I love our almost yearly trips to Montreal to visit family. That old cliche The Most Beautiful City in North America rings true. Montreal has a certain historic charm crossed with a old French city vibe that both reminds me of Boston meets a small French city meet San Francisco (if it got really cold, that is.) The old Port is old world, then Westmount reminds me of a bit of Boston’s Back Bay, while the streets of Plateau Mount Royal and The Mile End are a mix of hip art, food, and students.
I love too that city always seems to have some kind of festival happening no matter the time of year. We’ve visited in the summer, fall, and even Winter (bring your long underwear, though!) yet there is always something on view like the international fireworks show and jazz fest.
It’s funny when you visit a city often for family though, because you’re not exactly being a tourist the way you would on another kind of trip. But through these occassions I’ve come to know how bike-able and walkable Montreal is no matter our itineraries. I’m familiar more and more with the joys of climbing Mount Royal, the public markets, the amazing street art, strolling alongside St. Lawrence, navigating the underground to fight the cold, as well as the glorious Expo 67 architecture.
This year I decided to add to our trip with a guided food tour day, majorly helped by a pair of in-the-know hip Montrealers. Cousins are great! We decided to primarily focus on the Plateau and Mile End as they’re both full of hip food destinations and very easily walked in a long day of eating and drinking.
Highlights from our food crawl for me were definitely buttery slices of Kouign Amann, fatty delicious smoked meat, and lounging at a local gastropub for beer.
Of course, there is a lot more to eat and see in Montreal than this little jaunt so take it as a starting point for your food crawl and not an exhaustive list. Next time I’d love to venture farther out east as well as explore more of the markets.
Montreal Food Crawl
in no patricular order
Atwater Market: This one is nearer to Westmount as well as the canal, but a classic open market. It’s great for cheese, maple, butchers, and basically everything fresh to eat.
Kem Coba: Interesting flavored ice cream shop just made for instagram but still worth it. I recommend my cherry almond swirl soft serve.
Dieu du Ciel: This is a great Montreal brewpub! They have a terrace, too. I loved the hibiscus infused draft I tried.
Saint Viateur Bagels: Hand-rolled Montreal bagels! Take them to go to just eat freshly baked, dipping into cream cheese tubs.
Cafe Myriade: A great latte is always needed on a food crawl itinerary.
Cheskies: Decadent Jewish chocolate Babka. I could eat this forever.
Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann: An ethereal buttery cake from Brittany.
Hof Kelstens: A hip Jewish boulangerie with great coffee and treats.
Shwartz’s: Smoked meat! This is like what Katz’s is to New York City.
p.s. Well okay I didn’t include this intially but yes, we ate Poutine at Cafe Claudette. I couldn’t help myself. While we tried many versions, I loved the classic. What can I say I love all french fries.