BY AMANDA PIEDIMONTE
I have favourite coffee spots based on neighbourhood, mood, and snack cravings. Being very loyal to my favourite spots, I had to ask for help from friends/café aficionados in order to provide a more comprehensive look at coffee shops around the city.
Caffè San Simeon
For the warm and personable service in any of 3 languages, no-frills bustling atmosphere, multicultural crowd, excellent coffee and the Nutella cookies which are perfect for dunking! In the summer, they have outdoor seating. I could spend all day there. Their own baristello Piero is very active on social networks so don’t hesitate to follow them on Instagram @caffesansimeon
Kim is a big fan of their coffee and their sandwiches. She shares : “They make a simple panini with fresh italian cold cuts and always put the best spicy eggplant. I’ve been going there since I can remember. My dad used to bring me and my sisters. We would sit at the bar, look at all the goodies behind the counter, stare at the old Italian men and would always run into an uncle or family friend. It was just a fun hangout with my dad.”
Pikolo Espresso bar
Kim says “after your first sip, the world stops and you feel like you’re at home in bed on a cold snowy day. I also had the most delicious cannelé. Apparently they are made by this French woman who makes them especially for the shop.” Pikolo uses Phil & Sebastian coffee beans. I’ve also heard rave reviews of their soy milk latte.
Brooklyn Café Showroom
For the dairy-free milk options, impressive oatmeal selection, and to sit outside on those colourful fold-up lawn chairs for a few minutes to relax.
Tunnel espresso bar
My friend Roberto walked me through a maze of underground malls to introduce me to this gem. I fell under its charm (and also the barista’s!) Of course, I paid it forward and have since introduced a handful of friends to this tiny, friendly and unique espresso bar. A much-needed break from the chain coffee places that litter downtown Montreal.
Café Myriad and Myriad II at Savoie et Fils
Roberto says “Their espresso tastes powerful, like nothing else.” And I personally know how far and wide he’s searched for the perfect (tiny) cup. Katherine adds “(that) their lattes are killer, using 3.8% milk and their espresso has a subtle maple flavour. Am I the only one who tastes it?”
This tiny sidewalk counter provides coffees exclusively in a “TO GO” paper cup format. Aurélie raves about their Americano. Their prices are reflected by their reduced overhead.
Lili & Oli
Genee recommends Lili & Oli for the “delicious coffee, friendly service, inviting atmosphere, hunky staff.”
Amanda shares “Best coffee, nice decor, lots of plants, good food menu, big spaced out tables, AND they play the best music, like Cocteau twins and MBV. Definitely my place of choice for getting lots of work done.” Sounds excellent!
Café 92 Degrés
My all-time favourite neighbours from when I (briefly) lived in NDG really enjoy this shop. They go “for the coffee, the laid-back atmosphere and the friendly staff”.
Linda shares “they roast their own beans, offer great service, serve Sweet Lee’s goodies and when you buy a bag of coffee, they give you a voucher for a free cup.” Deal! Camille adds that the ambiance is really nice and chill.
This is the Mile End’s equivalent to Caffè San Simeon. Go for the warm and friendly service, great coffee, trilingual conversations, and the killer terrasse. Also a great spot to watch World Cup/Euro Cup soccer games.
I fell under their charm from the sidewalk as I read their sign “Notre français n’est pas très bon mais notre café l’est”. And they were right! Laid-back and friendly atmosphere. Try a jaffle (an Australian grilled sandwich) while you’re there.
Their espressos are made with precision (quantities weighed, timed) and are consistently good. Great people-watching and tunes. Their cold brew, made in the summer months only, is excellent and well-worth the detour. Same owners as Vieux Vélo next door.
Café Code Black
The newest on the list, Café Code Black opened its doors this winter. Yasmine shares “Their coffee is delicious, the café is roomy, and it’s less of a sweatbox than most places seem to be (these days).”
A wonderful study spot with shared tables, but like any hot spot, it’s often very crowded. Their coffee is really really good, but strong as hell and may give you the jitters. The main draw food-wise is their spicy tuna sandwich and their homemade gigantic, gooey cookies.
Steve shares “I have a place in St.Leonard that pretty much makes the best espresso in town. They use a secret combination of three different coffee beans that hasn’t changed since the dawn of time. This place is a classic old Italian man bar owned by my friend Dave Petruccelli.”
Honourable mention : basically any old man café in St-Leonard. Roadtrip, anyone?
We want to hear from you – what are your favourite MTL coffee shops and why ?