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Things To Do in Montreal – Eat Like Locals

by Globetrooper Lauren | 20 Responses
Things To Do in Montreal

The last post on Things to do in Montreal was a little lightweight, so we’ve broken it up a bit and put in more effort to serve you up a list of local eats. By asking some of our local friends here about the best places, we ate our way around some of the restaurants that were recommended to us.

Some are a bit touristy but others are not in the slightest. Overall it’s a great list of places to help others on their next galavant into this Parisian-style city (and supposedly one of the best places to eat in North America).

Boulangerie Première Moisson

(corner of Avenue du Mont Royal and Rue Saint-André, Le Plateau)

CroissantOn the main street of the Plateau lies a miniature replica of the food halls in Harrods and David Jones, Boulangerie Première Moisson. On display are handmade chocolates, freshly baked baguettes, specialty meats, and best of all, the pastries and sweet delights. Buy the almond and chocolate croissant, it’s like taking your taste buds to the spa. And conveniently across the road is Second Cup, where I prefer a creamier coffee.

Fairmount Bagels

(74 Avenue Fairmount)

Bagels in Montreal are an art form. And there are two famous bakeries where you can find these distinctive bagels, Fairmount and St Viateur. Try both the poppy and sesame seed with a good helping of Liberty cream cheese. For the sweet-tooths, there’s a cinnamon and raisin bagel that is delish when topped with cream cheese, sliced banana and a lather of honey. Or for the more adventurous, Fairmount themselves recommend a bagel with peanut butter and banana slices! The best (and worst) thing about these two establishments: they’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Olive et Gourmando

(corner of rue Saint-Paul and rue Saint-Pierre, Old Montreal)

Panini"There’s always a line out the door at Olive et Gourmando. It’s a gorgeous little cafe/deli in the Old Montreal quarter (Quartier Vieux-Montréal). The atmosphere is electric and the food always delicious. Last time I visited, I had a hot panini with caramelised onion, fresh goat curd and homemade ketchup. So yum! You’ll need to book in advance if you’re a party more than two, or at least get there before the crowds, which seem ever-present.

Tri Express

(1650 Avenue Laurier Est, Le Plateau)

Sushi chef, Tri Du has a devoted following in Montreal. We are yet to try his creations at Tri Express, but a local friend had some especially good words to say,

My fave sushi place. No liquor license, no snobby decor, just great food. If Tri (the owner) is there, he’ll stop by and see how you’re doing. Super dude. I’ve even asked him to order for me and my friends and he just whips up amazing stuff.

Schwartz’s

(3895 Boulevard Saint Laurent)

Schwartz'sWhere I have yet to see the waiting line less than 10 people deep is Schwartz’s, the original, world famous smoked meat and steakhouse.

Rock legends and movie stars like Celine Dion, Angelina Jolie and the Rolling Stones have all visited the deli for a meat fix.

Vegetarians and vegans be warned, do not expect a meal here, or better yet, avoid it altogether.

La Croissanterie Figaro

(5200 rue Hutchison, Outremont)

If only the Welcome music on their website kept repeating, I’d have it open all day long. This super cute, very French bistro, La Croissanterie Figaro, is open daily from 7am to 1am. We haven’t had the chance to visit just yet, so I’ll leave you to decide with a comment from a local frequenter,

A bottle of wine with a cheese plate on the terrasse on a Saturday night can’t be beat.

Khyber Pass

(corner of Avenue Duluth and rue Berri, Le Plateau)

Khyber PassThis Afghan restaurant piqued my interest as soon as I walked past on my very first day in the neighborhood. Not just because it’s BYO wine, or that I’ve never eaten in an Afghan restaurant before, but it looks and smells like a sauna! And so it quickly went to the top of my list of Things To Do in Montreal. The meals come in hefty proportions (especially if you decide to go all out with the degustation menu) so arrive with your stomach grumbling.

La Buvette Chez Simone

(4869 Avenue du Parc, Mile-End)

Another bar/bistro that’s great for a wine or beer served with a light French meal of charcuterie is La Buvette Chez Simone. The suggestion from our local,

Order a bunch of things tapas style and sample sample sample. Goat cheese walnut salad is off the hook.

Afterwards you can walk off that cheese with a hike up Mont Royal, or dance it up with the renowned Tam Tam hippies if you time your visit on a Sunday.

O’Noir

(1631 rue Sainte-Catherine, Downtown)

O'NoirHave you ever experienced total darkness? The type that visually impaired people must live with? Well, O’Noir can help you out there. It’s an experiential restaurant where you eat in complete darkness. Blind waiters serve you, blind musicians serenade you, and for those two or so hours, you are blind too.

It’s well worth the ~$30 price for such an eye-opening experience (on that note, just relax your eyes, no matter how far you open them, you won’t see – you’ll just end up with eye cramps). Book a few days in advance though, because O’Noir is on everyone’s Things To Do in Montreal list (hot tip: there’s also one in Toronto).

Restaurant Leméac

(corner of Avenue Laurier and Avenue Durocher, Outremont)

The Restaurant Leméac is best known for being the best late night value in town. The token Table d’hôte which includes an appetizer, main dish and coffee, costs only $22 after 22h. If you’re a night owl like me, you’ll appreciate the availability of local dishes like escargots and duck confit late at night. Especially when served on the summer-loved terasse with a glass of wine.

La Banquise

(994 rue Rachel, Le Plateau)

PoutineThe unofficial regional dish of Quebec is poutine. It consists of frites (aka fries or chips), cheese curds and gravy. La Banquise is the quintessential Montreal poutine eatery. It’s in the middle of the Plateau, adjacent to Parc La Fontaine on Rue Rachel. They offer over 20 styles of poutine AND they’re open 24 hours, 7 days a week. That’s right, they’re open all the time. Let’s just hope we can exercise a modicum of moderation like the slim native Montrealers do.

Other favorable mentions are: Pizzeria Napoletana in Little Italy, great wood fired oven thin crust pizza and BYO wine; Jano’s in Le Plateau, tasty affordable Portugese chicken that’s great with the spicy sauce; Burritoville on Rue Bishop, big and cheap Mexican burritos, tacos and quesadillas (my favorite is the burrito with sweet potato); and Au Pied de Cochon is the only place on Avenue Duluth without BYO wine so it’s on the pricey side, famous for being one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite restaurants, I’ve heard mainly rich reviews (not from vegetarians or people with special dietary needs though).

A big thanks to Jeff and Mike for helping out with this extensive list of eateries frequented by locals. Let us know in the comments if you’ve been to any of the ones listed or think we’ve missed out anything très importante.

Posted in Canada | August 25th, 2010

20 Responses to Things To Do in Montreal – Eat Like Locals

  1. Way to make me homesick, Lauren!

    • Haha but you’re only in Ontario. Nothing a short drive can’t fix :)

  2. Wasn’t I telling you guys about half of these places last week at the Crock Rock?

    And you missed Cheskie’s bakery. I’m planning on gorging myself on Jewish baked goods next month when I swing down there.

    • Hey Shawna, was great to meet you at the Travel Tribe. You wouldn’t believe how long it took to get home that night. Apparently Royal York station is near Royal York Rd, but Royal York Rd isn’t necessarily near the station. A nice Pakistani taxi driver stopped to tell us we were nuts (and heading to nowhere). Then he invited us to his house for his wife to cook us food “better than Lahore Tikka”.

      PS Love the writing style on your blog. But don’t love the pics of BBQ pizza when we’re in training and Lauren has made this a pizza-free household. :)

  3. hey guys,

    Great list of things to eat in Montreal! Khyber Pass and La Banquise are definitely on my “next to eat” list when I visit again. Croissanterie and Figaro is fabulous not only for their food (really great breakfast under $12 and tasty pain au chocolat!) but also for their neighbourhood patio scene. Its one of my faves!

    • Thanks Natalie, we’ve yet to go to Figaro, but it sounds delish. Will have to make a stop there before we leave!

  4. great suggestions. i visited earlier this year and LOVED every restaurant where I had the pleasure of eating. wonderful city —> some other restaurants i loved: http://www.tripstyler.com/2010/montreal-je-taime/

    • Oh you visited during the heatwave! We were here then too, and stayed inside snap-freezing a wet towel over and over again… I’m glad that’s over.
      Will have to check out the modern furniture expo if it’s still on.

  5. Great list! You’ve given me some new ideas for my next trip! I have eaten at just Lemeac on this list, and I can add that the weekend brunch is also quite delicious.

    • Was great to meet you the other weekend! We actually ended up at La Banquise after all those beers.

  6. mmmm poutine. So good. I miss it.

    Schwartz’s had a huge line when I passed by it. Seems like it’d be good.
    Oh man. I’ve passed by O’Noir and had no idea that’s what it was. I would have went in.
    Fairmount Bagels is indeed amazing. Not that close at all from the subway but it was worth it.

    • I thought I’d be a bigger fan of poutine actually… I expected the cheese curds to be more flavoursome. O’Noir is fun, maybe not so fun if you get claustrophobic though.
      I’m SO glad that Fairmount bagels aren’t any closer! Makes me get some exercise before a big helping of cream cheese :)

  7. I always eat at Schwartz’s and find somewhere new to eat poutine everytime I visit Montreal. I’ve never been to La Banquise, though, so I’ll have to remember that one for the next visit.

    One place I do recommend for poutine and spruce beer is Paul Patates. It’s an authentic spot, a bit out of the way, but definitely deserves a spot on your list.

    • Hi Tim, thanks for your addition. I haven’t heard of Paul Patates, will look it up next time we have a craving for poutine!

  8. As a Montrealer, I disagree with almost all of these.

    Première Moisson? No way! Maybe in a tight squeeze.

    Better: Mami Clafoutis – 1291 Avenue Van Horne – The BEST baguette in this city (Flour is flown in from France), amazing desserts, pastries and you guessed it, clafoutis.

    Schwartz’s – This is where the tourists eat, not the locals.

    Better – Lester’s – 1057 Bernard Ouest – Jucier, tastier, serves beer, and no line up

    La Croissanterie – Meh. this is a place to sit, not to eat fantastic food.

    Better – Le Paltoquet – 1464 Avenue Van Horne. Mini croissants full of butter and flavour. They are the best croissants you will ever taste.

    Lemeac – Are you SERIOUS??? Overpriced, mediocre food. I putty people who still go here and pay the full price.

    Better – Just about anywhere – Club Chasse et Peche is a nice replacement

    • Ah well, everyone is different!

      Thanks for the other suggestions though, I will have to check out Mami Clafoutis now… can’t waste flour flown in from France?!

  9. No Juliette Et Chocolat? That is my favourite place to eat in Montreal. Also, good for a trip: Confusion.

  10. Nice post.. after dis every one can get what things to do..Really Mouth watering dishes….. Montreal had the best restaurants in the world. All restaurants serves the customers mouth watering dishes always.

    Thanks For Sharing..

  11. Those are fine restaurants, I tired some of them. If you are interested in visiting Armenian restaurant in Montreal, please visit this site
    Armenian Montreal

  12. need a reference in Montreal of Mexican People that will sing to you at your table .
    Please help

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