Montreal is a heaven for foodies and wine lovers! It’s a cosmopolitan city where you can find food and wine from all around the world. One could easily argue that you can eat the best pasta in Italy, best Korean barbeque in Korea, best espada in Brazil and best croissant in France… but where you can find of all these in the same street? That would be MONTREAL!
I’ve only stayed in Montreal for 3 days and that was the time when I question my daily eating habits: Why am I only eating 3 meals a day? There are so many good places to eat in Montreal that I wish I could eat 5-6 times a day, so I could try more things… In the end, I ate as much as I could in these 3 days and I have so many delicious reasons to go back.
Here, I am sharing couple of the places that I’ve eaten and couldn’t forget since my visit:
Going there once definitely was not enough… There were so many things that I’d like to try and unfortunately only one stomach!
Christian Faure, renowned French chef, is showcasing many of the most delicious classic French patisserie in one tray. Not only showcasing actually, his shop in Place Royal is actually a “Pastry School” where he teaches French pastry to professionals, as well as to amateurs with workshops. This made me so excited, I’ll be trying to coincide one of his workshops to my next visit to Montreal.
Choosing which pasty you’ll go for is a very difficult decision: When they brought a big tray including all the menu comes to our table, they really caught me off-guard! This difficult decision brought us 2 desserts: one classical Mont Blanc cake, and a Croustillant de Pralin, which has praline, hazelnuts and chocolate. Accompanied by 2 cappuccinos s’il vous plaît.
The second visit was involved an éclair with coffee cream, and a chocolate croissant. I really liked this design of chocolate croissant, as you can get some chocolate in every single bite of your croissant.
Eating on Restaurant Europea of famous chef Jerome Ferrer was an unforgettable experience.
The dinner started with a dried Bayonne ham hanging like a piece of cloth drying in the rope from window to window, and this comes with some truffle potato sticks. The white truffle popcorn and the pesto goat cheese lollipop followed the dried clothes. The presentations are just genius, and making you feel that you’re involved in this game. The truffle aromas continue with truffle arancini.
A box came in, and the moment I’ve opened it some smoked air conquered the place. I felt like opening an old dusty book, but instead of pages there was piece of smoked salmon in its nest. After this notebook, a cigar box came in – when the waiter asked me if I’d like to smoke one, I kindly refused it! But the cigar ended up being a delicious croquette. After that I’ve received a small coffee cup which ended up being lobster cream cappuccino with truffle puree.
Coming to my favorite dish of the evening: Lemony calamari tagliatelle poached quail egg, squid ink and garlic butter croutons. The chef cut the squid like tagliatelle and marinated it with some lemon – to me it was the plate with more color and more flavor. (Paired with Chablis 1er Cru Forets, from Domaine Louis Michel et Fils, 2014.)
The following plate was a combination of different varieties and different textures of mushrooms. Shitake pannacotta, seared enoki, fine mushrooms tart with caramelized shallots and served with a sun-dried tomatoes organic herb salad. (Paired with Mercurey blanc, Viellies vignes from Francois Roquillet, 2015.)
In order to cleanse the palate, a cup of yuzu freezing mist, cucumber, and green apple refresher arrived. It was first time I am experiencing “yuzu” and I really loved this new flavor.
Coming to the main dishes, the first main dish is a veal in clay – Quebec veal cheeks slowly braised and cooked in clay. It really comes with a clay pot to the table and you had to break it to take out the meat from there. Than they take it back to kitchen to make it ready to serve. It comes with side of slivers of crispy potatoes served with Jerusalem artichokes and civet sauce. (Paired with Chateau Lassegue Les Cadrans de Lassegue Grand Cru from Saint Emilion, 2013.)
The other main dish is a carnish hen breast cooked and scarched on maple wood chips, comes with asparagus and root vegetables gratin smoked mashed potatoes. (Paired with Chambolle-Musigny Les Sentiers 1er Cru from Domaine Philippe Pacalet, 2014.)
Or course some fromage to finish the dinner, one of the cheeses that I’m missing the most from France: Morbier.
The desserts are coming from another world! “The candy tree from guilty land” made me turn back to my childhood.
It’s not just the meat you’re getting inside, it’s tradition… Schwartz’s Deli is serving their consumers the same quality over 90 years.
Everybody told me to go there, but it seems like everybody told everyone to go there as well: There is a huge line in the entrance that makes you wonder what is happening inside… The answer is very simple: A delicious sandwich! Once you are successfully finished the line and have a place to sit inside, they ask you only one question: How much fat would you like in your meat? After waiting 30 minutes in the line, I thought it would be a pity to order lean meat, so I went with the medium fat, although I never eat the fatty side of the meats. It was a great decision, so juicy and almost melts in your mouth. It was definitely worth to wait. Since inside is quite small and the tables are very close to each other, you’ll probably chat with other tourists who sit next to you and enjoy your sandwich along with an interesting chat.
Plateau is “the” part of the city to walk around and watch all the iconic street views of Montreal, full of street art, different architectures, so many pretty houses with staircases and just lovely streets.
Once I was so tired to walk around, I’ve made a delicious stop in Patisserie Au Kouign Amann. They had amazing croissants and tartelettes with different fillings, I’ve had this one with pecan. Since the weather was good, I was able to sit on the bench across the street and enjoy my tart. That was one of the moments that I’ve realized that the life is beautiful!
This was one rare moment, when I was very hungry, found a random restaurant just to grab a bite, and it turned out a feast. The starter was a salad with octopus legs and beans – an interesting combination for me that I’ve never thought of, and some feta on top as well! Not a bad idea to mix the flavors in a harmonious way. Unlike the classical Italian restaurants were the type of pasta is already assigned to a specific sauce, in this restaurant you could choose your pasta and sauce separately. I prefer the other way, but in any case, I was quite happy with my decision of spaghetti alle vongole.
I’ve paired this with a glass of blend of Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo. It was enjoyable atmosphere in the second floor of the restaurant – I would love to turn back here for a dinner as well!
The best bar during holiday is the one closest to your hotel! This was on the same street of mine and saw it every day when I was turning back to room. Finally last day it was my chance to enjoy some of the Belgian beers that are not easy to find in Nova Scotia (unfortunately), such as Duvel and Leffe. What was better was the varieties of the food that one could get, I’ve choose “drunken duck wings” – duck drummettes marinated and slow-braised in beer. They were a little bit spicy to accompany the beers, but if I had a chance to start over, I’d choose it again!
If you are a market lover like me, you should definitely take the metro until arriving Little Italy. From there, 10 minutes’ walk from the station, you’ll arrive to Market Jean Talon. If I was living in Montreal, I’d come here at least once in a week to buy some gourmet food! You can basically find anything here, from fresh fruits and vegetables, to seafood; from cheese to charcuterie products; from ready-to-eat world food to flowers…
After a quick tour in Jean Talon Market, I’ve realized that it was a mistake to go there after breakfast! I walked around to spend some time and get a little bit hungry. Thankfully there was a liquor store close by – SAQ, I spent fair amount of time to discover the selection that they have there. After that, I’ve started to feel hungry and went back to the market to eat some of the things I wanted to taste; a sausage made with duck meat, an empanada of beef and finally a pasteis de nata that I was craving for since visiting Lisbon.
This was pretty much everything that I’ve ate and drunk in Montreal, of course there are a lot more to say about places to see, museums to visit and things to do… I wanted to focus on the culinary experience side of the visit. If you are thinking to visit Montreal, I would suggest is to divide the days to see the highlights of the city and find some options for the restaurants close by. This suggestion would apply to all the visits actually, since you go around, get hungry and want to eat in the first place that you see – but if you already have some close by options that really seize the day, and the stomach!
I am saying “à bientôt!” to this amazing city and hoping to turn back very soon.
All images © 2019 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.