Dining at Le Doggy Café in Montreal with a Small Dog – Canada
I’m taking a little break from my travel blogs about Europe to write about something a little closer to home. I’m super excited about what I’m going to share.
You’ve heard me say it before—and sadly I will likely say it again—Canada is not very pet friendly. Seriously, it isn’t. There is a lot of this …
Canines are not allowed on public transportation in most of the country. We can’t go into restaurants and are banned from many restaurant patios. We’re also not allowed on most beaches. Canines are not even allowed at many events, even outdoor events such as Ottawa’s Tulip Festival or Winterlude. We’re banned from almost all shops and malls, many hiking trails, and, in Ottawa at least, a number of parks. The “no dogs” list of places and activities goes on and on and on. *sigh* It’s easier to list where we canines can go, and, in my neighbourhood, the list is short.
I am often asked what makes a city or town pet-friendly. Sure, there are different levels—any evaluation is on a scale, right? But if you want a gold star from me, if you want to be smack on the “Heck! Yes!” list of pet-friendly locales, you need to have a place where we can eat a meal together en famille. And I don’t just mean a place that is dependent upon good weather and a restaurant’s willingness to stretch our public health bylaws. Nope. If you want my gold star, give us options for INDOOR pet-friendly dining.
For all you North Americans, try not to fall off your chair. I assure you the idea of pet-friendly restaurants is not as uncommon as you might think. I’ve visited a number of such restaurants on my travels through Europe, just not here.
The first mention we heard of one such option close’ish to home was the Hot Dog Café in Longueil, a suburb of Montreal. Oh, Dear Reader, I love the Hot Dog Café! I want one in Ottawa, too! The Hot Dog Café is a real restaurant with wine and a menu and …, oh, it’s just an awesome place. On our last visit to the café, they even had a behaviorist available to join you at your table to chat about any little issues you may want to work on. For free. Yes, free advice. Nice.
The food is also pretty darned awesome. It was Easter weekend (April 2014) when we last visited and they had a special brunch, the Sugar Bush Breakfast. O M D!
And now … NOW there is another option in Montreal proper! It’s called Le Doggy Café. Le Doggy Café has a different vibe: very relaxed; no fuss, no muss. Almost hippy like.
What might startle you the most—and then delight you the most—is that the dogs roam about Le Doggy Café … gasp … off-leash. I think Mom squealed. I squealed. I mean, OFF-LEASH!
We hung out at Le Doggy Café for two or three hours during the book promo tour in Montreal and had a fantastic time. People who work there are l-o-v-e-l-y!
While there, we were able to meet-up with a long-time fan and, finally, meet face-to-face. Hello Carole! She was so nice, and not just because she bought two copies of our book!
We chatted with a number of people there. There was a lot of fun play; no one got aggressive or too crazy.
There is an area of the café that can be shut off from the rest of the restaurant. If two dogs happen to really be going at it you can corral them in there. They’ll even have access to a toy box. There is also a water fountain in that area. At one point a dog had a big poop in there. It was very quickly cleaned up. Hey, accidents happen. No one freaked out; no one got sick. No one died, people. Just pointing that out.
And don’t worry about your lovely canine getting away. There is a double gate-like door at the front entrance. There are also double doors to the kitchen, so no poochies getting in there!
The café’s food is delicious. It’s well prepared; portions are generous; and presentation is pretty. It’s all vegan, too. We kind of loved that since it takes the whole animal loving thing all the way to the menu.
Le Doggy Café could not be more different than the Hot Dog Café. And that’s what you want, right? You don’t want every spot to be exactly the same. The world would be so boring then! Le Doggy Café is more like your best friend’s living room than a fancy restaurant. It’s cozy. It’s welcoming. No two chairs, plates, mugs, or glasses are the same. It’s eclectic and quirky and all sorts of wonderful.
We are not sure why Le Doggy Café had a straightforward experience complying with bylaws when the Hot Dog Café fought for over two years in order to comply. Is it because the Hot Dog Café serves alcohol? Has an indoor doggy loo, grooming salon, and pet park?. It would be interesting to sort out the differences. Why did one have it so much easier than the other? I don’t know. Maybe the Hot Dog Café had to break the ice first. But now that there are two with-dog restaurants in Montreal, my hope is that this new trend will continue to flourish and grow—sprouting like happy daffodils across the country.
Is there a place near you where you can eat indoors with your canine? If so, share the details in the comments below.
Thank you to photographer Chantal Levesque for allowing us to use her photographs of our visit to Le Doggy Café!