St. Viateur’s Bagels (Plateau Mont-Royal). There is a sort of friendly (?) rivalry between two of Montreal’s bagelries: the Fairmont and St. Viateur’s. A true food scientist would have done a more thorough comparison between the two, but after yelping, we opted for the latter only. Good decision and, while not a huge bagel connoisseur, I found that I liked Canada’s version of the bagel better than ours: smaller, sweeter, chewier. New Yorkers, feel free to hate a little (but just a little).
Oh, just an FYI, a cafe viennois (pictured above), is a cafe au lait with whipped cream. You’ll want that, along with a sesame, toasted. St. Viateur’s is a charming little cafe, and you may be as lucky as we were and find some friendly breakfast companions to help pass the time.
Eggspectation (all over). It’s totally a chain. We totally ate here two days in a row. It was an upbeat place and delicious. I mean, who doesn’t love a good chain restaurant? Or a good lobster benny?
Le Cartet (Old Montreal).
Olive et Gourmando (Old Montreal).
Le Cafe Souvenir (Plateau).
Cheskie’s Bakery (Plateau)
For a quick lunch…
Boustan (all over). A fast-food Lebanese joint in the university district that I’d read was the best in Canada. Light bite, it was not, but OMG it was so good. It rivaled my favorite Lebanese restaurant as the best ever and while I tried to contain myself, I shoved all of this shwarma plate in my face.
Lester’s Deli (Outremont). Again, with the rivalries, Lester’s counter is Schwartz’s deli. Perhaps while not as famous, one local blogger preferred it, so we stuck with the reviews and were not disappointed. We even got to meet Mr. Lester, and were charmed by both him and his poutine. Avoid the lines and head here.
Marché Jean-Talon (Little Italy). You KNOW how much I love markets, and you know how much I love to look at all the aisles and rows of pretty food and flowers, despite never having the luggage space or a nearby kitchen to take full advantage. In any case, it’s Montreal’s version of The Borough, or Pike’s Place or Granville Island.
If you’re into something casual but classy…
If you’re feeling fancy…
Maison Boulud (Downtown): This is housed at the Ritz, so wear your pearls!
Les Duex Singes de Montarvie: Highly recommend; they only serve a tasting menu with either a veg or non-veg option. Delicious from start to finish and if I can get my act together, the inspiration for my vacation recreation.
La Chronique (Plateau Mont-Royal).
If you just want a drink (with or without light bites)…
Big in Japan Bar, It’s easy to walk right by its unmarked, nondescript grey door. There is a small card on the door. That is the only identifier. Despite this, the place is packed to the hilt on any given night with people sipping on old-fashioned cocktails, ultimately making it Montreal’s best worst-kept secret.
Diese Onze, for some sweet jazz.
For something sweet…
Juliette et Chocolate (all over).
Looking through this list of recommendations (and another one I have on things to see), it’s pretty clear that I really need to go back to Montréal to eat a lot more and see a lot more. No arm twisting there, since it was lovely, even in my limited time there. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it really is amazing how much it felt like France without being France. Perhaps next time though…summer.
Coming up next, Québec City!
Written while in the Lab. The Coffee Lab.
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