Montreal is known for its ever-evolving and inventive food scene. With more restaurants per citizen than any other city in Canada, there are boundless dining options in every neighbourhood. For travellers on a budget or for those who want to maximize their time exploring the city, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite Montreal food spots to visit while on the go.
A trip to Montreal wouldn’t be complete without biting into a freshly baked St. Viateur bagel. The famous 24-hour bakery in Mile End has long battled against Fairmount Bagel for the title of Montreal’s best bagel. No matter where your loyalties lie, there’s no denying that this is a must-visit spot for anyone visiting the city. While there are dozens of flavours to choose from, sesame makes up about 70 percent of sales. Unlike the large and doughy New York-style bagels, Montreal-style bagels are smaller, less chewy and a bit sweet thanks to a process that involves dipping the hand-rolled dough into honey or malt syrup before it’s baked in a wood-fired oven.
When one of our featured Montreal designers told us that their newest favourite spot in the city was Escondite, we knew we had to visit. The name, which translates to “hiding place,” aptly describes this arty, Mexican haunt in the heart of downtown. From the outside, you wouldn’t expect much. But step inside and you’ll fall in love with the restaurant’s colourful murals, neon signs and kitschy hip vibe. Serving up innovative tacos, craft cocktails and classics like guacamole and ceviche, there’s a reason this spot is always bustling.
Walk down Fairmount Avenue on a warm, sunny day and you’re bound to see a line up running out the door of Kem CoBa, Montreal’s coolest new artisanal ice-cream shop. Offering sorbets made using fresh ingredients, ice cream and unique soft serve combinations that change weekly, the cones here are most definitely worth the wait. The inspiration comes from the co-owners’ backgrounds in Vietnam and France, hence the unique medley of flavours. While the fruity sorbets evoke memories of the market fresh tastes of Asia, flavours like Salted Butter are reminiscent of Parisienne patisseries.
With an eclectic, charming atmosphere in the heart of the Mile End, Le Cagibi is a mecca for the city’s artists, students and musicians. Add a vegetarian menu featuring burritos, chilli, grilled cheese and baked goods, and you’ve got the perfect spot to spend an afternoon reading and working while sipping a latte. By night, Le Cagibi offers live music, film screenings, book readings and other entertainment for bohemian locals and travellers alike.
Words by Julia Eskins
Photos by Aleyah Solomon