The best of YEG's Cafes
If you haven't already figured it out I love cafes. I go to them often and obsess about them regularly. Visiting them feeds my daydreams and inspires my soul. I love the atmosphere, the people and the feeling I get walking in to a people packed place.
When I moved to the city I made it my mission to find the best local cafes and I think I am pretty close. Not many people realize how incredible the food and coffee culture is here in Edmonton.
Note this list isn't really ordered best to worst, because I honestly can't choose one over the other. Each have elements that I love and that I go to for different reasons and in different moods. Of course there are so many other incredible cafes around Edmonton that are not listed here. That's why I'm hoping to make this a series. ACE Coffee Roasters and Monument Cafe are just a couple that I intend to visit in the near future. So stay tuned for updates!
Bock is quite well known in Edmonton and for good reason. Situated on Whyte Avenue in a gorgeous, rustic historic building, it was recently renovated to showcase it's exposed brick which in my opinion makes it even better and more authentic. I love Block because it is open late so it's a great hang out spot for a beer or a late night coffee/dessert. The best time to go is around 10 pm. It's especially magical in the winter after the first snowfall for a late night hot chocolate. And in the summer, their wide open patio doors are a dream. Plus their desserts are one of a kind and perfect for sharing.
Menu item of choice: Lavender London fog and anything baked with hazelnut.
HINT: Sit at the chairs near the front dresser, it's drawers are full of napkin notes that are super fun to read.
I may or may not be becoming a new regular here. It's walking distance from my office downtown and if if it weren't for self control I would be there every day. District is very visually appealing. It's clean lines and minimalist vibes make you feel like you're in someones beautifully decorated living room or kitchen. It's also open late and has a full menu available including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not to mention its stunning display of baked goods like roasted marshmallow rice crispy's, cinnamon buns, scones, hand pies, and my personal vice, muffins.
Menu item of choice: White chocolate Raspberry Scone.
Bru offers the best of both worlds. Their words, "where third wave coffee meets craft beer". Located in the heart of Oliver, BRU is the first coffee and beer house in the city that offers quality products like local favourites, Transcend coffee and Alley Kat brews. Their tables are also marble, so if the drinks don't drive you there the decor and chill atmosphere definitely will.
Menu item of choice: Flat White and Grapefruit Alley Kat.
Leva is a hidden Italian gem, tucked away near the University of Alberta under Edmonton's massively beautiful oak trees. Leva is one of my favourite cafes to go to during the summer for an iced latte because of their open air patio. It feels like you're chilling on your deck at home but with the finest of Tiramisu's and pizza's you could hope for just steps away. They also offer some incredibly fresh brunch and lunch options and are open late.
Menu item of choice: Iced latte and Tiramisu. Always Tiramisu.
Iconoclast Coffee House is a recent and dangerous find of mine as it's also located in the Oliver neighbourhood and only a block away from my apartment. Iconoclast's design and atmosphere is simple. Good coffee, good company. On a warm day the cafe will open it's rustic garage doors giving you the option to sit outside and people watch. Inside you'll find a record player with shelves full of the classics, a ping pong table and a couch to sit, read and relax on. It's all in the little things.
Side note, next door is The Art of Cake. A bakery that is near and dear to my heart and stomach. They make the best cupcakes in #YEG and perhaps the entire country. You can expect a bakery blog post soon!
While writing this blog I came across the below quote on Iconoclast's website and I couldn't think of a better way to end this post.
"The cafe lies at the heart of a community, it is a public commons always at the ready for members of a city or town or village. This idea features prominently in Ray Oldenburg's work The Great Good Place. His idea is simple; people need access to "third" places in society in order to fulfill the more intangible aspects of civil society. Such places are outside the home and outside the workplace where folks can gather and commiserate. Access to third places encourages social life that is artistic, political, intellectual, entertaining and cultural. This in turn makes communities stronger, richer and more fulfilling."