1. Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar
Very, very Queen West, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a great compliment. The building is new, but has a very clean yet trendy vibe with a mix of white and brick walls.
For those of you who are looking for patio lattes this summer, this is definitely a spot to put on your list. They have a minimalistic picnic-style lower rooftop that is perfect for catching up on emails, reading a good book or meeting with friends.
Although it may not be the cheapest cappuccino in the city, it is definitely one of my favourites. It is the perfect mix of frothy and creamy. You can truly taste the quality of the espresso, coffee connoisseur approved.
My go to order: Cappuccino and a Montreal style Nu Bagel with jam… yum!
2. R Squared Café
R Squared Café is the place to sip on caffeine and read a good book. Of course, we don’t all have so much time for leisure these days, but if you have a ton of work to get done, this is a great place to do it.
The concept is very clean. The space is incredibly well lit with white walls tastefully displaying vibrant artwork. There is something about R Squared that speaks to your creative side.
Aesthetics aside, a good space is just a good space without coffee. Their drip is a custom blend from Social Coffee & Co. As far I know, it is only offered until 12PM. Look out for their special seasonal drinks like the “Pink Latte”, a customer favorite made with roasted almonds.
My go to order: The Americano. The high quality of espresso at R Squared is one you can distinguish. If you are an Americano drinker, definitely give this one a try. The baristas here know their coffee.
3. Jimmy’s Coffee
Home. That’s how I would describe the vibe at Jimmy’s Coffee. It is a small house style café tucked in between the hustle and bustle of Queen and King West. That does not however stop it from being any less busy. It’s not always easy to get a seat, but when you do you will probably find yourself wanting to stay a while.
Entertainment? How about scrabble or some nice local magazines? Dog owner? They have your pets covered too!
Now for the important part, coffee. Are you specific about how you like your caffeine? No problem, Jimmy’s coffee baristas are very accommodating and not to mention extremely gifted.
My go to order: A classic espresso (poured over ice in the summer!) with a Owl & Goose Blended Organic Greens. One blended provides me with my daily required intake of greens and the bottle is recycled for re-use so leave it with your barista for some environmentally friendly goodness!
4. Sud Forno
It’s the taste of Italy on Queen West! Coffee? Excellent. Italian desserts? Yumm!
Sud Forno is the Terroni bakery just a few shops down from the original Italian resto on Queen West. The interior is modern and well detailed but the central feature remains the marble, mosaic floor commissioned by an Italian maker.
The second floor offers a long communal table with a Queen West window view. It's definitely a go-to for a quick coffee or lunch break, or if you just need to stay for a bit and hammer through a paper. All-in-all, a pretty chill spot.
My go to order: Cappuccino with a vanilla-filled bombolone. If you're doing lunch, I highly recommend a slice of classic Margherita pizza ($3.50).
5. Constantinople Bakery & Coffee
This extremely charming bakery and coffee shop is definitely worth the visit. It has a ‘Sultan’s’ feel, cozy enough to make you want to spend your day there.
Did you know that Constantinople, now known as Istanbul is the home of the first world public coffee house? Neither did I. Ottoman Turks opened it way back in 1475 under the name Kiva Han.
Click here for more information about the history of coffee.
As for your coffee fix, they offer your favourite espresso-based infusions as well as stone-ground Turkish coffee. The prices range from $2.60 - $3.90, so both your wallet and taste buds can thank you.
Tea lovers are in for a special treat at Constantinople as they offer delicious loose leaf pluck teas. Make sure you try my personal favourites – the apple tea and traditional Turkish tea.
On the bakery side, you are faced with tough, yet incredibly delicious decisions. Freshly baked breads, simit “pizzas”, sandwiches, börek, scones… the list goes on.
My go to order: House made lentil soup, Turkish coffee and “water” börek baked with feta and parsley. If you have a sweet tooth, grab a gelato to go!
For more info on Constantinople, check out blogTO’s beautifully detailed article.
And there you have it, my all time favourite coffee stops on Queen West. Trust me on this one!