Montreal is an amazing foodie destination. Why? Because the city simply lives for food. From traditional recipes handed down from our grandmothers to inventive new Quebec cuisine and exotic flavours from the four corners of the earth, chefs across the city continue to amaze and delight palates of seasoned and budding epicureans.
While there’s no way we could possible showcase everything Montreal brings to the table (literally), here are a few selections from the city’s phenomenal food scene.
Try the Montreal musts
Montreal has several iconic foods you just can’t leave the city without trying.
To start, the smoked-meat sandwich. Juicy, tender, dripping with goodness, you can try a sandwich stacked with savoury meat at Schwartz’s Deli.
If you’ve never heard of poutine, it’s time you gave it a try. A tasty trifecta of cheese curds, chips, and gravy, you can get it “frilled up” with foie gras at Au Pied de Cochon, with lobster chunks at Le Garde-Manger, or choose from 30 different flavour variations from La Banquise.
And then there are Montreal bagels, whose deliciousness has caused even the proudest of New Yorkers to admit defeat, and bow down to the champs. Make sure you enjoy one of these sesame-seed coated creations fresh out of the wood-burning ovens of St-Viateur Bagel or Fairmount Bagel, two legendary bagel shops within a short walk of one another.
For full appreciation of the dazzling array of fresh local products—cheeses, meats, fish, breads, fruits, vegetables, and more—a trip to either the Jean-Talon Market or Atwater-Market is not only mouth-watering, but essential.
Venture out with new Quebec cuisine
The creativity of Montreal’s chefs continues to shine in restaurants around town.
Boasting a menu based entirely on Quebec terroir cuisine, the young Manitoba has been getting rave reviews all around.
Martin Juneau, one of Canada’s top chefs, is the owner of Pastaga, where dishes like guinea fowl from La Mauricie with mushrooms and celeriac root positively wow those lucky enough to eat there.
Chef Adrien Renaud at Foodlab delivers week-after-week with mouth-watering seasonal fare fresh from Canada’s lands and waters.
Proving it’s not just savoury that puts a sparkle in our eye, Patrice Pâtissier, a darling little shop run by pastry chef Patrice Demers, dazzles dessert lovers with his financier cakes, dessert cups, and pecan shortbread. Oooh-la-la!
Indulgence is a part of Montreal living, so loosen your belt and don’t hold back.
Chef Normand Laprise was a local pioneer in farm-to-fork cuisine, and continues to delight with his creativity at Toqué, bearer of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux seal and a regular name on any list of the top restaurants in Canada.
Set amidst the arresting beauty of Old Montreal, the refined cuisine of Verses Bistro should be on any foodie’s to-do list.
For another great gourmet experience, book a table at Europea, another Relais & Châteaux restaurant in the heart of downtown that has diners swooning over its whimsical, seductive, and delicious dishes crafted with the utmost of passion.
Epicureans and famous American chef and food personality, the late Anthony Bourdain can’t get enough of Joe Beef. The restaurant—another regular presence on “best of Canada” restaurant lists—creates laid-back, playful but impeccably crafted culinary offerings, all in that signature Montreal style.
Finally, Bouillon Bilk is a sure bet for a delicious and sophisticated meal, enjoyed in its tucked-away, unpretentious setting.
Get the real deal
Montreal is a multi-cultural city, as evidenced by the smorgasbord of international cuisine.
For an authentic French meal, look no further than Chez Lévêque Restaurant. This Parisian-style bistro keeps things simple and seasonal and totally authentic.
If you love Japanese cooking, the izakaya-style restaurant Flyjin features market-fresh produce prepared using traditional Japanese cooking techniques.
Italian more your thing? Head off to Little Italy for a chance to try the delicious rustic and market-inspired dishes at Impasto.
The Mexican sun shines at the heart of Montreal at Escondite, where tapas, ceviche, tacos, and the like are served in a friendly downtown ambiance.
For more on Montreal food, visit the Tourism Montreal website.