Cafe: The Only Cafe
Address: 966 Danforth Ave.
Store Hours: Mon-Sun 6 AM - 10 PM, open during holidays as well!
Study Appropriate?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: No
Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Serves Matcha Tea Latte
- Serves Allonge, primarily from Montreal
- Serves Sahara Tea
- Syrups for no charge!: vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, amaretto (almond), and peppermint
- Sells coffee beans from i deal coffee
Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Gluten-free macaroons
- Vegan chocolate chip cookies
- Vegan bars
- Vegan/vegetarian sandwiches per request
- Offers lunch/bar food
Large Moccachinno, $3.81
Regular Fiery Florence Tea, $1.90
Drink of Choice: Large Iced Frappe, $3.58
The Only Cafe led to my discovery of the Indie Coffee Passport because it was apart of it last year, which I was glad to stumble upon.
I got to speak with Kat, the barista, about the history of the cafe and how it differs from other Toronto cafes. The Only Cafe has been opened for about 3 years now, as an extension to The One in the Only bar, which was established 30 years ago. The owner. James, is a traveller and wanted to be able to welcome travellers all over the world to Toronto. So this past July, he opened a hostel above the cafe! In order to get a room, you must live outside of the GTA and sign up online through their website. It's $28 per night and you will receive a free waffle breakfast with unlimited amount of coffee and tea. Since it first opened, it became #4 hostel in Canada! Instead of just being local, The Only Cafe aims for an international feel with its customers.
The owner likes to support local businesses. The food ingredients are from Masellis Supermarket and the cafe sells coffee beans from i deal coffee. In helping the community, The Only Cafe would donate coffee to community events, particularly ones that are hosted in The Pocket, in order to give back to Toronto.
The food and drinks served are vegan and vegetarian oriented. James didn't want a cafe that overcharges for coffee, so the prices on the menu are aimed to be low. For a latte, you will get a pint for only $4 and adding syrups does not cost extra! And for customer convenience, all the prices are rounded after taxes.
I decided to get the large iced frappe and let me warn you, do not try to sweeten it yourself. It is not a sweet drink, though I am unsure if it could be sweetened as per request. But if you attempt to dump in sugar and honey like I did, it would be a mess. Since it is a cold drink, the sugar and honey would harden and drinking it would NOT work out. I managed to finish it but if I didn't attempt to make it sweeter, it would have been perfectly fine to drink.
What's my personal take on the cafe? It's a very artsy community and I studied here a few times in the past. However, I realized this time when I was studying, once night falls it gets really loud and becomes integrated into the bar scene. So if you do come here to get work done, I suggest early in the afternoon. But if you want to grab your friends together for drinks/coffee, then it is definitely a good place to hang out.
Updated (Mar 3/13): I went back to The Only Cafe because of my second passport. Since I had a chai latte from another cafe earlier in the day, I didn't want to overcaffeinate myself. I sniffed through their Sahara Tea collection before I decided on Fiery Florence.
What got my attention was the strong fragrance of this rooibos tea. I am terrible at describing scents but it was a bit floral in my opinion. It's one of the teas that becomes stronger when made. It actually became a little overbearing, like I was consuming perfume. This is for those who like really strong tea but with a sweet scent. However, if you don't like anything too overwhelming, then this tea probably isn't for you.