Ingrained deep in Swedish culture, you will find a word that refers to a very special social institution; Fika. A back slag originally created during the 19th Century, the word fika is derived from an old variant of the word kaffe, meaning coffee in Swedish. While the literal meaning of the word is “to have coffee”, it now also refers to small meal breaks that may be taken during the day, similar in concept to an afternoon tea with the inclusion of sandwiches and fikabröd (fika bread) such as cardamom buns. The global crush we seem to have developed for everything Scandinavian started with fashion and furniture and organically led to our desire to adapt their lifestyle ethos to our lives. Today on the blog, I am talking about a few of my favourite places to fika in Toronto.
Sorry Coffee Co
It is no secret that Sorry is one of my favourite places to be in Toronto. Part of the Kit and Ace store located on Bloor street, the coffee shop is a vision in white, black and copper. The window seats offer a fantastic location to people watch in the Yorkville area while sipping on their delicious spicy mocha or hot chocolate. The coffee used is roasted by Demello, a local roaster and coffee shop located in the Eglinton area and Sorry never fails to make gorgeous latte art. The coffee cups feature an illustration by different local graphic designers each month and the shop is a cash free zone so don’t forget to bring your credit card.
NEO COFFEE BAR
Much like the above mentioned Sorry, NEO also makes use of Demello coffee beans. The Japanese influenced coffee bar is co owned by Bruce Ly, a true artiste when it comes to coffee latte art and pastry chef Masashi Nakagome who never fails to impress with his creations. The blackberry/blueberry muffins and the gluten free chocolate roll cake are two of my favourite pastries at the shop but one may also indulge in their wonderful cream puffs filled per order with cream and mochi. One of the best sellers at NEO is definitely their famed Kyoto matcha latte, one of the best in the city. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get them to make you a Totoro latte art.
Sam James Coffee Bar
Toronto based coffee shop owner and roaster Sam James landed his mothership at 297 Harbord St and never left Toronto since. However, he did expand to multiple other locations including one in the PATH, a location on Toronto St and a new store across from Trinity Bellwoods Park. The coffee is strong and smooth and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays you will find some of Lindsey Gazel’s fantastic pop tarts and fun sugar cookies. It is to be noted that Sam James only accepts cash, does not offer wifi and has limited seatings.
Boasting three different locations in Toronto, with a fourth one on the way, Boxcar Social features a regular rotation of coffee beans. Along with the traditional offering of croissants and cookies that most coffee shops offer, Boxcar carries an impressive list of wines, beers and spirits including a fantastic Pinot Noir by Carmel Road. Each day after 6pm, the locations also offer my favourite charcuterie board in the city and if you happen to be at the Harbourfront location, you could also take a look at their dinner menu.
While those are some of the coffee shops I frequent often, there is a multitude of other fantastic coffee shops in the city. A few of them would be Safehouse coffee, Hailed Coffee, Rooster Coffee, Tandem Coffee and Off Site. If you would now excuse me, its time for me to go fika.