MILE END — Mile End has a new café-bookstore, with Éclair now open right by Pizzeria Magpie on Maguire Street. There’s quite the team behind it — Club Chasse et Pêche co-owner Hubert Marsolais is a partner in the project, as is Café Différance owner Daniel Alvarez. Also on the project are Mirando Ho, Chantale Potié, and Jean-Frédéric Laberge as principals.
The café side will serve coffee from Berlin roaster the Barn, and Victoria, B.C. roaster Bows & Arrows (a blend that goes particularly well with milk-based drinks, Alvarez notes). The aim is to combine good books in both French and English, and good coffee in one place — the bookshop side of Éclair (directed by Potié and Éléonore Schreiber) has popped up previously at cafés Différance and Odessa. In its new home, it will focus on carefully-curated books from all sorts of genres — the idea is that it’ll be a small selection, but anything you pick up will be of high quality.
PETITE-PATRIE — Beaubien Street counter spot Lou has returned to business and had quite a change of genre. It’s now owned solely by David Ferguson (of meaty restaurant Gus next door), with pastry chef Kathy Daehler gone. The previous prêt-à-manger approach has been toned down, with only a few baked goods available now. Instead, small plates like salmon tartare or a shrimp salad are available, as are sliders (including a Thai tempeh option, and a beef tongue with jalapeno cream choice). It also has a terrasse, and opening hours that extend later into the evening, and wine.
DOWNTOWN — Westmount matcha bar Livia has made its first expansion since opening a year ago — it has a second location over on Peel Street. On offer is a host of green tea-based drinks and more, including matcha lattes and soft serve, and a healthy-leaning food menu of açai bowls, salads, avocado toast, and more, mostly clocking in around $10 to $15.
PLATEAU — There’s a new dumpling spot in a prime location on the corner of Mont-Royal and St-Laurent. Roncoin opened up recently in a former Portuguese chicken restaurant. It’s serving mostly traditional dumplings, alongside a few noodle dishes and soups, all on a simple check-box style menu.
LASALLE — Remember solid sushi spot Bistro Isakaya on Parc near Milton? It closed about a year and a half back, with no indication of plans to return. But, surprise: It has now resurfaced on Champlain Boulevard over in Lasalle. Expect the same deal as before — sushi.
DOWNTOWN — A new sweets spot has landed on de Maisonneuve at Stanley, taking over a large location that was Wrapcity. Tella’s is using the tagline “santé ou sucré”, implying that it’s offering a mix of healthy fare and sweet treats. Its online presence seems to emphasize the sweet side of the deal, with waffle sandwiches and milkshakes topped with whole doughnuts as some of the offerings.
DOWNTOWN — Café St-Henri has expanded one more time — in a smooth move to corner the commuter market, it has a teeny-tiny new location that’s practically inside the Square-Victoria-OACI metro station (it’s right by the station, outside the barriers).