Here’s a Mile End hotspot that’s by no means a secret, but is certainly a gem worthy of extra searching. After snaking down industrialized side streets, getting distracted by train tracks, and deciphering wall-to-wall graffiti on abandoned buildings, we finally find our way into Café Falco. This vibrant and intelligently decorated coffeehouse remains largely unknown to anyone who works outside the nearby offices, making it an ideal candidate as a home away from home for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike. Falco also (finally) introduces Montreal to the refined tastes of traditional Japanese food, dubbing it a quirky brunch spot for Saturdays or an early dinner date that’s sure to impress. Falco isn’t going out of style any time soon, but the sooner you acquaint yourselves, the better — it’s only a matter of time before every Mile End yupster catches on.
The Influence of Design
Owner Yuko Toda, a design graduate from Paris, and her husband, Frederik Froument, built Falco to reflect their ideas about aesthetics, fair trade, and taste. While the café is a sizable concrete cube — sporting ceilings as high as walls are wide, with windows often spanning ceiling to floor — we can’t help but describe it as “intimate.” This could be because of the large communal worktable, or the cozy two-seaters, but we realize it’s due to the uniform décor and immersive experience Falco provides. There’s no denying this place feels almost like a vacation — it has a hammock, after all! We just wish it stayed open past 5 pm.
As there are countless Mile End cafés that have spent years trying to serve the perfect latté, we have to give Falco a pat on the back for carving out its own niche. In Montreal, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better drip coffee than what’s on offer here. First, it’s worth mentioning that Falco brews organic, fair trade coffee from Kickapoo, a reputable Wisconsin-based micro-roaster that won Roast of the Year in 2010. To the best of our knowledge, Falco is the only place to serve Kickapoo in Montreal.
Stepping into Falco is less like stepping into your neighbourhood café and more like entering Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory, circa 1931. The baristas serve from behind a counter decked out with unusual, chemistry-set-looking glassware, better known as siphon coffee makers. Not only are these things fascinating to look at, they brew immaculate and rich coffee that honestly can’t be beat; to top it off, they don’t use electricity. How’s that for a win-win-win situation?
On the Menu
What, you think they’d leave you quenched but hungry? Besides the exceptional coffee, Café Falco also has a select choice of pick-me-ups that put full-fledged Japanese restaurants to shame. If you’re interested in trying their onigiri, show up before lunchtime: the cool snacks sell out faster than hotcakes. If you miss your chance, Falco has a number of soups, sandwiches, and salads that are all unique experiences on their own. We recommend their egg and shrimp salad sandwich — just be sure to sneak a piece of gum afterwards.
Image courtesy of Cafe Falco.