The No. 1 Cafe: Toronto’s Madras Kaapi

You can’t miss Toronto’s Madras Kaapi, a perennial favorite since it opened on Bay Street in 2007. It’s set up like a fast-food spot, with a cafeteria-style counter and table seating in a broad room. But diners who stand — as most in the crowd do — can order their food from a counter or counter-order, counter-order-menu section. (Kites. Fish. Sarma. Oh, and an ice cream, too.)

Madras Kaapi roasts the cafe’s own coffee beans and makes its own cold-brew tea, and offers what is likely the only coffee shop’s like in the city to serve piping-hot authentic Madras Kaapi lattes, chai lattes, lassi lattes and yuzu lemonades. The restaurant hasn’t been replicated in all of its products — because we don’t want to over sample, you know — but many Madras Kaapi menu items, such as gut-and-wisdom gazpacho, are available in tea lattes as well. The menu is also divided into vegetarian and dairy-free options. There are also salads, Korean fried chicken sandwiches, rotisserie chicken sandwiches, and a “freestyle” salad bar that can be customized to your liking, be it dressing or salad protein.

If you want to have a warm, creamy drink, go for the frappé, or opt for one of the multiple varieties of sugary dairy-free milkshakes.

Madras Kaapi is located at 150 Bay Street in Toronto. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Info: Call 416-486-4000 or visit madras

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