With a name that loosely translates to “the Queen’s coffee,” it only makes sense for Café la Reine’s assortment of sweet treats, flaky pastries, and drinks to be tasty enough for a queen.
Café la Reine has the Whyte Avenue address without the hassle of being amidst the hustle and bustle of the main avenue. Located near the French Quarter, the café has an abundance of free parking in front of the store making it easy to access.
Before you enter the door, you’re greeted by a narrow yet spacious sidewalk patio that’s lined with an iron fence. There’s also a generous bowl of water for your pets (even cats!) who are welcome to join in on the patio fun. The interior of the cafe is an aesthetic dream with a neutral colour palette, dramatic black accents and pops of green plants. The vibe is warm and welcoming, and so is the freshly brewed coffee.
For a weeknight evening, I expected the café to be quiet, but an after-dinner rush suggests that it’s a neighbourhood hotspot. After dining in, it’s no wonder why.
Café la Reine’s drink menu boasts numerous caffeine and non-coffee options. Keeping it simple, I went with a vanilla latte which was delightfully creamy, frothy and topped with Instagrammable latte art.
There’s a sandwich and salad menu which is great if you’ve built up an appetite, however, the kitchen is only open until 4 p.m. If you’re lucky like I was, there will be a few leftover pre-made sandwiches waiting to be heated up and served. The caprese sandwich, made with a fresh baguette, comes stuffed with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, homemade pesto, mayo, tomatoes and arugula. Be prepared to make a mess as the ingredients, though tasty, are ready to fall out before you take your first bite.
The array of pastries and desserts are tempting if you’re in the mood for dessert. The macarons are light and airy, and the hazelnut chocolate macaron is a must-try for every chocolate lover. The decadent chocolate exterior melts with the hazelnut filling, creating an explosion of sweetness. Once you have one, you’ll only want to try more.
The croissants are a heartier snack, especially the almond croissant which is decorated with sliced almonds. The flakiness and crispy exterior of the croissant are evidence that it was baked to perfection. Inside you’ll taste an almond spread, which was unexpected but not unwelcome. It’s extremely filling, so explore all your options before making your selection, though there is no wrong choice.