A premier Toronto neighbourhood with more than a century’s worth of rich and diverse history, the Annex is no doubt one of the city’s best-known cultural centres. Bordering on the campus of the University of Toronto and home to the infamous Honest Ed’s store, the Bloor Cinema and a thriving residential community, this midtown neighbourhood caters to a distinct cast of students, businesspeople and locals. So it should come as no surprise that the Annex is bursting at the seams with a wide range of cafés, restaurants, bars and food vendors.
This week, Xtra trekked down Bloor Street West in search of the Annex’s best burgers and coffee. Here’s what we found:
Prefer your brew from a familiar brand? The Annex has you covered. This neighbourhood is chock full of franchises: between Spadina and Christie alone, you’ll find two Second Cups (in fact, the locations are a mere block apart), a Tim Hortons, a Starbucks and an Aroma Espresso Bar. Burgers are no exception; area franchises include Acme Burger and Hero Burger.
But independent food lovers need not worry: the Annex is home to many locally operated cafés and restaurants. A local favourite, the Better and Better Bakery and Café, just across from Honest Ed’s, is an independent alternative, offering up the perks of free WiFi, room to study or read, and cheap coffee without the brand name.
Local & sustainable
In addition to housing independent vendors, the Annex offers a range of restaurants selling locally grown and environmentally friendly food and drink. The aptly named Green Beanery, for instance, offers a variety of 90 sustainably produced coffee beans with an on-site roasting room. For meat lovers, the Hrvati Bar on Euclid Avenue serves up hormone-free beef, which is ground daily.
Get your game on
A cultural entertainment hub, the Annex offers no shortage of fun places to eat. Take Snakes and Lattes, a gaming café located just west of Bathurst Street. For $5, you can explore a library of more than 2,000 games that you can play in-house while you down a cup of joe. For the jocks, Amnesia Bar & Grill is one of many sports bars in the area with large-screen televisions, so you’ll never miss the big game.
We recommend: The Green Beanery (565 Bloor St W), Amnesia Bar & Grill (526 Bloor St W)