The most populous municipality in the Canadian Province of Quebec—and the second-most heavily populated city in the entire country—Montreal has a population of over 1.7 million in the city proper, and a whopping 4 million residents living and working in the larger Montreal Metropolitan area—people who, for the most part, cherish their daily cup of steaming hot coffee.
Montreal is a true tourist’s dream. Not only does the city boast a seemingly unlimited number of sites and attractions, it is also home to an abundance of cultural festivals and events each year—events that celebrate the diversity of its people.
Montreal is generally a French-speaking city, with roughly 61 percent of the population speaking French as a first language. This statistic makes Montreal the largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris, France.
As a mostly French-speaking city, we can infer that, like the French, the good people of Montreal love their coffee, as evidenced by the hundreds of independent coffee shops that are scattered throughout the city limits. In the following article we will highlight several of these great indie coffee houses, and describe for you the general characteristics and menus of each café.
Located at 106 McGill Street in Montreal, Le Cartet is a wonderful café and boutique shop, serving up some of the best coffee in the city. The shop, which is situated in the heart of the city’s Old Town sector, specializes in bold espresso and pour over coffees, with a few sweeter drinks, like Mochas and Caramel Macchiato, mixed in for good measure. Le Cartet also offers one of the best lineups of tempting morning pastries, and their lunch fare is famous for its freshness and quality.
With its simple Eastern European décor and ambience, and a food and coffee menu to match, Replika is one of the most unique, yet satisfying cafes on our list. Owned and operated by a Turkish-born couple, Replika feels like a café in a different land, and its wonderful menu of espressos and frothy lattes can draw a sizeable line of people on weekday mornings.
Like its décor, the food menu at Replika is also Turkish-themed, consisting of savory scones and hearty meat boreks, among other selections, brought to customers on dainty vintage and mismatched plates and served at a large wooden communal table that invites friendly conversation
Replika is located at 252 Rachel Street East in Montreal.
Situated at the intersection of McGill College Avenue and Maisonneuve West, near the Stanley entrance of the Peel Metro Station, Tunnel Espresso is a coffee shop that is buried deep within Montreal’s enormous underground network, making it a very popular stop for hurried commuters on their way to work.
Despite its unusual location, Tunnel Espresso has become very well known throughout the city of Montreal for the quality of its house-brewed coffee and espresso, served hot or ice cold, the latter offering being ideal for those warm summer mornings. The café also serves up a variety of lattes and specialty drinks, and a food menu that includes pastries, sandwiches and some of the best macadamia nut cookies in the country.
Boulangerie Rustique Sweet Lee’s
The popular spot known as Boulangerie Rustique Sweet Lee’s is a bucolic café and bakery, and although it is located a bit off the beaten path—at 4150 Wellington Street in the Verdun quarter of Montreal—the quality and tastiness of its offerings has earned it a very strong following of regulars.
Perhaps the most popular aspect of Boulangerie Rustique Sweet Lee’s is its amazing espresso bar, where customers can choose from a wide array of different coffee varieties and a bevy of tasty creamers. The café uses beans brewed by the Montréal-based Café Saint Henri Micro Torréfacteur, a popular brand throughout the country, and its delicious menu of snacks include homemade pastries and cookies as well as a complete vegetarian lunch menu highlighted by different types of salads.
The Humble Lion, located at 904 Sherbrooke Street West, is a warm and inviting café that combines a rustic and sleek décor to create a very comfortable, yet eclectic setting. The shop mixes wood and chrome accents with plush leather furnishings and a roaring fireplace to create a type of home away from home.
Situated in Montreal’s bustling downtown sector, the Humble Lion serves as a serene respite from the crowds of shouting people, helping customers get their days off on the right foot. The Humble Lion offers only the best espressos, coffees and snacks to its customers, such as the well-known Intelligentsia Coffee and Mast Brothers Chocolates. Free Wi-Fi access is available to all paying customers.
Larue and Fils
What began about a decade ago as an independent (and rather scary) husband and wife venture has now turned into a successful and very expansive endeavor. The coffee shop known as Larue and Fils now has two locations: the original location at 244 De Castelnau Street East, in the heart of Villeray just north of Jean-Talon Market, and their new location at 405 Jarry Street East.
Both of the Larue and Fils locations are now very popular among local commuters and students, offering a warm and inviting place for coffee, study and conversation. The coffee shops feature a long wooden coffee bar, state of the art brew machines, plush velour seating and local artwork displayed neatly on the walls
Both of these shops use Montreal-brewed coffee, and both sell beans that customers can take home with them. Occasionally the shop will host guest brewers from around the area, and the original location now offers classes on how to brew the perfect cup of coffee.
Boasting three separate locations in and around the Montreal area, including the original location at 1432 Mackay Street, Café Myriade is becoming a household throughout the city for its quality coffee and great service. With a Nordic-themed décor, the Café Myriade shops are very unique and inviting, and the friendly baristas are always happy to whip up specialty orders based on your tastes and preferences.
Coffee enthusiasts and aficionados flock to the Café Myriade for their espresso and pour over varieties, all of which use grains sourced from the renowned and fair-trade 49th Parallel Roasters in Vancouver.