In Food/ Toronto

Fantail Bakery-Cafe in Toronto

Not to sound shallow, but I knew the moment I set eyes on Fantail Bakery-Cafe that I would love it. I mean, any bakery that lets you know the exact moment you can get their baked goods fresh out of the oven gets me on a deep level.

On a sunny day in September, I walked into its bright shop in sleepy Roncesvalles, immediately taking note of an eccentric poem printed in gold lettering on one of its blue-and-gold filigreed walls entitled “Piiwakawaka.” (A Google search will later inform me that “piwakawaka” is the Maori word for the pied fantail, a bird native to New Zealand, the home country of Fantail’s owners. No explanation yet, however, for the extra “i” in the poem’s spelling.)

Fantail Bakery poem

Since my main goal in Toronto was to find the best croissants in the city, I waltzed up to the counter and upon seeing only chocolate croissants, asked, “Do you have any regular croissants?”

“No,” replied the barista. “We only have irregular croissants.” Hey, I like a sassy barista.

After mulling around the counter area for a few seconds, I asked him if there was anything I absolutely must try while I was there.

“Well, there’s nothing you must try,” he quipped. “You’re free to try whatever you want.” Touché.

After some help from his not-so-sassy colleague, I settled on the Innocent Muffin (“People rave about it,” said the non-sassy colleague). Amazingly, it’s made with no sugar, gluten, OR dairy. And I am nothing if not a sucker for desserts parading around as healthy foods.

I slid into a white chair at the bar seating along the window to wait for my fare. When they set the muffin and latte in front of me my eyes nearly popped out of my head because THIS WAS THE PERFECT INSTAGRAM SHOT.

Fantail Bakery and Cafe

Wham. Bam. Instagram.

Coffee and Baked Goods

baked goods at Fantail Bakery Toronto

Almond latte and Innoncent Muffin at Fantail Bakery in Toronto

Picture-perfect plating aside, let’s get to the food.

The Innocent Muffin was like a treasure hunt for healthy things—a blueberry here, a carrot shred there, and coconut flakes in every dense bite!

Innocent Muffin Fantail Bakery, Toronto

Now, I would like to raise an issue with the “no sugar” label, as the dried coconut and blueberry bits obviously had added sugar, but I am assuming they mean they don’t add sugar to the actual mix. Fair enough.

Fantail Bakery Ambience

Fancy Goods shelf in Fantail Bakery in Toronto

Fantail bakery interior

fantail bakery wallpaper

Fantail Bakery in Toronto - Bar seating

Ornate wallpaper. Abstract poetry. Dairy-gluten-and-sugar-free pastries. Fantail Bakery- Cafe had all the trappings of a pretentious, hipster coffee shop. But what surprised me was the amount of families lazing the day away in there. A mother and daughter. New moms with their kids. The barista even knew the name of one of the little ones and commented on how much he’d grown.

The only drawback? No Wi-Fi. *GASP* 

On second thought, maybe that’s an advantage. Fantail just may be the spot to pull up a chair, take out a book, and relax.

The Mystery of the Cinnful Bun

After stalking Fantail Bakery on the Internet, I learned of a clever creation dubbed “the cinnful bun,” a cinnamon bun-croissant hybrid. I, being a fine purveyor of hybrid foods (anyone remember when I ate the cronut knockoff in Cusco?), of course sought to obtain this creation at once! However, my efforts were thwarted. I kid you not, I walked into Fantail Bakery almost every day for three weeks demanding a cinnful bun, but they never had one.

To make matters worse, the sassy barista taunted me about it.

“Aw yeah, the cinnful bun is probably the best thing we make…but we don’t have any today.” Nor any day, apparently.

Secret: Fantail Bakery Has the BEST (Cheddar) Croissants

cheddar croissant from Fantail Bakery Toronto

BUT there is good news because on my subsequent visits to Fantail Bakery I discovered something never mentioned in online reviews: Fantail Bakery has the best croissants in Toronto! Okay, they have the best cheddar croissants, at least. Seriously. Biting into it resulted in a satisfying crunch that sent flakes flying, while the inside was soft and chewy with a sheen on the dough from all the butter baked inside it. The creaminess of the butter paired with the sharpness of the cheddar was a perfect combination.

cheddar croissant bottom Fantail Bakery

CHEESE

Buttery cheddar croissant Fantail Bakery

BUTTER

So, if you ever find yourself in Fantail Bakery, ask first for the cinnful bun. And when they don’t have it, grab a cheddar croissant (or if you’re feeling superficially healthy, the Innocent Muffin) and a latte, and soak in the charming decor at Fantail Bakery- Cafe.

 

The Wherever Writer’s Rating for Fantail Bakery-Cafe in Toronto:

Coffee: 4/5 I only ever ordered the almond milk latte. It was pretty good! You know how baristas have a hard time getting the foam just right with almond milk (hey, “milk” made from almonds lacks the fat that makes it easy to froth)? Well, sassy barista at Fantail Bakery did a darn good job.

Croissant: 5/5 (can vouch only for the cheddar croissant though) 

Other food available: I think Fantail’s strong point is its baked goods (it’s more bakery than coffee shop), and you’ll find a huge selection of creative pastries that changes daily: Cinnamon brioche, roasted banana bread, and poached pear and chai scones made an appearance on my first visit. They also sell lunch foods like salads and sandwiches.

Digital nomad score: 1/5 

  • No Wi-Fi
  • No outlets

Would I recommend it? HECK YES! One of my favorite coffee shops in Toronto. Definitely go there for Instagram photo shoots, catching up with an old friend, reading a book, or working on your next novel.

Fantail Bakery website

Location:

333 Roncesvalles Ave
Toronto, ON M6R 2M8, Canada

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Fantail Bakery-Cafe in Toronto

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    ben_marko
    January 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    OMG…blueberry and coconut makes me uber hungry!

    • Reply
      Amy
      January 26, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      It was a delightful combination!

  • Reply
    Rob
    February 5, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Having had the cinnful bun, I can tell you that it is indeed the best thing they have. But they need it more often!

    No wireless is a huge plus. Visiting a coffee shop only to have it taken up by people sitting on their laptops and talking on their phones is effin annoying.

    • Reply
      Wherever Writer
      February 12, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      Rob, I’m jealous you had a cinnful bun! And haha, I agree. Though I’m often that annoying person on their laptop (but not talking on the phone!).

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