I recently visited Montreal and guys - Montreal is a rad city. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of going there, of walking and exploring its gorgeous streets, and eating all of the amazing food that it has to offer. Here are a few of the places I went to eat, drink and play.
RESTAURANTS & CAFES
Is it a diner? Is it a bistro? It’s kind of the perfect balance of both. Foiegwa has a casual and cozy atmosphere with food that has obviously been made with a lot of thought and care. It's eclectic but the familiar soundtrack sets the perfect vibe, and the friendly wait staff are down to join you for a shot or two.
Chicken liver pate with hazelnut and pistachio on a prune brioche | Homemade butter & truffle spaghetti with 64°egg | Brownie with coffee mascarpone cream
La Boite aux Huitres
Wander and eat your way through the famous Marche Jean Talon, but don’t leave without sitting at the counter for some freshly shucked oysters at La Boite aux Huitres.
One of Montreal’s most coveted restaurants - we learned the hard way that you MUST call ahead to make a reservation. However, the staff pointed us in the direction of their sister restaurants: Vin Papillon and Liverpool House - and they’re all just a few doors down from each other.
Split into two rooms - a lounge/parlor type room and an adjoining apothecary-esque wine bar that leads out to a terrace. Vin Papillon is the perfect spot for a pre dinner drink and snack, or for a nightcap.
This restaurant feels like you’ve walked into someone’s lake house, and the menu reflects that vibe too with hearty, homey classics. Fun fact! This is where Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau recently sat down for a bromantic dinner of oysters, halibut with morel mushrooms, and lobster spaghetti - I can vouch for the lobster spaghetti.
It’s like stepping into a Parisian bistro in the ‘80s. Literally. Nothing about the restaurant, from the decor, the menu and even some of the waiters, has changed since it opened in 1980. There’s no music - just the sound of shuffling China and blurred conversations - and phones are frowned upon. There’s something really charming, noble and unapologetically backward about L’Express. I highly recommend it.
Fish soup | Quail with wild rice | Hanger steak with shallot butter and fries
This iconic Montreal spot has been serving up smoked meat sandwiches for over 80 years. It's basically the Katz's Deli of Montreal. Don't skip the poutine topped with a pile of their famous smoked meat!
Originally a sports bar, but they make the best d*mn coffee in Montreal. There’s one in Mile End and one in Old Montreal. I recommend the Mile End location for its sweet little courtyard.
St Viateur in Mile End
If you want to do the whole Montreal bagel thing, this is the place to do it.
A laid back Portuguese-inspired bar in Mile End. Nothing crazy here, but it’s a great spot for drinks - the patio is perfect for warm nights and a bite to eat.
Atwater Cocktail Club
A bar in the alleyway right next to Foiegwa, Atwater Cocktail Club does mean cocktails in a kitsch-but-cool setting - pink leather banquettes and all.
Venice, a Californian restaurant in Old Montreal, has its takeaway shop next door to the main restaurant. Inside another little door in that takeaway shop is Boho - a dope tiki themed speakeasy. Its cough syrup-pink floors, palm tree wallpaper, and turquoise couches will transport you straight to Venice Beach in the ‘90s.
This place is an Asian fusion restaurant, but when the dinner crowd clears, it turns into a club that plays hip hop and R&B into the early hours of the morning.
THINGS TO DO
Nostalgic for your college days? Drum circles, boozy picnics, young love in the air - it’s all here on Sundays. Grab a picnic blanket, buy some cheese, bread, cold cuts and wine, and enjoy.
This floating spa with panoramic views of Montreal is a gem. Spread over five stories, enjoy moving through saunas, steam rooms, and outdoor pools, as well as rest rooms with hanging nests and special napping areas. You can also book spa treatments like massages, facials, and mani-pedis. Bring your SO, or your BFF, or go solo and treat yo’self.
Stroll through Old Montreal
Old Montreal is so gorgeous, and the best way to see it is on foot. Stroll through its cobblestone streets lined with stunning French buildings, stop frequently for snacks, check out the beautiful Notre Dame Basilica, and don’t skip the galleries. Galerie LeRoyer was a personal favorite.
Photography by: Asim Overstands (shot with iPhone)