During my recent visit to Montreal, I had a number of events planned for me by the fabulous Catherine of Tourisme Montréal (these walking tours, for example, as well as some dinners with at participating Taste Montreal/ Montréal à Table 2013 restautants) but I also had a fair amount of free time to explore on my own too, which I really appreciated. Press trips are a great way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time, but often I miss the “alone” time to explore on my own so this visit was a perfect balance!
I was excited to be staying within walking distance to an old favourite from a visit a few years ago – Olive & Gourmando (I wrote about our visit here in 2009 but please excuse the “newbie blogger photos”!).
This place is bustling at all hours although as a single diner, you don’t seem to have to wait too long – they can always squeeze you in somewhere I like the unpretentious feel of the place, not to mention the fabulous pastries (comme en France) and simple, but really well-made, tasty food.
On the way out, as I was paying at the counter, I lingered over the tempting looking pastries…
Since I couldn’t really fit in a croissant or viennoiserie after all that, I had to return later in my trip for breakfast.
I’m so predictable… I ordered the same breakfast when I was there in 2009
There are so many places to get great breakfast/ brunch/ pastries etc… in Montreal but this place remains a firm fave for me.
Olive & Gourmando
351 Rue Saint Paul Ouest,
Montreal, QC H2Y 2A7
Last time I was in town, I visited the Marché Jean Talon so I wanted to see something different this time around. I have been to the Atwater before – when we have driven to Montreal, we have stopped on our way home at Atwater and stocked up (it’s always handy to have a cooler in the car!). Atwater is much smaller than Jean Talon and just so charming.
Atwater really feels like a community – the morning I was there, there were hardly any tourists (unlike at Jean Talon) – just a lot of locals going about their regular Saturday morning shopping. Seems to be a place where everyone knows everyone’s name. Well worth checking out.
Marché Atwater Market
138 Avenue Atwater,
Montreal, QC H4C 2H6
While you’re there, pick up some bread to munch on at Première Moisson.
The morning I was there, there was a huge queue and the smell coming from the store was incredible. I loved their selection of breads on offer (the cranberry and chocolate sweet bread was a favourite!) – I’d been lucky enough to sample some at the La Grande Dégustation the day before so when I spotted them in the market, I made a beeline for the store!
What’s a trip to Montreal without sampling a famous Montréal bagel? A Fairmount Bagel, to be exact. I was lucky enough to be dining with a Montrealer one of the nights I was there and as we left dinner (conveniently a block away from Fairmount), she informed me that she was “buying breakfast” and off we headed to buy bagels at midnight. I brought a dozen home to share with Neil and our neighbours. Because I am nice like that!
I am actually a fan of the “other” bagels (St Viateur) but this experience (the post dinner bagel purchases) kinda made me think maybe I could have two favourite Montreal bagels
74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest,
Montreal, QC H2T 2M1
La Maison du Macaron
4479 De La Roche,
Montreal, QC H2J 3J2
And speaking of macarons….
Oh yes. I was thrilled when Catherine from Tourisme Montréal told me to meet her at La Maison Christian Faure for afternoon tea. Or, “le snacking chic” as it’s known…
I got to shake the hand of M Faure (MOF) which totally made my day…
This place is a must-see/eat at. A gorgeous space (with minimalist décor so bright and pretty on a grey Montréal day) with exquisite pastries, it’s a lovely place to while away some time over a pot of tea and something sweet (or savoury). Oh and they offer classes too. I have my eye on the macaron class.
Maison Christian Faure
355, Place Royale
A little off the “sweets” path, but a sweet spot nonetheless, is La Drinkerie – a cozy bar near the Atwater Market where I met up with some friends after dinner one night.
2661 Notre-Dames Ouest,
Montreal, QC H3J 1N7
After a night out on the town, you really need somewhere that will serve you a hearty, but healthy breakfast/ brunch. I had been eager to check out De Farine et d’Eau Fraîche for a while and this trip I finally made it there Bonus? I got to meet Dustin aka Food Guy MTL who I had “known” on Twitter for a while. Believe it or not, he had never been there!
I arrived early on a Sunday morning, just when they opened at 11 and had no problem getting a table (it’s small-ish), though when we left around 12.30 it was humming. Fab coffee, fresh sandwiches, light meals and a case full of great-looking pastries? What more could you want on a Sunday morning. Or any morning, actually.
De Farine et d’Eau Fraîche
Montreal, QC H2L3L4
Last, but most certainly not least, welcome to heaven aka Les Touilleurs.
More than your average retail kitchen store, Les Touilleurs features high-quality kitchen tools/ equipment (as well as cookbooks) and a definite “art gallery” feel (though it doesn’t feel intimidating once you’re in there – lots of welcoming but unobtrusive staff to help if you need it). They also hold classes and workshops. I spent a long time there. As one does. Highly recommended for “les amateurs de la cuisine”.
152 Avenue Laurier Ouest,
Montreal, QC H2T 2N7
What about you – where are your favourite spots in Montreal so I can add them to my ever-growing “to do next time I am in Montreal” list?
Disclosure: Tourisme Montréal provided me with transportation to and from Montreal, accommodations in Montreal, two walking tours and two dinners for two. I was not otherwise compensated, nor was I asked to write about my trip. All opinions expressed are my own.
CANADIAN readers: Win a copy of the Butter Baked Goods cookbook. Ends December 11th 2013 at 6pm EST. Enter here.
Congrats to Cher who won my Cookbook Store giveaway and Doris who won my KitchenAid Canada stand mixer giveaway. I’ll be in touch soon and get your prizes to you asap