Two things have come up time and time again this week. First, I’ve received quite a few: “Oh, by the way, I’m so sorry for your loss”’s lately. It’s because, well, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, it has kind of been on the down low recently, but Queen Elizabeth passed away. And, as I’m British, it’s become quite the trendy conversation filler for people. Bizarrely, someone I don’t even know messaged me about it on Instagram and asked “what culture does Britain have besides colonization?” A very apt message—sausage rolls, to answer your question.
The other thing that has come up is café recommendations. “I need somewhere cute” is the line. Well, of course you do, you’re going to Redpath Café. I’m not downloading Mapstr, but I can answer some of your questions.
Where should I take my date/partner for coffee?
Is coffee even romantic? Yellow teeth, bad breath, and bitter coffee remnants on lips don’t exactly scream “let’s go back to mine.” But still, I think grabbing coffee is a great idea for dates—it’s cheaper than going out to bars and you can actually get to know each other better, sober. Going out during the day also lets you see if they’re what they’ve said on the packet as well.
First things first, don’t bring your date to the same café you bring your partner! If it’s a date you’re going on, try Café Parvis, a café-brunch restaurant on Mayor Street. Inside, there are polished vintage chairs that make you look cooler just by sitting in them, and vines dropping from the ceilings, which creates a backdrop that makes you sound more interesting––plants always melt the heart. I’d avoid going midday on a Saturday though, it can get very busy.
Best café to study in?
Let’s face it: Add-drop is over, the temperatures are falling, evenings are darkening, and assignments are mounting. We’re approaching the precipice of the stress abyss. We need solutions. And no, Anticafé is not the answer. It’s about time we dispel that myth and see Anticafé for what it is: A dusty loft with a poor selection of biscuits. Crew Café is also a big no no—far too overpriced and busy.
Instead, try Café Osmo, a minimalist Japanese café on the corner of Rue Clark and Sherbrooke. There’s space for working, functioning Wi-Fi, charging ports, as well as bites to eat and coffee to keep you going. There’s also a designated table for no laptops, if you fancy a read.
Another suggestion––tree huggers, this one’s for you––is Leaves House. A plant-based coffee house with two locations. But the one on Ave. McGill College has a seating area behind the serving counter, which is a decent alternative to the library. The coffee is also pretty good.
Where can I find a café that serves great sandwiches?
Try Café Aunja, an Iranian tea and sandwich café on Sherbrooke. It’s only about a seven-minute walk from McGill campus and is a real gem—I don’t say this lightly. My favourite is probably the chicken koukou. The chicken is mashed with the potato, which can get a tad messy, but worth it—it’s delicious.
Find me a locally run Italian café!
Look no further than Caffettiera. The café boasts a trendy, colourful interior and is run by an Italian man named Andreas Vecchio who will gladly serve you an espresso and a glass of sparkling water—and chat to you about your favourite football (soccer) team!
Which café is the most overrated?
Café Olimpico. There’s a surprising number of people who recommend Café Olimpico. I never want to dine with them. Olimpico’s coffee is too often stale, and too often regrettable. For a local chain with solid brew, try Myriade instead.
Where can I find the best cookies?
The crème de la crème is La Finca, a bakery-café on Rue de Bleury. They serve thick, brown sugar, buttery cookies. It’s as good as it gets around here.
And lastly, where’s the best coffee?
Pikolo Espresso Bar. It recently moved from Parc down to Clark, about a 15-20 minute walk from campus. The coffee, without question, is consistently the best. I go to Pikolo every day. It’s my second living room—it’s just too big to be kept at home.