Montreal has seen a boom in independent cafés in the last few years. Champion baristas, single-origin beans and funky decors are part of every café’s equation. The following 5 picks are all that and so much more. Travel the world one cup of coffee at a time…
A Czech jewel: Café Prague
Walking into this café immediately transports you from the heart of Outremont to the heart of Prague. Jazz music, dark wood framed mirrors and a plush banquette contribute in creating an inviting atmosphere where you’ll want to linger while daydreaming of that mythical bohemian city that lends its name to this café. Sit at the bar and admire the 1965 Brugnetti & C. espresso machine.
What to try: a slice of decadently sweet strudel or one of the many open-faced Czech sandwiches also known as a “merveille” with a nice Czech beer.
1317 Van Horne Avenue
514 439 3778
Japanese simplicity: Café Falco
The decor at this Mile-End spot is reminiscent of a crazy science lab with all its clear-glass coffee siphons. The industrial chic space is airy and furnished with some unique and well-chosen vintage pieces. It’s a great spot for a business meeting, an afternoon of work (they have free WiFi), a friendly cup of their specialty coffees or teas or a simple Japanese lunch inspired by co-owner Yuko Toda’s Japanese origin.
What to try: the siphon coffee. Café Falco is one of the very few spots in Montreal that serves this kind of coffee so take advantage and give it a try! Watch the slow process as it produces a great cup of joe that tastes stronger than a filter coffee but milder than en espresso.
5605 De Gaspé
514 272 7766
Scandinavian minimalism: Café Ellefsen
Scandinavian simplicity is the name of the game at this airy and freshly decorated café. The open kitchen flanks one side of the room while the dining room is furniture with simple light wood or white painted furniture. Open 7 days a week, it’s the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s also the perfect place to spend a few hours chatting over a great cup of coffee. Several choices of smorrebrod – Scandinavian open-face sandwiches on rye bread – are available every day.
What to try: the poutine! Believe it or not, Café Ellefsen makes on of the best poutines in Montreal. Try the one with cod or with Swedish meatballs.
414 St-Zotique East
Italian passion: Café Vito
If there’s one thing Italians are passionate about, it’s their coffee and Café Vito is no exception. Vito Azzue, a veteran of Café Olimpico, another famous Italian café in Montreal, opened his tiny spot on a residential street corner in the heart of Villeray. That street corner has since become the life of the neighbourhood, with people standing, chatting, making friends and meeting over one of Vito’s famous brews all day and all night (they’re open from 6am to 11pm)
What to try: the iced caffè latté. Made with Vito’s special cold-brewed mix, the slushy coffee is mixed with ice-cold milk to create a brew that is refreshing and instantly addictive.
151 Rue Villeray
514 564 3131
Montreal hip: Café Myriade
Café Myriade is one of the first independent cafés to introduce the third wave movement to Montreal. Owned and operated by Canadian barista champion Anthony Benda and partner Scott Rao, author of that essential barista bible, The Professional Barista’s Handbook, the café has been in business in the Concordia University ghetto for a few years now. These guys know their coffee and are just as happy sharing the knowledge with their loyal clients so don’t be shy to inquire if you have questions.
What to try: drip coffee, espresso, lattés, French press, siphon coffee, etc. anything on the menu is great and will keep you going back for more.
Note: Café Myriade 2, a second spot, is now open in the very hip Mile-End neighbourhood.
1432 Rue Mackay
514 939 1717
251 Rue St-Viateur West