Local Eats

Follow this 3-stop itinerary of delectable treats in the downtown core

By  | 

There are nights, okay maybe days too that you just need a sweet kick to keep going.

There are plenty of delectable treats within a 15-minute walk from my CityPlace condo. And if you live here too and have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck.

But when to go? Well, say, like at the end of a long Monday. Or at the end of a long week. Or if you just missed the streetcar and you’re bummed. Or you need a break from shopping. Whatever the case, it’s always a good time for indulgence.

There are plenty of delectable, bite-sized treats within a 15-minute walk from CityPlace. But we had to choose three. Sigh.

Here are 416 Mag’s top 3 places that will make your mouth water. And if you’re like us, you’ll make repeat visits.

Follow our itinerary from home and back, stopping for three sweet treats.

Little Nicky’s Coffee, 375 Queen St. W. (entrance on Peter St.)

Walking east to Blue Jay’s Way, all the way up Peter Street just before Queen Street, you’ll see a huge sign with an arrow and the words LITTLE NICKY’S COFFEE.

The littlest thing at this cute cafe is the made-to-order miniature doughnuts. Think Tiny Tom’s, but way fresher and doused in powdered sugar. A huge old-fashioned doughnut-making machine sits in plain view, and after a few minutes, you’re handed a paper bag full of warm, delectable doughnuts. I always order half a dozen. You can’t go wrong. But make sure you wear a bib because that white powdered sugar can and will get everywhere.

Half a dozen doughnuts are $2.75, and a dozen is $4.

The cafe itself is also little, but you’ll likely find yourself spending a lot of time here. There are seats right where the barista makes your coffee, so it feels a little like a bar experience. And the cafe is full of retro and antiques that you’ll want to spend some time observing. Just behind the doughnut machine is an obviously-ancient sign that says “Patrons are requested to change all bills over $2.00 at the bar”, and there’s antique furniture tucked into corners.

Le Gourmand, 152 Spadina Ave.

Continue your trek by walking back south to Richmond and walk west to Spadina. There’s been so much written about Le Gourmand’s chocolate chip cookie, but we couldn’t resist giving this delectable treat our seal of approval. It’s probably the most indulgent thing on our list. In fact, when typing “Le Gourmand” into Google, the search engine automatically fills the rest of your search term with “cookie.” The search shows that the cookie is already on so many other lists: best cookie, best chocolate chip cookie, the super amazing cookie, chocolate indulgence, and finally, cookies moelleux pour un goûter, which Google translates into “fluffy cookies for a snack.”

All of the above is true. The cookies are made every day, what seems to be all day. They sit, like temptresses, on baking sheets by the window, so anyone walking by suddenly has this impossible urge to try one.

Well, the good news is you can’t try one, you can try two. The chocolate chip also has a version with walnuts in it.

Crispy, and golden on the outside, gooey and chocolatey on the inside, the best way to these massive cookies are when they’re warm. And I prefer the one with walnuts since it gives the cookie that extra bit of crunch to offset the gooiness a bit. It’s all so rich. So rich that The Toronto Star assessed the cookie and concluded that it contains 11.5 teaspoons of sugar and will cost you 650 calories. The kind of treat you likely don’t want to make a regular indulgence, but worth the tastebud party we promise you’ll love.

And from December 4 until 23, you’ll be able to get those chocolate chip cookies all over the city. SickKids will be driving the “Milk & Cookies” truck to several local events and neighbourhood, serving up the cookies from Le Gourmand and milk from Sheldon Creek Dairy for a suggested donation of $10, with the money going directly to SickKids. You can track the truck’s current location and its future stops on SKMilkandCookies.com.

SOMA Chocolatemaker, 443 King St. W.

Walking south along Spadina back to CityPlace, your last stop should be SOMA Chocolatemaker. This high-end chocolatier has beautifully packaged gifts in a multitude of sizes, along with an array of also-beautiful truffles.

But our favourite treats are the hot chocolate and the gelato. The dark chocolate gelato is smooth, not too sweet and just the most simple yet luxurious treat.

Below are samples from SOMA’s 2017 Xmas Collection (click here for all)


And then there’s the hot chocolate. And it’s not your average more-water-than-chocolate beverages you may remember from elementary school trips to the ice rink.

SOMA serves drinking chocolate, served either spicy (traditionally Mexican), or non-spicy.

The chocolate is served thick as an intense shot, or in a mug with hot milk or water. I recommend the shot. Because if you’re going to indulge, you may as well do so properly. And it’s best this way, you get the sharp flavours of the chocolate, without any other liquid diluting the flavour. Not too sweet, it’s the perfect way to end your sugar-filled walkabout.

Now, time to hit your condo gym and work off those delectable calories!


Diana Pereira

Diana Pereira is a journalist, a university journalism teacher, a world traveller, a fair-weather kayaker, and a frequent bruncher. She's working on her mermaid status, travelling to as many countries as she can that include a body of water and when she's home in Toronto, you can find her in a kayak on Lake Ontario.