The Best Cafes in Toronto (East Side)
The 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.
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
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 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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, 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 »
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
Bulldog’s Stuart Ross considers his cafe a frontrunner in Toronto’s third wave of coffee shops, and like Jet Fuel, has its share of criticism over barista attitude. He certainly has put in his time cultivating the taste buds of the neighbourhood at Church and Granby with his special seven blend of beans and signature Bulldog and Blanco Bulldog drinks. Who cares if you get a little bark with your (delicious) bite. More »