Recognized as the mecca for all things hipster, the Mile End continues to win the affection of local Montréalers and out-of-towners alike. This avant-garde, artsy neighbourhood prides itself in its eclectic mix of delicious eateries, vintage boutiques, and quaint cafés. Drawing together humans from all corners of the world, this neighbourhood has claimed its title as a cultural, creative and colourful haven in the midst of our city.
Believe it or not, Mile End was once a humble abode to a community of Hasidic Jews, Greeks, and Portuguese in the early nineties. However, after undergoing a period of gentrification, the Mile End has now evolved into a hallmark for all sorts of musicians and artists, ranging from names as big as Arcade Fire to Ariane Moffatt.
Perhaps it’s thanks to the bohemian aura of this young and hip community, but this part of town is full of life. In this picturesque neighbourhood, every corner has a special something to see. Check out some of our favourites.
1.WILENSKY’S: 34 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal, QC H2T 2M1
Wilensky’s Light Lunch is a Montreal classic when it comes to authentic, old-fashioned sandwiches. This family-owned business has been running since 1932, making the same specials as they did back in the day. As a matter of fact, they’ve kept up with their old school cool vibe of swivel stools, ring-up cash registers, and classic soda fountains. You might even get the impression that you’ve stepped back in time. Their mouth-watering sandwiches are made with nothing but love. We suggest you try their classic, top it off with their refreshing homemade cherry pop — you’ll be in heaven!
2. CARDINAL TEA ROOM: 5326 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2T 1A5
Dearest tea lovers and old souls, if you’re looking for an authentic English style high tea experience, we’ve got the perfect place for you. Not only does Le Cardinal serve an assortment of fragrant teas, but they also have dishes ranging from cakes, butter tarts, and elegant finger sandwiches. Discreetly located on the second floor of the Sparrow bar, this cozy wifi-less space is perfect for unwinding with a good book or disconnecting from the internet and socializing with friends. It might even make the perfect place for your next date.
3. FABERGÉ: 25 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal, QC H2T 2L9
Not a morning person? We promise you will be one after having visited and tried brunch at Fabergé. All of their dishes are pure magic, including, but not limited to, their Eggs Benny and their poutine dejeuner (some of our go-to’s). A quick heads-up that this place is busy on the weekends. If you want to skip the line, we suggest you head there around 9:30 or get your breakfast fix during the weekdays. Regardless of when you go, we promise all of your brunch cravings will be satisfied.
4. FOUS DESSERTS: 809 Laurier Ave E, Montreal, QC H2J 1G2
Crazy about desserts? Well, as the name itself suggests, this place is a haven for sweet tooths and dessert lovers alike. Fous desserts specializes in all things saccharine, ranging from desserts, chocolates, jams, baked goods and much more. This place is literally a treat and everything in this cozy, little bakery is made in the back of their shop. If you’re wondering where to start, we suggest trying their almond croissants. Beware: you’ll definitely be coming back for more
5. ARTS CAFÉ: 201 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal, QC H2T 2M8
Welcome to the artsiest and most colourful café in Montreal. This coffee shop is adorned with rustic decor, hanging plants, tons of books, and plenty of natural light; all in all, we love it. Whether you’re looking for a space to brunch, to get some work done or to have a creative tête-à-tête, this place is perfect. Additionally, for all you coffeephiles, you won’t be disappointed with their incredible mugs of filter coffee that will certainly power you through your day.
6. LA KHAÏMA: 142 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal, QC H2T 2M5
La Khaïma is a one-of-a-kind experience for Mauritian food, served in a nomadic fashion where individuals share large platters of food together in a warm, intimate atmosphere. The decor is delightful with a theme of long, low tables, cushions, and tapestries. We all know that a place is only as good as the people you meet in it. Fortunately, the owner-chef Atigh is very welcoming and accommodating, ensuring that guests feel comfortable and at home. He even makes his own refreshing hibiscus tea that is sold in other spots in Montréal. Try “Slow Food” like never before with this multi-sensory experience!
Photos by: Jimmy Santos