Montréal’s international coffee culture
Montréal’s share of independent cafés is admittedly large and growing larger by the minute. Every neighbourhood now has its own collection of independently run coffee shops, each with its own personality and quirky culture that makes it unique. The city also has a large collection of cafés that draws inspiration from an international array of coffee loving cultures.
Café Replika // Turkish
Located on Rachel Street, Café Replika is popular with students who like to spend their days studying in the sun-filled space. Strong Turkish coffee, tahini-scented pastries and simits (Turkish “bagels” with all the fixings) are on the menu here for a taste of Turkey in Montréal.
Kahwa Café // Tunisian
Organic and fair-trade coffee is on the menu at Kahwa Café (kahwa is the Arabic word for coffee), an independent and eclectically furnished spot that’s been around for close to a decade. Tunisian couscous is served here along with mint tea and coffee infused with orange flower blossom.
Café Sfouf // Lebanese
A favourite hangout in the heart of the Village, Café Sfouf is a light-filled space furnished with an eclectic collection that gives this café its charm. Every drink is served with a small sfouf square, a vegan semolina and turmeric Lebanese cake. Order the “Golden Milk”, a hot concoction infused with turmeric, and the labneh, zaatar and mint tartine.
Jouney // Lebanese
Lebanese hospitality is legendary and Jouney is no different. Order a Lebanese coffee (like a Turkish coffee) in a rakwa (the metal stovetop coffee pot it’s made in) and a zaatar and cheese manoushe and start your day like they do in Beirut.
Caffè Italia // Italian
Montréal has its fare of Italian coffee shops, most of which have been around for decades and Caffè Italia is no different. Walking into the Little Italy caffè feels like a trip to the old country. Order an espresso and a slice of pandoro and listen to the elderly Italian men conversing enthusiastically.
Le Falco // Japanese
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. Order a siphon coffee (Le Falco is one of the few spots in Montréal that serves this kind of coffee) and a simple yet satisfying Japanese lunch.
La croissanterie Figaro // French
This little Parisian corner has been around for 25 years. La croissanterie Figaro will take you on a virtual trip to Paris with its bistro interior and charming terrasse. Order a toasted baguette with butter and jam to dip into your café crème for a simple weekday breakfast or one of the French specialties for a heartier meal.
Café Melbourne // Australian
Inspired by the coffee culture of Melbourne, Australia, and owned and run by Australian expats, Café Melbourne has garnered a great following and a loyal clientele who head there for the laidback vibe, the flawless flat white and the smashed avocado toast.
Aloha Espresso Bar // Hawaiian
Old Montréal’s Aloha Espresso Bar is the perfect spot to pretend like you’re on a Hawaiian holiday. The island spirit is alive at this spot designed like a beach shack complete with tropical plant-themed wallpaper. Order a 100% Kona coffee with an acai bowl and you can almost hear the waves crashing.
Padoca Pâtisserie Brésilienne // Brazilian
Padoca Pâtisserie Brésilienne is a Village coffee shop and bakery using local products to create and serve Brazilian specialties. Brazil’s most famous confectionary, the brigadeiro, is featured, of course, along with many other sweet treats including queijadinha, pastels, and savoury croquettes.
Kamenitsa // Greek
Is there anything more delicious than enjoying a baklava dripping with honey with a strong Greek coffee? Perhaps you prefer a bougatsa (a decadent treat of custard sandwiched between crispy layers of phyllo dough) with an ice-cold frappé? You can enjoy either and much more at Kamenitsa, a family-run Greek café and bakery that’s been around since 1967.
Café Sable // Armenian
Located on Mont-Royal Avenue, Café Sable is an Armenian café that serves coffee the traditional way, made in a conventional copper pot placed in hot sand to cook. It’s mesmerizing to watch the coffee rise and fall as it cooks. If you’re feeling peckish, Café Sable also serves some Armenian specialties.
Mayssam Samaha, blogger
Mayssam Samaha is a food and travel writer and blogger and the founder behind the blog Will Travel for Food. She travels the world in search of the next culinary discovery. From Iceland to South Africa, she’s already visited over 30 countries and there’s nothing she enjoys more than wandering around a farmers’ market in a foreign city. She is also the founder of the SAISONS intimate dinner series highlighting Québec products and chefs.