le café throwback
Word of mouth is my favorite way of finding out about a new spot—a personal recommendation beats any guidebook. When said words come from la bouche of Marseille’s oldest, and best, coffee roaster, André Luciani, you know that a fine cup of café is bound to be had. And Monsieur Madame pours it in one of the most delightful settings.
To say Monsieur Madame has vintage decor would be an understatement. From the moment you enter—past old brass doorbells into a room brightened by a sunny La Bonne Étoile film poster--you'll be transported into a treasure trove from the 60s and 70s: Formica tables topped with vinyl record placemats, historic photos of Vieux Port poissoniers, and a sardonic Grosbost charcuterie ad in which a smiling pig slices a saucisson.
The monsieur and madame are owners Jean-Michel and Myriam, who is rocking a 80s sweater, natch, when I meet them. Though the café is chockablock, their great taste makes it more homey than hoarder. I want to whittle away the afternoon curled up on a mid-century modern chair flipping through vintage magazines.
This visual feast has plenty to please the palate. The menu of comfort food includes omelettes, sandwiches, and plats du jour. I relished a filling, seasonal croque-monsieur special in which emmenthal and jambon were replaced by Corsican brousse and figatelli.
Thanks to Jean-Michel and Myriam's previous gigs as patissiers, they pour their pastry knowhow into tasty baked goods. Cookies are the star attraction, including buttery sablés and granola hazelnut slathered in chocolate.
Monsieur Madame is Eden for coffee connoisseurs. Each cup is crafted from Luciani’s high-quality beans and a Faema E61, the ne plus ultra for baristas who are willing to trade the time it takes to maintain an heirloom machine in exchange for exquisite espresso. In addition to the classics, the caffeinated offerings include coffee drinks spiked with Orgeat or lemon zest, plus a phenomenal cold brew—an elusive find in Marseille.
The owners’ love of grain extends to the fermented kind. A roating selection of microbrews are for sale from across the globe, like Spain's Basqueland Brewing Project and Japan's Hitachino. They are available to sip sur place or to go, along with bottles of wine.
Monseiur Madame is open all day, making it apt for a morning coffee, a midweek lunch, an afterschool goûter or apèro. My pictures just capture a bit of the bric a brac--you must go see it for yourself.
fyi Check their Facebook page for special events like DJ’s spinning vinyl or a visit from M. Luciani himself.
tips There’s a small selection of vintage knicknacks for sale – when the owners are willing to part with the objects they so love.
nearby Parc Longchamp, Palais Longchamp, Musée des Beaux Arts, Museum d’Histoire Naturelle, Cane-biere,
hours M-Th 8h-19h | F 8-22h | Sa 10-22h | closed Sunday
39 avenue Maréchal Foch