This blog post was updated on May 5, 2020.
Mix the appetite of a lumberjack with the sophisticated palate of a French chef and you’ll have a pretty good approximation of what goes into making Montreal one of the yummiest cities in North America. From traditions set when it was fledgling French colony to its contemporary cosmopolitan cravings, this town serves north woods nosh to keep even the pickiest eaters happy.
Many Canadiens will tell you that Montreal is home to the best poutine on the planet. The official dish of Canada, this messy assemblage of fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy is about as comforting as comfort food gets and was first created somewhere in the Montreal province of Quebec. Best spots in town to have at this hearty dish? Keep Resto La Banquise, Frite Alors, and Pierrette Patates in mind. And if you’re really hungry and hankering for something extra special, go for the foie gras poutine at Au Pied de Cochon.
Those unfamiliar with Montréalais morsels might not realize that the city is beloved for its beautifully baked bagels. Unlike its chewier counterparts in New York, Montreal-style bagels are smaller, denser, and sweeter. Must-eat bagels can be devoured at St-Viateur and Fairmont. You can argue among yourselves as to which of these establishments bakes the superior and more authentic bagel; just please agree that it’s gotta be covered in sesame seeds!
Did you know that Quebec is the world’s biggest producer of maple syrup? So, as the biggest city in Quebec, Montreal is an especially sweet place to have a taste. Love pancakes drenched in maple syrup? Restaurant L’Avenue is one breakfast and brunch spot popular with locals. For an OTT maple bacon donut, go to Trou de Beigne or Leche Desserts. Another marvelously maple way to indulge is with a sugar shack meal. Options for this late winter/early spring treat include Montreal Botanical Garden and Le Richmond’s Brunch a l’Erable.
Much more than just an orange-flavored milkshake, Montreal’s orange juleps are ultra creamy, super yummy, and so, so refreshing. The best place for them is old school drive-in Gibeau Orange Julep. Look for the giant orange sphere. Gibeau’s burgers and poutines are a big hit with foodies as well – particularly when washed down with a julep.
A steamé (or steamy) is a Montreal hot dog: steamed and perfected with plenty of mustard, relish, onions, and sauerkraut (if you want to do your dogs like most local folks do). Decarie Hot Dog is a top contender for the hottest dogs, but you’ll find tasty versions all across town
Kind of like an English cottage pie or shepherd’s pie, there’s nothing actually Chinese about pâté Chinois except that it was first made by Chinese cooks for Canadian railway workers – or at least that’s the most plausible story going at the moment. Etymology considerations aside, this casserole is made with ground beef and canned corn and topped with mashed potatoes. An ideal setting to have a taste of pâté Chinois (not to mention all sort of Quebecois classics) is Mache.
What’d we leave out and what’s your favorite nosh in Montreal? We would love to hear from you in our comments section.