleaner than either of the Starbucks in the area (especially the Runnymede one) -- although I am not in there all the time, so maybe you were there during a rough patch. I know that I wouldn't spend a few hours in an environment that looked like it hadn't been cleaned in weeks, but to each their own. Ultimately, I'd choose any of the locals over Starbucks.

Have a better day.
Emma / January 27, 2011 at 08:35 pm
Just so everyone knows, the baked goods are baked fresh everyday and don't come in bags!
Lisa / January 28, 2011 at 10:13 am
I originally commented waaaaay back after my first visit to Cafe Novo when they had just opened. I am not a family member, friend or employee of any cafe in the area.

I'm happy to report that I'm still super impressed by the coffee, the baked goods, the ambience, and the witty banter of the owners and employees I've come to know by name. They make tasty, high quality food and drink that they clearly take pride in. I have been asked on numerous occasions if the coffee I ordered was to my liking. If there's ever a problem - and I've only had one problem the whole time they've been open - they are very receptive to feedback.

Cafe Novo is a place I look forward to stopping by every Saturday morning to just relax and enjoy a tasty treat.
jamie / February 4, 2011 at 10:32 pm
the service was fine, but didn't blow me away. The place was a bit plain and very very empty. I can see why people would say it seems like a basement, just a bit too grandma for my tastes.
the baked goods were just ok, i have had better at cherry bomb and wanda's pie in the sky. i am not sure if i would consider two plates of baked goods a bakery, but i guess these girls are still trying to feel there way through the business and working out some kinks.
good luck girls
Nancy / February 20, 2011 at 07:40 am
We stopped in yesterday to grab my daughter a green tea. The cafe looks very cute and inviting. The girl behind the counter was warm and welcoming. The Cherry Sakura tea my daughter selected smelled like heaven and tasted great. Although we didn't purchase any baked goods they looked good.
We may stop by next time we're in Toronto to visit my daughter and have another tea or coffee.
neil / March 3, 2011 at 05:58 pm
I decided to give this cafe another shot after mixing up my order the first day they opened.
It seems the service isn't any better, staff owners are ditzy and the coffee tasted bitter and over extracted. The space is always empty, except for the two people that are on their laptops. I would hesitate to call this place a bakery, a few plates of baked goods can't be considered a bakery. my wife who is french is insulted that they would use the word "patessierie" so loosely to describe themselves, and apparently this is an opinion shared by our neigbourhood as well. hopefully they can improve.
Michael replying to a comment from neil / March 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm
I must have missed the part on the sign that says it's a bakery.. One would assume your French wife knows what a patisserie is, but your comments suggest otherwise.

Great hot drinks and delicious snacks in an awesome atmosphere with friendly staff is a winner in my opinion. Although it helps if you base your opinions on what Cafe Novo actually is versus what YOU think it should be.

Also your assertion that it's always empty is a little flawed by your admission you've only been in there twice. I stop in almost every day and I respectfully disagree with every point you've made.

Keep up the good work Elizabeth and Sadie!
Mary Beth / March 5, 2011 at 04:06 pm
I've been a happy customer of Cafe Novo ever since they opened. Sometimes it's quiet, sometimes it's busy. Sometimes it rains outside and sometimes the sun shines. I love the coffee, the atmosphere and the sweets. It's one of the few places that serve organic milk and that makes me happy too!!
neil / March 7, 2011 at 08:18 am
To call yourself a "patesserie" in this city you are competing with such greats as patachou. My wife is a retired pastry chef. Therefore, i think what she considers a patesserie and your definition of a few cookies and two or three muffins is a little flawed. The baked goods aren't terrible at novo they just aren't patesserie material. The flavour is a bit lacking and quality. I do agree with an earlier response that the quality isn't there.

The nature of the service industry is that you have be open to critiques, it is not always going to be sunshine and puppies.

my opinion that it is empty is based on the fact that i live around the cornor and everytime i walk by with my dogs it's a bit of a ghost town -which is really too bad...

organic milk doesn't really matter when the actually product is as over extracted. It tasted horribly bitter i am sorry to say. The service was ditzy, and many of my neighbours have mentioned that. It had potential but the owners seemed disorganized and frazzled.
Rather than, getting all defensive, i don't see why the owners can't take this critique and improve upon it.
Good luck with it.
Trevor / March 7, 2011 at 10:16 am
'Many of my neighbors have mentioned that they are ditzy, but the place is a ghost town, no one ever goes.'

You can't have it both ways.
Lisa / March 7, 2011 at 11:03 am
Neil, please don't speak on behalf of "the neighbourhood" as I live here also and disagree with your some of your comments. As someone who also lives around the corner and frequently walks by the cafe... most of the seating can't be seen from outside. Because the counter is right inside the front door and most of the seating is at the back, I'm sometimes even surprised when I get my coffee at the front and go to find a seat... only to find the place packed back there! From the sound of your reviews, you've been into Cafe Novo twice. I don't think this qualifies you to say that it's always empty. I go at least once a week, and there are always other people there, coming and going. I think critiques are important, but if you don't want people to get defensive, you should maybe not make it so personal. Calling someone ditzy is not a critique - it's an insult.
Local / March 7, 2011 at 03:38 pm
Relax, people. Does everything have to turn personal? Just try to maintain some courtesy, and move on with everything else there is to do in life (most of which, I would wager, is more important than trading insults with strangers over ... a coffee shop?)
neil / March 8, 2011 at 10:58 am

well you disagree with some of my comments, which means i do make several valid points.
As for speaking for you, i am not, but don't speak for me either.
The place lacked on product quality and choice. The coffee was overextracted and tasted bitter.
The fact that i gave this place another shot after it opened to see if they worked out any bumps in the road means that i was open to this place.
As for it being empty-well empty storefronts are unfortunate, but it speaks volumes about how lacking this place is. Moreover, many people have commented that it is "dead" and that the only people in the place are the two girls in the picture. pity.
Sandman replying to a comment from neil / March 8, 2011 at 02:15 pm
Interesting ... I'm at Cafe Novo right now.

Plenty of people here and looks like a steady stream of people buying coffee (take out), misc., etc..

Myself, enjoying a latte.
Laura / March 29, 2011 at 04:13 pm
I guess the best way to describe this place is grimmy and not the way you would describe the Common. i went in with my friend today and was served my latte in a dirty cup. Just me but this would taste a lot better and would be inclined to come back had my cup not been dirty.
Sandman replying to a comment from Laura / March 29, 2011 at 09:55 pm
If true. Why didn't you just ask for another cup?
Hmmmmm ......
laura / March 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm
if i have to ask for a clean cup....then there is a big problem.
isn't clean cutlery and dishes just a given?
i have to ask for a clean cup?

why is maintaining basic sanitary conditions so difficult?
maybe next time i'll just get a take out cup.
Dog Whisperer / April 12, 2011 at 04:49 pm
Yikes...people sound "catty" at this magic may not work.

But I do plan to pop in for a coffee!
mike / April 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm
I'm a regular customer. Anyone considering visiting this place should take the haters' comments with a grain of salt. It's definitely not "empty" or a "ghost town." They make a damn fine drinks, provide tasty snacks, for a good price and in a great location.

Some people just need to wake up and smell the coffee. Getting offended that they call themselves a patisserie? And this is from your retired wife? sounds like she still has some growing up. Complaining about a dirty cup? Honey if you knew what went on in the kitchens at your favourite restaurants or in the back room of your favourite grocery store, you'd never eat again. Mistakes happen and I think it's a pretty safe bet that if you'd pointed it out to the owners they would have happily replaced your drink.
laura / April 28, 2011 at 01:49 pm
mike, yes i am complaining about a dirty cup! i would ask for a new cup had the blonde haired girl not roll her eyes and act like she was doing me a favour for opening up a sad attempt at a "organic" coffee shop.
Betty / April 28, 2011 at 02:06 pm
Let me guess - you've opened a successful organic cafe so you're in a position to judge? They've done a wonderful job with the spot.
Also - no blonde works there, I'm there everyday.
Lame indeed!
samuel / May 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm
the last time i was at cafe novo was when they opened up last spring. i ordered the high tea plate which was a bit lacking, a boiled egg and some veggies reminds me of some odds and ends from my fridge. I guess i was expecting more. This time, my friend and I headed to the cafe after a long walk in the park. i was sad to see that on a bright sunny day and patio they failed to draw a crowd. we sat around and even with tons and tons of people, only a few people came in. The coffee was ok, if not a bit bitter and the baked goods were a bit bland. I am big fan of bunners and cherry bomb so bar is a high that regard and ghey would have to step it up to be considered a patesserie like some greats in this city. some positives, nice patio.
jessica / June 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm
i got agree with some of the comments. I not sure where the patisserie is in here but when i walked in all i saw was two cinnamon buns and three mini cupcakes....did i miss something???
i bought a cinnamon bun-tasted dry . I have to add that i was in novo before and had their biscotti tasted a bit stale and might of come from a box-or maybe i was eating the box?
Anne / July 26, 2011 at 08:31 pm
I've been to Cafe Novo a number of times now and I've drawn the conclusion that, overall, the cafe falls into the middle of the scale of great to awful. I'll list what, in my opinion, they do well and what they can improve on.

Atmosphere and Decor - it's not necessarily my choice of decor but I find it relaxing and inviting. The colours are bright and airy and the piano is a great touch! I also love the window bench; no matter what time of year I've visited, I've enjoyed sitting at the window watching the going-ons in the neighbourhood.

Cleanliness - in the couple dozen times that I've visited Cafe Novo, it has been clean. From the tables to the bathrooms, the cafe seems to be kept neat and tidy. At least the areas that the customers frequent (this will be explained in my "areas of improvement).

Community Awareness & Support - it amazes me how many local businesses do not support other local businesses or events. Cafe Novo always has literature of events and such. They also support local artists by featuring selected pieces on the cafe walls.

Charity - I have to admit, the last couple of times I've been in, I haven't noticed or looked for their charity program but I hope it is. I loved the idea that the sale of some of their baked goods went to local charities. A big kudos to this!

Beverage Selection - I think they have a decent selection of beverages, any of which could be made hot or cold. Sounds pretty standard for a cafe but I've been to many other cafes in the city that do not have selection or frown upon 'special requests'. I've never had a problem finding a drink that I want and enjoy!

Now, for the negative. Let me say that anything I say is purely constructive criticism and not meant to insult anyone.

Areas of Improvement:
Baked Goods - I'd like to say that I get a baked item every time I'm in the cafe but I can't. I've tried the dessert selection more than I should have since every time previous, I've been disappointed. Overall I would say the items are usually bland or dry and sometimes both. The names of the baked goods are always so intriguing but they never satisfy. I suggest that they look into different recipes or hire someone with baking experience.

Customer Service/Professionalism - this is a tricky one. For the most part, the people at Cafe Novo are super nice. And, like I mentioned earlier, they are patient and polite when dealing with any special requests. However, it's the lack of professionalism that is more striking. I've seen employees sitting on the counters, reading books and eating at the cash desk and bakers preparing food without wearing the proper gear (ie. hairnet). It's strange that such relaxed standards would be kept for the employees and kitchen area when the public area is kept so clean. Just because customers can't go behind the counters, it doesn't mean we don't see the difference in attention to hygiene.

Food Selection - this sort of goes hand-in-hand with my point about the baked goods. I think I'd spend a lot more money at the cafe if there was more food selection and/or improved the standard of their current selection. I know it's not a restaurant so they are limited in what they can offer, but there are a number of cafes in the city that meet this need without crossing over to the restaurant title.

That's all of my suggestions. I do feel that Cafe Novo could be a huge success if they addressed some basic issues. I think that the constructive criticism that others have posted are all valid and shouldn't be dismissed just because the comments may seem personal or lack tact. Show the critics (including me!) that you've heard what they've said and made the changes needed to be a success. Prove them wrong by being around for years to come!

I hope you find this helpful. Best of luck!
#Gednick[Nespresso] / September 13, 2011 at 08:02 am
Salut les amis,

J'ai trouvé des capsules Nespresso pas cher, 0,09 € / pcs.
Pas de café, vous pouvez donc utiliser le café que vous aimez supermarché

Ich habe für Nespresso Kapseln billig, 0,09 € / Stück gefunden.
Kein Kaffee, so können Sie im Supermarkt Kaffee, die Sie gerne

I have found for Nespresso capsules cheap, 0.09 € / pcs.
No coffee, so you can use the supermarket coffee that you like ..

Capsulas Nespresso
#Gednick[Nespresso] / September 13, 2011 at 08:22 am
Salut les amis,

J'ai trouvé des capsules Nespresso pas cher, 0,09 € / pcs.
Pas de café, vous pouvez donc utiliser le café que vous aimez supermarché

Ich habe für Nespresso Kapseln billig, 0,09 € / Stück gefunden.
Kein Kaffee, so können Sie im Supermarkt Kaffee, die Sie gerne

I have found for Nespresso capsules cheap, 0.09 € / pcs.
No coffee, so you can use the supermarket coffee that you like ..

#Gednick[Nespresso] / September 13, 2011 at 11:19 am
Salut les amis,

J'ai trouvé des capsules Nespresso pas cher, 0,09 € / pcs.
Pas de café, vous pouvez donc utiliser le café que vous aimez supermarché

Ich habe für Nespresso Kapseln billig, 0,09 € / Stück gefunden.
Kein Kaffee, so können Sie im Supermarkt Kaffee, die Sie gerne

I have found for Nespresso capsules cheap, 0.09 € / pcs.
No coffee, so you can use the supermarket coffee that you like ..

capsule Nespresso
Auri / March 20, 2013 at 08:38 pm
I went into Cafe Novo for a cookie and they asked me for $1.85 for a cookie the size of an Oreo. Overpriced for the size. I wanted to go local but went to the Ststbucks instead. I hate when businesses don't price right and treat customers like idiots. I'll be back for the front window and the coffee but not for the baked goods. They are not pastry chef caliber. It would be better not to mention this in the original post as it heightens people's expectations and inevitably leads to disappointment.
NativeTorontonianAl / May 1, 2014 at 03:51 pm
It's a nice place with potential since it opened, but one time they had very very stale biscotti. You could build a house with it. On top of that, when I told them nicely and asked to have it replaced with an alternative selection, the people working there, especially this guy, looked at me like I was such a bad person and I was being an inconvenience. That is NOT customer service. That's the other thing, there are some judgemental and miserable people working here who assume and conclude so much about others, and I'm talking especially about some of the younger staff at cafe novo.
Iliana / February 25, 2015 at 04:57 pm
A bit from our short & sweet visit:

"Cafe Novo is not too focused on breakfast food, however there is a large selection of coffee drinks and teas. "
"This cafe is about meeting local people and being social. The atmosphere will put you in the right mood. It is a very friendly place with a piano in the corner, stucco walls, weathered wooden tables and a chess board in the middle. "
sara / March 22, 2015 at 09:13 am
They've closed this location and have moved downtown to Kensington Market

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