The Top Independent Cafes in Toronto

Chain coffee shops, such as Tim Hortons, Starbucks and Second Cup, are incredibly popular and well-liked. While these shops have their benefits, such as predictability, broad menus and frequently low prices, they are also often unoriginal, uninspired and somewhat boring. To truly experience the culture of such a diverse city as Toronto, you must visit restaurants, coffee shops and stores that are outside the norm and not found in other places. The best cafes in Toronto are independent, such as the ones listed below.

Cherry Bomb

Cherry Bomb Coffee is located at 79 Roncesvalles Avenue, and is open from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm on Saturday and from 9am to 6pm on Sunday. Also open on many holidays, Cherry Bomb offers a great variety of espresso-based beverages, such as cappuccinos, mochacchinos and lattes, as well as brewed coffee, hot chocolate and juices. Those who don’t enjoy coffee are sure to like the fresh-squeezed lemonade, and there is also a variety of baked goods, such as croissants, biscotti and cookies, to choose from. Cherry Bomb also sells coffee by the pound, and offers such great varieties as Organic Kamikaze Espresso, Rwanda AA Bourbon Dark City Roast, SWP Killer Bee Decaf French Roast and their special house blend, which features spicy, citrus flavours.

Crema Coffee Co.

Toronto’s Crema Coffee Co. has 4 locations in the city, on Dundas Street West, Bloor Street East and Spadina and Danforth Avenues. The first location was established in 2008 by an owner truly seeking to cater to the city’s coffee lovers individually, and Crema offers great coffee as well as free internet access and fresh pastries, which are made daily. The different locations offer varying hours, with all but the Spadina branch open 7 days a week. This independent cafe brews only ethical coffee, and offers a broad selection of espresso drinks, brewed coffee, tea, iced drinks and other hot drinks, such as hot chocolate and tea lattes.


Jimmy’s Coffee is a popular Toronto cafe located at 107 Portland Street. Open from 7am to 8pm, Monday through Sunday, Jimmy’s was established in December, 2009, and has since become one of the most talked about Toronto cafes. With a tight-knit team that truly enjoys crafting delicious coffees for the citizens of the city, Jimmy’s uses Classic Gourmet Coffee beans, combined with top of the line equipment, to make this happen. This cafe is also known for showcasing great work by Toronto-based photographers and artists on their walls, which they switch up frequently.

Dark Horse Espresso Bar

Dark Horse is a popular espresso bar in the city that boasts locations in the Entertainment District, Riverside, Queen West and China Town. Each of these locations is open 7 days a week, beginning between 7 and 9am and closing between 4 and 8pm. Known for their artistic lattes, Dark Horse Espresso Bar serves a wide variety of espresso-based drinks, as well as straight up espresso with pastries to go along with it. The coffee used at Dark Horse is strictly sustainable.


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