Monday, October 22, 2018

What I loved in Montréal {September 2018}

Oh Montréal. I’d been some time ago but having since travelled a bit more and being the slightest bit older (not necessarily wiser…), my experience of the city was completely different. This time round, I felt better equipped to appreciate the people, food, neighbourhoods, and space, as well as the very amazing Metro system. There were also several festival friends in town at the same time, and eating around the city with them was a real treat.

Here are some thoughts on the spots I made it to (although not included below, I did eat bagels. Don't worry.). You can also find my Google map, that includes all the places I didn't get to, here.


Arthurs (4621 Notre-Dame St W) – We ventured to this all-day breakfast spot our first day in town, and it didn’t disappoint. A nod to Jewish delis, they’ve got scoops of salads, plus latkes, gigantic pickles, and of course various types of eggs. Because breakfast.

Ramados (115 Rue Rachel E) – You have to eat Portuguese chicken in Montréal, and we opted for this one.

Byblos Le Petit Café (499 Laurier Ave E) – A friend recommended this spot and it’s well worth stopping in. The menu is diverse AND they serve Iranian breakfast each day they’re open. The space is gorgeous and low key, so you can spend the morning or have a lazy lunch (as we did).

Au Pied de Cochon (536 Duluth Avenue E) – I'll always fondly remember seeing Martin Picard on Food Network, and I own the Sugar Shack cookbook, so needless to say it was interesting to finally eat here years later. All in, six of us ordered a bunch of different dishes – the stuffed pig’s foot, duck in a can, something else pork-y, a trout pie, tomato tart (my favourite). The stand out for me was the lengthy list of maple desserts. We took a break (because you kinda have to after food like that) and a few of us went back later in the evening for burnt toast ice cream, maple tapioca, and maple tart. While I appreciate the experience here, I'm walking away knowing it was once-in-a-lifetime.

Nouilles de Lan Zhou (1006 Boul Saint-Laurent) – Several of us were intrigued by the hand pulled noodles here, and while they were good, the broth unfortunately disappointed. Still though, sometimes you need noodles, and I’d go again.

Joe Beef (2491 Notre-Dame St E) – After that meal at Au Pied de Cochon, I was a little concerned going into this reservation two days later. BUT I loved the menu (written up on the chalkboard) at Joe Beef. It was seasonal and interesting, with lots of fresh veggies in addition to well thought out meat dishes. Once again we were a table of six, and we shared the rack of lamb, a rabbit terrine, a very delicious fall salad with squash and greens, oysters, plus several other dishes. There were four desserts listed – we ordered them all with no regrets (I particularly enjoyed a sundae that was a very cheeky nod to PSL season). Also worth noting here is the incredible service. We were so well taken care of the moment we walked in the door – lovely.

Foxy (1638 Notre-Dame St W) – This was easily my favourite meal in Montréal. Firstly, I loved how many women were in charge here – running the front end, bar, and kitchen. Secondly, the food and cocktails were delicious, fresh, and interesting. My friend and I shared charred cauliflower (with yogurt and fried shallots and almonds), a stand out salad with homemade feta, delicata squash, hazelnuts and apple butter, and a charcoal grilled sea bass with couscous, yogurt, and tahini.

...Also food, but specifically pizza

Moleskine (3412 Avenue du Parc) – On the main floor of a fancier Italian restaurant, there’s pizza. They’ve got an interesting selection of topping combos (and of course the crust here is airy and lovely), and vanilla soft serve for dessert.

Gema Pizzeria (6827 St Dominique St; Little Italy) – This was probably my favourite of all the pies I ate. Super soft crust, tangy tomato sauce, AND a cute patio to enjoy it from. Possibly of note, they use a high heat oven, but it’s not wood fired.

Café San Gennaro (69 Saint-Zotique Est; Little Italy) – I almost always go for Neapolitan style pizza, so here was an opportunity to change it up with some square, Roman style stuff. The primavera pizza (topped with eggplant) was very good, and I was seriously eyeing up the bomboloni and all the other things in their case. This spot is a wonderful all-day catch all – swing by if you’re in Little Italy.

Café Parvis (433 Mayor Street) – Well I ended up here on three separate occasions and it didn’t disappoint once. Twice for dinner, and once for brunch. Not only are the pizzas thoughtful and delicious, but their salads are tasty, seasonal, and guaranteed to be different than anything you’ll encounter elsewhere. There's also plenty of laptop space, coffee and pastries for the daytime.


Pâtisserie Rhubarbe (1479 Laurier Ave E) – There’s a tidy selection of (gorgeous) cakes and breads here not to be missed. Not to mention their shelf of preserves and other jarred items (I've talked about my obsession with chocolate-hazelnut spread before, and they sell jars of stuff made in Montréal by Allo Simonne. Amazing.).

Hof Kelsten (4524 St. Laurent Blvd) – This bakery offers a combo of Jewish and French pastries, plus lunch and weekend brunch. Their coffee is also very lovel, and they have stools along the window making for perfect people watching. We ate Shakshuka and chocolate Babka.

Au Kouign-Amann (322 Ave. du Mont-Royal Est) – I’ll admit this spot wasn’t high on my list, but we happened to walk by and you could smell the butter from warm rounds of Kouign-Amann out on the street! They offer it by the slice for about $2.25. There are just a couple tables so aim to take your treats to go.

Havre-aux-glaces (Jean Talon Market plus other locations) – This was hands-down the best ice cream I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. We were there in the morning but that didn’t stop four of us from trying pear, chocolate, and raspberry sorbets, plus chocolate, hazelnut, and chai ice creams. Everything was super smooth and full of flavour. Don’t miss it.


Myriade Mile End (251 Rue Saint Viateur O) – This corner coffee shop is made up of windows on two sides for perfect people watching. They have all the milks you could want, plus beet and turmeric lattes for your non-coffee drinking friends.

Café Saint Henri (various locations) – The very best cappuccino I had was at this café’s Quartier Latin location near our Airbnb – super smooth. But we also enjoyed a cappuccino and matcha latte at their Marché Jean Talon location. The spaces are all very different and interesting!

A bit of beer…

Réservoir Brewery (9 Duluth Street East) – Duluth is a fun street to wander down for graffiti and interesting apartments and shops. And then there’s this brewery too once you get to the east end. A tidy collection of well brewed beer. There's also a rooftop patio if the weather is nice.

Brasserie Dieu de Ciel! (29 Laurier Avenue) – We get Dieu de Ciel product here so it was fun to check out their café. It reminded me of an even more casual Sugar Bowl, just in case you need a little Edmonton love whilst you’re there.

Isle de Garde Brasserie (1039 Rue Beaubien E) – Probably my favourite of our beer stops, this brewery had some different Saisons going on (my most well loved style), and the most beautiful, minimalist space.

Broue Pub Brouhaha (5860 Lorimier Ave) – We first tried to hit Mabrasserie, a co-op brewery that included Brouhaha, but unfortunately the taproom didn’t open for a couple hours. The bottle shop staff pointed us in the direction of their own pub, and they had a ton of diverse, interesting brews to keep us busy.

Other things of note

Marché Jean Talon – It’s a treat to walk around this spot and eye up the lovely (very affordable) local produce. When you’re done, Little Italy is a quick jog south for pizza.

Sartorial stuff – If you happen to be in to Canadian design, there’s a ton to check out in Montréal. I’m already a fan of Betina Lou and Atelier B. Each have their own shops, and Betina Lou also carries a selection of other local designers (like Ursa Minor, designed by one of the previous owners of Nokomis here in Edmonton).

Bota, Bota – A couple different friends recommended this floating Nordic spa to me, and it’s truly amazing. Three different areas are full of saunas, hot tubs (and cold baths), and super cool lounge areas so you can spend several hours doing absolutely nothing. Several areas also don't allow talking - amazing! There are also spa services, a restaurant, etc.

Walk, walk, walk – While we took and enjoyed transit, this City is of course lovely to walk too. There are amazing light shows, projections, and art installations all over the place, and plenty of spots to stop and grab coffee or a drink. Beautiful.