Montreal Eats: More Than Just Poutine (but Also a Lot of Poutine)

During our trip to Montreal, my family joked that we were basically just spending each day filling time between meals. And while that’s not entirely accurate, it is fair to say that food was a focus of our stay in the city. In addition to eating our way through the Mile End and ogling fresh produce at the Marche Jean-Talon, there were more than a few other gastronomic highlights.

When it came to Montreal’s cuisine scene, the only thing I really knew about going into this trip was poutine, the famous fries, gravy, and cheese curd dish, so it seems only appropriate to start there. Upon arrival, we dropped off our bags and headed straight to La Banquise for poutine because, you know, priorities.

At La Banquise, you can keep it simple and order la classique, or you can try poutine topped with…pretty much anything. I opted for chicken with mine and it was delicious – albeit rich, food coma-inducing, and something I probably would not want to eat with any regularity. Still, when in Montreal…

La Banquise

La Banquise2

On our first evening in town, we enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Boris Bistro. I had a summery sangria to start, followed by a sinfully rich but oh-so-tasty duck risotto with oyster mushrooms, sage, and orange cream sauce for my main. This tasted incredible but, in the manner of all risotto, was eminently un-photographable.

Boris Bistro2

Boris Bistro3

For dessert, I ended with a chocolate cake drenched in caramel sauce. This is how all dinners should end:

Boris Bistro

One memorable meal was at a creperie right in the heart of Montreal’s Old Town, Crêperie Chez Suzette. Though it is situated right on the main – and thus, touristy – drag in Old Town, Chez Suzette served up tastier crepes than I would have credited them for. They also have an incredible variety – both savory and sweet – to choose from. The perfect stop for a mid-sightseeing snack.

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If you’re in search of a good finer dining meal in Montreal, I quite enjoyed our dinner at Restaurant Verses. While the food itself was good, I also adored the presentation – all the dishes were artfully arranged, even moreso than my lowlit photographs would lead you to believe:

Verses

Verses2

Verses3

For a lovely Sunday brunch, we headed to Bieres et Compagnie in search of their all-you-can-eat mussels. Something I didn’t expect to have: a gigantic, bright pink beer. Excellent:

Bieres et Compagnie2

As has probably become clear for anyone who has followed along for a while, I love a good high tea – and was excited to see what Montreal could offer up on that front. We headed to the Fairmont one afternoon, and while the tea and treats themselves were great, the service and atmosphere left much to be desired – we were seated next to a gigantic and loud bridal shower, ruining the elegant tea experience we had hoped for. When we asked if it was possible to move, the server basically ignored our request and promptly disappeared. Fortnum & Mason this was not.

Fairmont High Tea2

Fairmont High Tea3

Fairmont High Tea4

From the refined nature of a high tea to something the absolute opposite: a deli meat extravaganza at Schwartz’s. We arrived early for lunch, anticipating that it would become crowded (it would) and not wanting to miss out. The heaping smoked meat sandwich was worth an early lunch time.

Schwartz's3

Schwartz's2

Nothing says French Canadian charm like…Spanish tapas. While nothing about our meal at Tapas 24 was particularly Canadian or unique to Montreal, it did provide tasty food in a large, modern space.

Tapas24

Tapas24-3

Tapas24-2

Tapas24-4

We ate breakfast at our hotel most days, but on our last day in town, we ventured out to Olive & Gourmando – and I’m glad we did. The place was packed, and for good reason – it was delicious. It also happens to be home to an excellently named breakfast sandwich: the “poached egg on your face” panini. Made with spicy poached eggs, Comté cheese, speck, and tomatoes, this was amazing (albeit, as the menu description warned it would be, a little spicy for my tastes):

Olive&Gourmando

Olive&Gourmando2

Olive&Gourmando3

We finished our Montreal food odyssey at Brit & Chips. Lest you think this was a very un-Canadian place to finish our trip, I should mention that I chose the maple syrup battered haddock for my meal. While it was a bit strange to taste maple syrup in my fish, it seemed a fitting end to our trip.

Brit & Chips

Looking back on these photographs makes me pretty nostalgic for our time in Montreal (and not to mention damn hungry). I cannot wait to return one day and experience even more of the city’s food scene. Bon appétit!


4 thoughts on “Montreal Eats: More Than Just Poutine (but Also a Lot of Poutine)

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