Montreal: Eat and Drink
I'm going to write about Montreal in two to three posts. I'll cover food and drink, then what I did and saw, and then maybe in a brief post, thoughts, and impressions. I loved the city and I have always heard such great things about Montreal and I already know that I want to go back - as there are a few things I didn't get to check off my list. But if anything, I have always known that it is a good city for dining. Every place I went was delicious and I would send anyone to any of the places I went. I also have some recommendations for places that I could not make it to so I can't wait to go back.
Reservoir - really small brewery with a small brunch and lunch menu full of delicious items. They sell small beers! So I had a 10 oz and two 5 oz. I drank the Cherry Porter, an unfiltered IPA, and a Red Sour (I'm paraphrasing the names). All of them were so good and unique and just delicious. I never came to Montreal expecting an interesting craft beer scene and was pleasantly surprised. I ate a late lunch here on Saturday after hiking (it was a hike) to the top of Mont Royal and they were still on their brunch menu. I ordered the venison sandwich which was also really delicious. So good, I can't even describe how good it was but I ate every bit of it. It was a lively, busy crowd in the small space but the atmosphere and service were fantastic. I sat at the bar and chatted in my terrible French and mostly English to all of the friendly women working the bar and serving. I spent about $30 (US) here with tip. I'll list all of my costs in US dollars.
Labo Culinaire - My fancy splurge of the trip! I didn't intend to have a splurge but this place was recommended for the space itself, the food, and the atmosphere so I decided I wanted a splurge closer to my hotel. I ordered oysters (from P.E.I., west coast are my favorite but when in Rome...), the Arctic Char, and then I was talked into their deconstructed and somewhat upscale pear cobbler for dessert. I almost never get dessert, but I am glad that I did because they topped me off with some complimentary dessert wine from Quebec. I drank two glasses of wine here too (a Malbec and a white, both really good and different). The service was great and I just missed the theatre crowd so when I walked in at 7:45, they'd just had their Saturday evening rush and it had just emptied. It was quiet but gradually got busy again and was really busy when I left around 9:30. With tip, I spent about $75 here. Not bad at all considering the service, food, and attention I was given.
Olive and Gourmando - I ate here twice - not unusual for me when I travel (ahem, Mikkeller, a restaurant in Riga, a Rum bar in Panama). This place was PACKED when I walked in for breakfast on Sunday morning. Sunday morning brunch is a "thing" everywhere, I suppose. Being a solo diner, I got a table at the communal counter/bench right away and ended up sitting across from a couple who were not that friendly, and they thankfully left quickly. But then I ended up seated next to a really nice meeting planner in town for work from Toronto and across from another solo traveler who appeared to be in his 20s/30s. We all chatted a bit but I had a really nice time talking to the woman from Toronto since our careers are fairly similar. But anyway, this place had freshly made pastries every morning, really great coffee, savory brunch and breakfast items, and a few brunch cocktails (a spritzer and a michelada). I ordered coffee, the spritzer, and the Poached Egg On Your Face Panini which was AMAZING and just spicy enough. I went there my last morning too because I wanted to try one of their pastries. So the second time I ordered a chia pudding that was the most beautifully decorated and presented chia puddings I've ever seen but I didn't take a photo of it because I suck! And I also ordered a pastry that was cinnamon flavored and delicious. I would go back to this place. You could also buy coffee, granola, and other items to go. Pastries are made fresh daily and when they're out for the day, that's it. Highly recommended. I spent about $25 here the day I got a cocktail and $18 the morning that I didn't.
Crew Collective and Cafe - I got an almond croissant here and a chia pudding and coffee my first morning, because it was really close to my hotel and reviews, said the space was pretty. It was, it was good but nothing special. It is a great space for coworking though and many people were doing that. It is on the mezzanine level of a high rise bank building right by the Intercontinental Montreal (where I stayed). I spent about $14 here because I ordered a latte, the rather large chia pudding (premade), and the pastry. I have the appetite of a lumberjack so I probably eat more breakfast than most people.
Le Distillerie No. 1 - super fun place for cocktails that was recommended to me by one of my silks coaches who has spent months at a time in Montreal training (circus). I loved it. I spent time people watching and chatting with the bartender and some travelers from the Dominican Republic (so I spoke some Spanish too!) I ordered a few cocktails here and then some smaller beers since it was my last night. I enjoyed the Yoda cocktail (with tequila) and the Mad Man (rye). Both were really good! Yoda was green and had two little lime wedges on the glass for ears. In hindsight, I bet they loooove making that, haha. I also had sea 5 oz beers that the Dominicans kept ordering for me when they ordered more. My bill was around $30.
Le Saint Bock - Really good craft brewery with at least 20 of their own beers on tap at once but there were over 40 on tap. I had a very difficult time deciding but had the Black Jesus (a double IPA) and then I sampled two before ordering a smoked porter. The other one that I almost got was their Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels. It was a VERY close call but I chose the smoked beer because I think I've had less of those and I love anything smoked. I also had poutine here! My second poutine of the trip. They had several different options on the menu but I ordered the vegetarian chili poutine. It was really tasty and the cheese curds were super squeaky and fresh. I can't really describe squeakiness, it is something you have to taste for yourself. Total spending here was around $30.
Bistro Vallier - My first meal in Montreal (dinner) and first introduction to the city. I loved it. I had a really interesting beer called L'Infusee that was infused with three different teas and I ordered the butternut squash soup and the duck confit poutine appetizer. The server then convinced me that I needed the Brazilian coffee creme brulee for dessert and I didn't refuse. Service was great here, I sat at the bar and I arrived so late that it was fairly quiet because I think I arrived at the time in between dinner and when people go out for drinks. I spent about $28 here.
I did not have a single bad meal in Montreal. There are so many other places that were recommended and I'd love to return and check them all off of my list.