HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >


Quintessential Montreal?

Coming from Manhattan if someone asked me where they MUST go for a great but inexpensive meal that reflects the pulse of the city I'd suggest Katz's Deli, Lombardi's Pizza, Grimaldi's Pizza (in Brooklyn) or one of Keith McNally's places (most likely Schillers b/c it's the least expensive option of all of his). Are there any places like that in Montreal that reflect the true spirit of the city without breaking the bank and are also pretty fun?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Definitely Schwartz's (www.schwartzsdeli.com) for smoked meat; it's inexpensive & it's the best place in the city for Montréal smoked meat sandwiches. There are usually line-ups out the door, but it moves quick, & if you're ok with sitting at the counter, you get a seat pretty fast.

    1 Reply
    1. re: oread

      Have a coffee or drink at a terrasse on St-Denis. Go there by bicycle (you can rent bicycles at several places on the Plateau).

    2. Ice cream and sorbet at Le Bilboquet (The original location) On Bernard on any warm summer nights.

      Pizza (ok, not the best one in town) eaten on the steps of Euro-Deli on St-Laurent.

      but beware, St-Laurent is all in repair, so it might not be the best time to walk the street between Sherbrooke and Pine.

      1. Things you must try specific in Montreal - that are not gourmet by any means and not exactly meals - but are a typical Montreal experience of more than just food...

        BAGELS: Montreal-style ones hand-made preservative-free baked in a wood oven with a dense moist texture and almost sweet flavour. These are not at all like doughy bread-like New York version sold in the rest of North America.

        My favourite is the traditional ones covered in sesame seeds straight out of the oven, some prefer those covered in poppy seeds. Buy them by the unit, half dozen or full dozen.

        Of course the great debate is whether bagels from St-Viateur or Fairmount bagelshops are better - you can try both and make your own mind, not far from one another. While waiting in line at the cash, it's impressive to see the skill required for each bagel being twisted, and baked.

        Un STIMÉ and a pepsi - hot dog - it's small steamed weiner served on flat-sided bun.
        Not sure who serves the best (can't digest hot dogs myself) but there's was a renowned place on lower St-Laurent Boulevard that had been there since the Great Depression - before it became the red light district. Atmosphere in there feels like it should have been on a Seinfeld episode.

        SMOKED MEAT SANDWICH: with mustard on light rye. Doesn't come with lettuce or tomato or any other sandwich topping, just 1/4lb of sliced meat served warm on slice of bread. Don't ask for cheese (not kosher to mix meat and dairy)

        POUTINE: Traditional style is out of styrofoam bowl/container, French fries sprinkled with white cheese curds (squeekier the better) under mound of hot steaming brown gravy. If you pour gravy all over your Thanksgiving plateof mashed potato, popover, turkey, etc) then you'll like this. I can't recommend a place - I've never had one myself, but people rave for either La Banquise, 994 Rachel Est, St Denis, open 24/7, or Ma'am Bolduc, at 4351 de Lorimier Avenue on the corner of Mont-Royal

        1 Reply
        1. re: yow yul

          Ma'am Bolduc for sure! Get a slab of sugar pie to wash down the artery-clogging poutine (soooo good)! Don't even bother to try finishing it though, the slice is HUGE! Split one with a friend.

        2. Le Commensal, multiple locations, one on McGill and one on St. Denise, this is a vegetarian Buffet unlike anything we have in New York. Also Eggspectations thrills New Yorkers, but is old hat for the locals, where else would you find a breakfast place with a full bar!,. I would avoid Schwartz's, it's a hole in the wall compared to Katz's near Delancey., but you must try the smoked meat (Reubens, kinda like Junior's, or Dunn's which is a cross between Nathan's and Katz's) ...... also any French restaurant or Bistro, they are light years past what we have here in the states and no were near as expensive (Duck Confit with salad 16.C at L"Express) enjoy!!!!!!!!

          11 Replies
          1. re: tombombadillo

            The weather is getting nice - other than a terrasse, you can also enjoy a picnic in a park. Lafontaine Park, in Plateau Mont-Royal, or atop the "mountain" - Mont-Royal, with a view over the city. Get your picnic supplies on St-Laurent - a chicken (we eat a lot of chicken) either a smoked one from Schwartz's or a wonderful Portuguese bbq chicken from Coco Rico, some vegetables, GOOD BREAD (there is a Pain doré on St-Laurent, or better, an organic boulangerie at the corner of Mont-Royal and St-Urbain, just at the foot of the mountain).

            Though no vegetarian, I'm too non-red-meat-centric and junk-food-averse for some of yow yul's suggestions. I don't drink pepsi or its ilk or eat that kind of bread. But to each his or her own!

            Another quintessential Montréal experience is visiting a byow restaurant - a way people who may have more passion than money manage to have celebrations. There are many threads on this board and others about the best byo or byow (apportez votre vin) restos.

            1. re: tombombadillo

              Commensal really isn't worthwhile for a visitor who cares about good food. Not even within spitting distance of quintessential. A godsend for vegetarians looking for a faux-meat fix, maybe...

              Reubens and Dunn's are second-rate at best. (I've been known to stop at both in a pinch, since downtown is such a noshing wasteland on the whole.) Schwartz's is very much not a personal favourite and I haven't set foot there in years -- I can't stand the attitude that so often comes with outsized popularity -- but it's really *the* place for visitors to have a smoked meat, hole-in-the-wall/tourist trap though it may be.

              Eggspectation: pass, pass, pass. I believe bar service is legal as of 11 a.m., so any licensed place that serves brunch will be able to serve booze from that time on. And there are many, many places fitting that description, all of which have the great virtue of not being Eggspectation.

              1. re: Mr F

                Pretty much every city has a deli and an artisan bakery, ice cream parlour etc.

                If you want to sum up the joie de vivre and excess (but in a good way) of Montreal look no further than Au Pied de Cochon.

              2. re: tombombadillo

                Woah --- For smoked meat lovers, Reubens or Dunns is just plain blasphemy. Dunns can be bought at CostCo in those plastic packs for your microwave - eat that? ... I THINK NOT. There is only 1 bona fide Montreal institution for smoked meat & it is Schwartzs. This "hole in the wall" (part of it's aura) is revered by many & it is a shrine to perhaps the best smoked meat on the planet. Smoked meat is not pastrami nor is it corned beef, it is quite unique & the way to appreciate it best is to order it medium-fat with double mustard, washed down with a Cott Cherry sode. During a recent smoked meat tasting, photos of which are available on another foodie site, Schwartzs won hands down, followed by Snowdon Deli, Abies, Georges & The Main. I would also give an honorable mention to Smoked Meat Pete but Ile Perot's a bit of a schlep.

                1. re: RhondaB

                  I don't like the kind of "attitude" one gets at Schwartz's either. Nor do I drink Cherry sweetstuff. I'm not fond enough of red-meat stuff to put up with the other factors to repeat the Schwartz experience. For me the joy of living here is lingering at cafés and terrasses, laughing, eating nice food, perhaps drinking a bit (though coffee could also be an ingredient).

                  1. re: lagatta

                    agreed. delis are nothing new to a new yorker- a smoked meat sandwich to go is plenty of a schwartz experience, IMO.

                    1. re: lagatta

                      I'm not sure what this schwartz's attitude is. everytime i go there, which is frequent enough, I have a very very pleasant experience. Dunn's is a yuppy fest and it's no better than any second rate deli like chenoys. Schwartz's is king in montreal and anyone suggesting otherwise has no business being there!

                      1. re: celfie

                        I agree about Schwartz's - I've never once encountered what I'd consider "attitude" there and I've been going since I was a kid. BTW, check out the doc "Chez Schwartz" for an amusing behind-the-scenes look at this Montreal institution: http://chezschwartzfilm.com or the book by Bill Brownstein ("Schwartz's Hebrew Delicatessen: The Story") for the full history.

                        1. re: kpzoo

                          i wouldn't describe schwartz's as a tourist trap. my dad, who grew up around the corner, has had a schwartz's smoked meat sandwich at least once a month since he was old enough to have any money of his own in the 1950s. he says it's just as good as ever. it's not a tourist trap if all the locals are still into it (I'm a vegetarian now, but i still like going for some pickles. reminds me of my childhood. wilensky's also has some great old-school atmo.

                          1. re: mtlgirl

                            Well yes, but entre toi et moi, the food at Wilensky's is utter shite. Sure it has a historical-cultural importance (and my background is in social and immigration history, but it is nulle from a foodie standpoint.

                            I wouldn't call Schwartz's a tourist trap, but it does resemble that sometimes just looking at the huge queue outside, few of whom are neighbourhood denizens.

                            You raise a good point. It certainly has a historical, cultural and perhaps retains a culinary importance if the smoked meat is as good as they say (I'm not veg, but almost never eat red meat, and only when invited to the house of friends). But I certainly wouldn't choose it as a dining experience - being rushed, very limited menu, nothing to drink but sweet horrors (if I don't drink vino it is mineral water or good tea ... I don't drink sweet things).

                            Your quintessential Montréal experience will depend on what foods you like to eat and how you like to enjoy yourself. There is a wide range and I don't think any single place is incontournable, as we say.

                    2. re: RhondaB

                      Since you work in the West Island(you mentioned it in another post), you must of tried Smoked Meat Pete at least a couple of times. How would you rate their smoked meat vs Schwartz's, Snowdon Deli, Abies and Georges? Have you been to Georges more than once?

                  2. My suggestions for quintessential Montreal are:
                    -bagels from St-Viateur Bagel
                    -a "medium" smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's
                    -supper at Au Pied de Cochon (not really inexpensive at ~$50/person, but totally worth a visit)
                    -poutine at La Banquise
                    -lunch on the terasse at Santropol
                    -dessert at Juliette et Chocolat

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: eoj

                      These folks are right! I just mentioned a few spots that are nothing like anything in New York, to someone from Manhattan.
                      St. Laurent might look like Bedford Ave in Williamsburg, Cresent St. a tourist trap to definately avoid, but St. Denise has the charm of Greenwich Village in the 70s before the commercialization, many nice terrace cafes and BYOBs,
                      All in all any place you go in Montreal is beautiful upscale, hip and classy the way New York City was in the 70s and 60s.
                      Some residents may not agree with all of my comments regarding this but, when someone lives in a gold mine, small nuggets that us outsiders find unique, are just passe'
                      Enjoy one of the coolest cities in the world
                      Check the board for the best in Old Montreal so that you avoid the tourist traps there.

                    2. Here are a few inexspensive suggestions.
                      Beautys or Chez Cora (breakfast)
                      Wilensky's (jewish panini)
                      Decarie Hot Dog (steamie)
                      Amir (shish taouk)
                      Village Grecque (authentic gyros)
                      Boulangerie Arouch (lahmajoun)
                      Buffalo Bills (wings)
                      Marvens (souvlaki)
                      Yangtzee (chinese)
                      Carlos and Pepes (mexican)
                      Pasta Bar (fast italian)
                      Pendelis Van Horne (not difara's, but a good pepperoni pie)
                      And to wash all that greasy goodness down a frapee from the Orange Julep.
                      P.S Bring some antacid.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: pxkid

                        Except for Wilensky and Orange Julep, nothing is quintessential.

                        1. re: Maximilien

                          Not only is there not much quintessential there, but some places like Carlos & Pepe's and Buffalo Bill's should be avoided at all costs.

                          1. re: SnackHappy

                            Agreed on C&P. Just dreadful, since forever, but they've obviously got their marketing act together.

                            I also question the wisdom of sending a New Yorker for a Montreal hot dog. As far as I can tell, our wieners and way of serving them have vitually no inherent charm; IMO some of us are fond of them purely because we grew up with them. As we get older and more affluent, they might appeal to nostalgia for tougher times and carefree youth. And of course they're handy junk food for those who are currently going through tight finances and/or carefree youth.

                            It's like our flat little burgers. I like them because they remind me of the early 70s and summertime pitstops at little french-fry shacks on the backroads, go-karts and mini-putt never far off, eating those little burgers and a mountain of fries, washed down with a tall, cold Nesbitt's orange soda or maybe a Marco spruce beer (still available, but the company currently using the name was started in 1999)... but I recognize that they're pretty lowly burgers by any objective measure.

                            1. re: Mr F

                              Where can I get Nesbitt's orange soda these days?

                              1. re: BLM

                                I have no idea where you can get it locally, if anywhere, but then again I haven't been looking. A quick web search will turn up supplies in the States, but at a glance there's no telling what relation it bears to the classic product.

                                1. re: Mr F

                                  I've tasted it as recently as a couple of years ago in Montreal. Don't remember where I got it from.

                      2. OK, instead of poopooing other ideas, here's mine:

                        Lunchtime in and around Jean-Talon Market, grazing as you explore. You might not find any one item that's really worth writing home about (then again, you might), but the overall experience of the market and various local offerings is pretty high on the list of things I recommend to visiting friends. Do a search on this board for Jean-Talon Market or JTM and you'll come up with lots of specific ideas (some of them seasonal, though).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Mr F

                          Definitely agree as to the market. Don't want to poopoo anyone's ideas, but I thiink the list for a New Yorker should be more francophone - not necessarily Québécois or French bistro cuisine, but a lot of the junk food stuff (other than the inevitable and indigestible poutine) is too typically North American to be worth the trip. But can't think of any specific suggestions rather than honing in on the Plateau (and perhaps Villeray and La Petite Patrie) as there is nothing really like the small byow bistros in NYC.

                          I suspect there is better Mexican food in NYC than here. We are just starting to get Mexican restos that don't infuriate my friends here from that country.

                          And definitely rent a bicycle!

                          1. re: Mr F

                            If you hit up JTM, here are my recommendations:

                            - Prune polish doughnuts from Wawel's
                            - Sorbets from Havre aux Glace, especially the choco-cerise if they still have it.
                            - Baklava from Ryad (oh god this stuff is amazing)
                            - Check out Marche des Saveurs for local Quebec products. I love this place!
                            - Munch on the meat hawked on butcher's row. Try it all! They're cheap and tasty.

                          2. If you really want quintessential Montreal, then you have to have an experience, not just eat the food. My suggestion is to head to Laurier E. and walk around. Go to the Fromentier for bread, head to Maison du Kakao for chocolate truffles, Byblos for brunch, Bo-Bec for their strawberry-basil ice cream, the Fouvrac for interesting food stuff and then take it all in while sitting in the parc, watching the beautiful people of Montreal walk around.

                            1. I only saw one other post recomending Santrapol. If we're talking quintessential Montreal, then Santropol is top of the list. Also, I'm not personally a big fan of Shwartz's but it is something that should be tried at least once. I don't know how "quintessential" Juliette & Chocolat is, but it is an experience not to be missed. One thing that I think most people here take for granted that should be reccomended to any food loving tourist is a good, smelly unpasteurised cheese ( Fromagerie Hamel(JTM), or Fromagerie atwater (Atwater market.) They are hard to find elsewhere in North America, but plentiful here.

                              1. ('Scuse the repetition. I hate the small windows for typing a reply, so started writing mine in Wordpad and then got distracted with work, and now I don't have time to edit it down.)

                                Can pretty much only reiterate the advice you've received above: smoked meat, bagels and poutine are the affordable, best-of-Montreal staples. All have been much discussed on this board, so look down the thread listing and avail yourself of the (admittedly crippled) search engine.

                                Other Montrealities?
                                - The Jean-Talon Market (JTM) is a must see and full of affordable goodies
                                - Cheese: the best selection in North America and lots of raw or thermalized milk varieties hard to come by in the States. At the JTM, Hamel and Qui lait cru are excellent and Le marché des saveurs has one of the widest selection of locally produced cheeses as well as lots of other made-in-Quebec products. La baia du Fromage on Jean-Talon near the Fabre metro station is the place for Italian cheeses. Yannick fromagerie d'exception on Bernard West in Outremont is my favourite (lots of Corsican and Iberian cheeses and other rareties and a relaxed, even elegant atmosphere).
                                - Frites: try Frites Alors! on Parc or Laurier East or Patati Patata on St-Laurent at Rachel
                                - Some of the best Middle Eastern food on the continent. Syrian/Armenian Alep and Le Petit Alep near the JTM are outstanding, the latter being the more affordable. Rumi, corner of Hutcheson and Fairmount, serves up Sufi fare. Mahrouse, out of the way on de Liège near Acadie, turns out exquisite baklava.
                                - The foodie neighbourhoods for exploring: for example, Laurier East between St-Hubert and Papineau; Outremont/Mile End (Bernard between St-Urbain and Outremont; St-Viateur between St-Laurent and Parc; St-Laurent between Mont-Royal and St-Viateur; Laurier between St-Laurent and Côte-Ste-Catherine, Van Horne between Parc and Rockland).
                                - The brewpubs, especially Dieu du Ciel and L'Amèreàboire, and wine bars, especially BU.
                                - The bistros: Au Petit Extra, Holder, Leméac, Cocagne, Continental, L'Express, Laloux.
                                - The Old Montreal lunch spots: Olive & Gourmando, Cluny ArtBar.
                                - The neighbourhood restos: Jolifou, Bouchon de Liège, Au Cinquième Péché, Cuisine et Dépendance, Les Trois Petits Bouchons, M sur Masson, etc.
                                - The BYOBs, especially Le P'tit Plateau

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: carswell

                                  carswell or others,
                                  Would you care to name a couple of quintessential (especially well-made or unusual) Quebec cheeses to try?

                                  1. re: Fritzy

                                    Off the top of my head:
                                    Pied-de-Vent from the Magdalen Islands (variable but can be great)
                                    Tomme d'Iberville from the Montérégie
                                    Chèvre Noir goat's milk cheddar

                                    Kénougami and Valbert from Lac-St-Jean
                                    Le Victor et Berthold from Lanaudière (especially the reserve version)
                                    and just about anything from Fromages Chaput.

                                    Your best bet is to go to Le marché des saveurs and ask them for reccos and tastes. Small production raw milk (*lait cru*) cheeses tend to be the best.

                                    1. re: carswell

                                      carswell, thanks for this! I will make a copy to take on my next trip.

                                      For others, here is a link to what appears to be a near comprehensive list of Quebec cheeses with links to many of the producers:

                                      1. re: carswell

                                        Carswell, I took your suggestion and headed over to the cheese counter at Le marché des saveurs (JTM). I really enjoyed the aged, semi-firm Chèvre Noir (from the Fromagerie Tournevent in Chesterville, Quebec) with an aged cheddar-like flavor. I had them slice me a handful of crumbly slices into a small bag. It was a delightful accompaniment to my gnoshing my way around the various fruit and veggie stalls of the Marché. Yummy.

                                        Picked up a delicious, strong (20%), cassis wine (an incredibly intense fruit flavor literally jumps out of your glass) at the next-door Quebec wine shop – their free sample convinced me on the spot – and very reasonable at a mere $13 for a half-bottle.

                                      2. re: Fritzy

                                        My fave is the Migneron du Charlevoix - it is a pefect balance between stink and flavour! haha!

                                      3. re: carswell

                                        carswell, that was a simply beautiful summary. Will quote it, if you don't mind!

                                        Don't forget the foodie neighbourhood including and surrounding Jean-Talon market - there are also a lot of Middle Eastern and North African shops on Jean-Talon there, and East/Southeastern Asian food shops in a knot around St-Denis and Jean-Talon.

                                        Alep and Le Petit Alep share ownership and kitchen: Alep is the "fancy" resto, Le Petit the bistro/café.

                                        1. re: carswell

                                          If we're talking about Middle Eastern food, try Khyber Pass (BYOW Afghani, one of my alltime favourites) on Duluth, and Halal 768 on Jean Talon (Pakistani that's to DIE for).

                                          For high end with a Montreal twist, Club Chasse et Peche in the old port. Be prepared to be amazed, and to empty your bank account on the succulent morsels presented here. Slightly less bank-breaking is Bleu Raisin on St. Denis and Boucher, with the added advantage of being BYOW.

                                          1. re: phedre

                                            Not to be nitpicking (yet I am) but I would consider neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan as Middle Eastern food. Rather closer to Persian/South Asian.

                                            Not that classification dulls the quality of the recommendations in anyway.

                                            1. re: stationearth

                                              Was going to make the same content. Afghanistan is considered Central Asian (bridges Persian and the north of South Asia) Pakistan is obviously South Asia aka old "Indian subcontinent" though much is at the northern fringes.

                                              Yes, Khyber Pass is a lovely place.

                                              A more common error by English-speakers is calling Maghrebi (North African, or "Moorish" food Middle-Eastern. It certainly incorporates many elements from the Arabo-Muslim invasion, but also many indigenous Berber/African elements.

                                              Phedre, is Le Bleu Raisin still a BYOW? I thought it wasn't any more.

                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                Indeed it is! I organized a wine tasting there not too long ago. It did change for awhile, but quickly switched back to BYOW.

                                              2. re: stationearth

                                                I stand corrected!

                                                But yes, the food at both places is great.

                                          2. My husband still talks about the only time he went to Wilensky's and asked for no mustard and he claims everyone in the place stopped and stared at him, then they still put mustard on his sandwich. It may not be quintessentially Montreal but certainly is unique.
                                            Santropol is fun, plus either Fairmont or St. Viateur.
                                            As an Ontarian I ask my friends to bring me back Quebecois beer since we can't get Belle Geule or Boreale here so encourage any visitors to frequent the depanneur and drink up.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: hoagy294

                                              Hold on a second. You specifically request Belle Gueule and Boreale? Yikes. My personal recommendation would be the St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout (I'm not sure if you can get that in Ontario; I know the Unibroues are available) and Labatt Porter (which despite being Labatt, is only available in Quebec and not nationally). There are definitely others, but those two just happen to be the most common for me.

                                            2. my montreal quintessential montreal includes:

                                              Family dinner pack from either Chalet BBQ or Cote St Luc BBQ
                                              Dinner at the Yangtze
                                              Hot dog and fries at either the Orange Julep or Decarie Hotdog
                                              Sunday brunch at a relative's house with fresh fairmount bagels and smoked salmon with party sandwiches from snowdon deli
                                              painful breakfast at deli boys
                                              and a trip too often to Gibby's

                                              i mean, that's what lots of anglo/westend montrealers are up to

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: celfie

                                                The gentleman is from Manhattan and would like to sample something typiclly Montreal, meaning French, not Anglo and more likely Plateau, which is distinctly
                                                Montreal rather then West end which can be like Toronto.

                                                PS. I guess I better pick up half a dozen bagels at Viatuer, when I get there, maybe my tastes will have changed with the beauty of the environment.

                                                1. re: tombombadillo

                                                  ok look, i was just posting for the fun of it. but you should be informed that the montreal anglo experience is truly unique to western montreal. i find the toronto comparison flawed - at least from my personal experience having grown up in montreal and having spent ample time in toronto. there is just something so montreal about the yangtze and deli boys and snowdon deli etc etc etc - even wilensky's. it is inconceivable to me to make this comparison. i find a lot of the 'bistro' fare especially laurier street to be very inauthentic frequented by the yuppy crowds. It tries so hard to be Europe, but it just isn't and never will be. The outremont/st-denis dining experience (with some notable exceptions) seems to me like an overpriced facade...a bistro, is a bistro, is a bistro, is a bistro.

                                                  1. re: celfie

                                                    The places in Outremont are not trying to be anything but contemporary, upper-middle-class professional Québécois. Contacts with France and la francophonie are a big part of the culture, including the foodie culture, of educated 21st-century QuébécoisEs. And Gibbys is FAR more expensive than most of those bistros. And compared to English-speaking North America, yes we are "European" - and of course "North American" for European visitors.

                                                  2. re: tombombadillo

                                                    celfie was just being funny. of course, there are lots of typical experiences. celfie's grandparents probably ate at schwartz's and laurier bbq back in the day before the hipsters started gathering at cafe olympico and ma'am bolduc. there are lots of good and authentic experiences in mtl and the orange julep and snowdon deli are authentic too! i know i missed em for the brief time i lived in toronto, almost as much as i missed getting dinner at 2am during a snowstorm at l'express. don't hate. arab montreal is special. jewish montreal is special. portuguese montreal is special. franco montreal is special. all have wonderful food experiences to offer and it would be a shame for our friend from Manhattan to be denied the opportunity to taste them all.

                                                  3. re: celfie

                                                    OMG it sounds exactly like my memories of growing up in CSL

                                                  4. Check out Jim Leff's chow tour too http://www.chow.com/tour/2027

                                                    I have to agree with the majority on Schwartz's and bagels, but disagree on Santropol. I know a lot of people are really fond of it, and it has a good atmosphere and is veg & student-friendly, but I never found the food to be very good at all.
                                                    Look also for Portuguese custard tarts.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: julesrules

                                                      I agree with your Santropol comment. A visit to Santropol is more inline with a quintessential mile-end experience and not necessarily montreal. I think it would be fair to also mention the numerous lebanese establishments in this city. Notably Boustan for fast food and Daou for succulent meats! And also no trip is complete without a couple of pounds of smoked salmon from New Victoria for the road - increasingly a favorite for out of towners.

                                                    2. Guys, I can't thank you enough for all the help you've provided. I think Schwartz's Deli is where our quintesential Montreal experience will be and hopefully a French Bistro for brunch/ lunch on Saturday. This question was all for my best friend's bachelor party - which I'm throwing. Knowing that Montreal is supposed to have some great food I wanted to let the foodie in me experience some things that were quintessential to your city. I knew that once we went to Globe on Saturday night the chance of me truly experiencing great cusine was in great peril. Thank you again for all your help!

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: wingman

                                                        Please post after your visit to let us know what you think of Schwartz's---I am not a deli fan, but will say that the New York deli experience is something I would tell friends not to miss---whereas the Montreal deli experience, errr not so much. Will be curious to see what you and your gang think. Somewhere on this long thread someone mentioned Boustan on Crescent--this is what I would recommend instead of deli--great Lebanese sandwiches sure to fill your tummy and delight the palette.

                                                        Have fun!

                                                        1. re: foodismyfriend

                                                          The proprietor at Boustan is also awesome... he's super friendly.

                                                        1. re: tk467

                                                          Moe's the sports bar type chain? speaking of them, I am baffeled as to why on their new radio spots they are advertising their fettucini alfredo!

                                                        2. Schwartz's for smoked meat (with fries and a half-sour), Émile Bertrand for fries and home-made spruce beer, Marven's in Park Ex for calamari and Greek salad, steak and beer at Magnan's, Pho Bang or the Cristal #1 in Chinatown for pho or Vietnamese noodles.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: elzadra

                                                            R.I.P. Restaurant Emile Bertrand : /
                                                            I hear there's a place in the point run by his son

                                                            1. re: celfie

                                                              Emile Bertrand's original spruce beer is now only available at Paul Patates in Pointe St-Charles. Found out through the most recent review in the Montreal Mirror, although reviewer A.J. Kinik(also co-runs the food blog 'an endless banquet') didn't get the full story right. Got the 'correct' full story today from the Emile Bertrand spruce beer master himself Barry Fleischer. Emile Bertrand restaurant closed for good last August after the owner died(Barry's wife). It was just in 2004 when Emile Bertrand restaurant relocated from original location on Notre-Dame West, to just across the street on l'Aqueduc.

                                                          2. alright, here goes

                                                            Breakfast: le petit marche on St-Denis or l'Avenue on Mont Royal...or if you're going for bagels, definitely Fairmount over St-Viateur...way more taste and yumminess!!

                                                            Lunch: ..again, l'avenue (I have a weak spot for it). They simply have the best warm chicken salad and Vege burgers.... or more bagels from Fairmount..can't get enough

                                                            Dinner: gotta say I Iove l'Emeac, on Laurier..simple but all the flavours work together with perfection!
                                                            also...Garde Manger in the Old Port is a hell of a good time..and yummy food as well..cool mojitos too

                                                            coffee??: art java on Mount Royal...espresso drinks to perfection..doesn't hurt that they put a little art into their work too

                                                            Drinks and Night Life:...so many choices: Baldwin Barmacy on Laurier, L'assomoir (not sure of the street, think it's Bernard), La Distillerie on Ontario, not gonna lie...L'avenue also has the best Cosmos I've had in town and I have a thing with testing out cosmos wherever I go...this one beats them all.

                                                            I consider all these places pretty crucial to visit...whether your a tourrist or you live in mtl...nothing's too costly, and it's just so yummy..very montreal.
                                                            ...also don't forget to try some funBYOBs on Duluth....if you're looking for cheap thrills. The scene is great there.

                                                            1. So many great recommendations! Getting verrry hungry...

                                                              Don't forget to find a great Croissant, There are very few true croissant places in North America. Most other places serve bread in the shape of croissant, but so not croissant.. A few of my faves: Fous Desserts (819 Laurier est, they also have a kick-ass caramel-nut-fleur de sel tart that is to die for), Patisserie Gascogne (multiple locations) and of course Premier Moisson. I have only found one other real croissant in N.A. and that was in Baltimore of all places (french pastry chef couple set up a great bakery there...) Manhattan may indeed have something somewhere, but Montreal has so many choices for great croissant....

                                                              The Portuguese egg tart is called Natas, and they are fabulous. My favorite place for them is Patisserie des Anges on St. Laurent, but there are plenty of fine places to get them. Do not miss them!!!!! They look burnt on top, but that's the way they are.

                                                              Have fun!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                Good call on the croissant!! I have NY cousins visiting me this weekend and they've specifically requested eating Montreal croissants while they're here! The rest they're flexible on...!

                                                              2. simple:
                                                                besides Schwatz's (must go)
                                                                -Wilenskky's : for fried salami "special"
                                                                -Arahova: for amazing souvlaki/ greek salad
                                                                -Duc de L'orraine: for French patisserie
                                                                -Oranje Julep: for a steamie and an oranje julep in your car
                                                                -Centre St. Deli: for mohn cookies and a club roll
                                                                -Lester's: for smoked turkey
                                                                -Gibby's: ribsteak
                                                                -Fattouch: Lebanese
                                                                -Thai Grille: fried whole snapper
                                                                -Beauty's: Brunch...either mish mash omelette or the bagel/lox/cc "special"

                                                                bon App.

                                                                1. Quick synopsis - you have a ton of reccommendations to go by here, and ultimately that IS the quintessentiality (is that a word?) of Montreal - incredible variety and something for everyone.
                                                                  Focus on the experience rather than the actual place - the true characteristics of eating in Montreal have to do with our culture and lifestyle. Here are my 2 key reccomendations:
                                                                  1) Eat outside at every meal that you can!
                                                                  2) Eat slowly while people waching and engaging in great conversation
                                                                  Enjoy our beautiful city!

                                                                  1. Based on a few comments on this an other threads Mrs Scary Bill ( she only will eat Schwartzes, so I had to pull a tooth to get her to go there) and I went to Pete's. The smoked meat was excellent, comparable to Schwartzes and the fries were good. The price was excellent too as 8 bucks gets you a good sized sandwich, fries, pickle slices (brine) and a mild and tasty vinegar coleslaw, and a pop.

                                                                    They were also passing out samples of Pete's ribs, and I have to say they were just incredible and unlike any ribs I have ever had anywhere, with a blackstrap molasses based sauce. Next time I will get the ribs, though in the meanwhile I will be attempting to recreate the sauce.

                                                                    The smoked meat was so good that Mrs Scary bought a brisket-only $7 per pound- to take home.

                                                                    It as most know is just off the west island, so it is a great place to stop at on a drive back to Toronto, the smoked meat desert.

                                                                    For those needing the address:

                                                                    Pete's Smoked Meat 283 1st Avenue, Île-Perrot (just off the 20)

                                                                    1. Hi Wingman. I'm from NY, and I'm going to Montreal next week for 5 days. I guess you already went. Any report about food over there? Any suggestions of where to eat, after having tried the locals suggestions? I would really appreciate it.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: C70

                                                                          thanks a lot, i took notes!

                                                                          I was just wondering where did the newyorker eat...