Cacao 70 is home to Toronto’s largest daily gathering of chocoholics. With a menu featuring fresh takes on childhood favorites – such as crêpes and fondue – chocolate stands out as the star ingredient. But perhaps it’s the rich and flavorful hot chocolate that keeps guests coming back. Cacao 70 is no one-trick pony; choose from a thicker Italian-style hot cocoa or a Mexican-style brew served with spicy cinnamon. With four locations in the downtown core and two others in the Greater Toronto Area, there is no reason to skip after-dinner dessert ever again.
Having gained fame for its decorative and high-quality ingredients, Sweet Jesus is the staple dessert place for all of your sugar cravings. The cones are pleasing to the eye and Instagram, with soft-serve ice cream rolled in toppings of every color and pastel cotton candy poking out from cups. You’re guaranteed to leave saying, “Sweet Jesus… this is good.”
Day-date dessert rendezvous are highly encouraged at Nadège Patisserie, Toronto’s premier spot for delicate French macarons. Light and crisp with a creamy ganache middle, these addictive bites are never overwhelmingly sweet. Traditional flavors such as rose, pistachio and vanilla rule the menu, accompanied by cakes and gourmet sandwiches. The bread is made in-house, infusing the space with the smell of freshly baked goods all day long.
Tucked away on Bay and Dundas (otherwise known as Little Japan) is TSUJIRI – a matcha dessert and teahouse. Originally from Kyoto, this branch is the shop’s first expansion into North America. Embracing the Canadian esthetic, the dessert shop features furniture made from Douglas fir and maple while serving up matcha in the form of soft-serve ice cream, shaved ice or pastries.
This French-inspired patisserie turns out some of Toronto’s most delicious baked goods, including cookies, crêpes and everything in between. While crêpes were originally meant to be Roselle’s signature item, its soft-serve ice cream has become a Torontonian favorite, especially the earl grey variety. Located in Corktown, these treats whipped up by two Michelin-trained pastry chefs are not to be missed.
Bang Bang Ice Cream and Bakery for the famous ice cream sandwich
Dessert Shop, Dessert, $$$
You’ll likely have to wait in a line out the door to get a taste of Bang Bang Ice Cream – but it will certainly be worth it. The sweet shop is home to the original Toronto ice cream sandwich, often featuring standout flavors such as burnt toffee, orange cardamom and halva. It also offers vegan and dairy-free options so that everyone can leave feeling a little bit sweeter.
Every made-from-scratch donut at VON Doughnuts has jam, filling, custard or icing. House favorites include the sangria, peanut butter jelly time and caramel salt ‘n’ pepa. Get them while they’re hot because they usually sell out long before 6pm.
Milk Bar – part of the Momofuku family – serves up homestyle desserts using only the best ingredients. One highlight is the Cereal Milk Mix – when combined with milk, it makes for a nostalgic drink. Milk Bar lies on the second floor of Momofuku Toronto and features a selection of grab-and-go treats, including cookies and truffles.
Torontonians come from all over to Bay Street for a taste of Uncle Tetsu’s light and airy cheesecake. Featuring quality ingredients, the cheesecakes are made by hand every day. For a fun twist on a classic dish, try the matcha cheesecake or the signature strawberry angel hat cake. While not as widely known, the honey madeleines are like buttery cupcakes and can be warmed in the oven at home for an afternoon treat.
Cool N2 for a liquid nitrogen-infused chocolate brownie
Dessert Shop, Dessert, $$$
Founded in the kitchen of owner Hesuan Tso Chen, Cool N2 uses tanks of liquid nitrogen to serve up its frozen delights. Favorites such as the chocolate brownie are served in a cup with fresh ice cream and toppings such as marshmallows and a syringe of chocolate sauce. Guests leave feeling like mad scientists – and also with a brain freeze.
There is no dessert more beloved in Canada than the BeaverTail. Its namesake chain has a location in Toronto right on the waterfront, where visitors can enjoy the scenic harbor while munching on a pastry topped with cinnamon and sugar. The more adventurous can sample the avalanche flavor – with a layer of cheesecake spread, Skor bits and caramel sauce. Those in search of something even sweeter can have the BeaverTails sundae, served with a side of gelato, frozen yogurt or good old-fashioned ice cream.