I recently found myself in Montreal for my sister’s birthday celebration. I’m ashamed to admit that it was my first visit to the neighbors, Canada. In an attempt to “plant my flag” there, I apparently felt the need to eat my way through some of the best restaurants in montreal.
Thank you, Montreal, for the extra 5 pounds I will be bringing home as a souvenir.
But I won’t blame myself. Montreal is a Foodie’s Heaven. It’s not all Poutine & Crepes, either (although I had my fair share of both).
Here are some of the best places I acquired my extra “baggage” in this truncated Foodie’s guide to Montreal. If you too find yourself in the biggest city in Quebec sometime soon, you MUST try at least one of these restaurants that left me powerless in the face of gluttony.
310 Rue Saint Paul Ouest, Montreal QB H2Y 2A3
Bocata was my absolute favorite, hence the #1 placement in the “best restaurants in Montreal”. For any New Yorkers reading this: if ABC Kitchen, Rosemary’s and The Smith had a lovechild, Bocata would be it.
The three most popular items on their menu are the Thyme Roasted Milk Fed Veal Chop (with a side of homemade Gnocchi), the Roasted Black Cod and the Lobster Carbonara Tagliatelle.
We ordered all three, and while unanimously delicious, the Veal Chop was the standout in my book. Endlessly tender, with a subtle but sweet glaze. Tremendously flavorful. Bocata also features small plates, with really strong wine pairings.
Who doesn’t love that? Reservations seemed a little hard to come by (I think we got lucky because of the Hockey playoffs), so make sure to book ahead if possible, because Bocata is not to be missed
Olive & gourmando
351 Rue Saint Paul Ouest, Montreal QB H2Y 2A3
Yes, the “g” is lowercase. Now this place seriously made me question whether or not I’d entered into a portal to a future time when Williamsburg, Brooklyn (aka the birthplace of the hipster) became overrun by the French.
Featuring an incredible bakery, Olive & gourmando is an absolute MUST for breakfast, lunch or the best of both worlds, brunch. The type of brunch where you’d go to see and be seen.
We ordered both the savory Cuban Panini and the Goat Cheese Panini for sharing, but the real star was the Iced Dirty Chai with a shot of Espresso. I could’ve had 5 more of them.
I also saw quite a few other patrons ordering a decadent looking Mac & cheese, that I may or may not have tried to convince my sisters to go back for the next day, to no avail. Don’t make the same mistake I did, and get yourself an order.
407 Place Jacques-Cartier, Montreal QB H2Y 3B1
Jardin Nelson is located in a more touristy little enclave of Montreal, in the heart of Place Jacques- Cartier and close to the Port, and doesn’t escape the tourist trap category itself. Expensive prices as you’d expect, and the waitstaff seemed a little bored.
It has it’s redeeming qualities: inventive menu (especially with their vast crepe selection) and a renowned jazz brunch. But the ingredient that got Jardin Nelson onto my short list is the truly lavish rear garden that shapes a truly memorable dining experience.
It’s spectacular enough to compensate for how long you’ll wait for your overpriced omelette.
You may notice that all of the aforementioned are within the same area in Old Montreal, as unfortunately we didn’t stray further afield. So technically, these aren’t the best restaurants in Montreal. But in Old Montreal.
The reason is because we were busy eating! While I definitely look forward to delving further into Montreal in the future, my last visit proves that you can eat world class, diverse and memorable cuisine within just a block or two in this fabulous city!