The city of Montréal always held a romantic intrigue in my mind — I mean, the language spoken in this part of Canada is French, how could I not be curious? The time finally came where I found a great reason to make a visit to this city happen — a very good friend was getting married in Vermont. Vermont is very close to Montréal, so it just made sense to stop there first and indulge in some exciting dining experiences!
Bazar Café in the Little Italy neighborhood of Montréal is the perfect place to grab breakfast or brunch post red-eye travel, or any travel! They serve exceptional almond milk lattes and a perfect assortment of savory and sweet plates such as various benedicts, omelets and of course, crepes.
The eggs benedict with lamb sausage was served beautifully with a side of thick cut fries and salad. The sausage was spicy and paired well with the sturdy biscuit. The serving was huge - perfect to share if you wanted to save room for other feastings during the day.
Nutella Crepes - my very favorite kind - were served with a rainbow of fruit and were just the right amount of sweet. I don’t often seek crepes when I’m home in Los Angeles - but being in French-Canadian Montreal, it seemed like the right thing to do.
You will be delighted by the menu as well as the at-home vibe from the rows of book shelves stocked with the classics.
278, Beaubien East
Montreal, Qc, H2S 1R6
The Nelligan is a beautiful boutique hotel located in the dangerously charming “old town” neighborhood. Little shops, restaurants and cafes shelter the stony streets. Though it is small, you can walk the whole thing in about 25 minutes — it was my favorite part of the city.
Atop this hotel is a restaurant and bar, Terrasse (Terrace). Most people would find comfort in the the menu which includes french fries, mango lobster rolls, steak, burgers, tartare (salmon & bison) and among other things — braised pork poutine with St-Guillaume cheese and scallions. The poutine was a must-try, it’s another classic dish of Montréal!
Accompanied by a watermelon margarita, this poutine was devastatingly good. The warm, meaty fries and gobs of melted cheese went down without any hesitation. The pork was perfectly tender and wrapped each fry with assurance. I’m sure there are tons of amazing poutines found in holes on the streets of this city, but I was not disappointed with this hotel restaurant version.
106 Saint-Paul St W,
Montreal, QC H2Y 1Z3, Canada
Le Vin Pappillon
This restaurant came with a strong recommendation and I could see why. It is incredibly inviting from the moment you peak through the door window. The snuggly rectangular dining room lays across from the open air kitchen. The bar is in the next room over and their is even a small outdoor patio in the back. Your server will explain that there are no printed menus, all items are hand written in chalk on the dining room wall.
You can choose to order for yourself or just have your server surprise you. Everything sounds so good that making a final decision is nearly impossible. I do recommend the most incredible piece of focaccia toast topped with housemade whipped ricotta cheese, anchovies, roasted zucchini and squash blossoms if they have it. This toast had the most incredible taste and texture - it was so good we also ordered some plain to spread butter on.
We also had uni served with a cold cream sauce. It was an beautiful presentation, the chef used the urchin shell as tiny bowls. It was delicate and cool, a wonderful appetizer for the Summer months.
Also delivered were pickled leeks served like anchovies in a can. I couldn’t get over how clever it was to serve a vegetable this way. The leeks were sweet and tangy, definitely a root that doesn’t get enough play on most menus. It was nice to see it make an appearance and they tasted delicious, dripping with fresh oil and vinegar.
This wine bar will leave a special imprint on your visit, I promise!
2519 Notre-Dame St W,
Montreal, QC H3J 1N4, Canada
If you want a memorable and unique Montréal dining experience, I recommend booking a dinner at Candide, which got a glowing review last Summer in the New York Times. Chef John Winter Russell masters this hidden-from-the-street restaurant that was once a part of a church. The menu is pre-fixe, but with two alternate options. If you want to try everything, order everything.
The first course I sampled was a salad served with crispy fish skin and an anchovy dressing, a bit salty for my taste, but good. Next, it was whelks with baby asparagus and yogurt. I admit, I had no idea what a whelk was so I asked…they were sea snails! It was a first, but I’ll try anything! They were easy to chew with an octopus like texture. I preferred them dipped in some of the yogurt.
For the main course, scallops and chicken dumplings were had. The scallops were my favorite. There is something so incredible about eating a truly fresh and pan-seared scallop. The natural flavors are at their peak and that subtle buttery sweetness enchants your tastebuds.
Dessert leaned far to the chefs experimental side. While the cheese stuffed squash blossom and strawberry tart were photo-worthy, they missed the mark for me in taste. Had either of them had a hint of sweetness, I would have bought them as dessert, but both came across incredibly savory, especially the tart served with bitter almond ice cream — which was indeed bitter.
Though the desserts weren’t my favorite — the overall experience, dining on the outdoor porch, was lovely and I think it’s important to discuss a chefs execution of certain dishes whether you love them or not.
551 Rue Saint-Martin
Montréal, QC H3J 2L6, Canada
Trou De Beigne
Montréal is not known for their gourmet doughnuts — but the trend that we have been experiencing here in the states seems to have made it’s way north. This little donut shop specializes in incredibly decadent gourmet donut flavors such as Cherry Almond, Bourbon Lemonade, London Fog and Pineapple with Roasted Coconut. They have about 10 different flavors at a time, but they change seasonally. You can order them as full or mini size, which is great for those who want a big variety but don’t need full size donuts!
The best way to go is to order a half-dozen mini-donuts so you get a good variety of six flavors, as done by my amazing friend and travel companion, Samantha, whose idea it was to make sure we went to this place!
156 Rue Saint-Zotique E
Montréal, QC H2S 1K8, Canada
If you are looking to check off an “instagram” famous dish from your dining list in Montréal, you must get the dulce de leche pancakes served for dessert at Le Bremner. I found them while searching the best foodie feeds and knew I had to have them. They taste just as delicious as they look. Thick fluffy buttermilk pancakes drenched in butter and caramel sauce — that’s all you need to know!
The restaurant is a hot-spot in the old town district, so I do recommend you make a reservation.
361 St Paul St E
Montreal, QC H2Y 1H2, Canada
St. Viateur Bagel and Café
When doing my culinary research, I discovered that Montréal is known for incredible bagels. Fantastic, I love bagels — but just which were the best bagels in the city? Over and over again, St. Viateur Bagels came up. Keep in mind there are several locations throughout various neighborhoods. If you would like the full dining experience visit the St. Viateur Bagel Café in the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal district.
We all order our bagels a certain way — my order is a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese, lox and red onion. It is the most perfect combination of flavors and textures! This was of course what I ordered at St. Viateur and I was well satisfied after devouring it. These bagels were smaller than what we see in the states and though it wasn’t my favorite bagel I’d ever had, it was still very good and something that I feel is a must-do while in the city!
1127 Mont-Royal Ave E
Montreal, QC H2J 1X9, Canada
I hope you take this list with you when you plan your trip to Montréal!