After discovering this little downtown gem less than a year ago, we’ve found ourselves using downtown shopping sprees as an excuse to come here for a cup of coffee – and nothing soothes the post credit card bingeing blues like a warm latte. Ten months and too many shoes later, we now count Vasco Da Gama as one of the best coffee shops in the city. If you’re a tourist and looking for an authentic gourmet coffee experience, head no further than this quaint downtown locale.
Considered the younger sibling of Café Ferreira nearby, Vasco Da Gama offers more than just great coffee and delicious pastries. While we could go on about its mouthwatering cappuccinos, the food here is equally spectacular. Stop by for a healthy breakfast of goat milk yoghurt topped with fresh blackberries and kumquats, or a custom-made omelet. The array of burgers, sandwiches and paninis makes for some difficult decision-making at lunch time. Prepared on-site, each is a creative combination of ingredients, flavors and color. When half the workday has passed and you’ve already been worn down to a drooling buffoon at the site of any kind of nourishment, how can you choose between the eggplant goat cheese and the duck confit panini, topped with caramelized figs, mango and St-Jorge cheese? To make matters worse, you have to choose a side salad from a spread that would rival the health factor over at Liquid Nutrition. Each is expertly dressed, and a color palate coordinated to perfection. The celery root is speckled with dried cranberries, and the baby string bean tomato salad was like summer in a bowl. Our favorite is the simple and understated Ferreira Club with a side of quinoa salad. And why not enjoy a glass of champagne with your quick and tasty panini, followed by a frothy cappuccino? Or how about trading in that after lunch breath mint for a Fleur de Sel caramel at the check out counter?
The menu isn’t fussy – only pure flavors arranged in fresh, innovative ways.
The room is a narrow stretch of brilliant ocean blues and pale creams – reminiscent of a Mediterranean dream. Tall arched ceilings and painted mosaic tiles on the walls offer a much-needed sunny escape from the dreariness of Montreal’s winter weather. The ambience is always quietly buzzing, and you’ll likely see an eclectic mix of business people, students, couples, and exhausted shoppers. Cordial and efficient, the staff is always on top of their game, along with the manager –who comes around regularly to mingle with patrons. With the convenience of coffee to-go franchises around every corner, it’s easy to forget to take the time to visit the smaller, lesser-known cafés the city has to offer.
Vasco Da Gama is a small place that packs a big punch. Alone or with friends, this downtown gem is definitely worth the visit.
Café Vasco Da Gama
1472, Rue Peel
Montreal, Quebec(514) 286-2688