If you follow my personal account on Instagram, then you know that we recently went backpacking with our baby in Southeast Asia. What you would also know is that we were completely obsessed with Vietnam. The food, the culture and the coffee! I am still dreaming of some of the cafes we visited.
As soon as we got back to Toronto we had to know where to get good Vietnamese coffee. Luck would have it that Starbucks actually had released a reserve Vietnam grind that you could purchase—but it was far from what the strong flavours of authentic Vietnamese coffee gave us.
I heard about Dak Lak from the woman that does my nails — Paula, the sweetest and talented nail tech out there! (check out Urban Nails on the Danforth) I have been going to Paula for about 6 years and we have had many conversations about her life in Vietnam and my travels. She told me to just go try out Dak Lak and let me tell you, it was the closest we have gotten to authentic Vietnamese fare!
Located at College and Spadina, the cafe is easily accessible by TTC and by foot. If you are driving, expect to park on College a few blocks away or on a side street.
Stroller Accessibility: 5
The space is small and quaint but there is plenty of room for a stroller. You can also opt to baby wear here, but either way there is plenty of room to manoeuvre around.
I love the ambiance here, it reminds me of Vietnam. You have a great selection on the menu, a small bench seating area at the front (very typical to not sit at regular sized furniture there) and the staff are very friendly. The one thing I loved about Vietnam is how much they love babies/kids and that was definitely the vibe as Felipa ran crazily through the shop, while we sipped on our Ca Phe Sua.
Unfortunately, like most coffee shops in the city, there were no change tables or high chairs available for the kids. The washroom however was large enough to fit your stroller, so you could change babe on it if needed (like we had to!).
Food and Drinks/Price Point: 5
The coffee here is great! It’s as close as you’re going to get to a cup of Vietnamese coffee straight from Hanoi. We had the Ca Phe Sua which is Hot Coffee with Condensed Milk and it was fantastic!
If you are feeling adventurous, try the Ca Phe Trung- Egg Coffee—I know it sounds weird, but trust me it is tasty! It is almost like a dessert and quite heavy, so expect to feel semi-full after drinking it.
They also sell Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches) and other small treats for you to try. The price point is similar to other shops in the area—you’re looking to spend anywhere from $4 and up. Make sure to pick up a stainless steel filter and some beans so you can enjoy this coffee at home!
Overall Rating: 4
I’d love to give this a perfect score, but I can’t ignore the lack of amenities for parents with kids. The atmosphere, coffee and treats were delicious and definitely somewhere we will return when we have the craving for Vietnamese coffee again.
Dak Lak Contact Info: https://www.coffeedaklak.com/contact
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