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Trip to Montreal...so many questions!

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We (my husband and I) are headed for to my first trip to Quebec, and obviously Montreal, for a few days at the beginning of January. For our trip to Ottawa in the summer I planned around recs from the CH board and it went fantastically, so I was hoping for the same sort of feedback for this trip.I have a few questions...

Considerations:
1.We are students, who are willing to splurge for one meal, but then will have to make everything else rather light on the wallet, although credit cards are always available for must-not-miss opportunities
2. My husband is a pesco-vegetarian
3. We do not drink and he cannot consume anything with alcohol...

Where to go for dinner? A special place? A hole in the hole with unbelievable food suggestion?

What are quick grab and go places for lunch?

Where is the best bakery?

What not to miss? What should we miss (that every tourist is tempted by)?

Thanks for the responses, it is greatly appreciated! I will make sure to update on our plans!

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  1. Look for an area up St. Denis called the Plateau. Streets are roughtly St. Denis and Duluth. Here there are dozens of little restaurants. Although you don't drink, there's a guide to Montreal BYO-license restaurants which are nearly always reasonable in price, and generally friendly in attitude. On the expensive end of the Plateau is my favorite fondue place, fonduemental (a pun) - www.fonduemental.com

    What areas are you going to be in, especially staying in? It's a big city.

    You're probably not going to want to check the Smoked Meat threads, but the bagel threads might help.

    1. One of the most unique places I ever experienced was an atmospheric little cafe called Santropol on St Urbain (on the Plateau). These sandwiches are works of art within themselves and are made with thick-cut homemade bread, lots of veggies and are perfect for even the most picky pesco-vegetarian (and of course there's ham for the rest of us). My favorite was the Pepper Island, which had Santropol's homemade jalepeno pepper jelly. Bring cash as they don't take credit cards. www.santropol.com

      1. The quick and easy lunch - downtown, the shopping concourse of the train station, Les Halles de la Gare, has a Premier Moisson bakery counter with excellent pâtés and sandwiches, and bread and pastries, of course. We often stay downtown and stock up there. There are good quick restaurants (and some chains) in there too.

        The Second Cup franchise in Les Halles has good baked goods, much better than Ottawa/Toronto Second Cup. The coffee is competent.

        1. santropol is over-rated in my opinion

          you should check out casa del popolo on st laurent and st joseph for vegetarian sandwiches that are only $5 and amazing.

          1 Reply
          1. re: celfie

            Celfie,
            I agree with you that Santropol is over-rated. I also found it to be rude. They talk about their customers (not realizing that some actually understand French) and they made us wait 25 minutes for a table. The place was not busy and there were two free tables when we arrived... one of which we were ultimately given. The decore is very cute though and they do seem to be creative with their sandwiches.
            Anyway, I am writing because Casa del Popolo was an unexpected gem that we stumbled upon during my last visit, so based on your post I would love any suggestions from you on a place to grab a delicious yet casual dinner for 10 and a favorite breakfast joint. A large group of us is heading there for a long weekend in a few weeks.
            Any suggestions would be great!

          2. You have to have to have to have to go to Olive et Gourmando located in Old Montreal. www.oliveetgourmando.com
            It's a café, eatery, bakery, take-out place, etc. O&G breads like the fig bread and the chocolate bread are beautiful. And you can't leave the place without a valhrona chocolate brioche.
            Prices are reasonable, and its a good place to get a quick lunch including panini, salads, etc.