Crew Collective & Café
360 St. Jacques O, Old Montreal
Crew Collective & Café is one part public coffee shop and one part coworking space for local creatives. The building itself—housed in the ornate former Royal Bank headquarters—is reason enough to visit. The speedy Wi-Fi and strong matcha lattes are two more.
719 Rue William, Old Montreal
Step into Mélisse and you’ll feel like you’re in LA: light wood; a bright, high-ceilinged space; and lots of plants. (Also LA-like: eating on the patio, weather permitting.) Breakfast and lunch are light and focus on seasonal produce (tartines, salads, satisfying egg dishes), while dinner is full of shareable plates, like grilled veggies and charcuterie, plus more substantial items, like grilled pork shoulder peppered with cherry tomatoes and pistachios. The 100 percent organic wine list is short but brilliant.
Big in Japan
4175 Blvd. St. Laurent, Le Plateau Mont-Royal
It’s only fifty seats, and there’s no sign out front, but that’s kind of the point. Despite the name, Big in Japan isn’t meant for a big crowd. Behind an unmarked door at the corner of Boul Saint-Laurent and Rue Rachel, though, it is one of the best spots for late-night cocktails in Montreal. If you’re feeling adventurous, the specialties are amazing prune wine, sake, and Japanese whisky.
1074 Ave. Laurier O, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal
This clean, sleek, minimalist space mirrors its wares—lots of Dries Van Noten, Lemaire, and Acne Studios, which draw the city’s creative class (art directors, architects, and the like). There are plenty of pieces for both men and women, and the men’s rack has some pretty fantastic options for women, too. There’s a nice selection of accessories (wallets, backpacks, and totes) from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, a line started by local twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart. There’s a second outpost in Old Montreal.
181 Rue Saint-Vallier E, Saint-Roch
By day, Maelstrøm is a gourmet coffee house serving some of the best cold brew in Quebec City. By night, though, it morphs into a cozy, low-key bar that feels like a locals’ hangout. Exposed-brick walls and mismatched vintage furnishings give it a bit of a Brooklyn vibe, and the cocktails (poured by the friendly bartenders) are strong. It’s a great place to meet up for a predinner drink before a meal at one of the cute neighboring restaurants in Saint-Roch.
Épicerie J.A. Moisan
699 Rue Saint-Jean, Saint-Jean-Baptiste
There’s something timeless about this old-fashioned grocery store, where shoppers go as much for an ambiance of nostalgia as for restocking their provisions. Worn wooden counters, wicker baskets, and glass cases hold an eclectic selection of artisanal products, including hand-milled soaps, exotic spices, coffee beans, wedges of regional cheeses, dried and cured charcuterie, and house-made sandwiches and cold salads, which you can consume at the café's marble-topped tables.
5508 Chemin Royal, Saint-Jean-de-l'ile-d'Orleans
Confiturerie Tigidou has one specialty: small-batch jams. And the husband-and-wife team Catherine Trudel and Vincent Paris have honed them to perfection. The duo’s not-so-secret recipe allows the pure, natural flavors of the harvests to shine, unspoiled by preservatives or too much sugar. The season’s offerings are scrawled on a chalkboard; pick up the jars to go or have the fruity spreads smothered over house-made scones in the centuries-old barn with antiques and stacks of firewood.
71 Rue Saint-Pierre, Old Quebec
Just minutes from the Old Port, Hotel 71 makes a great base for those looking to explore both the Upper Town and Lower Town of Old Quebec. Once the headquarters for the National Bank of Canada, the nineteenth-century Neoclassical building takes a fast-forward inside to the twenty-first century, with ultrasleek design elements and a socially conscious art collection. Each of the sixty neutral-toned rooms features soaring ceilings and big windows that capture views of the St. Lawrence River and Cap Diamant.
Le Monastère des Augustines
77 Rue des Remparts, Old Quebec
A boutique hotel in a restored cloister, Monastère des Augustines is operated by the Augustinian nuns, who run hospitals throughout the Quebec region. Accented with Hudson Bay blankets and antiques such as racks for nun’s habits, the sixty-four rooms are a tribute to the order’s legacy, offering placid views of an herbal garden and a hushed simplicity that cultivates contemplation. Meditation, concerts, and yoga and qigong classes make up the programming, and an intriguing museum exhibits medical tools and artifacts.
8 Rue Saint Antoine, Old Quebec
Once a wharf and artillery battery, the Auberge Saint-Antoine—a trio of stone-and-brick buildings with copper roofs—has a way of being simultaneously regal and down-to-earth. Swathed in soft velvet fabrics and with goose-down duvets on the beds, each of the ninety-nine rooms has its own character, resembling something of an art gallery or an archaeological museum due to a treasure trove of restored artifacts displayed everywhere. The hotel’s bar is a haven for Quebec City’s sophisticated former hipsters and is known for its signature gin and tonic, done with herbs, juniper berries, grapefruit, and cucumber.
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