Living in the GTA and spending lots of time in the city, I’m always on the lookout for the best coffee shops in Toronto. Sometimes I’m looking to work on my laptop for a few hours, transforming these cafes in Toronto into my office for the day.
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It’s possible that I’m wandering around downtown and looking for a cup of Joe on the go. Or I might be looking to rest my legs after exploring the city, taking a break in one of these cute Toronto cafes.
While I haven’t been to all of the independent coffee shops in Toronto, I’ve frequented quite a few. My ultimate goal is to list the best coffee shops in Toronto for every neighborhood. With that said, these are the best Toronto coffee shops to start your caffeinated journey.
I’ll keep adding to this list when I have more cafes to recommend. If you have a suggestion for me, please feel free to give a shout out to your favorite cafes in Toronto so I can check them out.
Balzac’s Coffee (Liberty Village)
Balzac’s Coffee (43 Hanna Ave #123) is one of the best coffee shops in Toronto, and definitely my favorite in Liberty Village. There’s no need to stop by the local Tim Hortons, Starbucks, or other chains when there’s a Balzac’s in the neighborhood.
The owner opened the very first Balzac’s Coffee over 25 years ago in Stratford, Ontario. She was inspired by a trip to Paris and wanted to open an authentic French cafe back home in Ontario. Now, there are 14 Balzac’s locations across Ontario, including three in Toronto.
Balzac’s Coffee has many vegan-friendly beverages that use a variety of plant-based milks. There’s always a great assortment, including almond, soy, oat, and even macadamia nut milk. You can also enjoy a vegan hot chocolate at Balzac’s if you choose a plant-based milk.
Sam James Coffee Bar (West Queen West)
Sam James Coffee Bar has five locations in Toronto, serving several neighborhoods in the city. It’s one of the best coffee shops in Toronto, and I visited their West Queen West location (917 Queen St W) across from Trinity Bellwoods Park.
There’s not a ton of space inside this coffee shop other than one longer bench, so I suggest taking your coffee to go. They serve their own locally roasted coffee beans and offer a menu featuring both hot and cold beverages. It’s a vegan-friendly space with plant-based milks, and they also offer vegan desserts by Tori’s Bakeshop at this location.
Jimmy’s Coffee (Fashion District)
Jimmy’s Coffee is one of Toronto’s best known independent coffee shops with eight locations across the city. I visited their first and original location (107 Portland) that’s inside an old house. You can’t miss the bright yellow door! While it might look fairly small from the entrance, there’s a back room with more seating and an outdoor patio (weather permitting). If you’re looking for more room to sit, there’s a second Jimmy’s coffee shop right across the street.
Jimmy’s Coffee is the place if you’re looking for notable and cool coffee shops in Toronto. I paired a cup of coffee with a vegan muffin, and I was delighted to see several plant-based treats in the display case. If you’re looking to get some work done in the city, Jimmy’s Coffee on Gerrard offers the most room as it spans three floors. The cafe in Kensington Market has an expansive patio, but this location is pretty popular.
Quantum Coffee (Fashion District)
Quantum Coffee (460 King St W) is a delightful coffee house for coffee lovers in Toronto. It’s a really cool Toronto cafe without tons of bells and whistles: they just serve really great coffee. You can see the menu from my photo above – they have simple espresso and brewed coffee beverages, as well as a couple of other drinks like tea and hot chocolate.
There’s always a great selection of plant-based milk, and the vibes here are very relaxed. While there’s a limited amount of seating at the front of the cafe, there’s a big separate room in the back with many places to sit. It’s one of my favorite laptop friendly coffee shops in Toronto because there are lots of outlets, too.
Strange Love Coffee (Fashion District)
Strange Love Coffee (101 Spadina Ave) is a really cute cafe in Toronto, although there’s very limited seating indoors. When I visited, it was a chilly winter day and all of the seats were full. It’s totally understandable because it’s a popular spot and one of the best coffee shops in Toronto. I had no issue ordering my coffee for takeaway in this case. If you’re looking to dine in, check out their second location on Queen Street West with more seating.
Aside from espresso beverages and coffee, Strange Love also has a breakfast and lunch menu. There are several vegan options on the menu, including avocado toast, chia pudding, breakfast hash, vegan chili, chickpea smash, a Moroccan bowl, and a vegan kale Caesar salad. Although I only ordered a coffee, I’d love to return for a meal sometime.
FIKA Cafe (Kensington Market)
FIKA Cafe (28 Kensington Ave) is one of the coziest and cutest coffee shops in Toronto inside a bright turquoise house in Kensington Market. The word “fika” is Swedish meaning, “coffee break” or “to go out for coffee”. It is a common practice in Sweden to invite friends to fika every day, which simply means enjoying coffee and a small bite to eat with them.
FIKA Cafe has hot and cold coffee beverages, as well as some small bites to eat. There is a carrot ginger vegan muffin on the menu, one gluten-free brownie, and several non-vegan desserts. I recommend ordering a flat white or cappuccino with soy or almond milk.
Dineen Coffee (Financial District)
Dineen Coffee is one of the best coffee shops in Toronto with three locations. I visited the original location in the historic Dineen Building (140 Yonge St). This one really make you feel like you’ve stepped into a movie. Not only is it elegantly designed, but it’s inside one of the oldest buildings in Toronto (a heritage property).
Naturally, it was bustling with tons of people when I visited, so I took my coffee to go. You can’t go wrong with any cup of your favorite coffee beverage, whether it’s a latte or a mocha. Dineen Coffee also offers tea and iced coffee beverages.
They also serve food and desserts, but I’m not sure if they’re vegan-friendly. Dineen Coffee is one of the best Toronto coffee shops, so make sure that you stop by as you roam around Toronto.
Versus Coffee (St. Lawrence)
Versus Coffee (70 Adelaide St E) is a cozy and cute coffee shop in Toronto, serving up rainbow lattes, iced espresso beverages, and hot drinks (cortado, cappuccino, flat white, and more). They have a spacious patio out front where you can sip your coffee and do some people watching.
They have a vegan-friendly small lunch menu including a bowl and a vegan marzipan toast. Their Instagram account is full of pictures featuring artfully prepared lattes, including some colorful ones, too.
Third Wave Coffee (St. Lawrence)
Third Wave Coffee (42 Church Street) offers some of the most delicious coffee that I’ve tasted in a while. They focus on sourcing sustainable coffee beans while raising awareness of social and environmental justice issues at the same time. Third Wave Coffee supports coffee farmers threatened by climate change, and they also ensure that the roast the best coffee beans for amazing tasting drinks.
There’s a small, cozy seating area with a beautiful mural painted across the wall. Third Wave Coffee strives to create a destination where you’ll want to stay a while. Choose from coffee and espresso beverages with a variety of plant-based milks (including oat milk).
The Common (Dovercourt Park)
The Common is one of the top independent coffee shops in Toronto with two locations, and I went to the one on Bloor (1028 Bloor St W). It’s a relatively big cafe in Toronto with open spaces that are rare in the city.
There are rows of church pews along one wall, and some smaller tables throughout the rest of the cafe. There’s no expansive posted menu here, just excellent coffee and espresso. It’s also a great place to get some work done, too.
The Good Neighbour Espresso Bar (Koreatown)
The Good Neighbour Espresso Bar has three outlets in Toronto, including the one that I visited in Koreatown (678 Bloor St W). There are rows of tables on either side of this Toronto cafe, and it’s a great place to get cozy with a cup of coffee and perhaps your laptop.
They have brewed coffee and several different espresso beverages featuring beans from roaster Intelligentsia. The Good Neighbour has a minimalist design and you’ll immediately feel comfortable upon your arrival. You’ll find some of the best coffee in Toronto in a warm and welcoming environment.
Mallo Coffee & Bar (Harbord Village)
Mallo (785 Bathurst St) is a great little spot in the city for good coffee and friendly service. I was delighted to find that it wasn’t too busy when I was there. It’s a great place to work or study. However, there isn’t a huge amount of seating inside and I could see this place getting busy because the coffee is awesome.
You can’t help but fall in love with the bright colored tiles across the front of the bar. It’s also some of the best coffee in Toronto, too. And if you stay into the evening, Mallo Coffee transforms into a bar with hip cocktails and local brews.
Sorry Coffee Co (Yorkville)
Sorry Coffee Co (102 Bloor St W) is a small coffee shop at one end of the Kit & Ace clothing store in Yorkville. There’s a separate entrance for those who don’t feel like walking through the entire store to get to the coffee (ie. me!). It’s a really cute coffee shop in Toronto with a bright and airy design, marble countertops, and bronze fixtures.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a coffee shop inside a retail shop, but it’s quite delicious and flavorful. I tried a soy milk latte that was really tasty. This would be a great spot to meet a friend as you take a break from some retail therapy in a swanky area of Toronto.
Merchants of Green Coffee (Riverside)
The Merchants of Green Coffee (2 Matilda St) is one of the most spacious and coolest coffee shops in Toronto. It’s a really unique space, taking up the first floor of an old jam plant. Merchants of Green Coffee has been around since 1994.
It’s one of the only places in the city where you can buy green coffee beans (for those who like to roast them yourselves). If you’re seeking a brewed bevvie, stop by the Merchants’ Restoration Cafe for a fresh mug of coffee.
I love that the Merchants of Green Coffee offers one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable cups of coffee in Toronto. They’re mindful of every detail, from the source of the beans to their roasting and brewing methods.
Their flagship coffee is called “restorative coffee” because it’s the first solar dried coffee that’s produced off the grid and completely by women. They are coffee experts here and you’re guaranteed to enjoy some of the best coffee in Toronto here.
Tertulia Espresso Bar (Riverside)
Tertulia Espresso Bar (711 Queen St E) is a coffee shop that I stumbled upon while wandering around Riverside and Leslieville one day. The word “tertulia” refers to a social gathering of people who unite to discuss their interests in literature and the arts. Similarly, Tertulia Espresso Bar aims to bring the community together over cups of coffee.
While I visited Tertulia on my own, I was greeted by a really friendly staff member who prepared a yummy iced coffee for me. There are also vegan treats from time to time, like the cookies that were on display when I visited. Tertulia serves premium espresso beverages and healthy food options, making it one of the best coffee shops in Toronto.
Tango Palace Coffee Company (Leslieville)
Tango Palace Coffee Company (1156 Queen St E) is a lovely coffee shop in Leslieville for rich cups of coffee and yummy treats (with vegan and gluten-free options). From the exposed brick walls to the stained glass lamps and retro vibes, Tango Palace is a cozy and comfortable place to relax and get your daily dose of caffeine.
Customers of Tango Palace have enjoyed this wonderful cafe for over twenty years now, and I can easily see why it’s a neighborhood favorite. It’s open from morning to night (until 11:00pm!) and you can get some work done using their complimentary Wi-Fi.
Yellow Cup Cafe (Etobicoke)
The Yellow Cup Cafe (225 The East Mall, Etobicoke) is for all of you west end coffee drinkers out there. It’s in the middle of a strip mall, but don’t let that deter you from visiting. The Yellow Cup Cafe is a cozy spot with vibrant walls where you can’t help but feel in a good mood.
It’s one of the loveliest independent coffee shops in Toronto with great service and lots of tables for many patrons (it’s a popular spot, so they do tend to fill up!). They also serve food here, but I didn’t see many vegan options (I’d love to see a vegan waffle or crepe on the menu!).
If you follow a vegan diet like me, you might want to stick to the beverages. The coffee is comforting and delicious, so I highly recommend getting your very own yellow cup today.
Best Coffee in Toronto Map
Even if you aren’t quite familiar with all of the Toronto neighborhoods, here’s a handy and convenient map that you can use to find all of the best coffee shops in Toronto. You can even save this map for future reference on your phone or computer in your Google account.
Looking for even more cool coffee shops in Toronto? I’ll keep coming back and updating this list (and map) with more recommended cafes as I visit them. I know that I’m missing a bunch and missing some neighborhoods.
There are just so many amazing independent coffee shops in Toronto that I am sure it will take many months to check all of them out. Have any recommendations for me? Be sure to leave them in the comments section of this article!
More Coffee Shop Guides
Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love coffee! When I travel anywhere, I’m always looking for the best cup of coffee and the cutest cafes. Here are all of my coffee guides, and you might enjoy these ones in particular:
- The Best Coffee Shops in Mississauga
- Top Coffee Shops in Ottawa
- The Best Coffee in Billings, Montana
- Amazing Coffee Shops in Nashville, TN
- The Top 5 Cafes in Portland, Maine
- 25 Amazing Coffee Shops in Glasgow, Scotland
- The Best Cafes in Copenhagen, Denmark
And if you’d rather make your own coffee, here are some great ways to brew coffee on the road, whether you’re at the airport, staying at a hotel, or camping outdoors. More of a tea fan? Here’s how you can host your own English afternoon tea party at home!