There’s a whiff of uniqueness floating in the cool air of Montreal. Some use the French heritage as justification for its refinement and taste, while others prefer to point at the mosaic of cultures intertwining on a daily basis to explain its unique style. I’m in the latter camp. I see Montreal as a beautiful dish full of flavours, textures, and colours from around the world. Every day, the city offers itself on a plate for anyone who wishes to sample it. Here’s a collection of my favourite bites and feasts, which highlights the variety and richness that Montreal’s culinary scene has to offer.
371 Villeneuve Est Street, Montréal, QC H2J 2L5
This bistro embodies the casual elegance of French fare. From salmon tartare to creamy four-cheese risotto, your taste buds will dance throughout the whole service. A fun aspect of this restaurant (and many others in the city) is that you can bring your own wine. Pick up a bottle or two of your favourite cuvée at the SAQ on Mont-Royal and enjoy the concert of flavours.
5145 Wellington Street, Verdun, Quebec, H4G 1Y2
This Turkish delight in Verdun is starting to make serious waves in the Montréal scene. Chef and owner Fisun Ercan curates produce for the kitchen from her own garden and oversees a menu rich in flavours and true artistry. Look out for a meze-based menu at her new restaurant in the Mile End, Barbounya.
Pikolo Espresso Bar
3418b Av du Parc, Montréal, QC H2X 2H5
This tiny café overflows with charm. The antique decor, squeaky wooden floors, and vintage tables make this kitschy coffee place a people-watching mecca. Enjoy West Coast-style coffee and elaborate latte art in your mug.
191 Jean Talon East, Montréal, QC H2R 1S8
This Syrian bistro is conveniently located across the street from marché Jean Talon, the city’s biggest farmers’ market. They have one of the largest selections of organic wines in the country and will expertly pair a bottle with whatever meal you decide on. Fun fact: the most expensive item on their menu is a lamb poutine for $16.50.
106 Rue McGill, Montréal, QC H2Y 2E5
This restaurant and fine foods boutique is one of my favourite hangouts on weekend mornings. It has the best brunchs in town and is only a short stroll away from the Old Port. Try their Brunch des Cantons, a hearty plate full of Québecois breakfast classics like ham, fèves au lard and potatoes roasted in duck fat.