Walk down St. Catherine Street and you’ll have no trouble finding Starbucks or Second Cup.
As much as we love going to Starbucks for vanilla lattés, the city is also home to a booming third wave coffee culture.
If you’re walking through the Old Port or Mile End you can get to know the city’s independent coffee shops. And they're so worth getting to know.
...the must-have montréalais coffee drink is an allongé...
Maybe it’s the city’s diversity that brings in an international array of coffee loving cultures or maybe we’re all just trying to escape the cold by rushing into cafés. Either way, I'm thrilled to have them in our midst.
According to Jean-François Leduc, owner of Saint-Henri's Micro-Torréfacteur the must-have montréalais coffee drink is an allongé: “It’s a drink really typical to Quebec and nowhere else in the world will you see it as much as you have it here. Most places elsewhere serve it as an Americano, a base of hot water and pour an espresso over that, but that’s wrong—a classic allongé is a longer shot of espresso. The idea is you get that volume through the extraction, not the water you’re adding in after.”
So when you’re on your first date with Wandure, where can you expect to go in Montreal?
If you’re a fan of books and coffee (and want something other than sitting at Starbucks in Indigo) you’ll fall in love with Chez l’Éditeu. It’s a cultural, creative and modern space where you can relax with a book in one hand and a coffee in the other.
It’s owned and operated by Québécois publishing house Québec Amérique, in conjunction with communications firm Roy & Turner.
They can be found at two locations: one in Villeray and the other in Griffintown.
You could argue I’m a little biased when it comes to coffee in Montreal. I’m Portuguese so of course, anywhere serving natas alongside espresso immediately earns the title of one the “best coffee shops in Montreal”.
The Chiado 28 café gets its name from the Chiado district of Lisbon, known for artsy shops, cafes and restaurants as well as theaters and historic monuments. The small coffee-shop gives the impression of being in Lisbon by offering Portuguese coffees and pastries.
In the summer their patio opens up where you can sit and enjoy an espresso and with natas, but also a variety of soups, sandwiches and croquettes.
Cafe Leaves is known for its plant-based milk options and vegan snacks from local companies such as Doughnats. Unlike other coffee shops which offer vegan options, Café Leaves, “only serves vegetable milk when you want milk with your coffee, 100% Plant-Based pastries and plants.”
That’s right, not only are the food and drinks plant based, but the shop is full of beautiful (and adoptable!) plants. There are currently two locations, one at Rue de la Montagne and the other is found close to McGill.
Prices range from $2.39 for a filter coffee up to $5.22 for espresso beverage which require a little extra attention.
Nicknamed “Open Da Night” after a few letters dropped from its “Open Day & Night” sign, Café Olimpico has been one of Montreal’s best kept secrets for nearly 50 years.
They have three locations, one nestled in the heart of the Mile End, Old Port & Downtown districts of Montreal. The Mile End's Olimpico was founded by the late Rocco Furfaro in 1970 and serves up classic espressos and cappuccinos to a mix of soccer fans (expect to see the latest soccer game playing at all times!)
By day you can expect to enjoy coffee (from local roaster Kittel), baked goods and breakfast sandwiches. At least until lunch service rolls around and the menu switches to pizzas and salads.
Café Parvis is“...an enchanting café with a fresh menu to welcome you at any time of the day, and workspaces adapted to your needs." It’s the heart of the entertainment district and a great option for getting work done or catching up with friends.
At Café Myriad “[they] make pretty good coffee and sometimes [they] play really bad music but it’s also usually pretty good.”
They're the coffee shop working with 49th Parallel Roasters, serving pastries from independent local bakers and making as much product as they can in-house (oh and they insist they will never tell you how to drink your coffee!) They believe there’s no right or wrong approach to making coffee better, “more than anything, [they] have fun and don’t take [them]selves too seriously."
Be still my coffee loving soul - best coffee shops in Montreal, here I come!