Having lived in London for the better part of the last 20+ years and having a moderate to severe coffee addiction, I’ve put together a list of my favourite cafes and coffees shops in London Ontario (the lesser-known London). So get inspired and to find your new favourite cafe!
A Local’s Guide: The 8 Best Cafes and Coffee Shops in London, Ontario
In the map below you’ll find the locations for all of the cafes & coffee shops included in this list. I’ve also included my favourite restaurants in London on the same map. Since I spend the majority of my time in Old North, Old South and Downtown, these cafes/restaurants are concentrated there.
The best espresso
The 10Eighteen is a super small and super quirky cafe; they do pour-over coffee and you can buy vats of local komboucha. Out of all the cafes on this list, I think 10Eighteen has the best espresso. They are definitely the cafe that places the most emphasis and attention on the coffee itself (something a chronic coffee drinker like myself appreciates).
There is also an insanely good menu, featuring sandwiches, salads and other cafe-style fares. 10Eighteen also has a thing for charcuterie boards.
One downside is their limited seating. Meeting a friend is manageable, but I wouldn’t recommend this place for an all-day study session.
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A London classic
The Black Walnut is a classic cafe in London. They have one downtown location right on Richmond Street and another in Wortley Village. I’d say the coffee and espresso are very good (though not my favourite on this list) but their snacks are tasty but not show-stopping.
What does it for me is the good coffee + good food options + excellent outdoor patios. Both have tables outside, making them a great place to people-watch while sipping an iced coffee on a sunny afternoon. Also, the one downtown is right next to Havens Ice Cream, which is the best snack to accompany an espresso, in my opinion.
Locally roasted coffee blends
Fire Roasted is another classic London cafe. They have two cafe locations, both in Old East London (one at Dundas St. & Adelaide St. and the other at The Western Fair Grounds). Both of the cafes have comfy seating with nice big windows. I also like the excuse the get out into another part of London – so much of my time gets spent either downtown or in Old North.
But most of all, Fire Roasted Coffee has really good blends of locally roasted coffee (you can actually visit the roastery at the Dundas & Adelaide location).
Damn good donuts
CommonWealth is a cute and quaint cafe with eclectic drinks. Hand-crafted espresso… White Chocolate Blackberry Mocha… Strawberry Lemonade Cold Brew Tea… and a drink menu which refreshes monthly? Sign me up. But what distinguishes CommonWealth is its donuts – your taste buds are sure to have a party. With so many delicious drink options and plenty of tasty snacks, you will not go hungry.
The tables are a bit small and the outlets few and far between, making this a better cafe for catching up with friends than studying for prolonged hours. I’d also say this is one of the more Instagrammable cafes in London, Ontario.
The best cafe for vegans
As the name suggests, Plant Matter Cafe is completely vegan. I’ll be completely honest with you – I have mixed feelings about it. Some of their drinks (the Chai Latte) are delicious and every once in a while I get a decent baked good (I have to admit their donuts are pretty spectacular – especially considering they’re vegan).
But as someone who likes heavy cream in their coffee and eggs in their pastries, I have a hard time with this fully vegan cafe. That said, if you are vegan or have a vegan friend visiting, Plant Matter Cafe is the best option and why I have included it in this list.
Note: If you want to brew your own ethical coffee at home, considering getting a coffee club subscription. (It would also make a great gift idea for a coffee drinker passionate about sustainability.)
The best cafe for studying
Everyone knows about Williams and it’s so cliche I was hesitant to even include it. But when it comes to studying for long stretches of time, Williams can’t be beat. It has booths with large tables, so when you have a textbook, notes and a laptop to reference, a cute and tiny cafe table ain’t going to cut it. You need a place to SPRAWL OUT.
And unlike other cafes, Williams has enough variety in their food offering to keep you fed for hours. They have delicious paninis, great salads and oh-my-goodness desserts. I always go to the Williams on Richmond Street, which is easily accessible with public transit.
Reset Social Bakery has quickly become my go-to destination when I’m visiting friends and family in London. Reset has excellent espresso. The Cafe Reset (a latte with chocolate, cinnamon, caramel and cayenne pepper is a personal favourite).
There are tons of delicious treats and hearty meals as well. I usually get one of the bowls and banana bread or cookie.
There is good wifi and some seating, making it a good study spot (just not on weekends when it’s busy and there usually isn’t a free seat).
The new kids on the block
I haven’t actually tried Origins Co. myself – it popped up in London quite recently. But since I’ve heard good things are it, I thought it fair to at least mention the cafe in the list (albeit at the bottom of the post).
Origins & Co. is just down the street at the corner of Talbot St. & King St. I’d say it has more of a grab-and-go set up, with limited seating and snacks you can take for the road. That said, the coffee get decent reviews and its proximity to the downtown core makes it convenient.
Once I get down to both of these myself I’ll provide a more robust review!
Have you tried any of the cafes I’ve listed? Any additional cafes / coffee shops in London, Ontario you would add? (Please don’t comment all the wonderful London, England cafes I missed in this list!)