People travel for many reasons. Some travel to visit friends or family, some to see interesting sites or do new activities, and others travel to eat or all of the above. Thankfully, Montreal is all of the above for us. We have visited the city twice now, and I can’t believe we haven’t visited even more often. Check out our favorite picks for every meal of the day!
Now let’s get to the food!
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, than the best approach is to go someplace where they have been doing it for a while. How does 76 years sound? Beauty’s is to Montreal what a place like Katz’s Deli is to NYC. It is an iconic breakfast spot that often has a line wrapped around the corner, but don’t be discouraged because the tables turn over pretty quickly. This is a no frills experience that will give you a taste of some of the best Montreal style bagels and a homemade meal.
Let’s face it, we don’t all wake up early. If you are looking for more of a Brunch vs a breakfast, then we recommend Universel Dejeuners et Grillades. This is a lively scene filled with college students, young professionals and families. The meals are large and coffee comes in a glass. The restaurant itself is chic with white tables and chairs and a lovely outdoor patio, perfect for nice weather days.
So you’re probably wondering, well what if I just want something more local, more chill. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. One of our favorite things to do while traveling is to check out local markets. If you are looking for the ultimate foodie experience than Jean-Talon Market in the middle of Little Italy, is the place to go. You can sample fresh fruits, check out the restaurants lining the market or local vendors selling baked goods, spices, global foods, and crafts.
While there, we visited a restaurant located inside the market called La Stellina. Don’t be fooled by the Italian name, this restaurant is very much Montreal with a healthy dose of North African inspiration in its decor. This was by far the best breakfast food presentation we had in Montreal and the food was delicious as well. They also make fresh juices, which are worth a try and fairly priced, especially since you are in the market.
It is easy to lose track of time when you are exploring a new city. Many restaurants in Montreal close around 2-3 to prep for dinner. We missed trying several restaurants because of this, so don’t be like us, and plan ahead. Here are some of the restaurants that were local haunts or that we actually made it to before they closed for dinner.
Now for the food. FIRST UP IS…
You can smell the chicken here before you even get to the restaurant. Known for its portuguese style rotisserie chicken and Pastels, this is a must go. It is definitely a neighborhood spot and often has long lines, but also very quick service.. There is limited seating, so if you are with a group we recommend having someone nab a spot while you are waiting in line or walking over to the nearby park that has picnic tables if the weather is nice.
If you are in the mood for something else, what about Mexican?
Located at the edge of Chinatown is La Capital Tacos, a chill space with street seating, serving up Mexican style street-food at reasonable prices.
Where would a Montreal food guide be without Poutine? If NYC has the $1 slice, then Poutine is the perfect everything food for the Quebecois. It cures almost any ailment from a broken heart to a hangover.
We chose to visit La Banquise, a 24-hr diner with over 30 different types of Poutine.
Le Cartet is another chic brunch spot in downtown Montreal. It calls itself a bistro, which it is, but for us it also had a healthy dose of hipster delights. Beware, the wait here can be long if you don’t plan ahead. We enjoyed the coffee and tea selection the most. They make creative coffee combinations that are worth a try including an orange chocolate coffee that I could have with coconut milk. Our group enjoyed the french bread, but we would definitely recommend it as an item to share or suggest avoiding it if you don’t like uber sweet treats.
If all else fails, meaning you miss lunch hours, pop over to Chinatown. There you can get Chinese food and pastries as well as Korean and Japanese food.
Other lunch options:
We also enjoyed some Shabu Shabu in Chinatown, which is described as Japanese fondue with meats in Montreal, but this to not really anything like fondue. You get either individual or group pots of steaming broth that you then add vegetables and/or meat to. You cook the food to your desired levels and enjoy.
If you are visiting Montreal in the winter, you will ineveitably crave a warm home-cooked meal. Bistro Japonais Furosato was the perfect option for us. They serve both sushi and family-style hot food. We recommend the hot classic dishes that reminded us when we visit restaurants in the countryside of Japan. This is perfect for groups and family as well.
If you are willing to branch out a bit, check out the Rosemont neighborhood and grab dinner at Hoogan et Beaufort. Truthfully we are suckers for restaurants with open kitchens where you can smell the food on the grill before you even sit down. Our mouth’s were watering before we ordered anything. Our favorites were the grilled octopus, orecchiette w/ lamb bacon and the fish entree!