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Montreal's third-best bagel?

  • m

For purposes of this thread, I think it's safe to say St. Viateur and Fairmount are locked in more or less eternal battle for the top spot, with St. Viateur apparently being the people's choice (as witness expansion of the chain) and Fairmount, while still making a great bagel (arguably, but by no means definitely, the best in town), doing silly things like tainting its dough with cinnamon and raisins and trying to pass off the result as a Montreal bagel.

Anyway, there isn't always a Fairmount or St. Viateur in easy reach (I don't count the plastic-bagged specimens seen in many grocery stores), and contrary to popular belief there are other bakeries making bona fide Montreal bagels.

So who wins the battle for third?

I've only tried two of them recently, and of those Beaubien easily takes the crown. Yes, they have some chutzpah to post a sign in the window claiming to be THE best in town, but you don't expect them to say "We're a solid third!", do you? All things considered, they make a very respectable bagel, more in the St-Viateur than Fairmount style. I buy them regularly.

The other entry I've tried is D.A.D.'s, on Sherbrooke in NDG. Sorry, Dad, your decent Indian takeout and open-all-night convenience don't excuse your bagels. To be fair, the bagels are passable when very fresh, but they have an even shorter shelf life than the good ones and are not made around the clock, so not easy to get oven-fresh. If you're in the hood, make the detour to the St-Viateur outlet on Monkland, unless you're in the mood for saag or dal.

And the other contenders are....?

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  1. I've bought Beaubien bagels once and didn't like them enough to return, even though I lived right up the street. They were undercooked and bland.

    They've been discussed here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/324893

    What about Mount Royal bagels? Wasn't someone on this board gushing about them not so long ago?

    2 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy

      I've had some less than stellar experiences with the Big 2 (stale [always a risk for those of us who prefer poppy], undercooked [sometimes happens in a big rush]...), though none recently. The lesson being, one visit is not necessarily enough.

      1. re: SnackHappy

        Yeah there was some heavy praise for Mount Royal Bagel here. And also by a Montreal food blogger(maybe it was Chef Deck), saying it's the best bagels in Montreal.

      2. REAL bagel on Queen Mary puts out a decent product, imo.

        1 Reply
        1. re: C70

          Back when I lived near Snowdon metro (circa 2000) I would buy bagels at REAL every so often. I remember them being very comparable to St-Viateur's.

          Now if anyone in this town baked poppy seed bagels with the frequency and volume of sesame, I'd be a dedicated client. I'm tired of dry seemingly 6 hours old poppy bagels.

        2. Cheskies bagels are a viable option

          1. Super Bagel, on Westminster at Cote St Luc, was pretty good a few years ago. Haven't been in a while, but on a good day, their sesame bagels were on par with Fairmount.

            1 Reply
            1. re: davekry

              Walked in the other day, asked to buy 2 bagels and was told I have to buy 1/2 dozen, when I pointed out the single price listed over the cash $0.70 I was told that's after a 1/2 dozen.
              I've since talked to friends and neighbors, all have bought singles.
              I'm really not happy with this place, and when on my walks, I don't want to be carrying extra baggage.

            2. REAL bagel on Queen Mary or the one on Cote St Luc road (corner Grand) are both great and comparable to St-Viateur's. There is a great bagel bakery (sorry don't know the name!) on the corner of Lucerne and Jean-Talon - think it's kosher, the bagels are really good.

              4 Replies
              1. re: mikjomom44

                seconded

                but no not comparable to viateur!!!!

                1. re: mikjomom44

                  My hubby, a bagel connoisseur, actually prefers R.E.A.L. Bagel (the one at Cote-St-Luc near Grand) above all others, including the venerable oldies. I confess I personally can't tell much of a difference among any of them, but I've never done a side-by-side taste-off. ;-)

                  Dad's on Sherbrooke is great for fresh very early-morning bagels in the West End - they're open 24 hours but don't tend to have very fresh ones late at night.

                  My mom's been bugging me to try some newish bagel place in Cote-St-Luc - swears they're great. I think it's on Westminster but cannot recall the name at the moment, will ask her.

                  1. re: kpzoo

                    OK, the mysterious CSL place she swears by is Cote St. Luc Bagel, in a little strip mall, corner Caldwell and Kildare.

                    Has anyone here been?

                  2. re: mikjomom44

                    The one in TMR(J-T & Lucerne) is the Mont-Royal Bagel Factory. I find it very good, but it's a little different specimen than St-Viateur & Fairmount.

                  3. R.E.A.L. [is it seriously an acronym for something?] also has a location on St Catherine at Greene. The bagels are indeed top notch, but the rest of their merchandise is miserably overpriced and the staff are super crotchety. It feels Westmounty in the worst sense. Get your sesame (specify you want them fresh from the chute as I've been duped with oldies more than once) and get out of there!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wokhei

                      For those who live on the West Island, I've been to St. Viateur and Fairmount and can't find any appreciable difference between the big two and Bagel de l'Ouest, located on Blvd. des Sources between 14th Ave and Roger Pilon, a half block from Cote St. Luc BBQ.

                    2. There is this tradition in our department of having a 'bagel hour' every second Friday. Each lab foots the bill in rotation. Anywho, people typically buy bagels from the faubourg bagel place. They are definitely in the Montreal style, but something is lacking. I still make the schlep up to St. Viateur and pay the extra 20 cents per dozen (oh no!) for the good stuff when it's our lab's turn. I would give Faubourg 7 'mehs' out of 10.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: The Chemist

                        Haggisboy beat me to it, Bagel de l'Ouest is not bad but it's not St Viateur. It's lacking just a touch in the taste department but it's a solid 3rd.

                      2. i've gotten pretty decent stuff at that bagel place in the faubourg downtown. that whole area's kind of a bagel wasteland, though.

                        1. Faubourg bagels in the Faubourg shopping centre on St. Catherine have gotten me through many snack emergencies.

                          1. Let me add my voice to the chorus of support for REAL Bagels. They have a location on St. Catherine downtown as another poster noted, but I get mine at the VIctoria Epicerie on Sherbrooke, just before Victoria (across from Patiserrie de Gascogne). They are stocked fresh there daily. These are the bagels I keep on hand, and are also the "Montreal bagels" I bring people. I think they are just as good as the "Big Two."

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: 1toomany

                              no way, they just dont taste the same and dont have the same crispy exterior

                            2. For those on the south shore, Brossard Bagel is quite good (2 locations, one in Brossard, the other in GFP). Hot from the wood-fired oven, they definitely do the trick and save a bridge and traffic. I believe one of the owners is an ex-bageler from one of the top-two.

                              Interestingly, they also have west indian food from Anancy available. So far, I've enjoyed the goat roti and stew chicken. Again, nice to have something local that can satisfy a craving!

                              Best,

                              Matt