If you’ve noticed the site has been quite for the past few days, it’s for good reason– I’ve been in Montreal! My lovely mother hopped on a flight for Easter Weekend, and the two of us enjoyed much of what the gorgeous city has to offer.
Quebec’s largest city has a pile to offer visitors– from gorgeous architecture and world-class museums to fantastic shopping and luxe lounges, Montreal is full of things to do and see. But the most glorious part of the city? The food. The food!!! The french bistros, the desserts, the pastries, the fromageries— it’s cheat-day heaven. So without further adieu, you’re invited to relive each and every bite (well, almost) of my Montreal weekend.
Our first dinner was at the famous French bistro L’Express. Nestled in the heart of The Plateau, L’Express is known for it’s traditional French food and Parisian vibe– both of which we were totally digging. After a glass of rose and some beyond-fresh baguette, we started with a lentil and octopus salad.
Needless to say, we weren’t returning to the hotel with any leftovers. The waiter recommended the rum baba for dessert– we just couldn’t say no.
The really impressive thing about L’Express was their ability to make simple dishes taste incredibly complex. If you’re visiting Montreal, put it on your short list of restaurants– there are few like it on this continent.
Shopping seemed to take precedence over eating for much of our first full day in the city (though we did split an ungodly good chocolate brownie from Juliette & Chocolat). Perhaps hunger had begin to cloud my judgement by the evening, because I went to dinner at Sho-Dan Sushi cameraless. This is truly unfortunate, as it was some of the best sushi either of us have been lucky enough to eat. After a few lychee martinis, we started our meal with a softshell crab in ponzu sauce, then shared the Cita Caliente (yellowtail sashimi and jalepenos in ponzu) and the Besame Mucho (spicy tuna, shrimp, avocado, and tempura flakes rolled in soya paper).
We then, of course, were in the market for something sweet. Lucky for us, Suite 88 Chocolatier was only a few blocks away– which meant expresso, truffles, and a holy-shit-this-is-the-best-thing-i’ve-ever-tasted slice of chocolate cake.
After collapsing from a chocolate-coma, we awoke refreshed and, naturally, on the hunt for pastry and coffee. We hopped on the metro to Montreal’s famous Atwater Market. Next to the Lachine Canal, the market is the year-round home to many Quebec delicatessens, bakeries, chocolatiers, and fromageries, along with vendors of some of the most lovely fresh flowers, fresh produce, local maple syrup, fish, and oils & vinegars.
After surveying the landscape, we got down to getting down with some pastry. Look no further than Premiere Moisson. Jam-packed with locals either getting breakfast or picking up a pre-Easter dessert, the Quebec bakery seemed to offer every baked good known to man. Apologies if the following pictures create sudden, intense cravings.
After much deliberation, we decided to go with two croissants: one almond, one chocolate. Now, this isn’t a knock against the chocolate, but if you go to Premiere Moisson and don’t order an almond croissant, you will live in regret for the rest of your life.
After we resisted the temptation to order one of everything, we did what any sensible women would do… head to the chocolatier. Since Easter was just around the corner, we were floored by the selection of adorable chocolate bunnies (not to mention cows, cats, and other cute animals) at Chocolats Privilege.
After getting our fill of chocolates, we grabbed a fresh baguette and a bag of the oh-so-lauded St-Viatuer Bagels (if you’ve never had a Montreal-style bagel, you’re missing out) and headed to La Fromagerie Atwater.
Now, with the possible exceptions of maple syrup and hockey, cheese is Quebec’s thing. Second only to France, it’s the largest cheese producing region in the world, and the majority of cheeses are only available within the province. The charming family-run fromagerie offered over 800 different types of cheeses, and since even we can’t eat that much, we had to make some decisions. After some glorious taste tests, we settled on a stunningly good Quebec goat cheese and –my personal favourite– a very smoked, very delicious, semi-hard cow’s milk cheese. The fromagerie also offered about a billion types of smoked and/or cured meat and pate.
We started with champagne.
The top plate was home to the best scones I’ve ever eaten (the waiter told us they’re a bit more leavened than a traditional scone). Delicate little finger sandwiches sat in the middle, and the bottom tier boasted the most fantastic and detailed little pastries.
The finger sandwiches were assorted– pacific smoked salmon and wild mushroom, goat cheese and cucumber, & smoked chicken and truffles. And finally, I have no idea what the desserts actually were– aside from super-tasty and very pretty.
Tea was a real treat, and goes highly recommended– a great, glamorous experience that feels a bit like going back in time.
Easter morning was upon us, and after going to service at Notre Dame Cathedral (we aren’t Catholic, but the experience & the STUNNING, stunning structure drew us in), we brunched at Le St-Sulplice Hotel in the Old Port. The hotel restaurant, Sinclair, offered a tremendous brunch. We started with coffee and mimosas.
My round one: cold grilled vegetables, greek salad, two different bean salads, scrambled eggs, traditional hash browns, and a margherita pasta. My mother eats meat, so her plate included some lovely beef, chicken, & duck dishes. The second time around, I grabbed wild mushroom lasagna, beet salad, and a big pile of fresh pineapple, kiwi, & berries.
It was perfect! Finally, we made the dessert rounds. Beyond the cutie pie chocolate eggs and bunnies, the dessert table was stocked with chocolate mousse, tiramisu, dark chocolate cake, truffles, macarons, and other assorted brownies/pastries/cookies/other good things. Any buffet with macarons is a-ok in my book. After practically rolling back to the hotel, we decided to burn off brunch with a big walk up the mountain in Mount Royal Park. The view from the top is impossible to beat! I also hung out with one of my new friends. After such a big day, we went for some low-key sushi takeout for dinner.
On our final day, we strolled along the cobblestone streets of the Old Port… but finished with a dark chocolate cronut! I was semi-skeptical, but this donut-croissant hybrid lived up to all of the hype.
And with that, we headed to the airport. The weekend was delicious treat after delicious treat, very happily shared with my wonderful mother. As you can well imagine, this has been a cardio-heavy week for me…. but Montreal’s food was so worth it! If you’re planning a trip to Montreal, any and all of these culinary options come highly, highly recommended… you won’t be disappointed!