Sweet Treats: Toronto's Best Dessert Cafes
I’ve got a serious sweet tooth. To my mind, dessert should be its own food group. Here are some of my recommendations for the city’s most delicious places to satisfy a sugar craving and do some people-watching at the same time.
- Baker & Scone (693 St. Clair Ave. W.; tel. 416/657-2663): Few people lust after a scone—typically, the British sweet treat is a high-tea afterthought. But not for those who have visited Baker & Scone. The scones at this sweet Provence-reminiscent Midtown cafe defy the physics of baking: They’re flakey yet pillowy and somehow still crumbly in all the right ways.
- Dufflet Pastries (787 Queen St. W.; tel. 416/504-2870): On menus around town, you’ll sometimes see mention of “desserts by Dufflet.” It’s an institution: popular for everything from butter tarts to berry pies or three-tiered cakes heavy with icing and rich with flavor. The cafe also serves light fare.
- Nadège Patisserie (780 Queen St. W.; tel. 416/203-2009): Every confection in the glass display case of past master Nadège Nourian’s Trinity Bellwoods cafe-cum-patisserie is worth ogling. Perfect chocolate sphere cakes with mirror glazing, a rainbow of macarons. and croissants in a half-dozen permutations (the pecan is particularly toothsome). Midsummer, seats on the park-flanking patio are near impossible to snag.
- Millie Patisserie & Creamery (12 Oxley St.; tel. 416/596-0063): This Japanese-inspired shop is best known for its cheese tarts and soufflé cheesecakes, but the mille crêpe cakes are particularly spectacular. It took owner Christinn Hua 9 months and over 100 attempts to perfect the recipe. The resulting cakes, stacked 25 silk-thin layers high, are unbelievably delicate. The best of the bunch is the matcha cake, which balances bitter green tea with sweet cream.
- Roselle Desserts (362 King St. E.; tel. 416/368-8188): “Dessert makes you happy,” reads the text scrawled across the wall of this gem of a shop. A bite of the banana cream pie éclair banishes bad thoughts, creating a moment of pure bliss, which tastes of cream and rum-caramelized bananas, in case you didn’t know. Just about any of the pretty French pastries here is sure to bring you mouthfuls of delight.
- SOMA Chocolate (In the Distillery District, 55 Mill St.; tel. 416/815-7662): Owners David Castellan and wife Cynthia Leung run the best chocolatier in town. Beans are carefully sourced from far-flung locales for fair-trade and organic certifications, with flavor a factor above all. Then, in this micro-factory where the process is on view, the beans are roasted, turned into paste (which is where most chocolatiers begin their work), and spun into beautiful truffles, exquisite bars, irresistible (chocolate) cakes, cookies, and more. In summer, have a gelato. In winter, don’t miss the house specialty, the picante Mayan hot chocolate. Plenty to take away, too.
- The Tempered Room (1374 Queen St. W.; tel. 416/546-4374): Creative non-nine-to-fivers with asymmetrical haircuts populate this hip Parkdale haunt. The display is divided into savory (quiches, sandwiches, croque monsieurs) and sweet. Viennoiseries are flakey perfection, particularly the almond croissants. Traditional French pastries are very good, but the seasonal creations like rhubarb and pink peppercorn tart are always magnificent.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.