Six things you must eat in Montreal

Six things you must eat in Montreal

Don’t leave town without trying these treats.

Words by Ute Junker

Photos supplied

Montreal is a city that takes its food seriously. With fresh food markets, buzzy neighbourhood bistros, exquisite patisseries and a sophisticated fine-dining scene, it can be hard to know where to start. These are some of the experiences no food fan should miss.

Best kilojoule overload: Au Pied de Cochon

Consider yourself warned. Au Pied de Cochon is not for the fainthearted – or for vegetarians. The place that Anthony Bourdain described as “simply one of my favourite restaurants on the planet” – and one of the places that helped put Montreal’s food scene on the map two decades ago – has not lost any of its commitment to showcasing the joys of meat. This is a place that offers half a dozen different ways to enjoy foie gras, including on a hamburger, as well as its classic duck in a can. For committed carnivores only.

Best fine diner: Toqué!

Chef Normand Laprise is another of the pioneers who helped lift Montreal’s food scene to a new level and a meal at his downtown fine diner Toqué! remains a memorable experience. Every element of delicately-constructed dishes such as sea urchin with oyster and ginger water, has been thought through. Laprise was a pioneer of the farm-to-table ethos, even ordering in whole carcasses and butchering them in-house. If you can’t get a table, try the sibling restaurant Beau Mont in Park-Ex.

Best poutine: La Banquise

It’s hardly haute cuisine, but there is something deliciously addictive about poutine, Montreal’s favourite snack food. The classic version tops French fries with gravy and cheese curds but at La Banquise, they like to mix it up. Their menu features more than 30 different variations including La Danse, a tasty update featuring chicken, onions, bacon and pepper.

Best bagels: St Viateur and Fairmount Bagels

Despite their fierce rivalry, Montreal’s two top bagel outlets, St Viateur and Fairmount Bagels, actually have a lot in common. Both are dedicated to making their bagels by hand, resulting in a marvellously feather-light consistency. Both are open 24 hours a day, and in both cases, their bagels leave their New York cousins for dead.

Best food market: Marché Jean-Talon

Foodie heaven. Marché Jean-Talon is a sprawling undercover open-air market has more than 300 stalls where you can feast on seasonal fresh produce from berries to lobster, and eggs of every type from quail to goose. Also onsite are al fresco diners and the wonderful Marché des Saveurs, a specialist in Quebecois goodies, stocking everything from maple smoked bison to the best of the microbreweries.

Best patisserie: Chez Potier

The French have a wonderful term for window-shopping. “Lecher les vitrines” literally means to lick the windows, and that is what you will be doing at Chez Potier, where the window displays a dazzling assortment of exquisite cakes and pastries. In a town packed with excellent patisseries – Pâtisserie Rhubarbe is another highlight – Olivier Potier’s croissants and kouign-ammans are the ones to beat.

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