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Recos within walking distance of our hotel

Will be staying in Marriott Springhill Old Montreal. Is there good/decent 1) poutine, 2) bagels 3) patisserie in walking distance, say 10 minutes or less? Also, any other place of culinary note in the immediate vicinity for breakfast/brunch?

Thank you!

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  1. No bagels. Take a bus or cab up to St. Viateur or Fairmount for those. Olive & Gourmando on St. Paul has good breakfasts.

    1. 1) Montreal Poutine, 161 Rue Saint Paul Est
      2) No
      3) Maison Christian Faure, 355 Place Royale

      breakfast/brunch: Titanic (445 Rue Saint Pierre), Le Gros Jambon (286 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest), Olive+Gourmando (351 Rue Saint Paul Ouest)

      1. Its pretty but unfortunately you are right smack dab in tourist central. Lots of choices but a lot of ordinary food.

        Your best bet is to take Notre-Dame towards McGill. Its a bit more than 10 minutes (15?) but you'll get:

        *Gros Jambon: Good breakfast and dinner corner Notre-Dame and Saint-Alexis
        *Olive+Gourmando: One of the best pastry in Montreal. Corner Saint-Paul and Saint-Pierre
        *Holder: McGill between Lemoyne and Saint-Paul. Decent breakfast and all around french bistro food. Lots of space. A tad more pricy.
        *Cartet: McGill & Wellington. Great speciality food store with an exceptional brunch.

        I never tried montreal poutine and don't know of good bagel shops in the Old Montreal. Best bet is take the metro and go directly where its best for poutine and bagels.

        1. 1) There are no really authentic old-school "casse-croutes" (snack bars) in Old Montreal, but there is tasty upscale poutine to be had in the area. For example, Taverne Gaspar (89 De La Commune West) has one with confit duck. But at $20 it's definitely on the high end of the poutine scale.

          2) Definitely no bagels. Highly recommend following the other posters' recommendations and going to St-Viateur or Fairmount.

          3) Definitely Christian Faure; it's new and spiffy. For croissans, I like Olive & Gourmando (closed Sundays and Mondays - gets packed whenever it IS open).

          4) I second Le Cartet and Le Gros Jambon for brunch. And I'm also going to make a suggestion of a place I've never eaten at, but have heard good things about: L'Arrivage, the restaurant at the top of Pointe-a-Calliere (the archeology museum). The view of the Port is pretty great.

          6 Replies
          1. re: nochainsplease

            Regarding bagels: it is not always immediately obvious to visitors that the main bakeries are just that, bakeries with no seating at all. If you want a place to sit and eat you have to go to one of the St. Viateur Bagel cafés. They also have the traditional wood-fired oven, so no worries about stale bagels riding around in delivery trucks.

            The closest one for you will be at 1127 Mont-Royal East. Just take the metro from Place d'Armes to Mont Royal (you want the Montmorency train). When you leave the station, cross the street, turn right and walk about 5-10 minutes (eight very short blocks).

            If you want to check out the flagship bakeries, take the 55 bus up St-Laurent to Fairmount. Fairmount Bagel is a short block and a half west of St-Laurent. Then, as you chew on a hot bagel, walk up Waverly St. to rue St-Viateur. Go left, and walk almost all the way to Parc. The main St-Viateur bakery is on the north side.

            (You may notice a tiny St-Viateur bakery before you get to the main one -- this is a satellite operation. Same product, same price, but not the flagship store most visitors want to see. And if you happen to prefer poppy, lower odds of finding oven-fresh ones.)

            1. re: Mr F

              Agree with Mr. F. However, the proper terms in Montreal (at least for St. Viateur as I don't like Fairmount bagels as much) for poppy and sesame are 'black' and 'white'.

              1. re: williej

                I never ask for black or white, always poppy or sesame and am always understood without a blink.

                1. re: williej

                  In over 50 years I have never called them black or white. In my neighbourhood they've always been poppy or sesame.

                  1. re: eat2much

                    Ok. each to his own I guess. I have always called them black or white and get what I asked for. So the advice is to do either!

                    1. re: williej

                      i am familiar with referring to white seed or black seed.

            2. I think one of the biggest problems when travelling to a legendary food city (for today I'll lump Montreal into that group) is that many visitors will try one version of a regional specialty and assume it is representative (I'm guilty of this as well). Of course, in Montreal there are literally hundreds of places serving poutine, smoked meat, and bagels, but only a handful capture the hysteria-evoking beauty of these delicacies. The fact that you've made this post suggests you'd like to try good representations, but this will involve leaving Old Montreal (just as getting good po' boys will involve leaving NOLA's French Quarter and good croissants might require escape from the 1e arrondissement).

              1+2+3) Within a few minutes walk of the Mont Royal metro you'll find both a cafe St. Viateur outpost and le Banquise. If you grab a sesame bagel or two at the pick-up counter of the former, you could eat them en route to a poutine at the latter (for a carb-heavy afternoon). Don't waste your time and money with a sit-down meal at St. Viateur! You could also completely overdo it by including a stop at nearby Kouign Amann (order their namesake pastry).

              2) If not the cafe, travel directly to the St. Viateur source and order sesame. Don't risk poppy or some other weird variation: they are usually less fresh and thus not representative. If it's a warm day, bring your bagels to cafe Olimpico and eat them while you enjoy a latte on their terrasse. Otherwise just wander the streets and freeze your bagel-eating hand.

              3) The brand new Christian Faure really is a beauty, and finally brings a great patisserie to Old MTL.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Fintastic

                The main St Viateur outlet usually has reasonably fresh poppy. Never hurts to ask how long ago they came out, and pass if they're not warm. Agreed about the other variations.

                I also agree the cafe is nothing special apart from the bagels, but some visitors in the past have been disappointed to find nowhere to sit at the classic bakeries, so it seemed worth mentioning.

                1. re: Mr F

                  You were wise to mention the lack of seating at the bakeries, as it's a common complaint. However, an even more common complaint is the food at the St. V cafes (bagels aside).

                2. re: Fintastic

                  Once again I find myself bowing to Fintastic' s wisdom (listen to him!)

                  (Except i prefer cafe neve)!!!

                  1. re: CaptCrunch

                    Aw shucks...
                    Neve is great, no doubt, but it's a long way to walk with bagels from St. Viateur Street... and given that they serve food, I don't know how they'd feel about you BYOW (Bringing-Your-Own-Bagel) and dropping sesame seeds all over their floor. Olimpico holds a soft spot in my heart, but there are better coffees to be had in town, so no argument there.

                3. thanks everyone this thread has delivered above expectations, as CH threads usually do. I always try to research the immediate vicinity of my hotels as a back-pocket option, as it has happened more than once that we are just too hungry or lazy at some point in the day and , not having researched properly, ended up having mediocre to bad food in a tourist trap.

                  My Mtl plan right now is this, any input will be appreciated:

                  3 days, arriving saturday at noon:

                  saturday lunch: Comptoir21 (fish and poutine!)

                  saturday dinner: Joe Beef

                  sunday brunch: bagels from the classic locations

                  sunday snack: around the hotel (thank you for posts!)

                  sunday dinner: APDC

                  monday brunch: poutine (not decided on place yet, but I like the look of frites alors, also le gros jambon looks nice for non-poutine options)

                  monday dinner: Europea

                  I expect to gain weight.

                  24 Replies
                  1. re: shekamoo

                    JB+APdC ...

                    I hope you know a good cardiologist !!! :-)

                      1. re: Maximilien

                        JB+APdC I hope you know a good cardiologist !!! :-)

                        I wasn't particularly blown away with my meal at Joe Beef(very rich/heavy) APdC is way better. I'd recommend Le Filet, 400 coups instead.

                        1. re: petek

                          I realize that JB is not universally loved, but some of those items on that menu just HAVE to be tried..

                          1. re: shekamoo

                            I hear ya. especially if you've never been.

                      2. re: shekamoo

                        Just a few thoughts,
                        Comptoir 21 is on St. Viateur (and a block from Fairmont), so you can scope out your bagel places in advance if'n you want.

                        Bar Waverly is next to Comptoir, a nice place to quaff if so inclined.

                        Wilensky's Light Lunch is a block from Comptoir (head down Clark to Fairmont). Perhaps stop in and pick up a Wilensky Special to snack on later. You should do this when in the neighborhood (some may argue not worth a special trip) and would have to be Saturday (or mon-fri) as they're closed Sundays.

                        Warning: Wilensky's isn't for everyone (but a good CHer find, I think) and you might feel twilight zonish upon entry. Who knows, when trudging the streets of Toronto in a couple of months, you might be thinking of that magical meal at Joe Beef, or maybe wondering if the french fry truck down by Queen & Yonge, the one advertising "always free gravy", will make you a poutine, or maybe trying to figure out TOs equivalent to Europea. Maybe you'll be surprised to be thinking about that crazy bologna and salami sandwich thingy called a Wilensky Special and dialing up "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" on the Netflix.

                        1. re: porker

                          This place is intriguing, and I will definitely try it out, thanks so much!!

                        2. re: shekamoo

                          This is a great itinerary. You'll be fine with Joe Beef. On occasion I've had mediocre meals there but more often than not it's great.

                          My only question is related to porker's: is there a reason you've chosen to head to comptoir 21? I like the place, but it's rather under the radar and it seems odd to come from Toronto to Montreal to eat a British seaside classic. I'm not objecting, just wondering what inspired you. In any case, porker is right that the original Comptoir location is close to both classic bagel spots as well as the infamous Wilensky's: might make sense to integrate these plans..

                          Frite Alors doesn't make the best poutine in town, but we could debate that all day.

                          1. re: Fintastic

                            we love fish and chips, and they seem to have very good poutine to boot. Here in T.O. we always upgrade our fries to a poutine if that option is on the menu at a chippie, and usually end up disappointed with the poutine. Thought this would be a natural winner for us!

                            1. re: shekamoo

                              If you like fish and chips you might be interested to know that my "go to" fish and chips place is in the old montreal (on McGill near Lemoyne). Its called Brit & Chips. I never went to Comptoir 21 so I don't know if its better or worse.

                              If you are a fish enthousiast you might be interested to know that "Le Filet" is a nice fish restaurant having a bit of buzz these days.

                              There are so many poutine options in Montreal that everybody has their own preferences (a bit like pizza). I tend to send tourists at La Banquise because its a classic place for poutine, well done and its always open but Frite Alors might do. I actually like their pulled pork poutine. I also enjoy their Mitraillette (think hot dog in a baguette but instead of the standard hot dog saussage its 2 merguez, a special sauce and its covered with fries).

                              Good choices for Joe Beef, APDC and Europea. Toqué might replace Europea if you don't have a reservation/having a hard time getting in. I actually find Joe Beef to be less rich than APDC but its a good thing you try them on different days. For Joe Beef I always had a better experience when I made choices that went out of the way a bit. Wasn't crazy on their hanger steak but I loved their venison, pojarski, rabbits.... Also try their oysters if you like them for your entrée. For APDC remember to order a cromesqui if you like foie gras. At Europea the "menu dégustation" is the thing to try.

                              1. re: CaptCrunch

                                Thank you, the problem with Le Filet is that, on the days we are in Mtl, it is only open on saturday, which means we would have to replace JB with it, and I am just too interested in JB.

                                1. re: shekamoo

                                  the poutine at banquise is better than at comptoir 21 imo

                              2. re: shekamoo

                                Comptoir 21 is my go-to place for fish. I've tried their fish 'n chips, calamari, fish burger, and tempura shrimp, I've never been disappointed. Make sure to try a couple of their homemade dips. I'm sure you'll love it.

                                1. re: shekamoo

                                  The best fish&chips I ever had was hand battered haddock from a vendor in the food building at the CNE maybe 6 years ago.
                                  Le Comptoir is a cool place; you sit at a counter like old-style department store restaurants of yesteryear.

                                  It seems theres all kinds of eclectic poutines out there; smoked meat poutine, spaghetti poutine, won ton soup poutine, etc etc.
                                  If you find yourself pubbing it along Bishop St., I'd recommend The Oyster Shack's clam chowder poutine. Fries topped with cheese and house-made New England clam chowder. Sounds weird, I know, but its pretty damned good. Pricey @ $16., but at least its real clam chowder.

                                  1. re: porker

                                    everything i've had from oyster shack has been terrible so it's hard to imagine that something as repulsive sounding as cheese and clam chowder could actually taste good.

                                2. re: Fintastic

                                  re frite alors, I hear Belgian, and I am sold...

                                  1. re: shekamoo

                                    No disagreements from me. If you're looking for a Belgian-style poutine or a fish-n-poutine, then your selections are great. Your choices will be criticized because neither spot makes the best classic poutine, but that's irrelevant if it's not what you're looking for from the meal. The only issue is whether Comptoir makes one better than those that disappoint you in Toronto. But if all else fails you can order the standard poutine at APDC for one of the best renditions around.

                                    This is probably a stupid question, but just to confirm: you have already reserved the dinners on your itinerary?

                                    1. re: Fintastic

                                      my trip is a little more than 3 months away, so no JB reso yet, but APDC and Europea are in the bag, as well of course as the hotel! I am taking an advantage of a "down" work period to plan.

                                    2. re: shekamoo

                                      Don't be deceived by it being Belgian. Definitely go with La Banquise for poutine - you won't be disappointed. Frite Alors can be really hit or miss, depending on the location.

                                      1. re: cherylmtl

                                        Shekamoo - Frite Alors used to have the awesome belgian fries you're dreaming of, but TRUST the CHers here when we say that, if you want poutine, go to La Banquise. Plus, it's open 24 hours, so you'll be able to work it into your schedule. :)

                                        The problem with Frite Alors is that, much like many other local restos that had a good thing going before they turned into chains... the "chainification" has led to a decrease in quality due to the need for homogeneity.

                                        1. re: lawyergirl77

                                          Personally, I prefer the fries at Frite Alors than those at Banquise. Yes, Banquise has many toppings that can be added to the poutine which can be fun, but if you're looking to try a classic poutine, I'd have to go with Frite Alors. Just my two cents.

                                          1. re: causeimhungry

                                            i usually go for classic poutine at banquise. it's the best one.

                                            1. re: frogsteak

                                              Lol. Everyone has their prefered poutine.

                                              I like poutine at La Banquise because they are always open and their product is usually pretty good in a standard fashion.

                                              I like poutine at Chez Paul Patates in PSC because its near where I live, I can drink spruce beer with it and the decor is very 50's.

                                              I like poutine at Frite Alors because I can order it with pulled pork.

                                              I like the chicken poutine at Benny because it reminds me of my childhood and Au Coq is just not the same!

                                              I like PDC's fois gras poutine because its so trashy chic!

                                              One of the best poutine I had is Chez Ti-Ken near Sorel (its a true shaq in front of Rivera Cheese producers)

                                              I have to try the burnt ends poutine at Blackstrap because I love the idea!

                                              There is a poutine for each occasion!

                                  2. re: shekamoo

                                    Bouillon bilk makes a delicious poutine and they are open on Mondays for lunch. It is definitely more upscale but a great restaurant all around. It is also not far from old montreal.