Olivier Potier brings the goods. It has a pleasant atmosphere, a well-placed location, and innovative, tasty pastries.
What can I get there?
This cafe offers lunch items, coffee drinks, and an impressive array of pastries and breads to take home. The sandwiches are tasty, the coffee drinks are fine, and the breads, while not made in-house, are great. The real reason to go to Olivier Potier, though, is the pastries.
Don't look for your standard opera or millefeuille here. These are French pastries with a modern twist. My favorite is the buisson framboise (raspberry bush): a raspberry macaron topped with extra filling and fresh raspberries. It is a beauty to behold and a treat to eat. The carré doré, a rich combination of chocolate mousse, chocolate covering, caramel, and gold covered peanuts, is also a winner.
All of the pastries are on display in a glass case on the left as you enter the cafe. Be sure to take a look. They are all beautiful, and their exteriors are only the beginning. The interiors hold surprising delights. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Alternatively, don't ask questions and instead enjoy discovering for yourself what these complex creations are all about.
The bright decor and small tables are good for meeting a friend or two for a bite to eat or conversation over coffee and pastries. Larger groups may have difficulty finding seating together, especially during peak times.
Let me preface this by saying that I like the people who work here. In general they are friendly and nice. Unfortunately, however, service is a definite weak point of the business. The problem with the service is consistency. Sometimes it's great. Other times you have the feeling that your order gets passed from one server to another in some kind of game of telephone, or worse the ball just gets dropped altogether. Just be aware that you may need to be fairly assertive to ensure timely and accurate service.
Should I give it a try?
Overall, I enjoy Olivier Potier and appreciate the high quality of what is offered. If you like French pastries, are open to adventures, and can deal with the possibility of flaky service, go and see the beauty for yourself.
Update (Summer 2013): Olivier Potier has been renamed Ô Plaisirs Gourmands. The pastry chef has left the business. Reports I have read, as well as one from a friend who is a regular customer, are that quality may have suffered. However, I have not yet returned myself to verify the information.
1490 Sherbrooke West
Highlights: buisson framboise, carré doré, yummy breads