With the number of restaurants to choose from, there must be some kind of distinguishing factor besides just the delicious food.
—By Rebecca Kahn
Crew Collective & Café Montreal
360 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montreal, QC
The Crew Collective & Café has only been open since 2016, but it’s already making waves in Montreal’s restaurant scene. In the world-renowned Old Montreal, the 1928 original headquarters of the Royal Bank of Canada have been repurposed.
This stunning café is filled with high windows, sunlight, beautifully crafted food, and elegant archways. It’s constantly bustling with locals and tourists alike; it’s perfect to host meetings or events, study, or just hang out. The Crew Collective offers open Wi-Fi, online ordering, easily bookable meeting rooms, and a secure workplace for up to 70 Collective members.
Their online menu features over 30 different tea and coffee drinks and numerous other impressive food and drink options to enjoy on the premises or to-go. Spending a few hours in this café will give you the elegance you need to brighten up even the dreariest day.
The café and meeting rooms are open seven days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm, and the Collective never closes. The Collective is a private, members-only workspace, but anyone who wants to can sign up and become a member. They publish a newsletter about their offerings and an event calendar, so you’re never out of the loop. This location is also home to their sister company, Unsplash, which shares copyright-free photography to the public. This café proves that good food and good locale can come together seamlessly to set the bar even higher in Montreal’s culinary scene.
176 Yonge St., Toronto, ON
Leña is a restaurant under the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant company. In 1993, Peter Oliver and Michael Bonacini became partners to open Bay Street’s Jump. The duo have become one of Canada’s leaders in restaurants, events, and catering.
Their restaurants include successes such as Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Biff’s Bistro, Luma, and others. Leña at the CF Eaton Centre is a collaboration with Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh.
It’s a project that celebrates the chef’s Argentinian mother-in-law, Elena, drawing inspiration from her cooking for the menu and vibe of the restaurant. The focus is a passion for food that brings people together.
Walsh achieves this through a creative take on traditional South American cooking with Spanish and Italian influences. The goal of creating a restaurant with family warmth and upscale décor has been achieved. The restaurant is open, sunny, and luxurious, contrasted by an intimate and eclectic bar filled with leather, stone, brass, and marble.
The antique books and ornate ceiling of Bar Lala instantly transports you back in time. To top it off, they even have animal wallpaper that matches that in Walsh’s family home. Located on the lower level, Bar Lala is open for pre-dinner or late-night drinks as well as Latin American music and snacks. The bar has its own signature drinks that you won’t want to miss. Leña has also just begun serving breakfast and brunch on weekdays, making it the perfect stop for breakfast-lovers, tourists, and business meetings.