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Jan 9, 2008 01:35 PM

Em Café: new resto-café at Park/Bernard

EM CAFÉ, 5718 Park Ave., Mile End (near Bernard)
Open until 8pm weekdays, 5pm weekends

This place opened last summer in a former delicatessen that had been abandoned for two decades (Mile Enders will know it as the place in between Nouveau Falero and the Épicerie Mile End, near the Jean Coutu). The space is gorgeously designed.

Food consists of café standbys like sandwiches, salads, wraps, which sounds totally boring except that the attention to quality ingredients is remarkable. This is especially evident in the main courses. The other day I had a pork roast with mashed potatoes and a ratatouille and it was fantastic. It came with a soup (also excellent, and the accompanying bread was baked on the premises) and it set me back just $9.95.

The prices here are appealing: there is nothing on the menu above $12. It's nice to have a meal that is both affordable and delicious.

The coffee is above average and, again, not too expensive ($2.75, tax included, for a café au lait that is better than what you'd get at Starbucks/Second Cup/Presse Café et al). There's a selection of pastries, some of them homemade, others from a bakery in Little Italy, but I haven't tried enough of them to comment.

The service can be a bit disorganized, but always very friendly. The owners all seem to live in the neighbourhood; one of them told me that they buy all of their food on Park, too.

Em Café still doesn't have a liquor licence but the owners assure me that they will extend their hours once they get one.

They have a website with photos and their menu. Amazingly enough, it appears to be updated every day with the daily specials.

Daily specials:

Regular menu:

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  1. I was going to start up a new thread asking about this café (see below) and found that there already was one. Have any chowhounds been? I haven't tried it yet.

    KT MTL and others, there is a bring your own wine (and beer) licence, and the hours have been extended. The prices seem to have risen a bit from what you stated four years ago, but only in line with inflation. It is still inexpensive.

    We are looking for a casual, inexpensive place that can replace Terrasse Lafayette, as some of us are very unhappy with the changes there in the wake of their reno...

    Friends of mine in Mile End like this very casual café on Parc (just south of Bernard). La Rresse restaurant critic Robert Beauchemin says the food is quite correct for the low price and extremely casual setting, but the coffee is not very good. Other critics are kinder to the coffee.

    It is a bring your own wine by the way, and they welcome groups, book launches, readings etc.

    5718, avenue du Parc



    2 Replies
    1. re: lagatta

      Don't mean to be thread jacking, but I have to ask, what was the disatisfaction about Lafayette? I've kept ordering from there after the renos, and I'm still satisfied. In fact, I find their pikilia better now than before. Only thing I dislike is that twice we tried booking a table on saturday afternoon for the evening, and they said they were full, whereas they used to be our go-to choice for Saturday night without reservations.

      And to compensate for my change of topic, EM Café is okay, good food, nothing special at all food-wise, but a nice space to hang out. But is is very casual, really more of a ''cafe'' in the sense sandwiches/soups/salads/baked goods. They do have breakfasts/brunches, and I know they have a plat du jour during the week, but I've never had it. I did not know about the BYO, so maybe they made other changes to the menu to go with it. I'll have to try it again.

      1. re: lagatta

        EM cafe is a great space to hang out, work, meet friends, but unfortunately, the espresso drinks and the food are just barely passable. I wish they bought freshly roasted quality beans and employed a skilled barista....