Satisfy your sweet tooth and global taste with sugary treats from Toronto’s multicultural dessert scene.
By Will Tang
Our city’s dessert scene is quite honestly amazing with its crazy mash-up of local classics, mad scientist surprises and international influence to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.
Filled with talented pastry chefs, chocolatiers and patisseries, expect to be blown away by both comfort treats and visual sensations. This is a bucket list of the best internationally-inspired desserts in Toronto that you have to try. They span all the boroughs and it’s one that you’ll definitely want to keep handy on a “treat yourself” kind of day.
DaanGo means “cake” in Cantonese and they’ve taken cuteness to the max with their selection of cartoon character macarons, pun-tastic pastries and visually stunning cakes. In addition to their adorable creations, come here for their unexpected flavours such as Vietnamese coffee, roasted milk tea, Ovaltine, pandan coconut and durian. Also, don’t forget their scrumptious cookies!
Matcha lovers rejoice! Hailing from the tea fields of Kyoto, Tsujiri uses the highest quality Japanese green tea in all of their delicate treats that range from traditional tea, latte, soft serve, mochi, pastries and more. To give you an idea of what to expect, their sundae is packed with crunchy roasted brown rice, red bean, chestnut, mochi, sakura cookie and a swirl of matcha ice cream.
If you love cheesecake and matcha, you’re in for a real treat. Here, you’ll find the Japanese cheesecake, which is distinctly lighter and fluffier than its North American counterpart. Another highlight is their double fromage cheesecake, which combines a frozen mascarpone cream layer on top of baked cream cheese and sponge cake. It’s heavenly!
This Hong Kong street food classic has become one of the city’s latest craze—Golden Waffles. You can have it in original flavour or you can choose from one of the dazzling premium versions that include bubble waffles with mochi, stuffed with cheese, drizzled with caramel and/or topped with ice cream. Whatever you decide, you can’t go wrong.
These epic mountains of shaved ice are known as Korean bingsu. Perfect for two, not only do these visually impress but their assortment of flavours will make it hard to choose just one. From Thai milk tea, Earl Grey, Oreo cheesecake, mango, matcha, this is a sweet escape you won’t forget.
An Eastern European treat known as Kürtőskalács (Hungarian) or Trdelník (Czech) can now be had in Toronto and better known as Chimneys. Hand-rolled into a cone shape, coated with sugar and cinnamon, filled with real cream soft serve, and topped with more sweet delights, Eva’s does an incredible job at bringing their Hungarian culinary heritage to the city.
For some of the best Italian gelato in the city, Bar Ape (pronounced ah-pay) is a no-brainer. An ape is a three-wheeled motorcycle and the founders got their start selling their fresh-made gelato by driving one around the city. From their small-batch gelato bars, soft serve, traditional gelato cups and to-go sundaes, you know you’ll always get the finest quality here alongside new creative flavours.
Nestled in Little Portugal is this gem of a bakery. When you walk in, you’ll be immediately greeted by tall wire racks of freshly baked loaves and buns but delve a little further and you’ll discover their tantalizing baked goods. One of the must-tries is the pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart), which locals swear by with their flaky shell and balanced custard that isn’t overwhelmingly sweet.
If you’re looking for the best baklava in town, most locals will point you in this direction. Located in Scarborough, you’ll find a huge assortment of Middle Eastern sweets on display. Everyone has their own favourites but their baklava, knafeh, and mafrouka are superb.
Japanese soufflé pancakes are unlike anything you’ve had before—light as poufs of cloud, impossibly tall and cascading with maple syrup. Fuwa Fuwa means “fluffy fluffy” and they not only bring the original flavour to Toronto’s doorsteps but also tiramisu, crème brûlée, cookies & cream, and matcha with red bean versions.
Looking for Persian cuisine? Come here for a fantastic meal surrounded by Iranian decor and music, and close off with bastani, an extra creamy ice cream made with rose water, saffron, and topped with pistachio, pomegranate seeds and dried rose petals.
This bakery has that old-world feel to it and captures that essence of grandma’s kitchen when you step in. Anyone that loves chocolate will love their version of the rugalech, buffalo, and babka with swirls of sweetness infused into fresh bread and flaky danishes.
Started by two Michelin-trained pastry chefs, their passion is serving fun French-inspired desserts. Located in Corktown, you’ll find everything from cookies, crêpes, éclair, pavlova and soft serve. Their Earl Grey swirl piped with pockets of lemon cream, white chocolate crisp pearls and mini Earl Grey shortie is their current signature item you have to try.
If there’s one place that does Indian desserts right, it’s Bengali Sweets & Restaurant. You’ll come here to start with their samosas but you’ll really be here to pick up a box or two of sweets. Not sure what to try? A favourite is their lahori kulfi, which is a creamy ice cream on a stick made from goat milk and sugar. Their rasgoola, barfi, milk cake, laddu and jalebi are also popular South Asian desserts that locals rave about.
Casa Manila is best known for introducing the concept of Kamayan to Toronto. As a restaurant with authentic Filipino food, they also serve a dish called Halo Halo which literally translates to “mix mix”. This bowl is piled with 12 ingredients, starting with shaved ice infused with cream, then topped with candied fruits, sweet beans, custard, purple yam, ice cream and finally Filipino rice flakes. It’s the ultimate dessert that you’ll definitely want to share.
Using the finest ingredients available including decadent cream cheese, premium butter, and farm-fresh eggs, Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese cheesecakes are one-of-a-kind. Scrumptiously light and mellow but smooth and rich at the same time, these are a crowd pleaser for any gathering.
See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door
there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.
See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.#OPENYOURCURIOSITY
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