This is a guest post by my dear friend Ashley Smith. Ashley is an adventurer, music-lover, photographer, and writer. In November 2014, Ashley moved from her home in Toronto, Canada to spend 13 months in Ireland. While she was there, she made a point to explore a diverse array of European cities that called to her wanderlusting heart; inevitably having great adventures along the way. Ashley is once again based in the GTA and has great plans for the future as an explorer – both as a traveler, and as an authority in her home city. I am honored to share her stories with my readers. Enjoy!
One thing you’ll come to learn as you read more of my posts is that I am a total foodie while I am travelling. I purposely spend extra time choosing great restaurants and always allow for generous food expenses in my budget.. Of course I could save a lot of money eating at the hot dog cart everyday, but where’s the fun in that?
After leaving Montreal, I was very satisfied with my dining choices over the 4 days I spent there; not a single disappointment in the books. I decided to put together a list of some gems I dined at, hoping it’ll provide some inspiration for your own foodie research for when you are planning a trip to the beautiful city of Montreal.
Price range: $
Location: 4320 St. Laurent Blvd
Cuisine: Diner, breakfast
Go here for: Breakfast or brunch
Why you should go: A small, family diner vibe, Bagels Etc serves up quality breakfast at very reasonable prices. Their big breakfast plates offer large portions that come with a handmade bagel on the side. The coffee is great and bottomless (always a plus) and the service is quick as well as friendly. The only disappointing part of my breakfast was the part where it was over, as is true with all great meals. Breakfast being the most important meal of the day and everything, I’d suggest coming here multiple times.
Don’t forget: Cheesecake for dessert. Don’t fight me on this.
Price range: $
Location: 3895 St. Laurent Blvd
Cuisine: Delicatessen, quick bite
Go here for: Lunch, after a long night of drinking, or a hangover fixer-upper
Why you should go: No trip to Montreal is complete without a Montreal smoked meat sandwich, and why not visit the experts? Schwartz’s is Canada’s oldest deli, clocking in at 88 years old. This means their methods are tried and true and your sandwich will be nothing short of mouth-watering-stacked-meat-goodness. Their service is lightning quick so there is no need to be deterred by even their longest of lines. It’s a tourist hot-spot but locals still frequent it loyally. You can also opt for take-out and even swing by just to pick up a couple pounds of their smoked meat to make your own sandwiches at home.
Don’t forget: Get the pickle add-on. It’s huge and worth every penny.
Price range: $$
Location: 913 Beaubien E
Cuisine: Mexican-style, dive bar
Go here for: A fun night out with your friends
Why you should go: If you hate Nintendo and fun things, you can skip over this one. This place has a fun-loving atmosphere that hits you the minute you walk in the door. They have a section of tables with swings for seats, their beer taps are all Nintendo guns (like the ones from Duck Hunt on NES), they have a weird obsession with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and they have a Nintendo corner with a couch where you can play old-school Nintendo games. Their food selection isn’t extensive, but what they do they do well. Varieties of tacos, nachos, burritos, and quesadillas are on the menu as well as a good drink selection. I was especially taken with their nachos: they don’t skimp on their toppings, and they make delicious guacamole–a must-have with nachos, and something I am very critical of. We ordered a second round of nachos because they were just that good.
Don’t forget: Play a couple rounds of Mario Kart and see how much better (or worse) you get after a few pints.
La Belle et La Boeuf
Price range: $$
Location: 1620 St. Catherine W
Cuisine: American style, bar
Go here for: Dinner before a night out
Why you should go: If you’re in the market for a good, hearty burger and a cocktail, then look no further. Their burger selection gets pretty serious: they have a burger that costs almost $50 and will surely kill you, and a burger that you have to sign a waiver before eating because of the spicy scale. This place does not take burgers lightly. Burgers come with a side of fries, coleslaw, and a kool-aid pickle, which was both weird and good. To help you wash down your monstrous burger, they have an extensive drink menu that includes wonderful mason jar cocktails (of which I was a big fan). The atmosphere is very rustic meets retro; they have a penchant for vintage memorabilia and their playlist that night was stacked with classic hits from Billy Joel and Madonna back to classic 50s rock and roll.
Don’t forget: Get a mason jar cocktail (or pots masons) because they are big, beautiful, and 4oz of alcohol. They are also 30% off from 4-7 Monday to Friday!
Price range: $
Location: 9 Rachel E
Cuisine: Diner, quick bite
Go here for: Drunk poutine at 2am
Why you should go: Known for their poutine, La Banquise has been around for just shy of 60 years. They have over 30 types of poutines and don’t skimp a bit on their portions or toppings. Their prices are very reasonable, and they are open 24h so you can get your fix any hour of the day. Not just a poutine place, they have a breakfast menu and serve up burgers, hot dogs, and various other snacks. Their restaurant is bright and colourful and the service is speedy. This is a place I’d be dying to hit after a long night of partying in Montreal so keep it in mind next time you’re in the area.
Don’t forget: Try a poutine other than the classic. Put hot dog slices or coleslaw on that bad boy–go wild!
Bonus: If you like milkshakes year-round like I do, then you won’t find it weird at all that I spent four days trying to find a really good milkshake in the middle of January. If you’re similarly afflicted with loving-milkshakes-itis then I suggest Beauty’s diner. $6.50 and worth every penny. I opted for the cookies & cream, but the choice wasn’t an easy one!
Location: 93 Mont-Royal Ave W
I wasn’t in Montreal long enough to hit all the places I wanted. What gems did I miss? Let me know in the comments so I can hit them up next time!