Posts Tagged ‘cafe’

Coffee culture is omnipresent in Montréal as it is through the rest of North America. However there are different places available to buy your favourite cup. Here’s a list of the main chains:


Café Depôt

Café Depôt, or Coffee Depôt in English is Québec’s homegrown answer to Starbucks. It is a high end coffee shop with a wide range of lattes, patisseries and sandwiches/paninis. Café Depôts are franchises, so are independently run – some have a lot of character whilst others are more standard. My favourite location is the Café Depôt at Mont-Royal and Papineau. 

Second Cup

Second Cup is an upmarket chain that is more focused just on coffee and patisseries. I’ve found the lattes to be sweeter than in other cafes, but there is a good choice and the decoration seems more consistent across sites than in other chains. Second cup also has quite a large selection of coffee beans that you can take home with you. It’s worth noting too that Second Cup is the largest Canadian owned cafe chain.


Starbucks is omni-present in most parts of the world, so I needn’t describe what it’s like. However here in Québec there aren’t that many of them. However, the ones I have visited compare very well to the local competition. 

Van Houtte

Van Houtte has been blending coffee in Canada for a very long time. Its cafés do seem to be quite a mix and match, more than the other chains. Indeed there are quite a few Van Houtte outlets that share their local with the Laurentian Bank. I find this quite bizarre, a Moka Fudge latte and a Visa card please! Their offering is similar to Second Cup’s, mainly coffee and patisserie.

Tim Hortons

Timmies is definitely the most popular coffee shop chain in Canada. It’s actually more focused on donuts and patisseries than coffee – it doesn’t use expresso machines, rather pre-processed powders to make their lattes. The coffee is not bad, but it’s cheap and to be honest, you go to Tim Hortons for the donuts; especially their Timbits. The cafés themselves vary, but are generally more like a fast food restaurant than a real café.


It’s worth noting that pretty much all cafés in Canada offer free wifi connections for your portable computer or iPhone. Fixed computers are sometimes available but are generally charged.


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