Top 5 Indie Cafes in Oakville

You don’t have to trek to Toronto to work remotely from a trendy spot or enjoy a simple catch-up with your bestie … Oakville has some cool independent options (some of which channel a New York City vibe!) from Palermo to Bronte to Kerr Village to downtown. With snacks ranging from energy balls to authentic Colombian blends, there’s no reason to leave town and every reason to highlight some of our favourite finds. Here are our top 5 indie cafes in Oakville.

5. Tria Cafe & Bakery

Delicious treats, warm service and a modern retro atmosphere are in store at Tria. Open seven days a week, this Palermo cafe begs you to relax in a red swivel tub chair, take in the sparkly chandeliers, and enjoy the airy feel. It’s also a quiet place to hold a low-key business meeting (networking, anyone?) or even study for mid-terms. But eventually you’ll need food. There’s all-day breakfast (omelettes, burritos, croissants, etc.) and salads, shawarma, grilled sandwiches for vegetarians, and Turkish coffee. Offering a medley of bite-sized baked goods, you can’t help but notice the large variety of energy balls in flavours galore for $1.25 each. The owner offers wonderful service alongside these unique treats.

Must try: Turkish Coffee and Lemon Coconut Energy Ball.

4. Tribeca Coffee Co.

This beautiful old coffee house opened in 2016 and offers unique treats, such as Affogato featuring French vanilla ice cream with a double shot of espresso! The hip Lakeshore Rd. E. cafe channels Manhattan and rouses me to get some serious work done on my laptop each time I’m downtown. Suppliers are local and the menu includes house batch brews, specialty steamed drinks, and cold brew. And did I mention they have edible cookie dough? You can get it in a cup, waffle cone, with ice cream, sprinkles, candy, and more sundae options … so head to Tribeca when you’re in the mood to hashtag treat yo’self. If you’re there for professional purposes, a small meeting room can be booked (two-hour minimum for $100). But if fun is up your alley, Tribeca hosts (board) games night and open mic events. Plus, there are brew school classes, such as Coffee Boot Camp and Tea 101.

Must try: Affogato, Cookie Dough.

3. Goldstar Cafe

I could work outta here all day, errryday. The laid-back vibe at this Lakeshore Rd. E. spot is punctuated by white tables with comfy grey chairs and booths, pendant chandeliers and plenty of seating, plus a cool semi-private upstairs level where you can settle in with mugs which have glam handles (pictured at the very top and below) and pretend you’re in a chic place which just so happens to be quiet and cozy. It’s a refreshing local alternative to the conventional coffee chains, and their food choices are surprising (and under $10). For example, there’s a soup and salad combo, chickpea salad in a jar and the chicken panini sandwich comes with pears, arugula, brie, and sriracha honey sauce. Staff keep it 100 … they’ll even heat your food and bring it to you … when you’re done, chase all that sugar and spice with the free detox water.

Must try: Matcha Green Tea Latte, Date Square.

2. The Danish Pastry House

Enormous samples will keep you busy while waiting in line. If you’re a big fan of authentic European baking (who isn’t, really?) and exceptional service, you're likely a regular at this bakery along Cornwall Rd., just west of Chartwell Rd. Let’s wax lyrical about the menu. Begin with the Spandauer -- that's how business started booming. The flaky pastry is filled with almond paste and you can choose between custard, raspberry jam, or apricot spread varieties. It's topped with almonds and white icing. Yum! I also really loved the Gateau Marcel ... it's a divine little gluten-free cake that's creamy, light, and perfectly sweetened, complemented by a raspberry (my favourite fruit-chocolate combo). It tastes more like mousse than cake. Yummers! Several varieties of fresh bread are sold here, too, and samples are ridiculously generous. My favourite is the multigrain version -- so, so hearty and healthy and filling. The bakery offers all the authentic staples which most popular Danish establishments specialize in: pastries, freshly baked handmade bread (with no preservatives), butter cookies, and rum balls. The Kontra coffee is cheaper than most big-box chains and tastes a zillion times better. Founder Anita Lauritsen began baking during childhood and has recruited some of Denmark’s finest pastry chefs, who could create those 27 layers blindfolded (they probably can, though). A brand new location in the $550 million Sherway Gardens expansion wing (it’s 250,000 sq. ft. and anchored by Nordstrom), complete with a Viking ship motif, was unveiled in Sept. 2017. This means there’s another option for a fabulous cup of joe at Sherway — anyone who’s traveled overseas knows what I’m talking about!

Must try: Spandauer, Gateau Marcel, Kontra coffee, all of the bread.

1. Kerr Street Cafe

They plate their meals beautifully and even offer bike racks out front. Kerr Street Cafe and sister company Brothers’ Coffee Roasters (their Notorious espresso blend is fire!) are known for being on point. Their famous all-day breakfast includes French Toast (with sesame brioche, toasted coconut, blueberry mascarpone, and almond butter), Coconut Chia Pudding, and Wildflower Honey Pancakes (with rosemary custard, local fruit compote, brulee banana, bee pollen, creme fraiche, and pollen). Lunch offers up Frites, Fish Tacos, and an Open Faced Meatball Sandwich using house-made pork patties and toasted sourdough. This Kerr Village staple, featuring a cafe and restaurant, has such a relaxing atmosphere (with plenty of natural light) it’s second only to a day at the spa. Or a day trip to New York City, because it feels like I'm at a posh cafe near Columbia University. The resto is serving dinner and all I have to say is, it’s about time! If you haven’t been, what are you waiting for?

Must try: Cappuccino, Latte, Eggs Florentine, Vegan Toast.

Photo courtesy of Kerr Street Cafe

BONUS: Taste of Colombia

The environment is a tad kitschy and cluttered but the coffee is wonderful. Offering fair-trade coffee and gifts, this cafe in Bronte Harbour is a favourite among legit caffeine addicts and dog-walkers alike. The owner, Yury, is friendly and aims to please. The menu includes soup, sandwiches, and gluten-free quinoa muffins and (everyone’s fave) banana walnut bread. But the fun doesn’t end with baked goods. Latin dance classes, namely salsa, are offered in the adjoining room so don’t be puzzled if you see someone pay $15 at the counter without buying anything to eat or drink. (They’ve got yoga, too). The seats by the window make the perfect spot to dog-watch or create a standing desk for a few hours. When you’re done, order another drink ‘to go’ and stroll by the water.

Must try: Coffee and Colombian Shortbread, or Alfajores.

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