Bottomless Pete Reviews: Amea Café

Amea take your order?

Bottomless Pete

Bottomless Pete

March 21, 2024- Read time: 6 min
Bottomless Pete Reviews: Amea CaféPhotograph: Scott Usheroff / @cravingcurator

Say hello to Bottomless Pete Reviews, The Main's anonymous critic who's slowly but surely aiming to eat up everything the city has to offer, going beyond half-baked Google Reviews and people saying "guys, I just discovered" over and over on Tiktok.

Amea Café

7.5 out of 10

$$½ out of $$$$

  • Address: 1188 Sherbrooke Street West
  • Phone: 514-906-0050
  • Website:
  • Wheelchair access: Yes.
  • Reservations: Nope. Take a number.
  • Vegetarian-friendly? Yup.
  • Vegan friendly? Some, not many.
  • Parking: On the street, if you can find it.

The mega projects of downtown Montreal just keep coming: First it was the food halls that survived the pandemic, and now it's spots like Amea Café.

I've seen the demand's there, because if you're spending time skulking around the Underground City, the restaurants and the mall food courts there are seeing line-ups, and believe me: More are coming, so I wanted to take stock of what we got before the city core stacks up even further.

Opening up in October 2022 by the folks from the Italian restaurant Béatrice down the street on Sherbrooke—Pino Forgione, Max Caprio, and their now ex-chef Michael Coppa—Amea Café's located inside La Maison Alcan, a multifunctional office space that's got its own internal boulevards of public art and installations.

Amea adds more than a lot to Alcan's visual buffet when you step in, and for good reason: The whole place numbers in at 4,624 square feet, where 100 seats are surrounded by ceilings dressed up in faux greenery, tiled floors, lighting installations—the works.

And when it comes to weekend brunch? The place can be absolutely packed, leaving you sitting around on the sidelines until your table is called.

But a spot that's packed has gotta be good, right?

Amea's brioche French toast soaked in vanilla custard, with whipped pistachio ricotta and macerated strawberries.

Service please

If you don't have a plan, a reservation, brunch in Montreal can be like being on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Everyone's vying for spot, so think of Amea as a response to all those line-ups for pancakes, eggs, and starting your day with dinner.

Coming in, my friends and I had a 15 to 20 minute wait for a table. Not too shabby considering that the place was full at midday on a Saturday.

On that note, it's kind of strange that they don't/won't take reservations. Don't get me wrong, the place is inviting, but it's also set up as a grab-and-go spot with its style of service. At the same time, drinks are managed through waiters.

That poses a problem in my mind: If you want to eat one of those viral supreme croissants with a pink latte for your Instagram? Maybe you'll wait 20 minutes just to sit down, and maybe another 10 to order and eat. It's hard to be everything for everyone.


I was watching other tables, and noticed either servers either being lightning fast to come to a table to take a drink order—coffees, mimosas, etc—but more often than not, they'd take way too much time. Maybe it's a bit off for me to say, but given the setup of Amea, turning over tables isn't their strongest suit. Neither was their ability to make a proper espresso martini (theirs uses Galliano which I wasn't down with), but that's likely just me being picky.

So, off the bat, I'm going to say I was docking marks for service. I like people coming to my table, interacting with humans (even if it is brunch and I've got a major headache from the night before), and feeling like I don't have to do a goddamn thing. This wasn't quite that.

A croque madmoiselle with a prosciutto cotto & provolone stuffed croissant, topped with creamy scrambled eggs.

Order up

The cafeteria style of service beckons people to go up, place orders, and take numbers back to your table. Again, not sure why they opted for this as opposed to a capable staff, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here.

Suffice to say, they're doing brunch super well here. The food's got a great mix of savory and sweet, mixing standards like loaded and artfully plated French toast and pancakes (portions large enough that they don't need Cora style fruit sculptures to go with), shakshuka, and two-egg platters. There's some technique in these plates too, like I found in the wide but still fluffy lemon-ricotta pancakes served with whipped mascarpone, blueberry preserves, and maple syrup.

Everything was so... pretty.

Lemon-ricotta pancakes served with whipped mascarpone, blueberry preserves, and maple syrup.

Crostinis have their own section with six options crafted from a mix and match of tomatoes, avocado, gravlax, and mushrooms. Tried one and found it fairly straightforward, but still satisfying. By all means, it'll be hard to make a crostini that'll blow every other one in the city out of the park. This one did alright.

Pizzas from their regular lunch service are available as well, Roman al taglio style, but I'll admit I couldn't stomach much more after what I've mentioned so far—portions truly were well thought-out and a dish (MAYBE two if you've the room) will be more than enough here.

The avocado mushroom crostini with avocado puree, soft boiled egg, pan-fried mushrooms, and ricotta salata shavings on toasted sourdough.

Pastries? They've got a lot: Supreme and classic croissants, in-and-out-of-season zeppoles, bombolones—the works. Didn't do my due diligence and find out where those pastries were all coming from, but there was enough skill there that they're confident enough to have it all figure into the menu a lot. And it shows.

I will say this: I don't get the supreme croissant hype. Call me a traditionalist if you want, an old fogey, a curmudgeon, whatever, but I prefer something simpler. Especially if someone jamming breakfast cereal or chocolate icing and Oreo cookies into something that doesn't need to be considerably sweet.

So, Would I Go Back?

So, against my better judgment, I'll likely find myself back at this place for the promise of their lunch service. But these 'serve yerself' spots that are coming increasingly in vogue for the downtown crowd just aren't grabbing me—maybe they would if I was working around here every day of the week.

While that food is something I'll recommend if you have a long and meandering afternoon planned for a museum or gallery visit, maybe a show later a night with some shopping in between, it still left me longing for the comfort of a cozy, sit-down establishment where I could linger over my meal without feeling like I was on a timer.

I'll stick to the spots where I don't have to strategize my exit strategy before the first bite, and you do you.

Photograph: Arial Tara

Got something to say to Bottomless Pete? You can email them at bottomlesspetereviews [at] gmail [dot] com.

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