By Alyssa De Rosa—mtltimes.ca
There’s nothing more welcoming than walking into the neighbourhood café for a rich, Italian coffee and a dessert or better yet, a hot, spicy sandwich with fresh ingredients. This is what Café Milano means to the East End.
In 1971, MatteoParanzino officially opened Café Milano to the public and since then the establishment continues to welcome guests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, serving a variety of Italian coffees, salads, sandwiches and of course desserts. It’s where locals go to sit down, relax and immerse themselves in great company while watching a soccer game or two. Even though Milano’s is located in St-Leonard, anyone in or off the island of Montreal knows what it is, what it serves and how good the service and food is. It’s an Italian staple!
When you walk in, you place your order at the cash where you can choose from a steak capicollo sandwich (one of my favourites), a chicken sandwich, a traditional bocconcini and tomato salad or opt for some protein and ask for their famous chicken salad instead. The men in the black T-shirts ask for your name and will serve you at the table when it’s ready. Just like Cheers, they know your name and call it out when they serve it to you. Their prices are affordable and won’t break the bank. Sandwiches range between $6.00 to $8.00 for seven inches and $9.00 to $11.00 for 14 inches. But, make sure to bring cash, because this joint kicks it old school if you don’t want to pay their ATM fees.
Café Milano gained a reputation for being the hang-out after hours, when the young-ins drank too much alcohol and needed to sober up. So, instead of stuffing their faces in gross McDonald’s Big Mac’s, many decided to make their way to Milano’s and enjoy a fresh, Italian sandwich with a coffee instead. Just like Nonna would make it!
The Café is divided into two sections – the restaurant and the bar. For hard liquor, guests make their way to the left side where they can drink alcohol and coffee. In the restaurant, they offer wine and beer since it is child friendly, after all.
In the summer, up until the weather permits, they have a long terrace where clients enjoy cold coffees, sangria pitchers and whatever their stomach desires. So, whether you’re looking to take out, eat in, grab an authentic Italian cappuccino or latté, Café Milano offers all of that including friendly service and consistency.