A Long Weekend in Montreal…

7 Nov

At the end of September, I hopped over to Montreal for a long weekend filled with sleeping in, eating, drinking, site-seeing and taking power naps (more sleeping) in grassy fields. The city seems young and easily walkable and bike-able. And there is no shortage of food spots and coffee shops open late into the night.

Below is my rough guide for some of the places I visited while I was there.

*I am obsessed with starring places that I want to visit on Google maps. It is especially useful for traveling because I can pinpoint where I want to go and what else I want to do in that area. So if you are traveling somewhere new, I suggest you get starring.*

One of the first places I went to in Montreal was Chez Boris, where they specialize in Russian beignets. I tried all three flavors: cinnamon sugar, plain sugar and cocoa sugar. All washed down with a decadent iced matcha tea.

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Around the corner from Chez Boris is St. Viateur, a famous Montreal-style bagel shop in the Mile End neighborhood. Open 24 hours. Yes, the bagel shops are open 24 hours! And if you are in the mood for some babka, visit Cheskie Bakery down the street.

*Want to do a bagel taste test? Visit Fairmount Bagel, too.

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There are some great open markets in Montreal selling fruits, vegetables, maple syrup confections, bread, charcuterie and more. Two of the big names are Marche Jean Talon and Atwater Market. The produce was so pretty.

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While strolling through Montreal’s Chinatown neighborhood, snack on dragon’s beard candy, which is made from spun sugar and contains peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds and rice flour. You have to eat it one bite, there’s no other way.

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For a fun cocktail in a neat speakeasy-style space, check out Big in Japan Bar.

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And right next door to Big in Japan Bar is Patati Patata, which is known for it’s poutine and mini burgers. I went for a late breakfast and loved my tofu scramble, which came with beans, fried potatoes, fruit and toast.

I wish I could get a breakfast like this in New York. Anyone have a suggestion?

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In between meals, I also did some sight seeing. When I was there it was free bike Sunday for Montreal’s bike share program, so I rode to St. Joseph’s Oratory for some beautiful views and fountains.

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Beaver Lake was also lovely…

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The Redpath Museum at McGill University was fun because there was taxidermy. After the museum, I took a nap on a hill and caught some sun rays.

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And it’s not a trip to Montreal without an order of smoked meat from Schwartz’s Deli. I went there twice in the span of 5 days, and I think I’ve had my smoked meat fill for the next year. Medium fat with a pickle on the side.

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Another classic Montreal jaunt is Wilensky’s Light Lunch on Fairmont Ave. This place has been open since 1932 and they serve pressed beef salami and bologna sandwiches with mustard on a roll. They’ll charge you extra if you want it without mustard.

Around the corner from Wilensky’s, Kem Coba is serving up some incredible ice cream and soft serve. And Diu du Ciel!, although I never made it there, is supposed to have great beer.

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Olive et Gourmando is an adorable cafe in Old Town that offers delicious selection of salads, soups, sandwiches and bakery items. I had “The Big Healthy Salad Remixed” which contained mixed greens, seasonal vegetables, cashew and edamame hummus, quinoa, sprouts, lentils, goji berries and cashews with a mango, red curry and coconut milk dressing.

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The cutely decorated cafes were endless in Montreal. Below is Cafe Parvis, which had great breakfast and baked goods. It was such a charming spot for being right in the Downtown neighborhood.

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I had my eyes on eating at Joe Beef, but there was no space available at the restaurant or at Liverpool House next door. Luckily, Le Vin Papillon was down the block, and they had great drinks (pictured below, wine and Joe Beef beer) and snacks.

On another evening, I also got a drink and some dinner at Pub Burgundy Lion across the street.

After watching this Munchies video with the owners and friends of Joe Beef, I learned about some other great food and drink spots like the Italian Nora Gray, which I also never got a chance to eat at. Take note that a lot of restaurants in Montreal are closed on Sundays.

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One of the cooks at Le Vin Papillon told me about his favorite poutine spot, Nouveau Système Beaubien, which turned out to be a super dingy diner, but the poutine was fabulous. The cook recommended this place because they don’t freeze the cheese curds there. I loved having the raw crunch of the veggies mixed in with the purposefully soggy fries and gravy.

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Vices & Versa is a good place for craft beers in an outdoor garden, and it is a short walk from Nouveau Système Beaubien.

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Breakfast was one of my favorite parts of being in Montreal, and I especially enjoyed the breakfast at Lawrence. Their scone with clotted cream was insane. I also got the baked eggs entree which comes with their amazing homemade bread.

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I definitely came back from this trip with a full belly. I hope this “guide” is helpful for any first-time Montreal travelers. And please let me know if there are other spots that I missed…I would love to star them on my map!

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