Ok now on to the good stuff. We were pretty clueless about where to eat and shop in Montreal and relied purely on recommendations from internet friends, Foursquare lists, and one episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. What we discovered? Montreal has really good food. I mean REALLY good. Although we ate and shopped a TON, I’ve narrowed down our favorite spots below. The photo quality is reminiscent of blogs circa 2008 so bear with me. I only used my iPhone and at the time, I wasn’t thinking about taking high-quality pics because I was stuffing my face and slipping in and out of food comas. #blogfail. Anyway, the favorites –>
Olive et Gourmando
This was BY FAR our favorite place. And by “favorite,” I mean we had lunch here 3 times and I’m not kidding. It’s an adorable cafe with a daily-changing menu of sandwiches/salads/soups and a case full of delicious pastries. I can’t decide what I liked more: the cajun chicken, guacamole, and mango sandwich OR the quinoa salad with chickpeas, haricot verts, snap peas, and tiny peppers. I tried something different each time and couldn’t resist something sweet from the pastry counter after each meal.
This restaurant calls itself a “tartare bar” so we knew we had to check it out, being that we love tartare and all. It was lively, hip, and we ate some of the best tuna tartare I’ve ever had. My favorite was the tuna with sesame vinaigrette because it reminded me of poke bowls. We also ordered the mac & cheese poutine and easily gained 5 pounds each. Two thumbs up.
I was legitimately scared to go to Joe Beef and I can honestly say it was the craziest of our experiences. It was also beyond amazing. Let me explain. This restaurant specializes in MEAT. Lots of it. If you’re wondering why 2 semi-vegetarians (we don’t eat red meat or pork) went here, I have no answer. The menu, which changes daily, is written on a chalkboard wall…in French. Yes, I took French in high school but I can’t read “horse heart” and “sea urchin fried in cornflakes.” We had the waitress read us the entire menu and ended up finding quite a few things we’d enjoy. We ordered burrata with green beans, an egg gelee, lobster spaghetti, and halibut with mussels. Oh and a few glasses of sparkling wine and a bloody mary or two (the bloody mary comes with an oyster and a crab leg, NBD). Everything was beyond delicious. I still have dreams about that lobster spaghetti and I don’t think I’ll have better lobster ever again. Sigh.
This little vegan cafe is perfect for lunch and we both loved it. I had a tempeh bowl with brown rice, veggies, and a thai peanut sauce that really hit the spot. They also had a full menu of teas which made my heart happy.
On our last night in Montreal, we dined at our hotel’s restaurant and I’m so glad we did. There was a band playing, soccer games on tv, and the food was simple and delicious. We ordered fish & chips, a nicoise salad, and a half dozen oysters. It was a perfect meal to end our trip. Plus, they served the best beer of our lives: Kronenberg 1664 blanc.
Juliette et Chocolat
We went to this chocolate-only dessert bar one night and split a crepe with nutella and strawberries. Ok why aren’t there dessert bars in Los Angeles? This would totally be my jam on a Saturday night if there were.
Kyle’s a longtime lover of Rooney’s online shop so this was a must-stop for us. It’s a well-curated men’s & women’s store with brands like Gitman Vintage, Saturdays NYC, and they even had some sweet New Balances. I wanted that Apolis market bag SO BADLY, but my mom calls me “bag lady,” meaning I probably don’t need another bag in my life.
This was another great store we visited with a line-up of really unique designers, like Dana Lee and Apiece Apart. I haven’t seen a store so well-curated in a long time. Plus, I wanted their plant stands soooo badly (not for sale, of course).
Alright and because I loved the place so much, two more photos from Olive et Gourmando. That’s cous cous with a tomato-based sauce and roasted veggies, topped with pistachios and minty yogurt. I mean, really? So delicious.
Last thing! I haven’t mentioned our Montreal hotel much, but we stayed at the Auberge du Vieux-Port and loved every second of our experience. It was smack in the middle of Old Montreal, the room was beautiful, the staff was so accommodating, and there was complimentary breakfast every day. And I mean GOOD complimentary breakfast, like eggs benedict and waffles. It was nice to save a few bucks each day by eating breakfast in our hotel.
And lest you think my blog is turning into a travel blog, it’s back to regular programming tomorrow!