Montreal is one of Canada’s top culinary capitals – and for good reason. Food critics like Anthony Bourdain have fallen in love with the city’s unpretentious and honest approach to food. And while French-Canadian classics like poutine and bagels are absolutely an essential on this list, the city has so much more to offer for food lovers. Read on for our list of 10 essential spots for your next Montreal food tour.
This beloved Italian bakery has been serving Montreal’s Little Italy neighbourhood for 50 years, and is a go-to destination for every Italian baked good you can imagine. Everything from the dough to the frostings they use are made from scratch in-house. Once you step inside the bustling bakery, you’ll see endless glass cases of Italian goodies to try – their fruit tarts dusted with powdered sugar are a total showstopper, and their piles of cannolis, lobster tails, bombolonis and eclairs are simply stunning. You can’t go wrong with anything you pick up from this charming spot, but the classic cannolis are an absolute must-order.
Dobe & Andy
Montreal’s Chinatown is a destination in itself, and is home to endless delights from Chinese bakery favourites to hard-to-find dragon’s beard candy. For a gourmet twist on homestyle fare, be sure to head to Dobe & Andy. Helmed by Edmund and Eric Ku, this family restaurant is a go-to destination for Hong Kong BBQ classics like roast duck, char siu, and their expertly cooked, melt-in-your-mouth, juicy roast pork. Not to mention their extensive menu of Chinese classics like beef hor fun, crispy chow mein and wok-fried veggies that pair perfectly with their BBQ meats.
You can find poutine on just about every street corner in Montreal, but if you want the true poutine experience, you must stop by Chez Tousignant. This vintage-inspired diner is the brainchild of notable restaurateurs Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione (a Food Network Canada Wall of Chefs chef, so you know it’s going to be good). Everything they serve is made in-house with quality ingredients, from the gravy to the burgers to the hotdogs and even the buns. The only exception is the cheese curds on their poutine, which are brought in daily from local Quebec fromageries. We recommend going hungry and trying one of everything on the menu – trust us, you won’t regret it.
Helmed by chef-owner Paul Toussaint, this Pan-Caribbean restaurant is a celebration of the Caribbean islands – and everything from the dishes to the music to the decor are meant to reflect a traditional Caribbean market. With an emphasis on sustainable foods and the goal of adding more diversity to Montreal’s culinary tapestry, this restaurant in the heart of Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles blends Caribbean flavours with fine-dining French traditions and Quebec’s signature casse-croute (light meal) culture. On the menu you’ll find Chef Paul’s signature jerk chicken, conch gratin, rhum cake and more.
No trip to Montreal is complete without a proper Montreal smoked meat sandwich, and there’s a reason Schwartz’s always has a long line: they make the best one in town. The world-famous Jewish deli has been serving up their iconic sandwiches for over 90 years. Their smoked meat is cured for a minimum of 10 days in their brick smokehouse, then piled high on rye bread and generously slathered with yellow mustard. To fully get the Schwartz’s experience, we recommend pairing your smoked meat sandwich with a half-sour pickle, a black cherry soda, and a side of fresh homemade French fries for good measure. Bon appetit!
This classic Montreal diner has been serving Montrealers and tourists alike for breakfast, brunch and lunch for the past 70 years. Its charmingly vintage feel feels a bit like stepping back in time, and its classic menu of traditional Jewish nosh is the perfect way to start your day, from a classic Beautys breakfast to a bagel with lox, you just can’t go wrong.
Montreal bagels are a Canadian institution, and St-Viateur Bagel has been making their beloved bagels for over 65 years (which also happens to make them the longest running bagel shop in Montreal). The famed bagel shop has two locations in Montreal with more sprinkled throughout Quebec, but they also supply many restaurants and grocery stores across the city. Their bagels are handmade in-store, then boiled in honey water and coated with their classic toppings: sesame, poppy, whole wheat, multigrain, or all dressed. Their flagship location on rue St-Viateur only sells bagels, while their café on Mont-Royal offers the full café experience with bagel sandwiches, coffee and the works. Regardless of which location you stop by, be sure to grab a few extra to take home (your future self will thank you).
This fun and intimate restaurant in Montreal’s Verdun neighbourhood is helmed by brothers Pablo and Ari Schor, where they bring their Argentinian-Jewish background to the menu with zippy dishes like crudo empanadas, plus cheeky takes on comfort food classics like blooming endive and anchovies (an elevated twist on the blooming onion) and caviar tarts (inspired by the iconic pop tart, what else?).
Whether you’re in Montreal for a week or just 24 hours, a visit to Jean-Talon Market is a must for a taste of all the city has to offer under one roof. At the market you’ll find seasonal produce, fresh baked goods, the finest Quebec cheeses, fresh meats and seafood, spices, flowers, artisanal goods, and an absolutely incredible selection of Quebec-made maple syrup. If you only take one thing home from the market, make sure it’s a can of Quebec-made maple syrup – no matter which stand you choose to buy from, you’ll be in for a treat.
This charming Italian spot in Montreal’s Villeray neighbourhood is run by business partners and real-life couple Luca Cianciulli and Maxime Landry (you may recognize the former, he won Chopped Canada back in 2014). The restaurant’s cool, lowkey vibes are paired with a killer cocktail menu, extensive wine list and luscious pasta offerings, including their beloved maccheroni bolognese. If you’re craving pasta, this is the place to go.
Read more: The Coolest Quebec-Made Foods to Add to Cart