Whether you go to a local coffee shop to grab your Americano to go, or you prefer to linger over your chai latte while chatting with friends or scrolling through your Instagram feed, Toronto’s design-conscious cafés offer more than just hot beverages and pastries. Satisfy both your caffeine and Instagram addictions in one of these unique and photogenic coffee shops.
Cafe, Contemporary, $$$
FIKA cafe in Kensington Market | Courtesy of FIKA
In Swedish, FIKA is a verb, meaning “to go out for coffee,” and a noun – “coffee break.” With a simple yet fresh décor including exposed beams and brickwork, FIKA Café, in the heart of Toronto’s Kensington Market, is airy, quaint, and full of light. While enjoying FIKA’s signature cardamon spiced latte or lavender white hot chocolate, you can take photographs of the colorful paintings and plants by the windows – or the most unique feature of all, an entire wall of books.
All of Boxcar Social’s locations are photogenic, but their Summerhill location is where it all began. Taking up two floors of an old Victorian house, there is also a large back patio shaded by resplendent trees. The hardwood floors are painted black, and the walls are either whitewashed or painted brick. With tall windows and wooden tables, the photo opportunities are limitless.
Forget Me Not Cafe is a small and loveable café and gift shop just north of King West, at Adelaide and Portland. Take photos of the adorable rustic-chic décor while enjoying an iced matcha or a Nutella® latte, or explore their boutique products like scented soaps, candles, and lotions.
You can take your java-inspired pictures at one of Rooster Coffee House’s three locations – in Riverdale, on King Street East, or on Jarvis. All three community coffee hubs are full of character, combining different elements of industrial and quaint décor. The Jarvis location, in particular, has large windows and a loft-like upper level, adding a unique touch to a cozy spot.
Both the Dundas and Ossington locations of Hula Girl feature a bold and eclectic style that incorporates exposed brick and reclaimed wood elements with design accents that create a retro vibe. Known for their strong blends, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try their signature drink: butter coffee.
Both locations of Bobbette & Belle are beautiful, from the décor to the impeccably decorated cakes that are this café’s specialty. The co-founders of this small but steadily expanding operation, Sarah Bell and Allyson Bobbitt, met while both were teaching at a confectionary arts school. Together, they have created a dreamy space in which to enjoy a scone or a decadent slice of cake with your tea or coffee – or you can grab a little bag of peanut brittle, pastel-colored marshmallows, or meringues to savor on the go.
Offering “precious coffily fluids,” as their slogan states, Tandem Coffee, in the Corktown neighborhood on King Street East, provides a great photo op with the café’s quirky design elements that include blond wood tables and benches, hanging light fixtures, and a living wall of plants in the back.
This Queen West hot spot has been buzzing since it first opened in 2013, and it’s a prime example of the neighborhood’s aesthetic. Somewhere between rustic and industrial, the exposed brick wall and mid-century light fixtures are often offset by cute green plants along the communal wooden tables. Be sure to get a snap of Early Bird’s signature neon sign!
The Tempered Room in the west end neighborhood of Parkdale is a sunny patisserie founded by the celebrated Parisian chef, Bertrand Alépée. Enjoy Instagramming your fresh éclair or croissant against a background décor that perfectly blends the rustic with the whimsical.
If you like your florals with a zap of neon color, then Tucana Coffee will satisfy all of your photogenic latte’s needs. Owned by Tenille Clarke, this nondescript Dundas storefront opens into a narrow, cute, and casual space decorated with reclaimed wood, ceramic tiling, and lush plants.