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.
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.
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.
This adorable little bakery along Lakeshore Rd. E. in downtown Oakville offers the BEST croissants, including a chocolate variety. Items are made in-house with oodles of real butter (and did we mention butter?). Then there are squares, tarts, cookies … some are laced with yummy pistachios, coconut, and other things nutty. Pastries aside, you can also find sandwiches, all-day breakfast, and hot bevvies including espresso. There are a few tables outside for people-watching (including what appears to be a handsome bicycle-riding doctor in scrubs on this sunny day!). The atmosphere is chic and service is quite friendly. Keep in mind, there’s no Wi-Fi. Regardless, I’ll be returning for a box of chocolate croissants on my niece’s birthday, plus a fresh loaf of sourdough!
Must try: Chocolate Croissant.
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!
There’s a new menu for summer 2018 and the vegan, gluten-free carrot cake is everything. It’s made in-house by a pastry chef and arrives packed with flavour and spice. Kerr Street Cafe and sister company Brothers’ Coffee Roasters (their Notorious espresso blend is fire!) are known for being on point. They plate their meals beautifully and even offer bike racks out front. Their famous all-day breakfast includes French Toast, Chia Pudding, and Pancakes (with rosemary custard, local fruit, bee pollen, creme fraiche). There’s also an enormous slice of Healthy Toast, served on sourdough with hummus, alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers, etc. It’s equal parts superb and super-filling. Lunch offers up salads, the Burger Queen, a fish burrito, and a smoked chicken and brie sandwich. 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, Carrot Cake, Pancakes, Healthy Toast.