36 Hours in Montreal
My boyfriend and I are driving from New York to spend our anniversary in Montreal. We'll have two nights and one full day, and want to make it count! We want to have good food but not break the bank. I don't eat meat (although seafood is fare game); he loves meat and vegetarian food alike. We are both adventurous eaters.
Do you have any must-try recommendations for us? Thanks in advance!
I'd say go for what the city excels in:
-bagels (St. Viateur or Fairmont, both can be found in the Mile End)
-poutine (La Banquise for 24 hour cheapies; Patati Patata for super cheap in super cramped but cute space; Ma'am Bolduc)
-Olive et Gourmado in the Old Port for baked goods and other breakfast items for brunch
-Syrian food at Kaza Maza in the Mile End or Petit Alep (no reservations here however) on Jean Talon (not super cheap but medium-priced)
-Marche Jean Talon (at Jean Talon metro) for lots of goodies in the market including full meals
-Brit & Chips in the Old Port for fish and chips (they even have a vegetarian, halloumi cheese "fish" option)
-For vegetarian I recommend Aux Vivres in the Mile End
-For cheap Portuguese chicken, Coco Rico or Romado's, both in the Plateau
-Wine bars, such as Le Comptoir charcuteries et vins in the Mile End or Buvette Chez Simone, also in the Mile End, and Pullman in the Plateau/downtown. They are not super expensive and not cheap, but medium-priced in a nice, non-pretentious atmosphere.
-For beers, Dieu de Ciel in the Mile End or Reservoir in the Plateau. Also medium-priced and not super-trendy but still within great spaces.
Since you're from New York you already get great food and I'd argue that NY exceeds Montreal when it comes to Asian, Indian and vegetarian food in general so I'd avoid these in general. Montreal is not the most vegetarian-friendly city so if you want vegetarian items I'd recommend you check the menus online beforehand. Go for French/Quebecois food, Arabic, bagels, cheese, bakeries, and poutine and you'll be fine. :)
4631 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R2, CA
3907 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1X9, CA
4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA
The Plateau area is filled with small, interesting, eclectic restaurants of every type, many are BYOB. The epi center of this area is where St. Denis intersects Duluth. Our favorite evening out is to pick out a nice wine at the SAQ on St. Denis, then peruse the restaurants on Duluth. Our favorites are Le Jarden de Panos (Greek), Bleu Lotus (Vietnameese), and Spaggio's (Italian). They all have great outdoor patios in nice weather, and are lots of fun.
I have to agree that bring your own wines would be great to check out. A lot of them are great, it's something you can't really do in NYC, and it saves a lot of money. Like others have said, a lot of them aren't veggie friendly, but Poisson Rouge might be a good choice for you. There are primarily seafood options, but they also have meat options if your boyfriend is in the mood for that. Plus it's close to a nice park that you could wander around before or after.
Oh, another option that would suit you guys well would be Ice House. It's discussed a lot on this board so you can read up on it, but what I can definitely tell you is that it will have options that will make both you and your boyfriend happy (a lot of seafood options like a really good lobster burrito or oyster po boy, plus a lot of meat options that are amazing). They make really good, albeit a bit pricey, bourbon lemonade and have a nice patio in case it's nice out.
Loosia's suggestions, in my opinion, are totally perfect for a short trip to Montreal in 36 hours or less on a more modest budget--all are great and will give you fun sense of the city. I might also add Chuch Chai bistro (bring your own wine) which is vegetarian Thai on Saint-Denis where you can sit outside (close to the intersection leyb mentioned at Duluth where you can buy wine at the SAQ). Following leyb's suggestion of perusing Duluth, there is also a bring your own wine Afghan restaurant on that street called Khyber Pass which serves a lot of meat dishes but has a vegetarian combo plate/lentil soup appetizers that are very good. I've had it a number of times. Reservations there would be recommended as it's very popular. Brunch/breakfast is big here and I would recommend looking up some of the brunch/breakfast threads for Montreal as there's lots of good stuff to choose from in this city.
Khyber Pass Restaurant
506 Av Duluth E, Montreal, QC H2L1A7, CA
Oops, I would also recommend La Paryse for inexpensive but better than average burgers in the Quartier Latin. It's pretty much a Montreal institution. They also have a couple of vegetarian burgers on menu (I always go with the Pinto burger--my favourite veggie burger in the city--it can be mushy but so, so good and beats typical tofu burgers....). They have a website, serve alcohol, etc.