9 Toronto cafes with awesome homemade baked goods
There's no doubt that Toronto has an impressive amount of high-quality coffee shops to choose from. For most cafes, the main focus is on perfecting their espresso-based drinks. What's surprising though, is how common it is for many of these cafes to outsource their baked goods rather than make their own - all from a handful of the same local Toronto bakeries like Circles and Squares, Queen B Pastry, Bunners and Desmond & Beatrice.
From a business standpoint, focusing on your core offering (coffee) and leaving the baked goods to other local "experts" does make a lot of sense. On the other hand, many of these cafes are outsourcing their baked goods from a handful of the same bakeries. This approach has resulted most of these coffee shops all showcasing similar displays of baked goods that over time becomes predictable.
Fortunately, several cafes have made the decision to offer both a great-tasting cup of joe and an assortment of in-house baked goods to go along with it. Here's a list of nine great coffee shops that are worth visiting for what's coming out of their ovens.
It's practically impossible to resist ordering a baked good at Bulldog to go along with your cappuccino. A visit to the original Granby street location in the morning will be rewarded with scents of freshly baked butter croissants. Their enormous biscotti are the perfect dipping companion, and their sweet and savoury bars are dangerously addictive. Must-try: The trail mix square, nutella-filled biscotti.
The Remarkable Bean
If providing in-store roasted coffee beans isn't enough to lure you to this Beaches coffee shop, then consider the fact that their baked goods are just as outstanding as their coffee. With free WiFi, lots of seating, and friendly staff, it's an ideal spot to spend several hours studying or doing work at. Must try: Savoury muffins (sweet chili, red pepper and cream cheese, broccoli and cheddar, or blue cheese and pear).
Steps away from High Park station, Café Novo is the quintessential neighbourhood café with fair-trade coffee, in-house baked treats, and two outdoor patios with a gorgeous view of High Park. The open kitchen allows customers to watch the staff as they bake, and everything tastes like it came straight out of your mother's oven. Must try: Raspberry oat bar, olive oil chocolate chip cookie.
The Grind House
Quiet and unassuming, the Grind House in Kensington Market offers a few star items that help it stand out. While some of their food items are locally sourced, their in-house made cookies, scones, and savoury pies are delicious and worth the special visit. Must-try: S'more cookie, white chocolate raspberry scone.
Manic has been serving some of the best coffee in Toronto since 2007. In addition to offering a variety of muffins, croissants, scones, and giant cookies (vegan option available), Manic has also recently extended their store hours for the summer to coincide with their new in-house made gelato. Must-try: hazelnut croissant, pink peppercorn ginger cookie.
Moonbean pretty much has it all - great coffee, tea, delicious food and unique baked goods. Be prepared to spend some time perusing their impressive display of cakes, cookies, biscotti, muffins, and rugelach. The only thing that stands in the way of spending an entire day at Moonbean Café is their lack of free WiFi - a good thing considering how busy this place gets. Must-try: Gluten-free fruit round, carob chip drop cookie.
Despite serving great coffee and offering homemade almond milk, the cookies and raw desserts made in-house alone are worth the special visit to Mylk Uncookies. The cookies made in-house (fair warning: some are locally sourced) are among some of the most unique in flavour and texture in Toronto. Mylk Uncookies has also recently begun serving vegan brunch during the weekends. Must-try: Empowered cookie, chocolate peanut butter cookie.
Hidden on a quiet residential street near Kensington, Café Unwind is unassuming and authentic. Co-owner Anna bakes everything from scratch, and that includes sweet and savoury muffins and a variety of cookies - all which change on a daily basis. The muffins are large and dense with fresh ingredients based on Anna's inspiratio n for the day. For those looking for something more substantial, Café Unwind also carries sandwiches and fresh salads. Must-try: Fresh fruit muffins.
F'Coffee's modest selection of muffins and cookies are more than enough to satisfy customers looking for a sweet treat to go with their coffee. The "f'cookies" sell out quickly and are so popular that customers have been known to wait a full 20 minutes for them to finish baking. F'Coffee also offers a selection of beer on tap, free WiFi, made-to-order sandwiches, and a great outdoor patio in the back. Note that F'Coffee is closed during the evenings and on Sundays. Must-try: F'cookies.
Writing by Alison Ku
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