Lux la Lumière: A unique address in the heart of Mile End

As we all know, Mile End is full of treasures. A favourite neighbourhood for Montreal’s foodies, it is home to a number of renowned restaurants, as well as hidden gems, lesser known but just as excellent. Lux la Lumière, opened by Islem Benfraj in March 2021, is one of them. A whole experience lies behind the small glass frontage, and here is the story.

An unconventional journey

The owner (but also chef, sommelier, and decorator), Islem Benfraj, is a musician by training and studied digital arts and 3D animation. With such a pedigree, it is fair to ask what drives him to be a restaurateur today. When asked, he answered: “I am Tunisian and spent 20 years of my life there. Sharing is part of my culture, I have always loved cooking and getting together with family and friends over a good dinner.” He continued on what motivated him to open this establishment: “Mile End is my neighbourhood, it’s part of me. I’ve always been very involved in the community that lives here and visits. With Lux la Lumière, I wanted to create an original place, mixing good food and music, a small revisited bistro and a sanctuary.”

And there was light

In the past, the space was home to La Lumière du Mile-End, a vegan quick service restaurant. Islem wanted to preserve the footprint left by this small establishment by keeping the main segment of the original name.

Without feeling like you’re in a church, the decor of the space takes you back to it in some ways when you pay attention to the details. Magnificent stained-glass windows, statues, and other knick-knacks make for an atmosphere that’s soft, warm and intimate. Why such a choice? “Simply because I love the aesthetics of Catholic religious art and I love to recover objects with a history that nobody wants anymore, to give them a second life.” explains Islem.

Photography by Lux la Lumière; David Badiane

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