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Writing and eating in Montreal

I'm taking a weeklong working trip to Montreal in a couple of weeks, staying near Rue St-Denis and Rue Sherbrooke Est.

Any suggestions for either good cafes (for writing) or good restaurants (for writing off)?


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  1. For a cafe/bar where there're always a few laptops open, try Else's at 156 Roy Est.

    If you want more minimal sleak modern cafe, and again lots of open laptops, try Laika at 4040 St Laurent.

    Both have wireless, I believe, and both have decent espressos and small menu.

    1. The Reservoir (9 Duluth, corner of St-Laurent)is just across the street from Laika and is much better in terms of ambiance (less be-seen) and has better food for cheaper as well as being an artisanal brewery. One of my favs. They serve lunch on Tuesdays through Fridays and a fabulous brunch on weekends. The rest of the time its fun pub eats with a twist.

      1. good point about the food and vibe at Reservoir--their stout is tasty too

          1. Café Art-Java on Mount Royal 2 blocks east of St. Denis has fantastic coffee, good food, and I regularly see people in there writing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam Ottawa

              Second the Art Java recommendation. Free wi-fi, and the seating in the back is a bit quieter. I haul my macbook pro out there once in a while for a nice afternoon of leisurely nibbling and coffee drinking.

            2. It's a bit of a schlep from St-Denis and Sherbrooke, but La Croissanterie Figaro, at Fairmount and Hutchison, is a great place to sit with a cafe au lait and write.

              I like Laika too.

              1. Thanks, all, for the tips!

                Cafe Art-Java is great, though a little far when I'm in a lazy mood. I'm spending a good chunk of this trip at Presse-Cafe at St-Denis and Ontario because it's open 24 hours and I can see my hotel out the window.

                The Reservoir is also nice, but I speak no French and have no idea what I ate. I thought I ordered leg of lamb, but it din look like no leg a lamb I ever seen. God knows what it was. Good, though.

                I located L'Express yesterday, and will probably do the spicy-tartare-at-the-bar thing for lunch tomorrow. May not get to Laika before I leave.

                3 Replies
                1. re: noteon

                  A pocket french-english dictionnary could be useful when ordering. Besides, I'm pretty sure somebody on the staff must speak at leas some english.

                  1. re: Campofiorin

                    I would be very surpirsed if one were to ask to have the menu explained to them in English and got turned down.

                  2. re: noteon

                    Java U on St-Denis would be another good option for you, up the street just above Duluth. It's a bit more loungey than Presse-Cafe, has a good selection of paninis, wraps, salads & soups sometimes, desserts. It's perfect for lunch and spending the day/evening writing/reading. it does close on the early side, though (10, I believe). Overall it's a nice relaxed atmosphere and might be a nice change for you. Gets a bit busy in the evening.

                  3. I found that Presse-Cafe to be a fairly depressing place with terrible coffee. In the Quartier Latin area, I'd recommend L'Utopik on St. Catherine between Berri and St. Hubert (http://www.lutopik.org/tiki-index.php) for a good place to get some writing done. If you don't mind a hippie vibe (and live music at night), it has an interesting mix of people (CEGEP/UQAM students, Latin Americans, anarchists, etc.) and passable vegetarian food (as well as free wireless).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jacobo

                      At 10:00 PM, I'm just getting going, so Java U won't work for me. L'Utopik sounds as though it wouldn't work, either. Hippie vibe not a problem, but live music and writing a novel--can't do it. Especially the quality of live music you usually get in coffeehouses. When they start setting up, I start packing to leave.

                      Presse-Cafe is great for writing. There are several distinct crowds that pass through, the eavesdropping and peoplewatching are excellent, and it's open all night and one minute from my hotel room. Not the world's best coffee, but I generally order tea anyway.

                      You know what underwhelmed me this morning, was L'Avenue. Based on one meal (smoked salmon omelette, coffee), breakfast was good, but nothing particularly amazing. It's what I'd expect from any really good diner. The potatoes were better than I could make, but the omelette wasn't. Norma's in NYC blows it out of the water.

                    2. We adore La Croissanterie, for any meal of the day. Great food and service, a lovely spot, too, to eat outside. I had the vegetarian plate the other night for dinner, and it was delicious. Even my yogurt and fruit with almonds and honey was so delicious, my daughter (17 years old) loved that so much that she wanted to return for breakfast just to have that! Highly recommended!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MangiaMuse

                        Café Cherrier or Express? those will be a short walk from where you're staying