The top 10 new cafes in Toronto for 2015 (so far)
Toronto is a pretty well caffeinated city already, with tons of standout java options on both sides of Yonge St. - but if the recent glut of new cafes is any indication, our thirst for a good roast is far from being fully sated. Some do house-roasted coffee or homemade baked goods, while others turn into bars after hours - but all are worthy additions to their respective neighbourhoods.
Here are my picks for the top new cafes in Toronto this year (so far.)
The Common (Annex)
With two existing Common locations already serving as neighbourhood hubs on College and in Bloor West Village, this brand-new Bloor and Brunswick location completed the trio this spring. As with the others, the atmosphere is convivial, the drinks are offered with no posted menu, and the Harmony-milk lattes are super-rich (and delicious).
This B.C.-based coffee shop chain and roastery is known around the west coast - and internationally - for its prize-winning espresso blends, which feature a careful mix of up to 14 beans each. At their tiny second-storey cafe in the Financial District, you can try tasting flights of their espressos, or sample still others as drips and pour-overs.
Remarkable Bean (Leslieville)
After two successful decades in the Beaches, the brother-sister team behind Remarkable Bean decided to expand westward this spring with a second roastery-cafe. Their organic, fair-trade bean blends are roasted up fresh daily, and their baked goods (including their legendary savoury breakfast muffins) are all-butter and all-delicious.
As the easternmost stretches of King St. emerge from construction-induced slumber to prepare for new condos and the Pan Am Games, this brand-new cafe - the brother to Thor on Bathurst St. - is ready to take up the charge. In addition to doing coffee and baked goods, they also offer fresh-pressed juice and, later in the day, a lineup of draft beers.
Tenille Clarke, a barista who trained at Pilot and honed her skills at Crafted, struck out on her own with this brand-new spot at Dundas and Gladstone. It's small, casual and homey - plus, they make a great cortado, and you can grab a Flagship muffin without going all the way over to Parkdale.
Tony Cavaliere fixed espresso machines for roughly two decades before he started working one full-time at his tiny new cafe at Oakwood and Rogers. Head here for traditional espresso drinks, authentic Nonna-made Italian baked goods, and a community-hub vibe.
Cafe Novo (Kensington)
A rent hike forced this High Park favourite out of the area, but it looks like the west side's spot is Kensington's gain. The all-white space is open and peaceful, a nice contrast to the hubbub of the neighbourhood, and their array of snacks and healthy lunches will keep visitors of all kinds happy.
Black Cat Espresso Bar
There's plenty of cafe competition at College and Dufferin, but Black Cat proprietor Justin Manuel, who overhauled the cafe with his own two hands before opening this past winter, sets the spot apart through some exceptional housemade baked goods, including cinnamon buns, shortbreads, and breakfast sandwiches.
Cafe by day, bar by night, this new Dundas West spot from the owners of Northwood has been busy 'round the clock since opening this spring. They offer baked goods from the likes of Tempered Room and offer pour-overs and their own in-house cold brew - but we'd suggest sticking around for the cocktail menu.
Bruce Domoney parlayed years of guitar-restoration experience into this Bloordale cafe and repair shop, where staff are pulling shots and steaming lattes for customers when they're not doing setups on their six-strings.
Did I miss any? Leave your picks for new cafes in the comments.
Photo of Northern Belle by Jesse Milns.
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