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Best of Toronto

The Best Cafes in Toronto (East Side)

Posted by Erinn Beth Langille / November 29, 2013

Cafes TorontoThe best cafes in Toronto on the east side could be attributed with starting the city's third wave of coffee shop culture thanks to the likes of Mercury, Dark Horse and Merchants of Green. These early movers and shakers didn't just caffeinate the neighbourhood, they changed the way we understood the whole coffee experience, providing information, education, and relaxation for customers.

Now with a bevy of great cafes east of Yonge St. it's hard to choose where to go, but hop on a bike, zoom along on the streetcar, or hit the pavement and let the myriad of options dazzle your taste buds. You won't be sorry, just a little jittery?

Here are the best cafes in Toronto east of Yonge St.

See also:

The best cafes in Toronto (West Side)
The best late night cafes in Toronto
The best cafes for free WiFi in Toronto
The best Americano in Toronto
The best cappuccino in Toronto
The best cafe patios in Toronto
The best coffee roasters in Toronto

Te Aro

Te Aro

Leslieville’s Te Aro takes top spot. Why? They emphatically source the best green coffee beans of the tropics, roast them with precision into the varying blends of their award winning Pilot coffee (which a number of the other top coffee shops use), train baristas to pull damn fine espresso and top it all off with inspired latte art. The cafe is spacious, engaging and clean, the staff friendly and focused, making devotees of east enders with every delicious drop. More »

Fahrenheit Coffee

Fahrenheit Coffee

Fahrenheit coffee could make a coffee convert out of anyone. Not only does owner Sameer Mohamed make a perfect cappuccino, he also teaches barista and brewing classes so others can too. The clean, white lines and on-the-go efficiency of this east side cafe make a deceptively mute backdrop to the actual celebratory atmosphere at Fahrenheit. Be treated to one of pastry chef Nesreen Mroneh’s fabulous baked goods as Mohamed, or one of his skilled baristas, guides your coffee palate into higher education. More »

Rooster Coffee House

Rooster Coffee House

The relaxed ‘living-room’ energy of Rooster Coffee House first won the hearts of Riverdale residents at its first location, then, when they opened their second, those George Brown students nearby on King. Sink into one of the big leather armchairs or in sunny weather relax on the patio while the chatty baristas make up a coffee using their signature Rooster blend of Pilot roasters beans, keeping things warm and fuzzy and thoroughly caffeinated. More »

De Mello Palheta

De Mello Palheta

Seems we sure are glad brothers Felix and Won Cha decided to bring their Melbourne-taught coffee knowledge to indie-parched Yonge and Eglinton, where they opened their eponymous cafe De Mella Palheta earlier this year. They made fast fans of the neighbourhood with their in-house roasted blends and single origin beans and wildly tasty baked goods by pastry chef Danielle DeRoo. Siphons are ready to go, or have the passionate staff whip up some impressive latte art. More »

Dark Horse Espresso Bar

Dark Horse Espresso Bar

Can we even call Dark Horse Coffee the dark horse anymore? This mini-coffee empire has four champion locations across Toronto, but it’s the east end original just over the Don that remains the soulful engine of this beast. Linger with a French Press or get a sumptuous latte to go. They may not roast their own beans or make their own baked goods, but they’ve got that certain je ne c’est quoi that keeps the customers coming back in droves. More »

Mercury Espresso

Mercury Espresso

Mercury Espresso Bar is like your grumpy older brother, the one you learn everything from and secretly adore. Except the love for Mercury isn’t so secret. This stalwart of the Toronto coffee scene has had dedicated regulars since the beginning. They are all about control. Weighing doses, carefully selecting the best beans from fair-trade purveyors, even waiting to take your order until you get off the damn phone. But it’s all in the service of a great cup, and boy, do they make one. More »

Crema Coffee (Danforth)

Crema Coffee (Danforth)

Crema Coffee, and its owner Geoff Polci, had the right idea. Why pick one neighbourhood when you can satisfy many? Still indie at heart, the Danforth location of this booming business quickly stepped in to be the coffee shop for discerning palates in Greektown. Try a bright and balanced coffee made with love by the barista, or one of the savoury snacks that has everyone talking. The vibe is spirited yet calm, making for a great retreat on the busy street. More »

Black Canary Espresso Bar

Black Canary Espresso Bar

Rebranding the Black Canary Espresso Bar on Sherbourne a couple years back was a bold move. They had a loyal clientele addicted to the espresso-based drinks, especially the decadent Nutellacino (that’s a cappuccino made with Nutella, duh). But it remained a big success. So it doesn’t take superhero to venture why owners Luthie Lampa and Mark Gringas would open a second location in the Silver Snail comic shop at Yonge and Dundas, where there was nary an indie coffee shop in sight. More »

Merchants of Green

Merchants of Green

Tucked away on Matilda St in an old industrial building lies Merchants of Green. The sprawling cafe feels like a mix between a coffee plantation, with bags of beans and equipment everywhere, the smell of freshly roasted and poured-over beans wafting in the air, and a backpackers hostel, with its mismatch furniture, donated books and resident cat. Underneath the quirky charm is a deep commitment to green coffee practices and education, which you can taste in the variety of fantastic drinks on offer. More »

Lazy Daisy's Cafe

Lazy Daisy's Cafe

Lazy Daisy's Cafe does right by the baby booming neighbourhood of Coxwell and Gerrard. It’s friendly, sweet and appeasing. The full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, composted of locally sources ingredients and prepared in-house with care, could satiate even the crankiest family member. And I bet residents agree, serving this great coffee in the otherwise barren territory doesn’t just make you a success, it makes you a saint. More »

Jet Fuel

Jet Fuel

Say what you want about the ever-polemic Jet Fuel in Cabbagetown, but the place has been around since 1992, before some of the newer baristas were even a gleam in their mother’s eye. And how is it they made their mark? Solid, strong espresso, made long and tall in pint glasses with milk, fresh squeezed lemonade and other wicked libations, and a handful of baked goods that sell out before 10am. I suggest you respect your elders. More »

Discussion

50 Comments

Mark / November 29, 2013 at 04:01 pm
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Definitely agree with the #1 on this list.
CaligulaJones / November 29, 2013 at 04:51 pm
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Can't beat the scones at CakeTown on Danforth, south side, just west of Woodbine.
EastEndErin / November 29, 2013 at 04:58 pm
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No F'Coffee? You should try it! BEST cookies and cappuccino ever. Weird hours though.
Ginge / November 29, 2013 at 06:37 pm
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How about Bandit Coffee on Gerrard just West of Woodbine. Serves pilot coffee and serves amazing scones.
Jessie / November 29, 2013 at 06:47 pm
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It's sort of become like a coffee mafia!! Te Aro vs. Dark Horse (detour). Given the fact that TeAro (pilot) is providing the top 3 spots on the list. I am a coffee lover and have had the best experiences at Mercury and Fahrenheit on the east side. So I wonder how accurate these "best of" lists are. I've never had an amazing experience at TeAro. They're decent. Definitely not number 1 though. In my opinion.
Cheryl / November 29, 2013 at 08:24 pm
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A pox on Jet Fuel. Terrible arrogant service. They treat their customers like crap. (Unless you are a bike messenger)
Kam / November 29, 2013 at 09:15 pm
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Agree with Sheryl. Jet Fuel is terrible. Burnt coffee, shit service, and dirty. Dirty doesn't mean cool! espresso shots shouldn't come with residue all over the cup and float around your dink.

Fahrenheit is trying to hard in terms of ambiance. Guy behind the counter taking the orders...just relax a bit.
Kitty / November 30, 2013 at 09:20 am
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You forgot to mention Red Rocket Coffee! By far my favourite east end coffee shop. 😊 Great coffee and a whole lot of yummy snacks to choose from -all made in house by their talented chefs!
Connie / November 30, 2013 at 09:34 am
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Oh man, this is http://redrocketcoffee.com/a slap in the face to Red Rocket Coffee--they have three awesome locations on the east side

Mad Dog Cafe is excellent too https://mobile.twitter.com/MadDogCafe
WesR / November 30, 2013 at 09:54 am
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Redline on queen and parliament makes pretty bad ass coffee as well
Aaron / November 30, 2013 at 10:03 am
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Can't believe that The Red Rocket has been left out. Obviously others agree. Make sure to check in with them, as they rule supremely.

And no Tango on Queen East either? Wow... supremely underwhelming list.
Meg / November 30, 2013 at 10:11 am
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Pls proofread. Lazy Daisy's, f ex, to ignore several more technical errors: The full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, composted [!] of locally sources [!] ingredients and prepared in-house..
bishskate / November 30, 2013 at 10:14 am
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No Red Rocket? Was this list made with no research?
Greg / November 30, 2013 at 10:23 am
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Glad to see de Mello on here. Best coffee spot in Yonge & Eg
J*Town / November 30, 2013 at 11:14 am
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Some good spots on the list but Red Rocket Coffee and the One in the Only (Cafe) are my favourites in the East End.
Sara / November 30, 2013 at 11:20 am
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So glad to see Black Canary on here. They make the best latte in town. No sugar or flavour needed, just excellent as is. Though the Nutella sure is a nice treat every once in a while. Also have excellent gluten free muffins. Plus, super friendly service!
Kristoffer Pedlar / November 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm
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I agree with a lot of this list, but Red Rocket has to be one of the Best East side spots. It really should have been included. Far too much Queen Street bias on this list.
Joe / November 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm
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How is Red Rocket missing from this list? Friendly staff, great coffee and delicious food.
Eszter c / November 30, 2013 at 01:01 pm
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Grinder on Gerrard is also another undermined little shop. Great supporter of the community in terms of artisans, kids, businesses and especially dog owners. They have biscuits waiting inside for any owners passing by with their furry friends.
BIrd / November 30, 2013 at 01:22 pm
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Broadview Espresso deserves a mention. Great coffee and excellent service.
GoBacktoLiberty / November 30, 2013 at 03:21 pm
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Who's in charge and who's writing this shite! Like really. Are places selected based on the latest tweets and do you only visit places after you've seen pictures posted on Instagram?? You should try exploring the city a little more. You ARE posting about the 'east end' that's quite far and I guess that's new territory for anyone who just moved here from the burbs.
Clive replying to a comment from Eszter c / November 30, 2013 at 03:39 pm
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I agree about Grindr on Main and Gerrard. Supporter of the community; not to be confused with the other Grinder you see on the phones of those in the village ;)

No RedRocket? No BullDog? or is it Mad Dog over near Jarvis in the village? This list is not inclusive

evan / November 30, 2013 at 03:39 pm
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"Who's in charge and who's writing this shite! Like really."

As discussed in every best-of list comments, it's reader voted. Also this list is pretty fantastic. The top 6 really does cover it. The order is a popularity contest but those are the best shops in the east. I'm glad to see Black Canary on there too, they've come a long way and do a great job.
Richard / November 30, 2013 at 03:43 pm
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Love the Rooster,

one of the best in the city....( both locations )

Kelsey / November 30, 2013 at 05:04 pm
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I can't believe you guys missed Redline. duh.
Beatrix / November 30, 2013 at 08:02 pm
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Nice list! Also, Circus Coffee near Woodbine and Danforth! And agree that Red Rocket should be high on the list. It rules!
East Ender / November 30, 2013 at 09:47 pm
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I am not a coffee snob (in a pinch I will drink 7-11 coffee) but I refuse to drink coffee from Crema. It has a weird almost minty taste that I can't stand. I echo a lot of the other people, my favourite go to is Red Rocket and The One and the Only has the best latte I have had in the city.
Pluckysod / December 1, 2013 at 12:32 am
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The east end extends quite a bit farther than Coxwell and north of the Danforth! Ever heard of The Beach? Scarborough? Of the eleven cafes you mention, four are west of the Don. Sheeesh! You should come out this way more often.
Oxley / December 1, 2013 at 03:30 pm
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I have a secret crush on Johnny at Red Rocket (Danforth).
in the hood / December 1, 2013 at 04:19 pm
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MAD DOG!! Reviving the neighbourhood with great coffee and to die for eggs benny
the lemur replying to a comment from Oxley / December 1, 2013 at 05:05 pm
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If he was Gay, you'd have a chance.
Josh / December 1, 2013 at 07:30 pm
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Pretty sure Bulldog should be left off this list, if only for the slavish way he treats his staff.
Mary C / December 1, 2013 at 08:02 pm
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Super sad to see Red Rocket left off this list. They rock the East side. No, wait, they just rock. Awesome coffee, incredible house-baked treats and a kid-friendly attitude. The East extends well past the "cool" stretch of Danforth.
Lola / December 2, 2013 at 09:23 am
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Red Rocket
The One and Only
Broadview Espresso
Three fantastic places missing from the list.
Amanda / December 2, 2013 at 11:04 am
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Man, if only all the people whining about Red Rocket not being on the list had actually VOTED FOR THEM. Because, in case you didn't know, that's how these lists are made, not because BlogTO writers have some kind of bias.

Dark Horse and Rooster are phenomenal, glad to see them so high up on the list.
Phil / December 2, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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I can't beleive you left out what has to be the friendliest coziest cafe in Toronto - Circus Coffee in Woodbine Heights, just north of Danforth and Woodbine!
CoffeCrazy! / December 3, 2013 at 01:38 pm
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Red Rocket should have made this list for sure.
PeePoo / December 3, 2013 at 06:56 pm
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Crema has no business being on this list. Dull, drab, pfft.
LMC / December 6, 2013 at 02:14 pm
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So many Red Rocket boosters here - love the service and the food, but the espresso drinks have never been great. This is about the coffee, no? Te Aro, Mercury and Rooster are always great in my books.
Taliba / December 14, 2013 at 10:08 am
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Pretty please, will you define the East End where it actually is: east of the Don River.
"East of Yonge" is not the East End, it's downtown, it's Midtown, it's not EAST for pete's sake.

Agree with the general uproar over Red Rocket being missing. Also: Grinders, Bandit.
CNM / December 17, 2013 at 10:31 am
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Rise espresso is my #1

http://www.risecafe.ca/
Bart Grace / January 11, 2014 at 05:02 pm
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You forgot Academy Cafe on the Esplanade betw Berkeley (Parliament) and Princess Sts. (Sherbourne). Espresso bar. Highly recommended.
dnocuz / January 12, 2014 at 04:03 pm
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Crema? Seriously?? Their coffee is disgusting!! No mention of Broadview Espresso? They're one of the best in the east end and always consistent.
You know / February 22, 2014 at 08:13 am
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Jules Café provides for 6 of these cafes and they changed their coffee to their own personalized coffee, its amazing! Why aren't they up there?
Tristan / May 5, 2014 at 01:14 pm
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Where's a good place to relax and read a novel?
Coutinho / May 23, 2014 at 02:03 pm
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Hi there My buddy and I normally do a random event every month where we either buy food for a shelter or like surprise the first 50 people in line for example, by saying the coffee is on us. If there's any coffee shops out there who wouldn't mind us coming in for like 2 hours or so and buying coffees for everyone, please email me.
We'd love to do this and can pay upfront as well if required. Thank You
perfumes guilt / October 8, 2014 at 11:03 am
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squintz replying to a comment from Pluckysod / November 7, 2014 at 11:55 am
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East End refers to the east end of the old city of Toronto. Scarborough is Scarborough. Above Danforth is the former borough of East York. So technically all of your complaints are incorrect.
squintz replying to a comment from squintz / November 7, 2014 at 11:58 am
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* East of the Don Valley specifically for those claiming Parliament or Sherbourne as "east end."
m / December 2, 2014 at 09:34 am
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The Rooster on Broadview, overlooking Riverdale Park is awesome - great coffees, treats and staff! There's The Perc at Logan and Withrow which is also awesome!

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