140 Yonge St., Old Toronto
The Dineen Building is an 1897 Renaissance Revival beauty that now houses the flagship outpost of this popular independent café. Dineen makes a solid matcha latte and macchiato, but really it’s the building itself that’s worth a visit. Double-height ceilings, mosaic-tiled floors, and plenty of natural light and seating means that a quick cortado can turn into a few hours reading and soaking in the warmth next to one of the floor-to-ceiling windows.
St. Lawrence Market
93 Front St. E., St. Lawrence
Over 120 food vendors selling artisan cheeses, exotic fruits and vegetables, Canadian wines (yes, they exist), just-caught fish, spices, and prepared grab-and-go goods call this gigantic redbrick building next to Toronto’s Inner Harbor home. Aside from all the edible items, there are also stalls selling handmade crafts and jewelry, and it’s as much a place to shop as a community hub—check the website for the program of cooking classes, workshops, and lectures throughout the year.
Witches Brew Kombucha (Closed)
160 Baldwin St., Kensington Market
In Kensington Market, Kombucha taproom The Witches Brew uses ancient fermentation techniques to create their live drinks—all small batch, served in biodegradable cups or reusable glass bottles with names like Divine Intervention and Embrace Me. Your body will feel better after a glass of their thoughtfully crafted blends infused with cardamom, hibiscus, and ginger. Trust.
1413 Dundas St. W., West Queen West
Tucana Coffee is the passion project of Tenille Clark, who spent years prior perfecting her coffee craft. A tiny space with a pretty, blush interior and cool, Cuban-inspired tropical wallpaper, Tucana is a spot to grab a seat on one of the stools, enjoy a cortado and catch up with a friend, not the place to set up shop with your laptop all day. The selection of regular and vegan baked goods encourage a second cup of carefully crafted coffee, usually brewed by Clark herself.
256 Crawford St., Dundas West
Tampered Press is one of those cute spots outfitted with book-lined shelves and board games, while mismatched chairs and stools surround tables of various sizes. All the treats are organic (the coconut loaf and macaroons are standouts). This café is a family business, run primarily by Caitlyn Zannoni, who also happens to be a nutritionist and hosts talks and seminars on healthy living on Sundays for regulars in the neighborhood.
Sam James Coffee
917 Queen St. W., West Queen West
Founder Sam James is an award-winning barista, so it's natural you'd expect that the coffee here is nothing short of sensational. However, the real draw of this tiny, minimalist space remains the grown-up versions of throwback sweet treats like Pop Tarts and Twinkies, all made in the back by pastry chef Lindsey Gazel of LindseyBakes. Instead of tables and chairs, a long wall-side bench envelopes the space, encouraging conversation and a sense of community between drinkers, though lingering all day with a laptop is politely discouraged.
740 Queen St. W., West Queen West
Greenhouse Juice is a bit of a well-kept secret, but for those in the know, this wellness mecca merits a daily drop-in for smoothies and cold-pressed juice. With as many of the ingredients as possible sourced from local farms (with a particular demand for the misshapen but no less nutritious veggies typically rejected by food markets), the leftover pulp from the cold press is used as compost, and all drinks come in recycled glass bottles. Drop in for probiotic tonics, chia-seed-boosted hydrators, homemade nut milks, and a selection of cleanse options.
28 Kensington Ave, Kensington Market
This beautiful, Scandinavian-style café centers around the Swedish tradition of fika—which essentially means taking a break through the day for a coffee and ideally sweet snack. The interior is an oasis of Scandi calm—all bleached wood and greenery. (There's even a sweet nook lined with old books.) The menu is a healthy but deeply delicious mix of Nordic granola with stewed fruit, banana on toast, and signature Swedish treats like cinnamon and cardamom buns, alongside inventive riffs on classics, like lavender-infused brownies and chamomile cookies.
De Mello Palheta
2489 Yonge St., Yonge & Eglinton
This micro-roastery and coffee joint is named for Portuguese explorer Francisco de Mello Palheta, who introduced the coffee bean to Brazil. It’s an eclectic, jumbled sort of space with communal tables, graffitied walls, and seriously chic coffee accessories.
Dark Horse Espresso Bar
215 Spadina Ave., Chinatown
Big communal tables laden with newspapers and magazines make Dark Horse Espresso an equally ideal match for the solo coffee drinker as it is for a group of friends catching up over espresso and baked treats. The pared-back industrial café is soaked in light and a great spot to work from for the day.
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