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Finding good espresso in Montreal

thesolodiner Dec 14, 2007 03:27 PM

Hi.... I've hunted high and low for good espresso in Montreal; no luck. Olive & Gourmando in Old Mtl. serves OK espresso, but otherwise, I can't find anything better than Van Houtte's watery version.

Any suggestions for finding the real thing? Thanks........

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  1. SnackHappy RE: thesolodiner Dec 14, 2007 03:45 PM


    That should keep you busy for a few weeks.

    If you want the short version, the concensus seems to be that the top places are:

    Caffe in Gamba: http://www.caffeingamba.com/
    Cafe Santé Veritas: http://www.cafesanteveritas.com/
    Cafe Art Java: http://www.caffeartjava.com/
    Cafe Italia: http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=fr&...

    Other more informed chowhouders will surely have other suggestions.

    8 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy
      thesolodiner RE: SnackHappy Dec 17, 2007 02:07 PM

      How did I miss that original thread? I need more coffee! Thank you...

      1. re: thesolodiner
        bomobob RE: thesolodiner Dec 17, 2007 02:44 PM

        Oh my God...Cafe Italia for sure.

      2. re: SnackHappy
        jbbank RE: SnackHappy Dec 18, 2007 04:50 AM

        Gamba and Veritas are definately worth a visit. I don't think Italia is in the same league, but they make decent espresso too. I feel that Art Java has been on a decline ever since they opened a few years ago, but they will still make a better cup than most places in the city. Whether or not you'll get a great cup will depend on whether who's working as barista.

        1. re: jbbank
          The Chemist RE: jbbank Aug 5, 2008 08:03 AM

          I decided to try Art Java based upon recommendations on this forum, and I got a trainee barista. I have had better espresso at second cup. Baristas are as important as beans or machine, IMHO.

          1. re: The Chemist
            Anth RE: The Chemist Aug 5, 2008 02:34 PM

            which location did you go to? If you can get Luke or Alex you'll usually be taken pretty well care of as far as the coffee's concerned.

            1. re: Anth
              The Chemist RE: Anth Aug 6, 2008 08:58 AM

              This was the downtown location. I was a bit offended, to be honest, having them use me as trainee fodder. Perhaps I gave off a knows nothing about coffee vibe, I donno. I will go again. And this time, if I get another trainee, I will politely explain that I want it made by the experienced barista.

              1. re: The Chemist
                emerilcantcook RE: The Chemist Aug 6, 2008 09:48 AM

                Downtown is (or used to be) pretty dependable. Too bad they used you as a guinea pig. No customer should be used as a guinea pig. In the coffee shop I used to frequent in grad school, trainee made espressos (but not milk based drinks, I guess the managers thought it didn't make much difference, which makes sense) were always free; because there wasn't any guarantee that they would be up to par.

                Actually, I have a better idea: Trainee baristas should be obliged to drink their own concoctions. Lets see how fast they learn then :)

                I have to rant that I had a truly horrible espresso at the Mont Royal branch a few weeks back. It was so bitter, I couldn't even finish it. It was a late shift, and someone that I haven't seen before made my coffee.

                From all these experiences, I started to think that most good baristas seem to work early shifts. To ensure a good cup, it is almost imperative to go on a weekday morning? Non?

                1. re: emerilcantcook
                  The Chemist RE: emerilcantcook Aug 7, 2008 06:04 AM

                  So I went back to the downtown location this morning to check it out (8:30) and the espresso they pulled was much much better this time. They have been redeemed in my eyes.

                  I had a bit of a funny experience though... I ordered a 'double long' and this prompted the clerk to ask me what type... which confused me as I have never thought that there was more than one type of double long. I repeated my order in french, thinking it may have been a language thing but as it turned out, after a comparative discussion on the size of the pull versus the size of the cup, that what she was getting at was the difference between an americano and an italiano. This struck me as odd, because if I wanted an americano, I would have ordered a 'double long americano'. Or am I missing something?

                  Anyway, a bit of awkwardness is a small price to pay for a 'kick you in the face' espresso.

      3. phedre RE: thesolodiner Dec 14, 2007 05:06 PM

        There's only one place to go: Caffe in Gamba on Parc, near Fairmount. Friendly, welcoming, with a great atmosphere and a lovely selection of espresso blends. Definitely try it out!

        15 Replies
        1. re: phedre
          isa1 RE: phedre Dec 18, 2007 11:07 AM

          I agree, Gamba has the best coffee in town. I'm addicted, I'm in TO this week and very unhappy:(

          1. re: isa1
            thesolodiner RE: isa1 Dec 29, 2007 07:39 PM

            I finally tried Caffe in Gamba last week...... I liked their attitude, their passion about coffee, their style........ but the espresso was just good, not great. I'm going to try Veritas and Italia when I'm back in January. I did, however, buy some incredible Zoka beans at Caffe in Gamba.

            1. re: thesolodiner
              carswell RE: thesolodiner Dec 29, 2007 08:10 PM

              I think JF, the owner, would probably agree 100% with your assessment of Caffè in Gamba. You should also add the downtown branch of Caffè ArtJava to your list btw; a double I had pulled there earlier this week was beautiful, if not quite as insanely so as when Anthony (now at Veritas) was working the machine. Also, a new spot with an exciting pedigree is about to open in the McGill ghetto, and word on the street is that a couple of North America's biggest names in quality espresso are seriously looking at setting up shop in the city, probably in the downtown core.

              CIG's Zoka beans -- the Paladino blend, to be precise -- are indeed incredible. (I just bought the dregs of the current shipment today.) Incredibly versatile, too: not only do they make fine espresso, they're also good for moka pots, French presses and even drip machines. Haven't tried them in an AeroPress but how could they miss? www.zokacoffee.com

              1. re: carswell
                KT MTL RE: carswell Jan 3, 2008 11:02 PM

                A couple of North America's biggest names? Could you be more specific?

                On a somewhat related note, a Starbucks just opened next door to Café Veritas, at Notre Dame/St. Laurent, and on their website they're listed as having the same address (470 St. Laurent). Honest mistake or evil corporate ploy? You decide!

                1. re: KT MTL
                  moh RE: KT MTL Jan 4, 2008 05:35 AM

                  "honest mistake or evil corporate ploy?"

                  Or third option: Another incompetent screw-up by the city of Montreal?

                  OOh can't wait until they restart construction on St. Denis....

                  1. re: moh
                    The Chemist RE: moh Aug 5, 2008 08:09 AM

                    Agreed... the city should protect the cafe culture here more aggressively. I came from a city that now has only 1, count it.. 1 real cafe left.. The others have been run out of town by Starbucks, Second cup, Timothies, or in some cases, all three opening up next door. Letś not let it happen here.

                2. re: carswell
                  KT MTL RE: carswell Jan 20, 2008 01:44 AM

                  I'm still waiting to hear from Carswell on the new café with good pedigree opening up in the McGill Ghetto. I've pass through the neighbourhood frequently, and while there are some recently-vacated spaces, I haven't noticed anything that might become a café.

                  And what about those two big names looking for space downtown?

                  1. re: KT MTL
                    carswell RE: KT MTL Jan 20, 2008 05:41 AM

                    Well, in response to your earlier question, yes, I could be more specific but don't feel comfortable doing so in a public forum. Sorry. If all goes according to plan, I'll be speaking with someone involved with the McGill Ghetto project this week and will ask if it's OK to spill the beans. At this point, as far as I know, the big names are just rumours, and I don't want to do anything to jinx them.

                    1. re: carswell
                      phedre RE: carswell Jan 30, 2008 01:38 PM

                      Latest word from the source is that the McGill Ghetto is on hold, unfortunately. I really hope something works out soon!

                  2. re: carswell
                    junkanoo RE: carswell Aug 3, 2008 11:40 AM

                    Hello All:

                    Thought I'd revive this topic to see if there are any new candidates serving terrific espresso in Montreal.


                    If you have any new info about a new spot in the Montreal ghetto that would also be greatly appreciated.


                    1. re: junkanoo
                      carswell RE: junkanoo Aug 3, 2008 11:51 AM

                      Last I heard the McGill ghetto shop didn't pan out.

                      The two newest developments I'm aware of are the recent opening of a Caffè in Gamba counter in Place Ville-Marie and the imminent opening of Café Myriade on Mackay between de Maisonneuve and Ste-Catherine. Chowhound Anth is involved with the latter; maybe he'll chime in with details.

                      1. re: carswell
                        Anth RE: carswell Aug 3, 2008 06:39 PM

                        Yeah my involvement in a McGill ghetto cafe didn't pan out, but maybe something will still come of it? I know for sure of two other projects other than mine that are in the early stages of looking for locations downtown and in the latin quarter, and I expect both would be high quality places.

                        As for Myriade, I still expect it to be open in October. Incidentally, the Canadian Coffee and Tea show is in Montreal in October as well (along with the barista championship) and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the more established businesses from other cities take interest in setting up shop here. One can hope, anyway.

                        1. re: Anth
                          junkanoo RE: Anth Aug 3, 2008 06:59 PM

                          Thanks for the update guys! I look forward to checking Myriade out.

                  3. re: thesolodiner
                    croslan RE: thesolodiner Oct 9, 2008 10:22 AM

                    I went to Gamba on my last trip to Montreal and the barista was a complete novice who admitted to me that he had never poured before that day! He didn't even know the difference between short and long pull. I ordered a double ristretto and he had no clue.

                    1. re: croslan
                      mainsqueeze RE: croslan Oct 9, 2008 10:53 AM

                      Well they have to start somewhere!


              2. b
                brahmi RE: thesolodiner Jan 14, 2008 01:38 PM

                The best in my opinion and my crew is Cafe dÍtalia on St Laurent and also surprisingly cafe Reve on Queen Mary and Cafe Creme on Victoria in Westmount. We have tried many many coffee places trust us if you want real coffee those are the best.

                1 Reply
                1. re: brahmi
                  pyropaul99 RE: brahmi Jan 31, 2008 05:23 AM

                  I'll second Cafe Creme on Victoria - half the price of the big chains and they only serve espresso-based drinks, no "regular" coffee at all. They use Mokita beans which are pretty good, plus sell these and various machines too. Nice friendly atmosphere as well.


                2. p
                  pyropaul99 RE: thesolodiner Jan 31, 2008 05:14 AM

                  Best espresso, bar none, is not in a cafe, but in a coffee supply store. I've found the best to be at Boutique Espresso Mali, 7655 Boul. St-Laurent (almost opposite Jarry Park). The store is run by Sicilians and the espresso is as good as any I've had in Italy (or Portugal). They also sell incredibly good beans and, best of all, if you ask, they'll give you an espresso, cappuccino or latte for free (though you may have to buy something - which I always do as that's the reason for the trek up there in the first place).

                  As for which beans to buy, my current favorite there is Goppion Gran Miscela Dolce (see the products menu here http://www.goppioncaffe.it/index.php ).


                  1. r
                    rdsizzle RE: thesolodiner Jan 31, 2008 11:46 AM

                    I’m seeing some good recommendations here. I can’t get my day started before pumping out a double espresso from my Jura machine in the morning. I’ve been on a quest for the best bean and im sure all the foodies here will be very disappointed with my outcome – After trying Lavazzia, Illy, VanHout and a few other locals, I’ve settled on the starbucks espresso roast bean. Ok Starbucks is evil and totally uncool but the actual bean is pretty damn good.

                    That being said, id rather support a local business rather then a multi national empire. So any recommendations on where to find the best espresso beans in Montreal?

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: rdsizzle
                      carswell RE: rdsizzle Jan 31, 2008 12:51 PM

                      My favourite local roasters are Café Union, Terra and Agga. Many of the espresso stores and bars in Little Italy also sell beans and have their partisans. You can buy Gimme! beans at Caffè ArtJava and 49th Parallel beans at Veritas. These days the top bean spot in my and many others' opinion is Caffè in Gamba, which sells 15 or so blends from some of North America's and Italy's best roasters, including Intelligentsia (Black Cat!), 49th Parallel (Epic!!) and Zoka (Paladino!!!).

                      See also www.chowhound.com/topics/417692

                      Edit: changed 42nd to 49th...

                      1. re: carswell
                        Anth RE: carswell Jan 31, 2008 01:10 PM

                        49th Parallel :)

                        1. re: Anth
                          carswell RE: Anth Jan 31, 2008 01:37 PM

                          Hey, guy, good to see you here. Thanks for the correction, which I've edited my post to reflect. Don't know why I'm mixing the parallels up these days. Maybe I've got Dos Passos on the brain. Still, you'd think that, having seen Powell and Pressburger's *49th Parallel* -- www.criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=376 -- last fall (fun but nowhere near as good as their *A Canterbury Tale* or *I Know Where I'm Going*), I'd keep it straight.

                      2. re: rdsizzle
                        pyropaul99 RE: rdsizzle Jan 31, 2008 12:54 PM

                        As I said, Boutique Espresso Mali, 7655 Boul. St-Laurent. They have the best beans you'll find anywhere in the city. Starbucks espresso roast tastes like sewage in comparison to, for example, the Goppion Gran Miscela Dolce available at Mali. It's not cheap - but you get what you pay for and it's still less than 1/15th of the price per cup that you'll pay in any cafe.

                        1. re: pyropaul99
                          carswell RE: pyropaul99 Jan 31, 2008 01:28 PM

                          Interesting that you're big on Mali. I visited once when pricing machines and, after being condescended and lied to, swore never again to set foot in the store. A thread on coffeegeek quotes the staff as saying that coffee beans are better when they've aged for three to six months after roasting (!). A thread on eGullet's Montreal board has several comments re price-gouging and being "treated like an idiot," and even a poster who says the staff is knowledgeable follows up with a big but: "they are generally quite miserable to deal with [...] their arrogance knows no bounds." Obviously, I've never bought beans from them, though the espresso they served me when I visited was dreckish. That said, a few posters -- but none of the local hardcore coffee geeks, as far as I know -- have said they find their beans good, though none specify the machine they use them in or whether they use them to make straight espresso or milk-based drinks. Which other local premium suppliers (i.e. not *$s) have you tried beans from?

                          1. re: carswell
                            pyropaul99 RE: carswell Jan 31, 2008 02:09 PM

                            I know what you mean about the staff there - though I've been going for over 10 years and, if you get the right person, you get treated well. I know what I like now so don't have to deal with the more recent staff. The price is somewhat variable and they give big discounts if you buy in volume.

                            If you're not used to real Italian-style espresso, what they serve in Mali will be hard to drink - I've never had an espresso anywhere else in Montreal that is as intense as what is served in Mali. I lived in Portugal for a couple of years and the coffee there is very similar in intensity - much stronger than the espresso served in Paris for example.

                            As for other local suppliers, I did the rounds in the mid 1990s when I first bought a decent machine and tried all sorts of coffee until I found one I liked (actually two and both of them were from Mali). Since then, I've never found anything anywhere in North America (and I've travelled a lot to places like Portland OR and Seattle) that appeals to my palate as much as Goppion Miscela Dolce. Of course, everyone has their own taste and it's a pity the majority of the current staff in Mali are so dismal. But that's often the case with drug dealers isn't it?!

                            If I can't make the trip up to Mali, I usually buy Mokita espresso beans from Cafe Creme on Victoria in Westmount as these are "good enough" - though they have a much bitterer aftertaste compared to the Goppion beans and are much higher in caffeine (though that may be a plus to some). I haven't found any locally roasted beans that taste anything like the espresso in Italy and Portugal so have given up looking.



                            1. re: pyropaul99
                              jbbank RE: pyropaul99 Feb 6, 2008 07:18 PM

                              I've talked to the people at Mali and have tried their beans... While discussing espresso grinders (I was looking for one), he kept trying to convince me that the only difference in grinders is speed. That grind quality is all the same for every model. And I remember the lecture on how beans peak around 4-6 months or something ridiculous. He offered me a shot, and I remember it being just slightly above average and a bit too hot. Premium espresso, it wasn't to me.

                              Their beans were really not that good. You NEED to try some 49th parallel or some Intelligentsia. The one local espresso roast I like with milk is Terra's Goccia D'oro.

                              I do like Olympico and Milano's, but I seriously recommend anyone serious about their coffee to give Caffe in Gamba and Veritas a shot. IMO, really in a league of their own.

                      3. b
                        bigbuddie RE: thesolodiner Feb 3, 2008 01:45 PM

                        no matter what you read below, just head out to the st. leonard neighbourhood and hit any of the italian old-man cafés strewn around the hood. They (thankfully) have none of the trappings of starbucks-style café culture, but will serve you some of the best espresso you will have this side of the atlantic without any of the attitude, for a buck fifty. If you feel intimidated by the loud old italian men playing cards, head to milano's on jarry for a reasonable compromise.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bigbuddie
                          Quebman RE: bigbuddie Jul 25, 2010 09:01 PM

                          You are speaking the truth, bigbuddie.

                          Go east for good coffee, and forget trendy places where people are drawing butterflies with foam on top of your cappuccino...

                          You can look in St-Léonard (try the Bar Café Sorrento on Jean-Talon), Rivière-des-Prairies, and Anjou.

                          Best coffee i've had is in between Anjou and Rivière-des-Prairies, in an italian place with old men playing cards or reading the paper outside.

                        2. c
                          celfie RE: thesolodiner Aug 7, 2008 06:45 AM

                          it's also a big disappointment to order a chocolatine at gamba and get a grocery store quality croissant stuffed with nutella.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: celfie
                            cherylmtl RE: celfie Aug 7, 2008 07:43 AM

                            I could be wrong, but I believe Gamba's pastries come from someplace in Little Italy (my mind is blanking out on the name at the moment) - so what you're getting is not at all a French-style chocolatine, but the Italian version, which sounds about right.

                            1. re: cherylmtl
                              carswell RE: cherylmtl Aug 7, 2008 07:49 AM

                              La Cornetteria (6528 St-Laurent).

                          2. t
                            The Chemist RE: thesolodiner Oct 9, 2008 07:29 AM

                            I've been slowly checking out the places mentioned in this thread and so far, I have had very mixed results, which is disappointing.

                            I mentioned before about Cafe Art Java and I've tried it several more times and the espresso seems to fluctuate between sublime and terrible. I now know which barista can give me my fix and which one signals retreat. I wish so much that it was consistent because I would make this my daily pull if only there was some assurance that it wouldn't be in vain.

                            Recently, I checked out Veritas as per a myriad of suggestions. My first impressions of the place were: Nice machine, cold decor, poor service. The server couldn't be bothered to clear dirty dishes and it felt more like a political campaign headquarters than a cafe. I really hate to speak ill about a local business but it's hard to find anything redeemable about the espresso. I could tell as he pulled it that it wasn't going to come out right (several reasons) and it was burned horribly. We're not talking anything subtle here. It's like being served a black chicken, you know it's burned. When asked, the barista disagreed. Asked politely for another shot. Same deal. Very disappointing. I want to emphasize that I am not an espresso snob and I would be much happier saying good things than bad about a local business, but I was surprised by Veritas.

                            Next: Cafe in Gamba


                            17 Replies
                            1. re: The Chemist
                              emerilcantcook RE: The Chemist Oct 9, 2008 09:10 AM

                              The resident barista of Veritas has recently quit to open his own coffee shop, and I don't know if they have someone else left at his caliber working there. So, with all in mind, I am not surprised that you got a bad one there.

                              1. re: emerilcantcook
                                The Chemist RE: emerilcantcook Oct 9, 2008 11:39 AM

                                That might explain it. Know where he went?

                                From the attitude of the barista that we got, he certainly thought that he knew what he was doing... =D

                                1. re: The Chemist
                                  carswell RE: The Chemist Oct 9, 2008 11:46 AM

                                  Anthony -- who posts here under the handle anth and who's currently blogging at http://espresso-myself.ca/ -- is about to open his own café downtown: Café Myriade 1432 Mackay. Last I heard, the target date was late October or early November. Can't wait.

                                  1. re: carswell
                                    Anth RE: carswell Oct 9, 2008 01:17 PM

                                    still on target, last week of October.

                                    1. re: Anth
                                      mainsqueeze RE: Anth Oct 9, 2008 01:45 PM

                                      I can't wait to finally have some decent coffee in the Concordia ghetto!

                                      1. re: Anth
                                        The Chemist RE: Anth Oct 9, 2008 02:22 PM

                                        I'll be there to try it out! =D

                                        1. re: The Chemist
                                          daimon4 RE: The Chemist Oct 9, 2008 09:46 PM

                                          me too!
                                          Oh and there is decent espresso bar in the west end on notre dame near vinet (next to Joe Beef)---it's called Lilo and Olly (one of the owners used to work at Olympico). They do a strong but not bitter shot--I'm surprised no one has mentioned it.

                                        2. re: Anth
                                          BLM RE: Anth Oct 10, 2008 02:54 AM

                                          Anthony, hopefully in addition to great coffee, your new cafe with have good food?

                                          1. re: BLM
                                            Anth RE: BLM Oct 10, 2008 04:18 PM

                                            To begin with just small pastries and snacks, I don't have any room for onsite food prep but I'm not ruling anything out for the future.

                                          2. re: Anth
                                            BLM RE: Anth Oct 25, 2008 09:46 AM

                                            Update, Cafe Myriade will be ready to open this coming Monday morning(starting around 8am). I was by the establishment yesterday, & Anthony gave me a complimentary coffee(thanks Anth).

                                            1. re: BLM
                                              daimon4 RE: BLM Oct 25, 2008 10:28 PM

                                              Address please....thanks!

                                              1. re: daimon4
                                                carswell RE: daimon4 Oct 25, 2008 10:58 PM

                                                1432 Mackay, as reported above. East side of the street, about a third of a block north of Ste-Catherine. Cozy locale with a beautiful oak bar and a gorgeous machine (E61 three grouper made by Mirage in Amsterdam).

                                                1. re: carswell
                                                  superbossmom RE: carswell Oct 26, 2008 09:48 AM

                                                  that's good news for the area, I'm definitely going to drop by early in the week. I love an extra dry cappucino.

                                                  1. re: carswell
                                                    Jhn RE: carswell Oct 27, 2008 05:53 AM

                                                    Wait, If I'm reading this correctly, you're telling that Anthony has a Kees Van der Westen espresso machine in his new coffee shop?

                                                    If it is so, I'm heading there as soon as I get a chance. Even though these machines are glorified la marzocco, they still are the equivalent of a van gogh for the espresso lover...

                                                    Could you confirm if we are talking about the same gear carswell?


                                                    1. re: Jhn
                                                      carswell RE: Jhn Oct 27, 2008 06:00 AM

                                                      Yep. A Veloce if I'm not mistaken.

                                                      1. re: carswell
                                                        Jhn RE: carswell Oct 28, 2008 07:20 AM

                                                        Great, thx for the answer Carswell.
                                                        I'll definitely go see that beauty...

                                                        Did they use different types of 49th parallel coffees, or do they only serve the Epic espresso one?


                                                    2. re: carswell
                                                      daimon4 RE: carswell Oct 28, 2008 12:06 AM

                                                      Went by today and had the perfect allonge...was compelled to also try a single shot which was excellent though one too many for me as evidenced by the 3 am post. The allonge was hot, flavorful yet far from bitter. Apparently they have a separate grinder for the allonge beans which are more mellow compared to the regular espresso beans. Both were from 49th parallel . Was very impressed with the cafe the coffee and the service. Cafe Myriade will undoubtedly be a success as I can't think of any comparable places in the "west end". Hopefully they'll add some simple food (sandwiches??) soon.

                                      2. m
                                        MartinSLR RE: thesolodiner Oct 26, 2008 10:08 AM

                                        Café Art Java 645, Avenue Du Président-Kennedy

                                        1. c
                                          Cybelius RE: thesolodiner Apr 5, 2009 11:00 AM

                                          I buy my espresso coffee at Le Cafe Creme. They sell The Antica Tostatura Triestina line which is, in my opinion, the best coffee in the world. It was recently featured on the Martha Stewart Show and can be bought on the web.

                                          Le cafe-creme
                                          7119 Rue Saint-Hubert, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

                                          1. Yummylicious RE: thesolodiner Apr 8, 2009 07:18 PM

                                            I heard the new and chic Nespresso Boutique Bar was great. There are many selections to choose from -- mild to strong and they come in "shots" of espresso. You can enjoy your cup of espresso in the coffee shop or buy the "shots" to savour at home.

                                            2045 Rue Crescent -- www.espresso.ca

                                            If you go, please write a review and let us know the result of your experience. :)

                                            18 Replies
                                            1. re: Yummylicious
                                              bigfellow RE: Yummylicious Apr 9, 2009 12:12 PM

                                              I enjoyed it for what it is. I even bought a machine. But it is no cafe Myriade.

                                              1. re: bigfellow
                                                junkanoo RE: bigfellow Jun 9, 2009 05:07 AM

                                                As it's been a year, I thought I would bump this thread and see if any deserving espresso options have emerged. We will be visiting Montreal in late June. Any thoughts?

                                                1. re: junkanoo
                                                  maisonbistro RE: junkanoo Jun 9, 2009 06:55 AM

                                                  Far and away the best is Cafe Myriade. You don't like it there, you won't like it anywhere. In my mind, nothing else compares.

                                                  1. re: maisonbistro
                                                    moh RE: maisonbistro Jun 9, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                    Love Myriade. I also still really like Cafe in Gamba too!

                                                    1. re: moh
                                                      Dusty08 RE: moh Jun 9, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                      Cafe Myriade is definitely a good call. The place is run by Anthony Benda, who was ranked as the #3 barista in Canada. He knows his stuff and only uses the best ingredients. They also have one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had. They use Soma dark chocolate that is melted and poured into a cup of steamed milk. The tea is fantastic and they have a vary large selection of organic versions as well.
                                                      Cafe Myriade has one of the best coffee experiences I've had in a long time.
                                                      Highly recommended.

                                                      1. re: moh
                                                        celfie RE: moh Jun 9, 2009 09:17 AM

                                                        I don't really like cafe in gamba. I find some of their staff to be undertrained and unattentive to details. the ambiance is also terrible. their food options disgust me, especially their campbell's soup. i personally cannot go any place but myriade.

                                                        1. re: celfie
                                                          emerilcantcook RE: celfie Jun 9, 2009 09:30 AM

                                                          I only had one very good coffee at Gamba, among several tries (before giving up), so I don't advise visitors go out of their way to visit this place. As a neighborhood place I think they deliver decent coffee, and they are a fantastic source for beans, but I also agree that their quality varies too much to consider them a destination spot. I had better luck with the espresso at Olimpico in that neighborhood.

                                                          Myriade all the way.

                                                          1. re: emerilcantcook
                                                            celfie RE: emerilcantcook Jun 9, 2009 09:34 AM

                                                            i would never go to gamba over olympico, if only for the ambiance.

                                                          2. re: celfie
                                                            moh RE: celfie Jun 9, 2009 09:35 AM

                                                            re: Cafe in Gamba

                                                            I like the big sofa near the front, I like the vibe of the place, fun place to people watch. The paninis are certainly acceptable, and I like their fruit juice options. I didn't even know they offered soup. I agree there is some inconsistency in the shots, but I seem to get lucky, and I am usually there when the good baristas seem to work. I still love their selection of beans. And conveniently, they are very close to home. As much as I would love to go to Myriade all the time, I can only drag my sorry arse over there from time to time, I am a lazy person.

                                                            1. re: moh
                                                              sweettoothMTL RE: moh Jun 9, 2009 12:11 PM

                                                              I agree with your appreciation of Cafe in Gamba Moh. And I want to add a nice terasse on the side of the street that is sunny for most of the day, as well as good pastry choices, including Corneti for La Cornetteria! I also second the comment about the quality and variety of beans sold. Shots are uneven, but on average, still pretty good in my case. I will agree it is no Myriade, that is no.1, no argument, but they are closer to my home and the terrase make it a big plus on a sunny afternoon with a book or friends.

                                                              1. re: moh
                                                                daimon4 RE: moh Jun 14, 2009 05:57 PM

                                                                Have you tried the panino and espresso at the place on the corner of Clark and Fairmount (with the Illy sign--graze mille)?

                                                                1. re: daimon4
                                                                  moh RE: daimon4 Jun 14, 2009 06:01 PM

                                                                  I have not! How are they there?

                                                                  1. re: moh
                                                                    SnackHappy RE: moh Jun 14, 2009 07:24 PM

                                                                    The sandwiches are really good, but the coffee is pretty run of the mill.

                                                                    1. re: moh
                                                                      daimon4 RE: moh Jun 15, 2009 10:22 AM

                                                                      I think the sandwiches are the best in town (though they no longer make the one with figs and ham). I would say the coffee is slightly better than run of the mill. It's Illy blend which is less than exciting but they make it exactly as you want it which is a big deal for me as my tastes fall somewhere between a machiatto/allonge. Also the coffee/milk temp is always great. I prefer this place to Caffe in gamba--call me a philistine if you'd like...
                                                                      BTW moh were you at Myriade on Sunday for the tea tasting?

                                                                      1. re: daimon4
                                                                        moh RE: daimon4 Jun 15, 2009 12:07 PM

                                                                        Yup I think that was me! Were you tea-tasting as well? great teas, I have to say. I bought some of the silver needle tea, and wow, it was great this morning.

                                                                        1. re: moh
                                                                          daimon4 RE: moh Jun 16, 2009 08:23 AM

                                                                          Aha..thought that might be you. Next time I'll say hello for sure. Did not attend the tea tasting though it looked like fun. I like my tea black with milk and sugar--method as follows...boil water, add tea, let boil a few seconds, add milk, allow to come to a full boil then add sugar and boil again. I do this every morning--it's an Indian thing I grew up with. Without my morning cupa I wouldn't be able to drag myself to Myriade for espresso!

                                                          3. re: junkanoo
                                                            RhondaB RE: junkanoo Jun 10, 2009 04:39 PM

                                                            I love Myriade but only when Anthony's pulling the shot (I've been less than impressed with other staff). And same for CIG, when it's J-F working the machine it shows. Both barristas make great espressos but I would give the edge to Anthony. For ambiance, CIG on a nice sunny day hands down.

                                                            1. re: RhondaB
                                                              carswell RE: RhondaB Jun 10, 2009 04:51 PM

                                                              «And same for CIG, when it's J-F working the machine it shows.»

                                                              I agree. JF's shots can be fantastic, though they're more first wave than Myriade's third wave, more Italian than west coast.

                                                              «For ambiance, CIG on a nice sunny day hands down.»
                                                              Will be interesting to see what Myriade's terrasse brings.

                                                      2. buzz_sapien RE: thesolodiner Jun 10, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                        Lili & Oli - Patrick used to work at Olympico so is well trained, but his machine is magic - really smooth and flavorful espresso. All flavor, no bitterness - and incredible crema.
                                                        Not sure if it's his machine, beans, barrista or combo of the 3 but it's the best I have had in this city. (I'm Italian and a coffee lover...)
                                                        Owners sister bakes killer muffins, and they also have daily fresh corneti from La Cornetteria...yummy


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: buzz_sapien
                                                          julius_ii RE: buzz_sapien Jun 20, 2009 11:07 AM

                                                          Has anyone else been to the new "Lapin Pressé" on Laurier East, near Maître Corbeau? I went earlier this week to scope it out. Prices seem a bit high (higher than Myriade, at least), but my onetime experience was really nice. I ordered a double espresso and had it neat (no sugar) to get a sense of LP's seriousness. Maybe I was expecting it to be not-so-hot, but was surprised at what I thought was a thoroughly enjoyable shot. Friendly barman, and a great range of music (from rock to Lieder). I sat outside. I'd love to hear what others have experienced.

                                                        2. f
                                                          fraisefatale RE: thesolodiner Jun 20, 2009 02:58 PM

                                                          Cafe Union! IMO -- best espresso/beans/coffee in town.

                                                          1. TheSnowpea RE: thesolodiner Jun 20, 2009 03:56 PM

                                                            We tried the espresso blend at Wild Beans (a place on Monkland in NDG that roasts their own beans on the premises) a few weeks ago, because we had not time to dash downtown to Myriade, and I have to say it was unexpectedly nice: powerful and not bitter. Their opening hours are a bit irritating, but when I do find them open, I stop for a bag. The owner's pretty chill: he only takes cash or cheques, so he let me leave with my beans to return later with my payment.

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