entrance - minimalmtl.jpgVictorian-inspired entrance of Pikolo Espresso Bar / Photo Credit: MiniMalMtl

When they say, "Pikolo," they mean it! A spin on the Italian word piccolo for "small," everything at Pikolo Espresso Bar is small: pikolo interior, pikolo menu and pikolo drinks. News flash, it's true what they say, size really doesn't matter... especially when it tastes so good!

By Amanda Marchese

le cahier olimipco.jpgExterior of Café Olimpico. (Photo Credit: Le Cahier)

There's Italian music blaring from above, soccer playing on five TV screens, the sound of constant chatter, the espresso machine sizzling; this must be Café Olimpico. If you've never been, you've probably heard of it. People from all over the Island of Montreal travel to it for a taste of their espresso, and Tourism Canada dubbed it Montreal's most famous café of 2014. Open for 45 years, its reputation as a quaint café have made Café Olimpico a landmark in Montreal for great coffee.

by Amanda Marchese

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In the modern world of fancy espresso machines and high-tech coffee makers, such as Tassimo and Nespresso, many people overlook of more old-school methods of coffee making. Stovetop espresso is a method of brewing coffee still cherished by many Europeans and Latin Americans, as well as European-Montrealers. Stovetop espresso was the first type of coffee introduced to me by my Italian grandfather, and is still the only way he will make or drink coffee.

By Amanda Marchese

exterior caffe italia mtl blog.jpg(Photo credit: Mtl Blog)

Take a stroll in Little Italy, and you can't miss it. Caffè Italia is located on the main street, near the famous Italian grocery store, Milano's. Walking into the caffè is like traveling to Italy, but more wallet friendly. Every time I visit, I'm welcomed by the murmur of conversations from customers and baristas in Italian, as well as the sweet-sweet smell of Italian treats. Caffè Italia is reminiscent of an old caffè in Italy where everyone knows your name and your regular order. Unsurprisingly, the caffè has gained loyal customers who have been going there for years. I say "caffè" instead of "café" because of the very simple fact that this coffee house is Italian not just in its brew, but also in its essence.

The place is buzzing, there's a television in the back playing the soccer game, the espresso machine is sizzling, and the place is bustling with people--inside and outside. The caffè offers typical espresso-based beverages, like lattes and cappuccinos for $2.75 and espressos at $1.75, as well as Santal Juices and Italian soft drinks. And if you're in the mood for a snack, they also have a variety of sandwiches, cornetti (croissants), and of course, panettone.

Caffè Italia is owned by Luciana Serri and her two daughters, Laura and Nadia. I recently got the privilege to talk with Laura Serri, who takes care of payroll and baking her famous carrot cookies. In our interview together, I discovered the true meaning of Caffè Italia, as well as a few secrets.

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Anthony Benda serving coffee at Café Myriade (Photo: The Montreal Gazette)

You may know Café Myriade as the coffee shop across from Concordia with the wood paneled terrace you can never find seat on, or as the coffee joint with a waiting line that winds out the front door. For an independent coffeehouse, these are normally good signs. It screams, "Good espresso found here."

Sitting down at a café, sipping your hot beverage, you rarely think about the owners of the place. If you frequent popular coffee chains, you've probably already built up the image of the money-hungry CEO. In the case of Café Myriade, it's worth knowing a little bit about the owners. The reason for Café Myriade's popularity and status as one of the best cafés in Montreal becomes a tad clearer after knowing the man behind the counter.

A Coffee Cup of My Own

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I've been known to daydream--a lot. Some consider it empty dreaming, I like to think of it as goal making. As a twenty-year-old full-fledged Montrealer, I've always imagined moving out of the city, even out of the country. Over the years I have discovered that coffee shops are the perfect spot to daydream about your future, about living elsewhere, about being the next great writer, about the things you should have said or would like to say. Even when not in coffee shops, I have found that they are the setting for most of my daydreams. In fact, a short story I wrote partly took place in a coffee shop! I began drinking coffee at six months old; an age some people would think is too young, but for Italians it was nothing out of the ordinary. However, against contrary belief, I've grown to an average height, and my brain seems to be fine.









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