The Best Cafés in Montreal for a Cup of Joe

Montreal is a mecca for coffee lovers
Montreal is a mecca for coffee lovers | © Linda Raymond / iStock / Getty Images Plus
For Montrealers, coffee is about more than a daily caffeine fix. European café culture has been ingrained in the city through years of French and Italian immigration, while the new generation is roasting coffee beans with a focus on ethical sourcing and sustainability. Whether you’re looking for a traditional Italian espresso, a French press, or a third-wave pour over, Montreal has a wide variety of options. Below are some of the Montreal cafés where you are guaranteed a good cup of coffee.

Dispatch Coffee

Cafe, Canadian, Coffee, Pastries, Dessert, $$$

Dispatch Coffee started small, as a food truck serving cold brew in 2012, but it has since grown to become one of Montreal’s most acclaimed cafés. Today, Dispatch serves quality coffee at three locations around the city, widely promoting its ethos of transparency and ethically sourced products. Every bean brewed at the Montreal-based café is up to Dispatch’s high standards: sourced from small farmers, fairly traded and, in most cases, certified organic. Each of Dispatch’s locations is also a stylistic treat, welcoming coffee lovers in modern settings.

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Café Saint Henri

Cafe, Coffee, $$$
Café Saint Henri is another popular Montreal coffee roaster that has placed a significant focus on sustainability and transparency. The ethical business model that drives the café comes through in its selection of flavorful coffee blends. Whether you prefer a rich espresso or a fruity filter, Café Saint Henri has a blend for you. With two roasting centers and five cafés scattered across the city, you’re never far from a top-quality cup of joe. The original café, as one might guess, is found in the Saint-Henri neighborhood.
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Crew Collective and Café

Cafe, Snacks, Coffee, $$$
Found in the historic Royal Bank Tower in Montreal’s Old Port, Crew Collective and Café is one of the more striking places to grab a coffee in Montreal. Dating back to the 1920s, the building’s ornate architectural features – including bronze revolving doors and vaulted neo-classical ceilings – lend an air of luxury to the space. The café/co-working space, which is found just beyond the lobby, has cleverly transformed gilded teller booths into an impressive bar, from which it serves various coffee beverages and pastries.
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Melk Bar à Café

Bar, Cafe, Coffee
When it came onto the scene in 2013, Melk Bar à Café was one of the first places in Montreal’s west-end borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (known simply as NDG by locals) to serve third-wave coffee, an artisanal style of coffee that focuses on quality and traceability.Today, the welcoming café has three locations across the city, each of which bears a tiled decor that is minimal and contemporary. Melk serves high-quality coffee made from beans from heralded Vancouver roaster 49th Parallel and boasts a wide array of health-conscious (and not-so-health-conscious) snacks.
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Café Olimpico

Cafe, Coffee
Olimpico is one of Montreal’s best-known coffee spots – and for good reason. The buzzing atmosphere at Olimpico’s original Mile End location is infectious and has drawn a dedicated clientele since its opening in 1970. Behind a stately counter, a team of boisterous baristas serve up a range of Italian coffees alongside some of the city’s tastiest cannoli. An ambience characterized by Italian soccer jerseys and sports-playing TVs only adds to the cafe’s old-Italy feel. As the Mile End hub has become increasingly iconic in recent years, Olimpico has opened up a handful of new locations around the city – in the Old Port and, most recently, downtown.
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Pista

Cafe, Coffee, $$$

Located just steps from the Beaubien Metro in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Pista is a small but vibrant coffee house whose third-wave beans and easygoing charm have put it on the map. Pista was originally conceived as a coffee shop on wheels, but in recent years its brick-and-mortar Beaubien location has become the brand’s main attraction. With great natural light and a vibe that is both laptop-friendly and encourages social interaction, Pista serves up excellent brews and delightful bites.

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Café Ferlucci

Cafe, Coffee
Just a few blocks away from the Jean-Talon Market, Café Ferlucci has become a staple for the local community, loved for its authentic Italian charm and eccentric decor. The cozy café, embellished with an odd – but always captivating – assortment of objects, serves Italian coffee as well as sandwiches and pastries. Café Ferlucci’s coffee is distinctively rich and is made from a custom blend of beans roasted by the Montreal-based company Café Barista. Notable menu items include the beloved “Nutellatte” and the decadent affogato. In the summer, you can sip your espresso on Café Ferlucci’s sidewalk terrace.
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Myriade

Cafe, Coffee

Ask any local about where to get an excellent latte or cappuccino, and you’re bound to hear about Myriade. The café, which now has three locations in Montreal, brews a great cup of intense third-wave coffee – all its beans are from 49th Parallel – but it stands out most for its milk-based beverages. By using milk with zero additives sourced from small local farms, Myriade has created a café au lait that is smooth as velvet and delectable in taste.

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Le Dépanneur Café

Cafe, Coffee
From its prime location in the Mile End, Le Dépanneur Café entices passersby with its homey wooden façade and verdant trimmings. Inside, the café delivers on expectations with a lived-in decor consisting of couches and mismatched furniture. Beyond an excellent cup of coffee (with beans from Montreal-based roaster Café Barista), Le Dépanneur Café’s main draw is its continuous stream of live music. At virtually any time of day, patrons can sip their coffee and enjoy a pastry while listening to live vocalists or musicians.
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Pikolo Espresso Bar

Cafe, Bar, Tea
Pikolo Espresso Bar, Montréal
Courtesy of Pikolo Espresso Bar
As the name suggests, Pikolo Espresso Bar is a tiny café, but what it lacks in sitting space it more than makes up for in charm and coffee quality. Tucked away on Park Avenue downtown, Pikolo Espresso Bar specializes in single-origin blends and has a changing selection of coffee beans on offer. Java lovers can grab their favorite coffee to-go on the way to Mont Royal or can cozy up in a window seat to watch the bustling street outside.
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These recommendations were updated on June 9, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.