European Feel, Real Food

Café Gentile (Westmount)


I first heard of Gentile back when I worked at my old job. My manager at the time was stunned when he found out that I had a coffee blog but did not have Cafe Gentile on the list. A few days later, he resolutely placed a cappuccino on my desk and said “Here, have a taste of good Italian coffee”. He was right, there were sweet fruity flavours behind the bold roast and it was refreshingly different from what I regularly drank at the time. Unfortunately, as they only had one location back then and it was located in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, I rarely had the opportunity to stop by.

A few weeks ago, however, I saw their iconic Medusa logo near my current workplace and I was ecstatic. From then on, I kept regular tabs on the location for the opening date and sure enough, yesterday, Montreal Maven shared the good news. With Shaughnessy Cafe who recently opened nearby and now Cafe Gentile, I’m glad that this section of downtown is quickly developing their independent coffee scene to serve quality coffee.

Cafe Gentile’s new location is classy, authentic and with a lot of pizzazz. The floor is beautifully tiled in black and white, the Marzocco espresso machine gleams a solid white and the seating is a mix of bistro chairs and vintage style banquettes. The coffee beans are encased in gold capsules and the music the last two days have been oozing jazz. Already on the first day, I see the Italian family members and friends standing outside the shop to give their blessing and the walls of the cafe are decorated with black and white photos of what seem to be the founders of the original cafe (they’ve been in business since 1959). You can even get postcards with the photos at the cashier counter.

As I sit there sipping on my cappuccino and warm croissant, I watch a few Italian men order the classic espresso at the bar only to leave a few moments later. As someone once told me, espresso means fast and in Italy, the barista’s skill is based on how quickly they can prepare an espresso. At the same time, the drink is meant to be enjoyed rapidly while it is still at a good temperature (without burning yourself of course). Rarely do I cover a coffee shop with the level of certainty that I have for Gentile and that’s because they have such a firm grasp on their brand identity and vision. You can feel their conviction the moment you walk in, and you know that there is a lot of history and passion behind their establishment.

Their coffee is top notch and their menu is extensive. If you order a to-go coffee, you have a choice of four formats and if you order cappuccino like I usually do and have it sur place, you have the option of a regular format or a slightly larger one with an extra shot. Both are good depending on the dose you feel like in the moment. Their small baked goods are homemade and delicious with the lemon drop cookie being soft and lemony without being too sugary and the croissant evenly flaky and fresh from the oven. The breakfast menu offers omelettes, eggs, bagels and grilled cheese while their lunch menu ranges from bruschetta, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and pasta – all with fresh quality ingredients. They also have desserts like cannoli, tiramisu and homemade gelato.

Without a doubt, I would place Gentile at my top three favourite Italian coffee shops with Ferlucci and Olympico. So next time you’re in the Atwater area, do yourself a favour by stepping into Cafe Gentile.


Cafe Gentile Westmount
4126 St Catherine West, Westmount
Coffee Roast: tbd
Foods: homemade baked goods and breakfast & lunch options.
Sitting Space: about 30 spots.
Wifi: no
Plugs: no

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