Not that long ago, we shared our guide to food and drink in Quebec City. But the capital of the Quebec province is not the only foodie city in the region. If you’re in Canada on the hunt for great food and drink, we recommend taking a trip 3 hours east to Montreal to experience another tasty side to the French-Canadian province.
Home to 5,000 restaurants, Montreal is bursting with flavours and with a lower cost of living than many cities of comparable size, eating your way around the city won’t hurt your bank balance. Here’s just an example of what you can bite your teeth into.
Montreal has perfected its approach to preparing its unique style of smoked meats. The distinctive Montreal-style smoked meat that you’ll find in restaurants and delis is a kosher-style deli meat that uses beef brisket that has been allowed to absorb the flavours for over a week (usually savoury such as cracked peppercorns or mustard seeds) before being hot smoked and steamed. Look out for it in diners and fast-food restaurants.
Poutine’s home is the nearby Quebec City so it’s no surprise that Canada’s unofficial dish has made its way to Montreal in abundance. There’s an endless list of various poutine toppings in Montreal but one that stands out – and provides a nod to the city’s French history – is foie gras poutine.
You’ll probably come across a few Montrealers who claim that this Canadian city boasts a tastier bagel than New York City. Either way, Montreal’s take on the bagel is definitely distinctive: it is smaller, thinner, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole, and is always baked in a wood-fired oven. Just like bagel-loving New York, you’ll find this sweet treat across the city no matter where you go.
Jean Talon Market
Can a city really claim to be foodie friendly if it doesn’t have an outdoor market? There’s several in Montreal but the local celebrity is the Jean Talon Market, found in the Little Italy district. It is home to 300 food vendors, who are mostly local farmers selling meats and cheeses.
When Montreal was first built it was the perfect blend of Parisian chic and new world adventure. And over the years Montreal has opened its arms to a multitude of new cultures and is now a multi-cultural melting pot where you can eat French croissants one day and bolognaise in Little Italy or Dim Sum in Chinatown the next. Name a cuisine, and someone will be able to point you in the direction of a restaurant that serves it.