Golden Cafe Toronto
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Golden Cafe

Golden Cafe is hidden away inside a converted former uniform factory at the end of a small street off Dundas St. West on the outskirts of Roncesvalles Village. The building is also home to businesses and offices like Ninutik , Rent Frock Repeat , Rocket Science VFX , +tongtong and SOMA's cocoa bean lab , among a few others.

Catering mostly to those who work in the building and those who live nearby, this cafe is named after the street it's on, although the name can also be interpreted different ways (its logo is the cross section of an apple - think golden delicious). Decor also reflects its name, with gold accents and quirky gold-coloured knick knacks on display.

Golden Cafe

This is actually an ideal hangout spot: it's a gorgeous open space full of natural light thanks to skylights; there's a communal wood table and benches made by Klar.Wowk to sit at, plus comfy chairs and a buttery leather sofa (not to mention free WiFi); and most importantly, the food and drink prepared by co-owners Rochelle Basen and Ilana Speigel are incredibly tasty.

Basen and Speigel are childhood friends; they grew up together and are practically family. Both have food backgrounds - they both used to work at Dough on the Danforth - but are mostly self-taught.

Speigel wrote her thesis project on food history and cultural identity through food, and worked a four-month stint on an ice cream farm (!!) outside of Grenoble, France, cooking for the crew there. Basen learned about French pastry when the two lived in Halifax, and her mother owns a food catering business, so in a way, she's following in her footsteps.

Golden Cafe

The cash-only cafe uses Phil & Sebastian beans for its espresso-based drinks (espresso/Americano, $2.75; cappuccino, $3.50; latte, $4.25) and Sloane for its loose leaf teas ($2.50). Beverages can be sweetened with maple syrup from Ninutik, which is also used in some of the baked goods (they may also collaborate with SOMA soon too).

Golden Cafe

A variety of made-in-house goodies are served up for breakfast and lunch on weekdays (the two tend to have catering gigs on weekends), including muffins and lil' frittatas for $3 apiece and delicious dilly buns ($3.50 each), which are savoury rolls that contain dill, cheddar and onion. Everything is made here from scratch - even the bread.

Golden Cafe

Both gals share kitchen duties, although they admit that each of them plays to their strengths; Speigel is not a big fan of bananas, so Basen makes the banana bread ($2.50) - one of their top sellers - and does most of the pastry work and baking. Because Basen is vegetarian, Speigel does most of the cooking.

Golden Cafe

They try to have a pizza ($4/slice), plus a salad, something veggie and a carb-y option available each day. When we visit, the carb-y option (I will always choose carbs) is mac'n'cheese ($8). The cheesy pasta shells are topped with crunchy breadcrumbs made from the focaccia they bake, and the whole thing is served on an adorable fish-shaped plate.

Golden Cafe

For dessert, there's a delectable chocolate chunk (with both dark and milk chocolate) and sea salt cookie ($2), not to mention the gorgeous-looking homemade pies baked daily. Everything I try here is right-up-my-alley comfort food.

Golden Cafe

Jars of preserves ($4.50/$8/$15) and bags of granola ($20/500g bag) all made on the premises by Basen and Speigel are also for sale - my friend snatches up a bag of the granola immediately after sampling it. The preserves are made with in-season local fruit from 100km Foods .

Coffee talks and tea tastings have already been held in this space, but the two plan to host more events and workshops in the future, including pie-baking classes and dinner pop-ups featuring local talent.

Golden Cafe

Those who venture here will be rewarded with the amazing wafting aromas of whatever Golden is offering up that day (and bonus smells if people are working with maple syrup or roasting cocoa beans elsewhere in the building) - not to mention an all around satisfying find where you'd least expect it. "We like being off the beaten track," says Basen.

Photos by Jesse Milns.


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