Do you ever scroll down your Instagram feed with envy, wondering where all those artsy, perfectly-filtered pictures of cafés were taken? Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, depending on how optimistic you are), these picturesque coffee shops are located in our very own downtown Toronto. To the untrained eye, the city is a labyrinth of sparkling skyscrapers, week-old litter, and ceaseless traffic. However, for the photographically-inclined, Toronto is full of gorgeous hole-in-the-wall cafés that not only provide a pretty picture, but a delicious drink or bite to eat as well.
The following three cafés are ones that are both aesthetically appealing and completely Instagram-worthy.
Dineen Coffee Co.|140 Yonge St. (Corner of Yonge St. and Richmond St.)
Dineen’s superb location, a short walk south from the Eaton Centre, makes for a quaint place to sit, relax, and reflect on the ridiculous amount of money you just spent on holiday shopping. Though the patio is unusable due to the freezing Canadian weather and nearby construction (nobody wants cold, dusty coffee), the gorgeous interior decor makes up for the lack of outdoor seating. Large windows offer natural sunlight, but are no competition for Dineen’s high ceilings that hold up unique chandeliers and light fixtures.
This famous cafe is often busy, so congratulations if you’re lucky enough to grab a seat on one of their comfy red leather booths. Dineen is also one of the few cafés to offer the cortado, a delicious Spanish-style espresso with a bit of steamed milk, similar to the Italian macchiato. The most popularly Instagrammed aspect of Dineen however, is the floor. Dineen’s famous tiles are brightly patterned with complimentary colours, making for an attention-catching post.
FIKA Café|28 Kensington Ave. (Kensington Market)
“Fika”” means “to have a break” in Swedish, which makes this café very aptly named. Located in the constantly quirky Kensington market, the husband and wife duo who own FIKA Café have decorated the first floor of this charming house with clean white walls, soft pastel accents, and comfy seats. The bright sea green exterior of the house and large patio is hard to miss, even in the hodgepodge of small stores that is the Kensington Market. Oddly enough, the best part of the café is the backyard. Complete with a string hammock, an uncommon yet cool feature, FIKA’s backyard is a small oasis getaway from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core.
Ordering at the small counter on the first floor off menus attached to clipboards hanging from the ceiling, one has the option of purchasing both food and drink items. The choices range from avocado on toast to iced coffee with a twist (hint: the twist is cardamom and mint). Eating at FIKA is more like chilling at a friend’s house than at an actual café, which makes it all the more charming. Its unconventional appearance provides photographic opportunities often lost among the tall shiny skyscrapers and office buildings.
Bakerbots Baking|205 Delaware Ave. (Bloor and Ossington)
Though Bakerbots is not really a café and more of a bakery, it’s still cute enough to Instagram. A small store right off Bloor, Bakerbots is chock-full of delicious and gorgeous baked goods. The large chalkboard that takes up nearly half the wall space holds the menu: multiple types of cookies, a plethora of unique ice-cream flavours, and even an option for ice-cream sandwiches, a perfect marriage of the two aforementioned menu items. Flavours such as “Pumpkin Spice” and “PB&J” get stuffed between cookies with names such as “Birthday Cake” and “The Everything”, making for a blend of delicious and delicious.
Bakerbots Baking has a rustic feel to the decor, with its old wrought-iron chairs and simple wooden shelves filled with miscellaneous knickknacks. Even the way they present their pastries just itches to be photographed: perfectly glazed fruit tarts hiding behind a glass case and stacks of cookies a foot high. A picture of anything in this bakery is bound to gain you more followers with its aesthetically appealing rustic charm.
These tiny shops are full of big possibilities. Want a cool picture of your latté art? Sure. What about an artsy shot of sunlight streaming in onto a table made of unfinished wood? You can do that too. Minimalist, Food Porn, whatever the Instagram account, these cafés will fulfill the need and get you followers.
All pictures were taken by yours truly. For more like this, check out my Instagram account @ninashu_.