How to order coffee in Montreal

Posted on May 14th, 2009 by .

Picture it: Montreal. A sunny Sunday morning. You walk into a romantic French café and decide to show your special someone just how worldly you are by ordering your coffee in French. “Un café, s’il vous plait.”
Yeah, if only it were that easy. What your Berlitz book of French phrases didn’t tell you is that, in Montreal, there’s more to coffee than just “café.”
Ok, so before you panic and do something crazy like toss a jar of Nescafé into your suitcase, let me reassure you. It’s not that hard to order coffee like a real Montrealer. There is basically just one thing you need to know before ordering: Do you prefer regular brewed coffee or espresso?
If your morning ritual involves a regular brewed cuppa joe, you want what is locally known as a café filtre.
Those who prefer the stronger taste of espresso can ask for an allongé (equal parts espresso and hot water) or an Americano (a shot of espresso and the rest of the cup filled with hot water).
In case you’re worried about fitting in, rest assured that locals are split among café filtre and allongé drinkers. Both options are socially acceptable choices, though not all cafés offer both.
Of course, all the other favourite coffee options are widely available, from lattés to cappuccinos to mochaccinos, and so on.
So now that you know how to order, the question is, where to go?

The good news is that Montreal has no shortage of thriving gourmet coffee houses. In fact, you’ll probably notice that Starbucks just doesn’t have the same stronghold over our city as it does elsewhere in North America.

Here’s my list of favourite coffee shops in Montreal, listed according to neighbourhood:
Little Italy
Caffè Italia
6840 St Laurent,
Montreal, H2S 3C7
(514) 495-0059
In Old Montreal
Café Véritas
480 St-Laurent Blvd.
Montreal, H2Y 3Y7
(514) 510-7775
http://www.cafesanteveritas.com/en/welcome.html
Downtown
Café Myriade
1432 Mackay St.
Montreal
(514) 939.1717
http://www.cafemyriade.com/
Their barista Anthony Brenda was ranked best from Montreal at the 2008 World Barista Championships
Mile End
Club Social
180 St-Viateur West
(514) 495-0114
The Plateau
Caffe in Gamba (link to http://www.cafeingamba.com/en/index.php ),
5263 Park Avenue, Montreal H2V 4G9
(514) 656-6852
If you want more info, read the blog of local coffee geek Alexandre Enkerli.

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