Olimpico is one of those places I visit whenever I return to Montreal. It is the quintessential cafe in the heart of Mile End.
The decor is a mish-mash of sports bar and old-time hang out; there's a lot of Team Italia posters and soccer regalia plastered over the walls and a TV tuned into the sports channel in the corner. Of course, a Canadian flag hangs above the door.
The old (French) Italians are gone and the hipsters congregate, anchored by the mustachioed barista. All kidding aside, this place is where you'll find the locals mingling interchangeably in French and English. I solely come here to people watch.
Olimpico is old-school all the way: there's no cash register; order and leave your change at the counter. You can drink at the counter as well. This is not a place for frappucinos or chai lattes. At Olimpico, I order straight-up espresso.
Olimpico is very traditional, but full of character—just like Montreal.