Côte-des-Neiges is a multicultural neighbourhood with some of the cheapest rents in the city and at least a dozen cafes. Its an underappreciated area, but it has a lot to offer including the very hip Caravane Café located just around the corner from Metro Côte-des-Neiges .
Caravane Café is in a restored Victorian home. The front porch serves as a nice to place to sit on a sunny day and chat over cigarettes, and the terrasse is big with lots of seating and plenty of sun. Thanks to the flatscreen TV mounted on the side, it also isn’t a bad place to watch the game.
Its proximity to the Université de Montréal means it’s a popular student hangout, so if you go there during the school year you might have trouble finding a seat . Over the summer it’s a little quieter, but there are still some crowds, and you often see lineups reaching out the door.
Inside the café it’s loud and busy. This may not be the best work environment for some people, but it can be a great place to meet someone new as there are several solid wood tables that seat multiple people and you will likely end up sitting next to a stranger. My favorite spot here is the old dining room table which has a multitude of Edison bulbs suspended above it.
Caravane Café spares no expense when it comes to tables, seating, and decor. The walls hold several pieces of art, and there are various kitschy antiques like an old typewriter and an oil lantern. Even the bathroom has a surprise in store; the bathtub is still there and it’s been painted yellow, filled with soil, and three tropical plants grow in it.
The Food and Drink
Caravane Café has an intriguing breakfast and lunch menu, everything gourmet and delicious. I ordered the Croissant Dej’ and was amazed at the size of the plate they brought me; a flaky croque monsieur with a bowl of deliciously spiced mash potatoes and a generous spring green salad with grapes, strawberries, orange, and pineapple thrown on top. It certainly filled the hunger gap and I would not hesitate to try it again. The sandwiches and soups come served on neat cutting boards in a cute presentation, and made with such enticing ingredients as candied figs, sautéed onions, prosciutto, and goat cheese just to name a few.
The coffee is rich and smoky with low acid and a smooth aftertaste; the best coffee in the neighbourhood for sure. As with any cafe, they also offer baked goods like cookies, turnovers, cakes, pies, and what-have-you all made fresh with the finest ingredients.
If you come here, be prepared to open your wallet. Quality and ambience come at a price, and that’s exactly what you’re paying for. Things do add up when you start ordering multiple items, and the baked goods especially are a little on the expensive side. A double espresso with a cookie will run you $6.50. The croissant dej’ and a double espresso cost, with tax, about $11.50. The price might seem steep, but you’re getting great noms in a supercool venue. Caravane Café would be a great place to bring a date.
Rating: $$$ (out of 4)
Address: 3506 av Lacombe, Montreal, QC, H3T 1X5