Sunday, November 13, 2011

Are you coco for Cocoa? - Cacao 70

Cacao 70 is a little cafe on Ste-Catherine's street with a warm, home-y atmosphere and equally warm and friendly staff. They specialize in cacao and cacao products, and have an extensive menu on a wide range of hot cacaos, quirky cold cacao drinks, and decadent chocolate desserts. For those who are looking for a meal, they also serve a variety of salty crêpes.

How is it that I always end up going out on days that are crazy cold and rainy? Oh, right. It's November. Well, luckily for me, our destination this time was a place that specializes in warm and comforting drinks. So instead of being that person struggling with their dysfunctional umbrella in the rain (as I usually am), I got to be the person sitting in a cafe, warm drink in hand, laughing at them. Muahahaha! Schadenfreude, baby.

Accessibility - Grade: A-
It's on St-Catherine's, a bit closer to Atwater station than to Guy-Concordia. It's still a good 5-10 minute walk, which, in the rain, feels like 5-10 hours. ...Okay, maybe not that bad, but still.

Service - Grade: A-
Our waitress was very sweet and friendly, and the entire staff look very professional. The first thing they did once we sat down was to bring two sample cups of hot cocoa, which felt godsent after having braved the rain for, you know, five minutes. Our waitress was patient, willing to help, and seemed to know her stuff when we asked her questions.

Food - Grade: B

Sample hot cocao
 I do believe this is the Vintage hot cocoa, with milk chocolate. If you've ever had the thick, rich hot chocolate at Juliette & Chocolat, then I think you'll enjoy this treat as well. While not as thick as the J&C one (although my memory might be playing tricks on me, since I seem to remember that that particular hot chocolate had the consistency of chocolate syrup), it's still rich and creamy, and will satisfy any chocolate-lover's craving.

Cioccolata Calda
Cioccolata Calda
I ordered one of their specialty hot cocoas called the 'Cioccolata Calda', which I guess is just Italian for literally 'hot chocolate'. The menu describes it as an Italian-style hot chocolate, so ha! Go figure. This particular cocoa is very dark and smooth, but surprisingly un-bitter. It did have a slightly acidic aftertaste, though, similar to the on you get after drinking black coffee. Personally, I prefer milk chocolate (because I'm a wimp), so this one was a little dark for my taste, but anyone who likes dark chocolate or black coffee would probably enjoy this cocoa.

My friend ordered the Champurrado, a Mexican hot chocolate, so it must be Spanish for... I got nothin'. The only thing they taught us in our high school Spanish class was how to make guacamole. And even then, all I remember is that you need avocados. Anyway, I didn't try this particular hot chocolate, but my friend says that it was very cinammon-y.

Roast beef, mushroom and cheese crêpe

Roast beef, mushrooms and cheese crêpe
My friend didn't have lunch, so she ordered a roast beef crêpe. I only tried a small bite, but it's not bad. The roast beef was sliced thin, but it mixed very well with the melted cheese and mushrooms. The salad was also very refreshing. Despite having a creamy dressing, it was surprisingly light, and had a tangy and sweet flavour.

Cocoa & Strawberry Crêpe

Cocoa & Strawberry Crêpe
We also shared a cocoa and strawberry crêpe, which is just a regular crêpe filled with strawberry with a generous drizzle of melted chocolate on top. The crêpe itself was just okay, nothing special. I think they could have put a bit more strawberries in it, since the strawberries all congregated to the open end of the crêpe. The element that brought it all together was the melted chocolate drizzled on it. Sweet, rich chocolatey goodness that makes you wish it was socially acceptable to lick plates.

Price - $$
Okay, for a cafe, prices here are steep. A cup of hot cocoa is easily $8-$9 and expect desserts to be around $10 or higher. Honestly, I do think items are a bit overpriced. I don't think students would be able to afford to frequent this place very often.

Final Grade: B
To sum it up, the hot cocoa here is pretty good, but a bit pricey. As for the food, it's not bad, but isn't quite worth the price that you pay. It's too bad, because I really like cafes that specialize in chocolate, such as J&C, and this is the only one of its kind in the downtown area. But because of the prices, I really don't think I'll be able to visit this place often. But if you don't mind the high prices and are a chocolate lover, then I would recommend checking Cacao 70 out!

Cacao 70
2087 Ste. Catherine West, Montreal
(514) 933-1688
Cacao 70 on Urbanspoon


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