Recos within walking distance of our hotel
- shekamoo Mar 4, 2014 03:56 PM
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?
No bagels. Take a bus or cab up to St. Viateur or Fairmount for those. Olive & Gourmando on St. Paul has good breakfasts.
1) Montreal Poutine, 161 Rue Saint Paul Est
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)
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) 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.