Cocos Toronto

Coco's

COVID-19 Updates

Coco's is open for dine-in and takeout. Masks are mandatory and hand sanitizer is at the counter. 

Coco's is a coffee shop where each pastry and baked good is prettier than the next, not to mention the extravagantly-decorated birthday cakes which should be ordered months in advance.

The Little Italy cafe at College and Beatrice used to be Empire Espresso before a regular of the coffee shop for the last decade, Nicole Bilyea took it over to sell her sweet creations. 

Cocos TorontoBilyea started frequenting the cafe down the street from her ever since moving from Salt Spring Island in B.C. 10 years ago. It was back on the Gulf Island that Bilyea got her start baking in another coffee shop.

The self-taught baker worked as a pastry chef for Anthony Rose of Rose and Sons before jumping at the chance to open up shop here when it became available last summer.

Cocos TorontoPatches of kitschy wallpaper and antique milk glass lamps give the space a similar feel to the Madonna Inn in California, with almost everything coming from Bilyea's own apartment or her grandmother's house.
Cocos Toronto

The front window has low built-in benches while a few tables are up the steps to the back of the shop. Bilyea and her partner, Liam Murray read each other their vows under that very doorway this past September. 

Cocos Toronto

The cakes, which can be preordered and customized for $60 each, look just as whimsical as the interiors. Choose the design and flavour between milk and cookies, pink champagne, lemon meringue or candy bar. Bilyea is already booked up for the year though, so plan ahead. 

Cocos Toronto

Even if you can't get your hands on a cake of your own anytime soon, the rest of the baked goods kept behind the counter are worth a taste.

Cocos Toronto

The cassata siciliana ($6.25) is one that feels straight out of Alice in Wonderland with rum-soaked sponge cake, chocolate chip ricotta filling, marzipan and candied fruit. It's tough to find this traditional cake from Sicily in miniature size like this, especially in Toronto. 

Cocos Toronto

Bilyea adds a slight twist to a classic shortbread cookie ($2.75) with the Neapolitan bar. Rows of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla each offer a unique flavour of crumbly shortbread. 

Cocos TorontoAlthough not quite as colorful as the rest of the sweets, the blackberry banana and pineapple upside-down vegan bundt cakes ($5) are what would bring me back into the shop. Hardpressed to choose between the two, I'd also more than likely leave with them both. 

Cocos TorontoThe pineapple upside-down is gooey with crusty corners for a nice consistency while the banana cake is heavy on the banana to more than make up for the lack of egg. 

Cocos TorontoThe massive chocolate chip cookies ($3.50) come nearly as big as your head and are covered in a generous sprinkling of mini chips. 

Cocos TorontoThere are also a few offerings exclusive to the weekends like the cinnamon buns ($4.50). Taking a bite, I'm brought back to my gran's house eating homemade sticky buns fresh out of the oven. You know it's going to be good by the gooey mess left behind on the plate. Cocos Toronto

The Battenberg cake ($6.25) is another that's only around on the weekend. The traditional British sponge cake is covered in marzipan and has a colourful checkered pattern of rose and pistachio. 

Cocos Toronto

A breakfast sandwich ($7) with bacon, egg, whole cheddar and sweet hot honey butter on an angel biscuit is a best-seller. The mix of honey and hot sauce brings a bit of zing to the otherwise standard sandwich. 

Cocos Toronto

Espresso-based coffees are also made with beans from Toronto's Java Roasters. The chocolatey, hazelnut-tasting Man on Mars is the main roast but they also offer a custom Blueberry Muffin blend. 

Cocos Toronto

A warm latte or macchiato from the La Marzocco espresso machine is the perfect partner to one of the sweet treats. 

Cocos Toronto

The cable knit ($6), vanilla malt latte with warm spices and brown sugar, is a specialty coffee on the drink list. The taste is extremely comforting, sort of like a cable knit sweater. 

Cocos TorontoThere are also a few colder options including a made in-house pear and ginger lemonade ($4.25). 

Cocos Toronto

Photos by

Fareen Karim


Coco's

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