Café Myriade can claim to have planted the seeds of the wave of new coffee spots emerging in Montréal in the last 18 months. It opened back in 2008 and many of the recent crop, including Pikolo Espresso and Le Couteau/The Knife, can trace their lineage and/or inspiration back to Myriade and its owner, Anthony. It can also stake a claim to having introduced the awesome-looking Triplette espresso machine to Montréal.
However, despite this impressive heritage, I very nearly walked out of Myriade about 10 seconds after walking in. It was heaving, all the tables were taken, there was a queue at the counter and the loud music was really very loud. To cap it all, I was in a foul mood. However, I forced myself to stay and was very glad that I did.
Once I’d settled down and got a table, I found that I loved the place. The atmosphere was great, as was the music, although it won’t be to everyone’s tastes. The coffee was excellent and the staff knowledgeable and helpful. Even the other customers were friendly! What’s more, it’s right in the heart of downtown Montréal where independent coffee spots seem thin on the ground.
It’s fair to say that I was blown away by the coffee scene in Montréal. I came to it armed with precisely zero foreknowledge and left deeply impressed with the range and quality of the coffee spots dotted around the city. Café Plume is another of the new crop of places which have bloomed in the last 18 months or so. It was recommended to me by Marie- Ève of the Pikolo Espresso Bar and her recommendation proved to be spot on.
Café Plume is best described as a neighbour café. Located on the eastern edge of the plateau area of Montréal, opposite Parc Jeanne-Mance, it’s a laid-back, relaxed and friendly place with coffee that’s every bit as good as its setting. Throw in a generous provision of power outlets and free wifi and you have the sort of place that makes you want to move in next door (or, in the case of Café Plume, move into one of the flats above the shop). Or maybe just move into Plume itself!
October 2017: Café Plume has closed, but has been taken over by Paquebot, which has pretty much left things unchanged. You can see what I made of Paquebot Mont-Royal when I visited in a year later in October 2018. Continue reading
You know somewhere is going to be good when everybody you meet tells you to go there. So it was with Le Couteau (The Knife), one of the new wave of coffee shops that have sprung up in Montréal in the last couple of years. In fact, as this post is published, Le Couteau is precisely one year and six days old…
Located just around the corner from the Mont-Royal metro station, Le Couteau is a wonderful place. It’s spacious, full of light and the coffee is superb. The cakes are pretty awesome too. Like many of the places I visited in Montréal, the focus is firmly on the coffee, with little else to distract you, although there is tea and hot chocolate for those of that persuasion.
At first glance, the wooden benches don’t look that inviting, but they are actually very comfortable, while the much sought-after window seats look ideal (I never got to try one since they were all taken). At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if I lived in Montréal, I’d be in here all the time (except I’d be in all other great places I visited as well; something of a dilemma!).
October 2018: Le Couteau changed hands in 2016, becoming a branch of Café Myriade. I popped in on my recent visit to Montréal and found that, coffee notwithstanding, it looked much as I remember it. Keep your eyes peeled for a post on the new Café Myriade – Le Plateau in due course!
The Pikolo Espresso Bar in downtown Montréal came highly recommended. No, really. Very highly recommended: I’d only been in Montréal a day and already lots of people had said that I should go there. Under such circumstances, there’s always the possibility for disappointment, so it was with some trepidation that I visited one sunny afternoon.
However, I was far from disappointed. In fact, I fell in love with the place the moment I stepped through the door. Very long and thin, and with wonderfully-high ceilings, there is something about Pikolo to which I was instantly attracted. Located in a beautiful, old building, I knew this was going to be a great place to drink coffee. It probably helps that the coffee is pretty good too.
Frankly, what’s there not to like about Pikolo? It’s small, but never felt crowded; popular, but never felt busy; the staff are great and passionate about the coffee; it’s full of light and I even liked the music! Pikolo has been open about 18 months and is one of the places at the forefront of a quiet coffee revolution taking place in Montréal. With places like Pikolo, the revolution is sure to be a success!