A Foodie’s Guide to Montreal

Gastronomy is a subject that is close to my heart, because, you guessed it, I’m from France. I couldn’t live without a decadent meal and a fine glass of wine from time to time. Luckily, Montreal has amazing restaurants that impress even the most renowned food lovers. Here’s a taste of what the city has to offer. Bon appétit!

Out and About

Forget the typical fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Tim Hortons. If you absolutely need to eat on the go, here are three new options worth trying.

L’Arepera – 73 Prince Arthur St. E. (Plateau)
Once on Duluth Avenue, this Venezuelan café recently moved into a bigger space on Prince Arthur St. Even though it’s is not as cozy as it used to be (the restaurant has almost tripled in size), the meals are just as comforting. I would describe the menu as an avocado lover’s dream with a South American twist.

Must-Tries:
Arepas, l’Arepera’s famous corn-based bread
Quesillo de coco, a succulent coconut flan

Caravane Café – 3506 Lacombe Avenue (Côte-des-Neiges)
Located near the Côte-des-Neiges metro station, this café is a popular study spot for L’Université de Montreal and HEC students. I know what you’re thinking, and no, it’s not noisy. Students are there to study. So you can enjoy the café’s lovely decor and delicious treats in peace. You’ll love their selection of fresh sandwiches, salads, desserts and warm beverages.

Must-Tries:
Café latte
Any of their pastries (it’s hard to suggest just one)
La Magnanime, a salmon salad

Le Poké Bar – 2153 Crescent St. (Downtown)
Poké rose to popularity around a year ago and took the Montreal food scene by storm. A fresh dish with raw fish (or tofu for vegetarians and vegans), rice and avocado—name a better combination. Stop at Le Poké Bar after a day of shopping downtown.

Must-Tries:
The build your own poke bowl

Brunch, Please

Start your weekend off right with a delicious brunch! Everyone loves the familiar taste of bacon and eggs, but try spicing up your routine at one of these trendy restaurants.

Engaufrez-vous – 8 Rachel E. (Plateau)
Look no further waffle connoisseurs; this place is your new go-to brunch spot. On Rachel, near St. Laurent St. awaits a waffle house that offers it’s specialty in all shapes and sizes. On the menu: sweet treats, salty dishes, sweet & salty combinations. Engaufrez-vous has a little bit of everything at every price point. Enjoy waffles from Brussels (rectangular, airy & crispy), from Liège (rich & dense with pearl sugar) or stuffed waffles. Your taste buds will thank you later!

Must-Tries: The chocolate waffle with sweet or salty toppings

Le Fixe – 5985 St. Hubert St. (Rosemont)
Just a five-minute walk from the Rosemont and Beaubien metro stations, this quaint café bistro offers a Spanish-style brunch. The seasonal menu features fresh produce prepared by Chef Marta Menes. Wash your meal down with a glass of organic wine from their curated selection.

Must-Tries:
Migas, French toast pieces, potatoes and chorizo
One of their flavoured coffees

Au Festin de Babette – 4085 St. Denis St. (Plateau)
Get an authentic taste of French cuisine! Admire Au Festin de Babette’s retro decor and let the friendly team welcome you with a gourmet menu. For a real treat, try one of their old-fashioned hot chocolates.

Must-Tries:
Le Laurier, honey yogurt, muesli, fruits and mini crepes
Le Drolet, eggs benedict with smoked salmon and scalloped potatoes

Out With Friends

Between your vegetarian friend, your friend who is allergic to fish and your friend who won’t eat broccoli, cooking for a large group can be a hassle. To please everyone’s tastes while spending quality time together, head over to one of these three restaurants.

Le Pamika – 901 Sherbrooke St. (Plateau)
It’s cold! The streets of Montreal are covered in snow and the lake at Park Lafontaine is frozen over. Warm getaways seem so far out of reach, so it isn’t a bad idea to heat things up with an authentic taste of Thailand. Get as close as you can to an exotic vacation without leaving the city at this Thai brewery. There’s a dish for every palate!

Must-Tries:
The Thai Boxer cocktail made with ginger beer

Le Byblos Petit Café – 1499 Laurier Ave. E (Plateau)
With a warm atmosphere, flavours from Iran and small plates to share, Le Byblos is the perfect place to catch up with old friends. Established on Laurier Ave. in 1989, this little café gained popularity because of its creative use of spices. You’ll feel like you’ve travelled to the Middle East.

Must-Tries:
Koukou omelette
Eggplant, three kinds of purées and Iranian tea flavours

La Bottega – 65 St-Zotique St. (Little Italy)
When you’re looking for a restaurant your friends can agree on, just remember you can’t go wrong with pizza. Reserve at La Bottega pizzeria in Little Italy and prepare for an unforgettable meal. When you order, be sure to watch your pizza make its way through the oven.

Must-Tries:
Margherita pizza
Tronchetto pizza with melted cheese and prosciutto
Their famous cannolis

Date Night

A cozy table, glowing candlelight and refined dishes—nothing is too extravagant for you and your other half. Make a reservation at one of these intimate restaurants for a romantic night out.

Le Pintxo  – 330 Mount Royal Ave. (Plateau)
This Spanish restaurant (pronounced pine-tcho) is the perfect place to bring your significant other on a date. The ambiance is upscale yet laid back, with contemporary art on the walls and modern light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. But the decor isn’t the main attraction—the tasting menu is. À la carte: tapas made from fresh ingredients. Enjoy duck, octopus and foie gras, all cooked by Chef Alonso Ortiz.

Must-Tries:
The sangria
Txori-pulpo, chorizo and octopus dish with chickpea purée

Les Enfants Terribles – Place Ville Marie, 44th floor (Downtown)
Wow your date with an exceptional view of Montreal at Les Enfants Terribles. In the glamorous space, take in the dim mood lighting and the delights of the highest restaurant in the city. Sip a glass of champagne while you wait for your table on the terrace (I recommend reserving ahead of time).

Must-Tries:
The grilled octopus
Pudding chômeur
Any of their cocktails

Le Fantôme – 1832 William St. (Griffintown)
As soon as you walk through the doors, you’ll be charmed by the warm candlelit room. If you and your date want a unique culinary experience, Le Fantôme is a great place to start. Each dish is presented in an artful way that highlights the quality ingredients. Choose from a well-curated menu to treat your taste buds to new flavours.

Must-Tries:
Anything from their market-fresh menu
Any of their gourmet desserts

What’s your favorite restaurant in Montreal?

 

Adapted from French by Kylee Ross

 

Written by Pauline Ponchaux

Straight from Northern France, Pauline has great admiration for “baked-just-right-baguettes”, waffles, and sweets at brunch. Films from the '80s and '90s are almost a religion, and she adores reciting memorized lines from her favourite movies at any given time. Since she moved to Quebec – two years ago – Pauline has developed a passionate curiosity for the reoccurring discrepancies between the “current temperature” and the “feels like temperature” advertised on The Weather Network. She also likes: reading in the metro, strumming the strings of her ukulele while dreaming of beaches and sunshine, trips to exotic places, Barcelona and Güell architecture (and let’s not forget sangria of course), cats, Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, and The Beatles.

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