12 Mar 2024

Time 16 minutes

Old Montreal: An (almost) complete guide to cafés in the neighbourhood

Old Montreal: An (almost) complete guide to cafés in the neighbourhood

When it comes to coffee, the historic quarter is THE destination for all tastes, and certainly for every occasion. Bringing fresh croissants to your colleagues or just getting out of bed? Whether you have a full day of remote work ahead of you, a business meeting, a lunch, a special date, or it’s simply time for some great coffee to go, we have what you’re looking for in Old Montreal.


U67 - 204, place d’Youville

First off, the place. Here, the decor will sweep you right back to the 60s and 70s, and with its chic wallpaper complemented by banquettes in grey-blue velvet, you’ll swear you’re in the pages of an interior design magazine. Next, the menu. Coffee by day, cocktail by night (not necessarily in that order) and a dessert bar featuring de-li-cious specials that change with the calendar; honestly, the coolest office in town is right here.

Structure, 460 McGill Street

At Structure, find yourself immersed in an elegant and minimalist setting just off of McGill Street, a stone’s throw away from Square-Victoria metro station but at a remove from all the hustle and bustle.

We love the house-roasted coffees, not to mention the fact that they’re on a first-name basis with their producer partners. The choices are plenty, the products really live up to their promise, and if you aren’t sure what kind of coffee fits you best, ask for some expert advice when you visit or take the test on their website and find out!

Crew Collective & Café - 360, rue Saint-Jacques

This former-bank-turned-café is an excellent option when it comes time to work, whether flying solo or in a group, since here you can rent out a closed space as your office by the hour or by the day. If you’re looking for a discreet spot in which to hold that next business meeting, or you and your colleagues just want a change of scenery, this crew has exactly what you need. Tables in the main, open-plan area are also available, and the sheer charm of the magnificent decor straight out of a movie will definitely lend that extra Great Gatsby touch to your coffee.

Tommy - 200, rue Notre-Dame Ouest & 151, rue Saint-Paul Ouest

Admittedly, often a victim of its own success, it’s not always easy to find a spot in the Notre-Dame and Saint-Paul Street branches of this establishment. But if you do, you’ve earned yourself one of those superb lattes, that great music, and a beautiful, quasi-Californian decor that is sure to make your workday a winner.


Cafécito - 60, rue Prince

Next stop, Cuba! First of all, the pink neon “Hola Hermosa'' sign (translation: “Hello Beautiful”) that greets you when you arrive is a pretty good indication of the warmth and welcome you’ll be feeling while here. Come time to order, if you’re a fan of flowers, ditch the bouquet and get yourself a rose latte for a delicious and floral experience that will undoubtedly hit the spot. Needless to say, the Cubana sandwich is a must-try. Same goes for the Havana.

Don’t Yell At Me - 100, rue Saint-Antoine Ouest

Inspired by the specialty coffees and teas of Taiwan, get ready for a trip to East Asia and back for about the duration of a cup and a bite. For a sweet treat to pair perfectly with their delectable honey americano, don’t hesitate to give in to a “Money Cake” (with a name like that, who can resist?). Go for the one done with red beans and you’ll see: a change of scenery doesn’t take much, but it really has a way of making your day!

Parfums de Perse - 355, place d’Youville

As the name suggests, here you can count on a voyage to Iran via coffee and dessert while rediscovering the simple yet refined pleasure of enjoying a great cup. Or rather, taking your time to enjoy. There’s really no point in hurrying; we come to this café to appreciate and taste, to let notes of pistachio and roses bewitch us, and to above all keep in mind that savouring is as much an art as it is a luxury. That said, don’t miss out on their “Persian” latte, preferably accompanied by a pistachio-mint cake.


Olimpico, 419 Saint-Vincent Street

A true Montreal institution, here you can get undeniably authentic Italian coffee, served in Italian if you so desire. Ask barista David to prepare one of his fantastic cappuccinos, and just sit back, enjoy the moment, the beautiful setting, the whole experience. At Olimpico, you’ll see that the spirit of the European café is alive and well in Old Montreal while you sip away at some of the very best coffee in town.

La Dispensa, 696 rue William

Loving the espresso here is the easy part. The problem is deciding what to have with it. All their pastries are simply exquisite but, when they’re available, we have to say that the cartocci steal the show. And the cannoli. The zeppole too. Ok, forget about making a choice. Since La Dispensa features an Italian grocery corner that we insist you visit, just make it easy on yourself and get a takeout box of all of them to slip into your shopping bag along with everything else.

Café de Mercanti - 350, rue Notre-Dame Est, suite 1

We come to this café for their outstanding cappuccinos with cocoa-ed mousse, as well as their fine grocery section, featuring an array of exclusive Italian products. Don’t spread the word around too much, but they sell THE traditional Bialetti coffee maker in a variety of styles, perfect for an excellent cup enjoyed solo or amongst friends, a little dolce vita je-ne-sais-quoi included. Naturally, we already have our own.

Marinelli Brothers - 31 Queen

The very Instagrammable retro-style decor and tiles, the neighbouring Marinelli grocery store, the latte art, as well as their macchiato foam so thick that it stands up if you get some on the tip of your nose… These are the reasons why we come here. Whether hot or cold, any season of the year, rest assured that the brothers have you covered!

Comptoir 400 - 400, place Jacques-Cartier

Situated in the Place Jacques-Cartier, this place is not to be missed if you find yourself looking for a little caffeine fix. Obviously, if you happen to show up hungry, we wouldn’t judge you for combining coffee with one of their fantastic gourmet pizzas. And no worries if you’re a bit pressed for time; just have a quick cup and take their pizza kit home with you for some do-it-yourself deliciousness to enjoy later on!

Le Caffè - 3, rue de la Commune Ouest

At Le Caffè, your job is simple: stay, enjoy a perfect espresso and choose your panini (there’s really no point in resisting them). Hot, appetizing and most definitely tasty, these things are just one example of how Italy does gourmet and chic even in the simplest of ways. And seriously, don’t forget that espresso. It’s good, it’s quick, and with that nice bitter note left behind on your satisfied smile, we’ll understand if you order another.


L’Amour du Pain - 369, place d’Youville

At L’Amour du Pain, happiness is on the menu. Great bread, great croissants, great lattes – in other words, the recipe for a great day. Whether you’re just jumping out of bed (we get it, the neighbourhood is quite romantic, thank you very much) or you have a business meeting with colleagues (we get that too), this place is a tried and true destination, and it thankfully isn’t about to change any time soon!

Chez Mère-Grand - 800, rue Berri

If the east end of the old quarter could be summed up in one bite, Chez Mère-Grand does so divinely. Everything here is homemade, done with heart, butter and chocolate, and you might as well double your order because when it comes to their pastries, being reasonable is not an option. Combined with one of their delectable coffees, you’ve got yourself a match made in café heaven.

La Cave à Manger - 386, rue St-Paul Est

Given that not everyone is an early bird, here’s a little spot that offers the best for all hours: a “bakery-wine store” specializing as much in coffee and pastries as it does in the wine and savoury side of things. Sourdough bread, fresh croissants, coffee, sausages and cheese; there’s no end to the opportunities at La Cave à Manger for bringing drink, bread and a great spread together.

Le Marquis Signature santé - 194, rue Saint-Paul Ouest

For those who are gluten intolerant or celiac, this place is made just for you, since absolutely everything available on the premises is 100% gluten-free, guaranteed. And by all means bring your friends – particularly those who swear by wheat flour-based breads and desserts as a matter of course – and then just sit back and watch as they find themselves quite simply blown away. The viennoiseries are as delicious as their presentation suggests, and if you’re more of a savoury person, we insist that you go ahead and try one of their wraps without giving it a second thought.

Les Moulins Lafayette - 245, rue Saint-Jacques

Hot and cold coffees, fresh pastries and viennoiseries, as well as festive specials throughout the year (that’s right, we’re talking Christmas logs, sugar shack delights and even goodies for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day), the options here are very much aplenty. At lunchtime, they serve up paninis, quiches and boxed lunches – featuring a sandwich, soup or salad and a cookie – that you can enjoy on site or take with you to go. And if you’d rather save your coffee for dessert, we’re happy to inform you that they also have an alcohol permit, so cheers to that! Good to know: this establishment, which has been running strong for 10 years already, serves breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on weekends.


Ludo Café, 640 St-Paul Street West

Just because this café is connected with the Panda Boxing gym upstairs, it doesn’t mean it’ll be much help if you’re looking to stay trim. Or that you have to drink your coffee in your sweats. But if you tend to follow the philosophy "after effort, comfort", just know that Ludo is in your corner.

49th Parallel - 488, rue McGill

Ever since this West-Coast-based franchise opened its doors in Montreal – let it be known that we’re thrilled they chose our neighbourhood to set up shop – we simply can’t get enough. On the drink end of things, we love the americano and the latte here, and if you love them as much as we do, their coffee is even available in bags or capsules to take home if you like. Best of all, at 49th Parallel, you can couple your cup with one or more Lucky’s doughnuts (we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t mention those). On top of all that, their vegan options are so delectable they just might melt your heart; we know from experience.

Cookie Stephanie - 272, rue St-Jacques

First of all, we have to tell you that their caramel coffee, served hot or cold, is hands-down our favourite. It’s also very much worth noting that when it comes to the goodies on offer here, everything is gluten-free! And to all you Gens du Vieux who have been coming for years, be sure to give a warm welcome to Linda, the new proprietor who is now at the helm of this beloved little corner of paradise on Saint-Jacques Street!

Délice Érable et Compagnie, 84 St-Paul Street East

In this part of the world where maple is king, naturally it’s going to get mixed with coffee. These good folks do exactly that, their maple syrup coffee a must-enjoy with any of the treats prepared here in-house. The flavour and sweetness of the maple syrup just has its own special way of making an already happy cup even happier! Thanks to the magic of Mark and his team, it’s always a pleasure to walk through the door and into this delightful, sugar-spun cocoon.


Paquebot - 520, rue St-Laurent

At Paquebot, lunchtime is something of a party in itself. And it’s always good. As in always. We’ve tried it out enough times to stand firmly by our words. Whether you’re looking at their menu or the coffee list, they regularly have specials to fit the season, without crowding out the classics that keep us coming back time and again. Also, a little touch we really appreciate here is the lack of an extra charge for oat milk. Nice move. And psst! They have wine and beer!

Titanic - 445, rue Saint-Pierre

Tucked away in a little corner on Saint-Pierre Street, you’ve probably passed by several times without ever realizing it was there. A cozy, discreet yet convivial spot with great food and soul-warming coffee, Titanic is a sure bet when you just want to sit back, relax and eat well (hold the chichi).

Deli Italien Bello - 363, place d’Youville

Some days, all you really need is panini, or some fresh pasta. And a coffee. Behold, we give you the perfect recipe for lunch. And no need to thank us, just enjoy.

Olive et Gourmando - 351, rue Saint-Paul Ouest

Something of a gourmet Holy Grail, Olive et Gourmando has been a go-to for legions of regulars as well as the Gens du Vieux for quite some time. In this establishment, which has managed to retain its warm and inviting ambiance despite its great success, we love and heartily recommend the “sconewiches” (that’s right, a sandwich in scone form – genius), which go particularly well with their daily soups. Follow that up with a homemade dessert and a coffee, and you’ll see why so many faithful come here to recharge their batteries, any time of day, again and again.


Pâtisserie Bervig - 33, rue Notre-Dame Ouest

If when you think of coffee, you think of dessert, by all means make this place your very next thought. When it comes to the pastries here, there is as much love as there is excellence involved, and if you’re looking to make a good impression for a date, definitely do not hesitate. One warning, however: the cakes they make are so beautiful that it may almost pain you to eat them. That said, any regrets you might have won’t last very long after that first bite!

Chez Potier - 630, rue Wellington

Ok, a confession. We come here as much for the desserts as for the coffee. How should we put this… We’re talking gourmet works of art that pair well with any cup. Those little cakes, like so many delectable fractals, single-handedly enhance any meal, any mood, any day, and if you have to taste them to understand what we mean, we insist that you do just that.

bar à beurre - 348, rue Notre-Dame Est

No matter the season, this café’s display window never fails to stop customers in their tracks, welcoming one and all with its tantalizing festival of colours. Once inside, eyes naturally riveted to the menu, be sure to order your coffee (however you take it) with one of their sinfully delicious boules de beurre, or butter balls, regularly featuring flavours that fit the moment. With every bite, the melt-in-your-mouth, creamy, sweet goodness of these scrumptious and masterfully executed little things will take your mood straight to higher and higher ground. One visit and you’ll see: to say that bar à beurre is a joyous temple dedicated to the celebration of freshly baked wonders, although very true, would actually be an understatement.


Micro Espresso - 417, rue Saint-Pierre

A stone’s throw from Bertrand Bookstore and the hustle and bustle of Saint-Paul Street, you’ll find this charming little caffeinated enclave waiting for you with open arms just up the way on Saint-Pierre. Here – calling all specialists – you can even purchase a professional coffee machine if your cup pleased you that much, which we’re sure it will! At Micro Espresso, there’s something exquisite in every sip, and we happily invite even the pickiest of coffee drinkers to stop by and give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Le Café Pick Me Up - 111, boulevard Robert Bourassa

We’re not the ones saying it, the name is! In the winter to warm up or in the summer to cool down, coming out of an exhibition at the Fonderie Darling or taking a break from the office, you’ll find that this mood-booster of a spot situated between Griffintown and Old Montreal holds to its promise. Quick service, great coffee, and should you require an extra little hit of concentration, give their Pick Me UP Latte a try, made with coconut-sourced MCT oil.

Le Café District - 717 rue William

Simply put, this is the ideal little café when it comes to getting your guaranteed daily dose of happiness. Above all, do not resist the brownies here, an added bonus to your caffeinated bliss that is sure to make your day at the office or shopping in Old Montreal as joy-filled as can be.


Marché Saint-Laurent - 503, place d’Armes

Whether you’re from the neighbourhood or just passing through, on a mission for that one-of-a-kind postcard or locally-made gift, Marché Saint-Laurent has just what you need. They’re also pretty awesome when it comes to latte art, so don’t hesitate to take a well-earned caffeine break and have a seat in the middle of their lovely selection of items to choose from. There’s nothing quite like a little time-out with a beautiful coffee to help you decide!

Café des Arts - 350, rue Saint-Paul Est, suite 200

Nestled in the Marché Bonsecours, this charming café and boutique is marked by a palpable joie de vivre, through and through. Products from here, magazines, zero-waste items, we simply love their carefully chosen line and the commitment it clearly demonstrates, not to mention the fact that they also hold the occasional mini concert on the premises. In other words, this is more than a café, it’s a universe to discover.

Le Petit Dep - 179, rue Saint-Paul Ouest & 461, rue Saint-Sulpice

Two locations, twice the candy. And cups, caps, ciders, ready-to-eat offerings – a veritable treasure trove of tasty treats, souvenirs and memories to take with you. We have to admit, this “little depanneur” has the magic recipe: a really good time, ideally in really good company, with a really good latte, and so much more.


NOTA BENE: We update this list regularly. If your café isn’t currently mentioned, please write to us and it will be our pleasure to include it!


Photo : Geneviève Giguère et Raphaelle Granger