The local cuisine in Montreal

The local cuisine in Montreal
Updated 2024-03-20 11:06

Let's be honest, cuisine isn't Quebec's strongest asset. Nonetheless, Montreal boasts some excellent restaurants, making it an ideal destination to explore a variety of global flavors.

Poutine: the must-try dish in Montreal

Poutine stands as Quebec's culinary symbol. This timeless combination of cheese curds, French fries, and brown gravy is perfect for late nights or when you're really hungry. Montreal hosts a summer festival called Le Grand Poutinefest dedicated to celebrating this iconic dish.

Undoubtedly the city's most renowned poutine restaurant, La Banquise near Parc Lafontaine is a must-visit, operating 24/7. For an authentic experience, give Chez Claudette, located at the Laurier metro station, a try – with 35 poutines on the menu, you'll have plenty of options! Poutineville, Orange Julep, and Montreal Pool Room are also worth exploring. While not poutine-focused, many restaurants across Montreal include at least one variation on their menus. The quest for your favorite poutine is yours to embark upon!

Discover new flavors in Montreal

In Montreal, the culinary choices are diverse and abundant, ranging from Indian, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Lebanese, Italian, Vietnamese, Haitian, African, Mediterranean, Spanish, and more. With such a variety, it's hard to decide where to start. Beyond restaurants, numerous grocery stores offer exotic products from around the globe. In short, whether you're from France, Belgium, Switzerland, a Black African country, or the Maghreb, Montreal has everything you need for preparing home-style meals.

Chinatown and Little Italy: take a trip while staying in Montreal

If you're looking to explore beyond Montreal's usual scene, head downtown to Chinatown. While not expansive, Montreal's Chinatown offers a refreshing change of atmosphere. Indulge in Asian pastries or enjoy a relaxing moment with bubble tea near the local temple, where you might catch people meditating or practicing tai chi, qi gong, or falun dafa. Chinatown is also a great spot to snag fresh vegetables, fruits, and exotic produce at budget-friendly prices. On the other side of town, if you're craving authentic pasta and pizza, Montreal's Little Italy is the place to be.

Cafés: a Montreal institution

If you're a fan of café culture – whether it's hanging out, dining, working, reading the paper, or playing board games – Montreal is the place for you. The city is dotted with cozy spots where you can enjoy a quality cappuccino, have a chat, or read your newspaper in peace. Parents will also discover cafés that go the extra mile to create a baby-friendly environment, ensuring you have a pleasant time with your little one.

Many cafes offer fantastic snacks, and nearly all of them have at least a few pastries, such as croissants, muffins, and cookies. In Montreal, coffee is truly an art form, with baristas competing in creativity to turn your "petit noir" into both a visual and gustatory delight.

Good to know:

Apart from poutine, there are two culinary must-tries creating a buzz in the Quebec metropolis: smoked meat and bagels. Montreal smoked meat is crafted from beef brisket and is a staple on the menus of numerous city restaurants. When it comes to the iconic bagel, locals highly recommend Fairmount Bagel and St-Viateur Bagel as two renowned establishments.

Being vegetarian or vegan in Montreal

Vegetarians and vegans will find plenty of options to delight their taste buds in Montreal. The city's residents are becoming more conscious of the challenges associated with meat consumption, and nearly every restaurant in the city features at least one vegetarian dish on its menu. Even fast-food chains are joining in, and it's uncommon not to find at least one vegetarian burger, particularly the "beyond meat" variety. Moreover, Montreal boasts some fantastic restaurants that specialize in vegetarian, vegan, and even raw cuisine.

Try Quebecois cuisine in Montreal

Apart from poutine, Montreal offers a taste of other dishes from Quebec's cuisine. Root vegetables, maple syrup, and game are prominent ingredients. While Canadian cuisine is sometimes considered straightforward, many chefs have modernized it by reviving traditional northern flavors. Notable restaurants in this culinary revival include Au pied de cochon, La Binerie, Joe Beef, Club Chasse et Pêche, and Le Garde-Manger.

Sugar time in Montreal

From mid-March to late April, Montreal's sugaring-off season becomes a beloved event for Quebec food enthusiasts as the sugar bushes come to life. Locals often relish a visit to one of these spots during this time, enjoying a traditional meal featuring various dishes enhanced with maple syrup. If you have a car, exploring one of the numerous maple groves around Montreal is an option, but make sure to book a table in advance. Don't worry if you don't have a car – many restaurants also feature a special Sugar Time menu during this period.

Useful links:

Montreal's most Instagrammable cafés

Montréal gastronomy Tourisme Montréal

Montreal's best gourmet restaurants


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