Having been to Italy, San Simeon feels as close to a true European coffee shop as it gets. It’s no surprise that this little cafe resides in the heart of Little Italy in Montreal. Here, unlike most coffee shops we’ve talked about, you won’t find many people sitting in the cafe very long to study or read. Instead, you’ll see people walk in and order an espresso or latte and drink it right at the bar and leave. The people who do stay will often opt to sit outside on their patio terrace, where you’ll find only benches; no tables.
The space inside is simple, it doesn’t go out of its way to fit a certain style, here the form is function. There are enough tables and seats outside to appease groups and rush hours, some outlets for those who want to bring their electronics, and bar space to slam a shot or two (of espresso). I loved the simplicity, and their terrace was spacious and ideal for the summer weather.
The coffee was great. They roast Fantini espresso beans and offer a variety of brews. I tried the ice coffee or freddo— which was basically a coffee flavoured slush. I have never really experienced coffee this way and was delighted by the taste and texture. Of course, I had to get some espresso and again was not disappointed. The shot was pulled really well, it had a creamy texture and a delicious flavour of nuts and chocolate. They serve some pastries as well, the staples like croissants and danishes to be sure, but they also have a unique cannoli-like treat that’s filled with chocolate and nutella. I had that, obviously. It was fantastic. Obviously.
If you’re wondering what the coffee scene is like in Europe, look no further than Cafe San Simeon. They do a great job capturing the essence of Italy. Actually you know what? You should probably check it out regardless, it’s really good.