Montreal Food Adventures

Here is a very long overdue recap of our Montreal eating adventures from our family reunion. Montreal is one of the most charming cities to visit – a friend described it as “Europe, without having to fly to Europe.”

We happened to visit while Canada was celebrating its 150th birthday! Tim Horton’s is the Canada equivalent of Dunkin Donuts – famous for their coffee and doughnuts. B swears their coffee is so much better,  and he bought the most massive tin of coffee I’ve ever seen from their shop.

I confess I didn’t know too much about Canadian cuisine other than maple syrup, but some of the highlights we tried included poutine, smoked meat sandwiches, and shepherd’s pie.  Look at these adorable postcards!
Here’s some poutine topped with smoked meat (on the left) and a smoked meat sandwich (on the right) from Smoking Meat Vieux in Old Montreal. 
Poutine, the national dish of Canada, is made of French fries and cheese curds topped with gravy. B and my brother ate a LOT of it. There’s numerous poutine variations, including one that I found incredibly amusing while walking around – “La Cholesterol Plus”! We didn’t try it, but after eating that, you’ll certainly need your cholesterol medications.  (Plus more adorable Montreal postcards!)
The most famous smoked meat sandwich place is Schwart’z Deli (all of the taxi drivers kept recommending it), which we ate right before hiking Mont Royal. They bring you platters of meat and bread, which you assemble into a sandwich. I’m sorry I don’t have any pics of the sandwiches because we ate them all too quickly! 
Montreal smoked meat reminds me of a cross between pastrami and brisket. You can read more about the origins and how it’s made this Serious Eats article.
Canadian shepherd’s pie is made of ground beef, corn, and mashed potatoes. Although not something I would eat on a daily basis, it’s fun to try. We ate this Shepherd’s pie at Restaurant Mâche, which is located in Rue St. Denis, a popular restaurant area with beautiful architecture and lively music.
Also in Rue St Denis is the epic Juliette And Chocolate dessert shop. We had various assortments of brownies, cakes, ice creams, cheesecake, hot chocolate, and coffee. Their hazelnut ice cream and 5 brownies on a stick should not be missed.

Old Montreal was my favorite part of the trip and is a must see for any tourist; this historic district is full of charming shops, restaurants, and beautiful architecture. You can find Canadian tea, Canadian maple syrup, Canadian clothes, Canadian magnets, and all the Canadian souvenirs you want.  Be sure to check out Bonsecours Market for the shopping!

We had a leisurely outdoor lunch at Modavie, a French restaurant in Old Montreal to recharge after shopping. Of course we had to eat the mussels and frites. B also loved their steak tartare, one of his favorite French foods.

Beaver Tails is a Canada pastry chain serving various toppings on fried dough pastries that started from a family recipe. We tried both the maple butter and cheesecake toppings. Beaver Tails are so popular, even former President Obama just had to have one on his first official visit, and they use up 33.5 tons of chocolate hazelnut spread per year!

B and I stayed an extra day after all my family flew back home. Alas, it was rainy and cold, but it didn’t stop us from visiting the massive Montreal Botanical Garden (right next to the Olympic Stadium). We ate a quick lunch at the Botanical restaurant. B had a very delicious and colorful veggie bowl – I couldn’t believe he ordered a vegetarian dish on his own volition!

We also visited the Jean Talon Farmer’s Market, where we ate our last Canadian meal – crepes at Creperie du Marche. B and I split a smoked salmon goat cheese crepe and an apple and maple butter crepe.

The market vendors have samples of their delicious items – fruits, vegetables, maple, honey, pastries/desserts. Sadly B and I had run out of cash, and we only had carry-on luggages, preventing us from bringing any fresh food / liquids back to the US. Alas, we were relegated to only admiring the food with our eyes instead of our stomachs.

Of course, I could not leave Canada without maple syrup souvenirs. Mine were from Delices Erable & Cie (Delicacies Maple & Co) – their beautiful gourmet maple products make for great gifts and souvenirs. Unfortunately, I got in trouble with my maple jelly at airport security because it (barely) exceeded the liquid limit. Luckily they let us carry it on the plane after we literally drank enough to get it below the TSA 3.4 oz limit.

Hope you enjoyed our food adventures. It was my first time in Montreal, but it certainly won’t be my last (my program director has already given me restaurants recommendations for the next time I go!)

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  1. All this food looks delicious. I'm curious about the "poutine"… My personal favourite is "moules frites", simply delicious and very popular in the north of France…

  2. My family and I love Montreal! Such a great City with yummy food! Our favorite vegan restaurant is the Aux Vivres! Your pics look amazing! The food looks sooo good!