LATIN QUARTER — Probably the most-publicized coffee shop of the year, Café Bonjour-Hi has opened its doors on St-Denis Street. Hailing from Dave Plant of Village bakehouse and counter Bouffe Dave Plant, the café’s bilingual name happened to be announced right as the Quebec government contemplated banning the phrase “Bonjour Hi”, earlier this fall. While Plant chose the name before this year’s political flare-up, the coincidence garnered a bunch of free publicity for it, making it one of very few coffee shops to have its opening covered across multiple TV news segments. Bonjour-Hi has also earned itself a few hundred (mostly positive) Google reviews after just a few days in business — given that Plant is an accomplished baker who has supplied other Montreal cafés for years, it’s well-deserved. And for the record, the staff at Bonjour-Hi are, indeed, bilingual.
PLATEAU — Very solid Mile End pizzeria Magpie has expanded, with the new Taverne Magpie now open on St-Denis Street at Gilford. It’s a bit more of a pubby vibe than the original — beyond the classic Neapolitan-leaning pies (including a particularly good margherita), there’s wings, a burger, and a poutine on the menu, and quite a lot of beers on tap (17, to be precise). This is Magpie’s second location — while it had another pizzeria in the Village for several years, it was closed earlier this year.
PLATEAU — Taking over the space of now-closed BYOB Les Héritiers is new Italian bistro Abbiocco, a neighbourhood restaurant focused on comforting pastas, risottos, and a few meatier options. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Find it on Mont-Royal just east of Papineau.
MILE END — Modern Portuguese grill Cantine Emilia has expanded to Mile End, arriving on St-Viateur just east of St-Urbain, in a space that has seen rapid turnover in recent years with short-lived restaurants Tucci and Socialito. This one might fare better — with its owner bringing experience from Plateau favourite Ma Poule Mouillée, Emilia got a foothold in Villeray after opening in mid-2018 (and also has a stand in new food hall Le Central) with fusiony options like Nutella natas, a chicken-chorizo grilled cheese, and more. That said, there are two Portuguese restaurants within about two blocks (Grilladerie Mile End and Sourire), so, there’s competition.
DOWNTOWN — Now open on Bishop Street is new cocktail spot Oak Bar. As the woodsy name might suggest, there’s a slight emphasis on dark spirits such as whiskey, scotch, and cognac, although the menu is fairly wide-ranging, touching on everything from margaritas to Molson. It’s the kind of bar that has a “ladies night” special, alongside various other specials on shots and during 5 à 7 hours.
DOWNTOWN — Healthy, lunchy start-up La Boîte Verte has expanded to its third location in Montreal. It’s serving grain bowls, tartines, salads, and smoothies (to name a few items) out of Telus Tower (another location is over in the CIBC Tower).
- A New Café Named ‘Bonjour/Hi’ Will Caffeinate And Infuriate Language Purists [EMTL]
- Meet Emilia, Villeray’s Playful New Portuguese Grill [EMTL]