Thursday, 24 October 2013

il Panino Café Meditterraneo, rue Sainte-Catherine, Montreal, Canada

il Panino Café Meditteraneo, Montreal
The rue Sainte-Catherine seems to cut Montreal in two. It runs a considerable distance in both directions and takes in all the big brand name stores along the way. If, however, you take out the shopping section of the road, the rest tends to deteriorate in terms of quality on either side – dollar stores, strip joints and other sleazier sides of life. At Cabot Square, for instance, there were plenty of down and outs, in fact, Montreal seems to attract them, some quite young, with messages scrawled in marker pen on a piece of cardboard, the obligatory dog and, of course, a few blankets. At the other end of the street, behind the Hyatt Regency, it's a similar story. The quality of the restaurants deteriorate and soon, within, say, 15 to 20 minutes of walking, you're no longer in the swish part of town. I'd imagine it could all look pretty depressing in the rain.

Wherever you go in Montreal you'll come across Bixi Bike stations and, having riden around the city for a good hour – or at least it seemed that way – I parked up and went for a stroll along the rue Sainte Catherine (the bit 'behind' the Hyatt). After a ride, of course, hunger sets in and, having stumbled on a kind of internet café that was far too busy for my liking, I crossed the street and found a small (and empty) il Panino Café Meditteraneo.
My tea and pastry – both very nice and much needed

There were tiled floors and modern furniture: huge dark wood block tables, chairs with chromium legs and some trendy photographs of Mediterranean scenes on the walls: woman on a bike, bike alone, a close-up of an espresso machine's group head and so on.

There was a nice display of cakes and pastries and plenty of filled baguettes for those grabbing a lunch time bite. Lunch would be later, but what I needed was a cup of tea and a pastry so I chose a kind of ornate Millionaire's Shortbread, which probably just looked like one. It went by the name of a Carre fromage bleuts ($2.95). The tea was $1.74.

This was a good place and the service was friendly too, meaning that I'd definitely return if I was in the area. Afterwards, I found an amazing 'record' shop. The term seems redundant as it sold CDs and DVDs, but it was a great place, called, if I recall Volume and also on the rue Sainte Catherine.

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