St. Viateur Bagels locations - Is the original the only one to visit?
As I've mentioned in another thread, I'll be doing Montreal for just part of a weekend, and I have to make good use of time! The plan was to grab bagels on the way out of town, but the two biggies in what I guess is the Mile End are not so convenient. I notice, however, that St. Viateur has other locations. Will these others give me the same quality of bagel? Or should I just spend the extra time on a busy Sunday morning driving to the original?
I personally think you can go to another location. Sunday morning at the original location will be packed anyway, and you'll have to wait in line, adding even more time.
really, truly, honestly, and i'm not just trying to make this hard on you:
1) the st-viateur bagels you will get from any st-v outlet are very tasty, and equivalent, and you can bring them home and eat them with cream cheese etc and i doubt you will have any complaints.
2) a hot st-viateur sesame bagel, straight from the oven, which is what you will get 75% of the time from their of the places on st-viateur street, is one of my single favourite foods in the entire world. it is singular, special, essentially inimitable. you eat it plain, hot, straight from the paper bag. it burns your fingertips a little. it's one of the essential trips of any montreal experience, in my opinion, and i have never known anyone to regret the voyage.
one hot bagel costs $0.60.
Go to Fairmount Bagel one block South, the line's as long or longer than Viateur but the Sesame and Poppy bagels are better. Slightly more expensive but worth the dime.
What's not clear from these responses is that "other locations," i.e not on St-Viateur, itself, are cafés/restaurants...they have good breakfasts, for example. However the two locations on St-Viateur are essentially just bagel ovens, with hundreds of bagels pouring out at a time. To me visiting the bagelry on St-Viatuer, on the northeast corner of Parc, is a quintessential Montreal experience. Nikkori does a good job of communicating the experience.
I also wouldn't say heading to St-Viateur should be out of your way. The Mile-End neighbourhood is a great place to visit. St-Viateur St is one of the nicest streets in Montreal. A stop at Fairmount is also a good idea and walking between these two places is a a good way to take in the neighbourhood, which is as nice as any in Montreal. (Waaaaay better than downtown, for example).
OK, thanks for everyone's advice. Still not sure... I think it will depend on how much time we have Sunday morning. Meanwhile, I just found out there's a place in my home of Brooklyn called "Mile End" that serves smoked meat, poutine and... yes, Montreal bagels. I promised myself I'd wait til I'd tried Schwartz's, Resto Banquise and St. Viateur/Fairmount to taste the Brooklyn version.
With a little more context on your visit, I have to agree with foodinspace.
Take the detour to St-Viateur; it's really one of our best streets. Grab some bagels at the flagship store (263 St Viateur W.) or if it's really jammed go to the wholesale bakery (158 St-Viateur W/), then hit the Social Club (180 St-Viateur W.) or Café Olimpico (124 St-Viateur W.) for a hot bagel and a latte on the patio to relax a little before the drive. If you don't have a couple of bagels while they're hot, it's not worth the bother.
Depending on your starting point, all this will add up to a well-spent hour or so (and IMHO far more worthwhile than any excursion to La Banquise).
re: Mr F
I agree with Mr. F. An early morning walk through Mile End (St. Laurent, Fairmount, St. Viateur Blvds) is quintessential Montreal, and a great way to start a day of exploring. (You'll love the smell of the wood smoke and baking bagels in the morning air.) One morning, I picked up a single hot sesame bagel at Fairmount, walked up to St. Viateur and bought another, and took them both into Cafe Olympic for a side by side test. (Fairmount was my favorite that day.) Olympic serves a very good, unpretentious cappuccino, still for under $3, I believe.
After this, one could then spend the morning slowly strolling down St. Laurent Blvd, through the Plateau and back toward downtown and Swartz's (for a late morning sandwich -- beating the lineups), etc, with perhaps a side trip on Mt. Royal Avenue and/or perhaps to see Mount Royal itself.
I share the opinion that, though it is famous for its great poutine, La Banquise is probably less quintessential and farther out of the way (for a visitor with limited time) than a trip to the Mile End bagel shops. Really good poutines can be found in several places along St. Laurent Blvd. The last I had was a surprisingly tasty one at a french fries and beer chain called Frites Alors.
To reach Mile end, you can take a metro up to Laurier Ave and walk the rest of the way, or a #80 Park Avenue bus, which i believe stops at St. Viateur.
What ever you choose to do, enjoy.
The Mile End Bagels in Brooklyn are from St-Viateur, see:
It's true that the St-Viateur experience in Mile-End is very authentic but it is nice for visitors to the city to have a comfortable breakfast or brunch at the Mont-Royal St-Viateur location while picking up their bagels, and the bagels, oven and all, are the same. In any location I always ask the cashier for a couple of piping hot ones if they didn't already give me a bunch.
Mile End Bar
5322 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montr, Montreal, QC , CA