Montreal is an incredible city for foodies. It’s a melting pot of Canadian and French influences, given its location in the Quebec province. Add to that some amazing international options, and you’re spoilt for choice.
I did plenty of research before my trip, and upon realising that there were so many great options, I made it my mission to try as many places as possible and eat as much as I could in order to write this blog post. Yes it’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it!
There are delicious restaurants, famous bakeries, cosy cafes and bustling food markets covering a wide array of cuisine types. Even better, I found all of the places I visited to be solo traveller friendly and I felt really comfortable. That said, the places on this list would also be suitable for couples, groups etc!
Cost-wise, I found Montreal food and drink to be extremely reasonable when compared to the UK, particularly when you’re talking about large cities.
There are obviously high-end options available too, but this guide is filled with reasonable (or even cheap!) but delicious places to eat and drink.
As I travelled to Montreal solo, I didn’t drink much alcohol, so drinks wise I’ll be covering tea and coffee rather than cocktails!
Here goes. Warning- this post could make you VERY hungry..
Grab a warm, freshly baked bagel from St. Viateur
The Mile End district in Montreal is full of quirky shops and restaurants. None seem to be more famous than the St. Viateur bagel shops, where the Canadian version of this popular baked snack (apparently superior to the New York ones), are sold by the shed load.
Ask for what’s fresh from the oven and tuck in to a delicious, soft bagel as you wander the streets of trendy Mile End.
Indulge in some Poutine at La Banquise
You can’t really (or shouldn’t at least) visit Canada without trying national dish Poutine, whether it be a traditional version or one with a more modern twist.
The traditional version of Poutine is made up of golden fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Doesn’t sound or look very appetising but it’s so yummy. Just prepare for the inevitable food coma you’ll be in after eating it!
La Banquise is one of the most popular places to try Poutine in Montreal and it’s easy to see why. The service is efficient and friendly, and the food itself is very tasty. They also serve some nice beers to wash your food down with!
If you’ve not tried Poutine before, I’d recommend option for the traditional version for a true Canadian experience.
Enjoy some Tacos in the heart of Chinatown at La Capital
Yes, tacos and Chinatown, you read that right. Weird combination, particularly since it’s in Canada but I’m definitely here for it.
La Capital serves tasty Mexican food including tacos and other side dishes. The food is served on traditional Chinese style plates, which just adds to its quirkiness.
Think laid back, casual dining with a cool vibe and quick service. It’s definitely no frills but the food is absolutely delicious!
Have a delicious brunch at Tommy’s
I’m not sure about you but brunch is my favourite meal and I love discovering the best places to get it in a new city.
Tommy is an instagrammer’s dream, with the obligatory flower wall and pastel decor.
But that definitely doesn’t mean that the place is all style and no substance- the food is tasty and really reasonably priced. The coffee is lovely too.
It’s such a cliche but I’d highly recommend the avocado on toast with a poached egg- it’s super yummy and the bread is around the size of a small child- huge!
Start the day with a coffee and pastry at Cafe 1880
In my book, there’s no better way to start off a day of exploring a new city than with a good coffee and homemade pastry. Especially when you’re in a city that’s half French!
Cafe 1880 is the perfect place to start your day. The prices are really reasonable and you can expect really great quality. I had an almond croissant one morning and it was by far one of the best pastries I’ve ever eaten.
Get a taste of South East Asia with a Banh Mi from Banh Mi 79
There seemed to be more than a few Vietnamese restaurants in Montreal, probably down to its French influence (France colonised Vietnam back in the day).
If you’re lucky enough to have been to Vietnam, I’m sure you’ll have tried a Banh Mi sandwich. It’s essentially just meat and salad in a freshly baked baguette with a kick of spice, but oh my are they good. If you’ve haven’t tried on, you need to ASAP!
Go for the traditional pork version with plenty of spice, you can’t go wrong.
Eat your way around the Jean- Talon market
Marche Jean-Talon is a must-visit whilst you’re in Montreal. It’s a bustling food and drink market located in the Little Italy district of the city.
There are tonnes of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, wines, flowers, and so much more, across stalls, small stores and restaurants.
You can also pick up some Canadian souvenirs in the way of maple syrup and the like. I found Jean- Talon to be by far the cheapest place to buy this stuff.
Grab some free samples, drink some delicious fresh apple juice and enjoy some yummy baked goods. I’d recommend the macarons! Basically, just turn up with an stomach and try as many different things as you can.
Embrace your sweet tooth at Delices Erable & Cie
Whether you’re a huge fan of maple syrup or not, Delices Erable & Cie is well worth a visit. It’s an entire store and bistro dedicated to maple syrup, Canada’s most famous food.
It’s relatively pricey as it’s targeted at tourists, but they offer free tastings in store where you can try an array of products.
I didn’t feel any pressure to buy anything after trying lots of their sweet treats but the maple butter was so tasty I couldn’t leave without buying a small jar!
Whilst I didn’t find Canada expensive, I wasn’t on a tight budget and didn’t have to worry too much about prices. If you are travelling on a budget, be sure to check out the city’s supermarkets. They sell loads of different fresh foods such as salads, sushi and even poke bowls. Whilst the food isn’t super, super cheap, the quality is good and you’ll definitely save money compared to eating at a restaurant.
It’s also worth noting that the tap water is safe to drink in Canada; in fact it’s one of the best in the world! So pack that reusable bottle to save money and the planet. Win win.
Other places that are highly recommended:
- Schwartz Deli for smoked meat sandwiches
- Patati Poutine for Poutine
- Lov for vegetarian food
Happy eating/ bon appetit!