Real-Estate brokers, investors and successful business owners will tell you time and time again that location is everything. Whether you want to start your own legal practice or open a “cat friendly” cafe, choosing the right location can mean the difference between feast or famine. One of the most sought after areas in the city of Montreal is the Old Port, which attracts millions of people each year. It is known for its many restaurants, terraces and boutiques. It is also the site of such key architectural structures as Montreal City Hall, the Palais de Justice de Montréal, the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Notre-Dame Basilica. For locals, it’s a great place to go out on a date or enjoy a casual stroll while soaking up the European inspired architecture. For tourists, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the many street performances and visit Montreal’s oldest historical sites.
Our beloved city is currently under siege, preparing itself for a massive birthday party. Three hundred and seventy-five years have passed since the first colonial settlers decided to leave their warm Mediterranean beaches in search of new land to colonize and expand their empire. We could imagine that the French were shocked to discover that the winters in “la Nouvelle France” lasted forever (poor them…actually, poor us). One thing they did beautifully, however, was implement French architecture throughout the city. The narrow cobble stone roads and impressively designed buildings give one the impression that they are visiting the old continent.
In recent years, the Old Port has undergone a coffee revival. Among the new cafes in the area is Tommy, which opened its doors less than two years ago and has quickly become a main attraction; and the perfect spot for a first date. Tommy is located on rue Notre-Dame, which is one of the oldest streets in Montreal. When stepping through the front door, the first thing you will notice is the beautiful layout of the cafe. Tall ceilings, large windows and a split level design give the space an open feeling. The decor is an eclectic mix of old and new elements: white marble counter tops create a modern aesthetic, while vintage accents like vinyl records, mid-century furniture and an antique encyclopedia set give the cafe a retro vibe. The thing that stuck out the most was an enormous plant hanging from the cafe’s 20 foot ceiling. Who needs a chandelier when you have all those windows?
If truth be told, the decor is the cafe’s “tour de force.” Tommy is one of the most instragrammed cafes in the city and has received much praise from both locals and tourists. In fact, during the short time that we were there we saw two female tourists peer inside the cafe and marvel at the decor. After a few minutes, they finally decided to come in for a coffee. As they waited in line, we unintentionally overheard some of their conversation. We didn’t get their names but for the sake of this story, let’s call them Kim and Kourtney:
Kim: O-M-G, how cute is this spot? I wish we had more places like this back home. Doesn’t it remind you of that time we were in Nice?
Kourtney: O-M-G it really does. This spot feels so European!
Kim: I know right! What was that muffin thing we ate in France again?
Kourtney: I think it’s called a brioche…
Kim: Yes!! So good…I’m totally getting one, screw the diet.
Anyway, you get the gist…
As usual, we ordered our latte-cappuccino combo. Tommy uses Union Coffee, a Montreal based roasting company that has been in business for over 100 years. The coffee was decent, but what really left an impression were their desserts. Tommy offers a well curated list of baked goods, which come from several reputable bakeries across the city. Joey opted for a sugar covered brioche made by “Brioche à Tête”, while David enjoyed a Nutella cronut made by “La Cornetteria”. Both desserts were solid and strongly recommended. For those of you who intend to visit Tommy in the near future, we were told that they will be adding more items to their growing menu.
After devouring our desserts, we couldn’t help but notice the amount of walk-ins; both locals and tourists were piling into the cafe. We also noted multiple couples enjoying a warm cup of coffee and taking pictures together (so damn cute). We both agreed that Tommy is a cafe which caters to Old Montreal residents and visitors to perfection. If you are visiting the area or simply trying to impress a girl (or guy) on your first date, make sure to stop by. Who knows, it might just land you a second date.
David and Joey