Meals and Diner Tour of Montreal: Outdated College Versus New College | Montreal trip
Although my husband Jeremy and I met through friends in New York 13 years ago, it may be our mutual love for Montreal that first brought us together. After all, Jeremy was born and raised there, and I went to McGill University as a student since I grew up in Toronto.
But it’s not just Canadian nostalgia that keeps us coming back again and again. It is the energy of the city, the quasi-euro sensitivity and the independent rhythm that we find so tempting. (So many other big metropolises all seem to merge into one.) Oh, and Montreal has an incredible amount of good food.
We have compiled a list of some of our favorite places to try and explore. And since Montreal is a city full of vibrant contrasts – French / English, classic / modern, dark / glamorous – we have selected options that embody both its traditional old school feel and the avant-garde. Chacun à son gût!
Eat the legend: scrambled eggs with salami and onions, triple-decker sandwiches, Beautys special with Montreal bagel and salmon, the best banana bread.
The smoking dog
French-Canadians meet Southern Gastropub with a hearty breakfast with eggs and pulled pork, crispy pain perdu and creamy crab cakes.
A relic that still makes the best and easiest sandwiches in town: beef bologna, salami, cheese and mustard on a toasted bun with a side of kernel (kosher dried beef sticks, also known as the Jewish Quebec’s answer to hot pepper sticks) . No substitutions or tips allowed.
Fat, delicious beef tongue with lima beans and goat cheese, trout salad and juicy burgers, all served in a super relaxed hipster corner in the Mile End district.
The new palace
A barely remodeled old diner with simple, impeccably prepared food, like a perfect egg salad sandwich, a careful matzoh ball soup, and the Canadian lumberjack sandwich (bacon, egg, and cheese between two maple-soaked pancakes).
An old country cafe bar that serves serious espresso, with high tables and the splash of football on TV, in a hidden corner of Rue St Viateur.
The new guard found a home on Rue Mackay near Concordia University. Award-winning baristas don’t take their brew lightly here: each cup is made with absolute care and precision.
Jean Talon Market
Jean Talon Market
A culinary extravaganza for indoors and outdoors that dwarfs most urban markets. Here you will find the freshest Canadian premiums of the season – cheese, meat, condiments and spreads of all kinds – all fresh from the farm. Not to mention a one-of-a-kind shop that specializes in Quebec’s finest maple butter, sugar, wine, microbreweries, foie gras and confit de canard.
The dining room
We could get poetic about Au Pied de Cochon or Joe Beef (as so many people already have), both of which have positioned themselves at the epicenter of the French-Canadian gastro universe. They deserve all of the recognition they get. But there’s so much more to the city’s culinary landscape – and we’re not even scratching the surface of the ethnic options available (that’s another itinerary). Here are a few others who should share their fame:
Hunting and fishing club
A luxurious, cave-like place on a quiet street in Old Montreal with a refined hunting and fishing lodge menu that’s always filling and satisfying, from snow crabs to sweetbreads to impeccably fresh char from the icy waters of Gaspé Bay.
The new brother of Le Club Chasse et Pêche in the Plateau district is more seafood-focused, with a long list of trembling crudo (raw seafood), oysters, tartars and an impressive selection of fresh fish and other carefully prepared amphibians.
The dining room
Modern bistro in Québécois with a constantly changing table menu with hearty staple foods with a modern touch, such as crispy fried frog legs with chipotle mayo, fried bone marrow with asparagus and a warm porcini mushroom salad with poached egg, hazelnuts, onion puree, Grana Padano and Swiss chard. A glass-enclosed meat cabinet reveals their homemade sausages and dry-ripened meats, and a massive farmer’s tub in the rear holds their ice-cold selection of raw seafood.
Le Bilboquet Handmade ice cream
The very best Tire d’érable (maple sugar) ice cream, without bars; creamy and rich maple syrup base with maple sugar splinters scattered all over the place.
Beautiful Viennoiseries and pastry shops, as intended by the French, since 1957.
Duke of Lorraine
A refuge for traditional cakes, pies and mille-feuilles, where you can sip café au lait all day long.
From flour and fresh water
A beautiful, tiny new bakery dedicated to miniature pastry making including fabulous cupcakes, cookies, and deliciously whipped frappé coffee.
Cocoa locale (4807 Avenue du Parc, +1 514 271 7162)
An unusual little place where a talented woman bakes a limited selection of very special pastries that change daily depending on your mood, from chocolate chai layer cakes to vanilla and plum tartlets to fudgy brownies with a hint of cayenne pepper. Call ahead to make sure it’s open as it sells out quickly. (Not an official website, but the Unique Boutiques blog has plenty of information.)
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