Travel Tuesday: some of my Montreal sweet spots

Basilique Notre Dame in Montreal on eatlivetravelwrite.comDuring 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!

You know you’re in Québec when…

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”!).

Olive and Gourmando on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis 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.

Soup and wine at Olive and Gourmando on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis African chicken soup with peanuts really hit the spot on a blustery day and I love that you can get a glass of wine to go with.

On the way out, as I was paying at the counter, I lingered over the tempting looking pastries…

Pastries at Olive and Gourmando on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd, ahem.. I couldn’t go past…

Olive and Gourmando brownie and turtle bar on eatlivetravelwrite.comAn “extraordinary” brownie (indeed they are) and a fleur de sel turtle bar. Oh my.

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 😉

Brioche au chocolat Valrhona at Olive & Gourmando in Montreal
Brioche au chocolat Valrhona at Olive & Gourmando in Montreal

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

Olive Et Gourmando on Urbanspoon

As you all know, I love a good market so I headed out on the Métro to check out the Atwater Market.

Marche Atwater on eatlivetravelwrite.comLast 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.

Stores in the Atwater Market on eatlivetravelwrite.comMaple syrup pumpkin and apples at Atwater Market on eatlivetravelwrite.comAtwater 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.

Premiere Moisson Montreal on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe 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!

Check out Première Moisson at Atwater Market (and various other locations).

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 😉

Fairmount Bagel
74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest,
Montreal, QC H2T 2M1

Fairmount Bagel on Urbanspoon

Of course, wherever I am, I need to check out the local macarons, right?  Last trip, I tried macarons from Point G so this time I sought out those from La Maison du Macaron.

Macarons from la Maison du Macaron on eatlivetravelwrite.comChocolate-passionfruit and Caramel Fleur de Sel. These were good. A little heavy on the ganache but light and crispy yet substantial at the same time.

La Maison du Macaron
4479 De La Roche,
Montreal, QC H2J 3J2

La Maison Du Macaron on Urbanspoon

And speaking of macarons….

Macaron from Maison Christian Faure on eatlivetravelwrite.comOh 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…

Maison Christian Faure Montreal on
Paris Brest and macarons at Maison Christian Faure, Montreal

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
Montréal, QC
H2Y 2V3

Maison Christian Faure on Urbanspoon

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.

La Drinkerie menu Montreal on eatlivetravelwrite.comOpen every day from 3pm – 3am offering drinks and finger food, it’s somewhere I’d spend a lot of time if I lived in the ‘hood 😉

La Drinkerie
2661 Notre-Dames Ouest,
Montreal, QC H3J 1N7

Drinkerie, La on Urbanspoon

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!

De Farine et d'eau fraiche Montreal on eatlivetravelwrite.comI 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
1701, Amherst
Montreal, QC H2L3L4

De Farine et d'Eau Fraîche on Urbanspoon

Last, but most certainly not least, welcome to heaven aka Les Touilleurs.

Les Touilleurs Montreal on eatlivetravelwrite.comMore 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”.

Les Touilleurs
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.

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17 thoughts on “Travel Tuesday: some of my Montreal sweet spots”

  1. Ahhh, you know you’re back in Quebec when the top of the biere menu at a “hip” place still includes Cinquant en Fut at the top of the list! 😉

  2. What a great list! Thank you for all of the suggestions. My mother’s family lives in Montreal and I have been visiting for I don’t know how long. I’ve only ever been to Jean Talon because of the close proximity, but I will have to check out Atwater next time. I love their markets! Although it is definitely not as cold in Los Angeles as it is in Montreal right now, I will definitely make my African peanut soup recipe tonight. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  3. Next time you are here, we need to do a side-by-side bagel comparison!

    You visited a lot of great places in Montreal this trip, and I love that you went to the Atwater market instead of Jean-Talon this time! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Jean-Talon market, but the Atwater market is much cozier 😉

  4. Pingback: Food News Wednesday, December 11 - Food News Journal : Food News Journal
  5. Marci, thank you so much for this so informative list. I have a friend leaving to Quebec/Montreal for the holidays and gave her this list!
    Montreal is the state of mind, the piece of experience, the flavor, the thing that I most miss from Canada! J’adore Montreal en hiver!


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