What to Eat in Montreal
Whenever I plan a trip I always scour Pinterest, Instagram, and Yelp to find the best things to eat in that country or city. Luckily I didn’t need to research what to eat in Montreal, one of my closest friends born and raised there gave me a local’s recommendations and they did NOT disappoint.
1. Poutine at la Banquise
Obviously. POUTINE! Every late night in Spain when we ate our post disco Schwarma, Alex and Caroline (my favorite Canadians) never let me forget that poutine would have really hit the spot instead.
French fries, cheese curds, and gravy: that’s all you need. We followed Alex’s recommendation and ate at La Banquise. We ordered a classic no frills poutine and – because I’m a Texan always – I also ordered a Taquise (with tomatoes, guac, and sour cream). The portions were huge but we cleaned both plates. We had poutine a few times in Quebec but this was the best. It’s open 24 hours and accepts cash (there’s an ATM on property).
2. Bagels in Mile End
Before visiting I didn’t know bagels were a thing in Montreal. I always associated bagels with New York, but there’s a bit of a friendly rivalry between the two cities for who has the best bagel. One afternoon we went to St. Viateur Bagel in Mile End and stocked up. We got a half a dozen, some pickled herring, cream cheese, and found a park to enjoy our picnic.
The bagels were so good! So soft and fresh out of their wood fired oven. I always had this idea that bagels were dry (what do I know? I’m Texan, I eat tortillas.), but Montreal definitely converted me (sorry New York).
Alternate: Fairmont Bagel, also in Mile End. We didn’t make it there since we got greedy at St. Viateur.
3. A smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s
Take a lunch break in the Plateau at Schwartz’s and get the Smoked Meat sandwich. It’s simple (all good things are): just the meat, yellow mustard, and rye bread. Get a pickle, fries and a soda and you’re good to go. It’s a lot of meat, if you’re a wuss like me you’ll pick it apart and eat it in pieces or with cutlery. If you’re a better person than I, like my husband, you’ll eat it as the sandwich it is and not actually lose all meat (my bad).
You’ll probably have to wait in line but they keep things moving. We got there for a late lunch close to 2 pm and were able to walk right in and sit at the bar (larger tables had a bit of a wait).
4. Shop at Marche Jean Talon
Grab a meal at one of the restaurants, buy charcuterie at one of the shops bordering the market, or just stroll through the produce section and drool over the enormous baskets of berries. We had already eaten but I did get a maple filled pastry that didn’t survive long enough to be photographed.
I was fascinated by all of the fall vegetables. There were so many that aren’t as common down south, purple carrots? There were varieties of pumpkins I never even knew existed! It was a really cool market and worth a visit. We bought some berries and peaches to have along side our bagels for breakfast the next day.
The list is short and sweet, and it doesn’t even include coffee, or cocktails, or wine! There’s so much to enjoy in Montreal. It’s a very diverse city. We had Indian for lunch one day, and Lebanese take out for dinner that night. We enjoyed a pitcher of sangria in Old Montreal and felt just like we were in Europe. So if you go to Montreal, go hungry!
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