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McGill wasteland?

So I realize there is probably no good answer here.

As a Concordia grad student, I'm spoiled by having Myriade coffee just seconds away. But, I'm taking a class at McGill this term. Is it truly a wasteland?

I'm looking for the best options on campus - coffee especially, but food also - entering the campus from Sherbrooke/Peel/McTavish (in the winter, probably coming from Penfield/Peel), and headed toward the library and the arts building. I am too old to eat Pizza Pizza and Tim Horton's is just swill.

What else you got?

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    1. Caffe Art Java is the closest decent coffee to campus (President Kennedy and University). There's a 5 Guys opening at Ste. Catherine near McGill College shortly. Up north near Penfield, it is truly a food wasteland...

      2 Replies
      1. re: cherylmtl

        I second "Cafe Art Java" for decent coffee.

        1. re: indeed

          Oh no... what happen to the coffee there? Just bought myself a cup of decaf latter. Yak... Beans are wrong, taste is wrong, foam is not dense... Where is my good latte?

      2. Thomson House is a good food option for grad students in the Penfield/Peel area (3650 McTavish). It belongs to the post-graduate student society, and they have a restaurant and pub with a respectable lunch menu. It's in an old mansion and is a great place to hang out. They also have lots of events for grad students that you may want to check out while at McGill. Note to other hounds: you need to be a grad student/postdoc (or a guest of one) to eat there, but they rarely check unless you look like a 19 year old undergrad.

        In terms of coffee you're pretty much out of luck unless you swing by Myriade on the way up the hill. Pikolo is a few blocks east of campus, and it has excellent coffee (3418B Parc, just above Sherbrooke).

        6 Replies
        1. re: MeV

          Just a note about Thomson House - during meal times, at the major entrances, they are instituting a doorman who will be checking the status of those who dine there. Thomson House Associate Memberships are available though to non-grad students/postdocs.

          1. re: unlaced

            Is this true? For years I've found that they assign a door person during the first weeks of classes and then stop caring thereafter. In fact, when it's busiest I find the door person ends up having to do other things and anyone can walk in. I think I had my ID checked maybe once in seven years of going there.

            1. re: Fintastic

              Maybe it will be just the first few weeks this time as well.... There are changes going on behind the scenes, so I am not sure exactly what the future holds for Thomson House, but just wanted to make sure that people realized that there could be a chance their id, or lack thereof, could be checked!

              1. re: unlaced

                Service at Thomson House can be unbelievably slow. Someone I know (a member) went there last week and had to flag the waiter 30 mins after arriving to ask for menus, then flag him down again 20 mins later to order because he was not coming back; after which lunch took a long time to arrive and coffee was entirely forgotten.

                1. re: unlaced

                  And the food has gone way downhill in the last two years as well (and prices have gone up). And as of this week, they are still checking for membership.

                  1. re: picklebird

                    The little bar area at Thomson House has good prices and decent service.

                    Otherwise, despite the lack of other options nearby, Thomson House is a waste of time for food. I have also found that the service is terrible. There is usually one interesting dish on the menu - otherwise it's just pre-assembled food that has been sitting there all day. And I don't find the atmosphere that endearing either. Beautiful mansion on the outside yes - but pretty run-down and basic on the inside much like all of McGill's Golden Square Mile mansions.

          2. Not sure about coffee, but for food there's Bocadillo's and la Prep along with a few (2? 3?) other options in the SSMU building.

            3 Replies
            1. re: artstate

              Just tried the arepas at Bocadilo's and they were good.

              Basically, everything that was on the second floor is now gone. Instead, there is Bocadillo, Lola Rosa (express) and an asian place. Big improvement on what used to be there (TikiMing, Cultures, and Franks?). Prices are double the old offerings. And, Al-Taib is no longer at the basement. Only option for cheap food at SSMU is now Midnight Kitchen.

              1. re: hala

                There was an Al-Taib at McGill? Damn, thought I had to go down to Concordia. Oh well, too late now. I've been hoping for years they'd open around the Plateau, they'd make a killing.

                Bocadillo's is great, but if the prices are same as on the Main, that's way out of student budgets (although we are talking McGill students, so...). Hell, it's a special treat for me considering it's just sandwiches (that cost $7-9 bucks without any sides).

                1. re: Shattered

                  About $8 for a sandwich, $10 for a trio. Yes, way too expensive for a univeristy campus. But, it seems that everything on campus seems to be getting more and more expensive while quality keeps going down.

            2. Lola Rosa (Milton near University) has some decent menu items. It's been a while since I was there but I used to like it. I believe they are opening a location in Shatner as well as the one on Parc near Mt. Royal.

              1. Amelios on Milton has some of the best pizza in the city
                BYOB to boot.

                1. I avoid eating on McGill Campus -- I usually end up in the Concordia neighborhood for lunch. My latest lunchtime outing was closer to campus however: Sakura Gardens at its new location north of Sherbrooke on Drummond. Slow service but affordable lunch specials.

                  ALSO: The Basha on St-Catherine is my favourite, albeit kinda far.

                  1. Akli -- decent Lebanese lunch in the basement of Tour Scotia building
                    Cafe Castel -- passable coffee, corner Peel and Sherbrooke
                    Super Sandwich -- little depanneur in the basement of Le Cartier building, Peel/Sherbrooke. Insanely cheap and surprisingly good sandwiches.

                    1. Universel on Peel below Sherbrooke has decent breakfast.

                      1. While we are talking about this area, I am looking for a lunch option for 7 people near McGill. We will be on the east side of campus (by Milton and University), so hoping for something convenient to there. Is Lola Rosa the only option? Any other downtown options people can think of? I'm looking for something less upscale, cheaper, and quicker than Ferreira or the like, but not a food court (need table service).

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: picklebird

                          Ferreira also operates Le Cafe Vasco da Gama, on Peel closer to Maisonneuve. Nice for lunch, but might be hard to find seats for 7 since it's quite popular and small. http://www.vascodagama.ca/accueil To the OP, I also like the coffee at Vasco da Gama.

                          If you need a place that takes reservations for 7, Universel on Peel is an option for a casual place with salads, sandwiches and burgers. They take reservations through www.opentable.com .

                          Another option is L'Aromat, which also takes reservations through Opentable, and is more affordable than Ferreira.

                          You might also want to consider the Middle Eastern place on the main floor of the Best Western on the NE corner of Peel and Sherbrooke.

                          1. re: prima

                            Thanks! I was thinking about all 3 of those! I do think that Vasco de Gama is a little too hectic for a group lunch.

                            1. re: picklebird

                              You're welcome.

                              L'Aromat has a large round table upstairs, on the 2nd floor, that might be a good option. There's a little more space between tables at L'Aromat, compared to Universel.

                              Agree Vasco da Gama is probably a little hectic.

                              Renoir at the Sofitel is another good place for group lunches, but the prices will be comparable to Ferreira. Probably closer to $50-60/person, taxe & tip in.

                          2. re: picklebird

                            On the east side of campus, you're a short walk to Chez Gautier on Park.

                            1. re: picklebird

                              Do McGillians really live in such a bubble that they've never heard of St-Laurent Boulevard? There's loads of options is you try to walk maybe more than the 100 yards from campus beyond Lola Rosa.

                              1. re: Shattered

                                St. Laurent is about a 15 minute walk from the OP's starting point. Doesn't really fit in as a suggestion; might as well go to Myriad

                                1. re: artstate

                                  I was responding to picklebird's request for a cheap meal for 7 to the east of campus, and St-Laurent is only 10 mins from Milton gates.

                                  1. re: Shattered

                                    I live right on the other side of St. Laurent; I am very familiar with it, but it is a bit too far to get there with a large group, have lunch, and then get back for the afternoon part of our research meeting. (And I would argue that the south part of St. Laurent @ Prince Arthur does not really have stellar options anyway-- Frite Alors? Marche 27- but all guests really have to like tartare? Most of the other places aren't open for lunch, afaik.)

                              2. re: picklebird

                                Atti on University south of Sherbrooke for Korean. Not the best Korean you'll have but very good, in a nice space, for cant-be-beat lunch prices.

                              3. There is a really good Korean place on University near Sherbrooke. I remember it being downstairs on not very expensive and very good food for lunch at least.

                                1 Reply
                                1. If you are willing to go into the Scotia Tour building, on Sherbrooke corner metacalfe, Right in from of Mcgill, as a student, I go eat at the Italian place called rustica, it's a food court and although there are plenty of them in that building, Rustica is all authentic, and are known for the best Lasagna and rustic pizza in town.

                                  1. Humble Lion is the best coffee around there. Sherbrooke/McGill College.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Stax88

                                      Art Java on president Kennedy and university is actually the best.