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Rockaberry’s on St. Denis. (Emma Hameau / McGill Tribune)

Chill Thrills: Cozy spots to relieve your freeze

a/Chill Thrills/Student Living by

January is an exciting time of the year with new classes and a plethora of winter activities to distract you on the weekends.  However, as the mercury keeps dipping, sometimes it’s best to forgo wintery gusts and venture into a cozy restaurant to catch up with friends over a comforting meal. Try out these three local joints that serve hot and delicious meals to keep you fuelled and toasty all winter long.

Rockaberry’s

Rockaberry’s first opened in 1989, and has become an iconic Montreal institution. The decor is casual and vaguely Italian. Meal options include regular North American fare such as salads, wraps and pasta dishes. Extensive coffee options are also provided. However, the main attraction however is the pies, which are baked fresh daily. There are over 25 varieties of these pies, with one sure to delight every customer. Options range from the conventional to the unique, and include millefeuille, lemon meringue, strawberry shortcake, apple crumb cheese, and blueberry. A slice of the apple crumb is huge, with many layers of soft apples entrenched in a thick golden crust. For $2, a large scoop of vanilla ice cream is added, pooling into a rich liquid as it melts against the warm slice. The pie was a meal in itself, and a steal for only $6.50.  There are seven Rockaberry locations around Montreal. Those nearest to McGill include the St Denis and Atwater locations.

Le Vieux St Laurent

Le Vieux St Laurent fits the description of a “greasy spoon” diner on St Laurent. Its exterior is unassuming, while the interior atmosphere has a typical diner vibe with wooden furnishings and a ’70s-style breakfast bar. Ducking into the restaurant after the hustle and bustle of the streets feels like a time-travel back to simpler days, when restaurant patrons knew your name and chatted while refilling your coffee mug. It is an excellent option for brunch, with breakfast served until 4 p.m. everyday. Most meals ring in at under $10, creating an affordable option for students. Coffee is included with most meals, and includes the perks of free refills. Food options include typical diner meals with eggs, sausages, hash-browns, and liberal offerings of toast and fruit to accompany most meals. The menu provides many healthy options, such as the vegetarian omelette was large and satisfactory, stuffed to the brim with minced vegetables. Considering the steady flow of customers, service was also quick and friendly.

Cacao 70

Cacao 70 is the new kid on the Parc Avenue, and is the third location of the franchise in Montreal. The restaurant fills up on weekends, so be sure to make reservations. The decor is relaxing, with warm track lighting and wooden panelling. The more upscale atmosphere and meals equate to a slightly pricier menu, with most meals ranging from $12 to $16. Savoury options include salted crepes, pressed crepe sandwiches, and inventive frittatas. The indulgent chocolate offerings of Cacao 70 are in keeping with the other rich staples of Montreal such as poutine and bagels. Several highlights of the menu include crepes and waffles, which are drenched in chocolate and topped with berries, marshmallows, and whipped cream. The classic chocolate fondue includes a cup full of succulent melted chocolate—with choices between dark, semi-sweet, milk or white—and bite-sized pieces of chewy brownie, golden waffle, and fresh strawberries and bananas for dipping. Cacao 70 is a great choice for a celebratory meal, or the occasional treat of a chocolate dinner.

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