Food & Drink

L’Express — Classic French bistro in the Plateau around since 1980. Love the long zinc bar; it’s perfect for solo dining.

Schwartz Delicatessen — Montréal’s answer to Katz’s delivers excellent smoked meat in the heart of the Plateau. Often a line to get in.

Le Club Chasse et Pêche — Translates to hunting and fishing club and, fittingly, occupies hunting-lodge-like quarters in the Old Port. Rich, hearty Québécois fare strong on sweetbreads and duck.

Beauty’s Diner — Classic Montréal diner. Order the Beauty’s Special (bagel, lox, and a schmear). To avoid waiting in line, go early on weekends or for breakfast during the week.

Toqué — Modern farm-to-table Québécois fare; decadent tasting menus; stellar wine list.

Au Pied de Cochon — Seriously artery-busting Québécois fare. Heavy on foie gras—a whole section of the menu is devoted to it—including a renowned foie-gras poutine. Their salt & maple sugar fries are also to-die for.

Wilensky’s Light Lunch — Historic kosher lunch counter with a working soda fountain and a deli sandwich menu. Their famous Wilensky’s Special is stacked with all-beef salami & baloney & grilled on a roll with a touch of mustard.

Le Vin Papillon — Organic, natural wines & farm-to-table food pairings, from the same team as Joe Beef down the street (which is impossible to get into.) Lovely outdoor terrace in the back in summer months.

Garde Manger — Buzzy restaurant in Old Montréal with great drinks & upmarket comfort food. If the lobster poutine is on the menu, get it.

Le Filet — Stylish restaurant in the Plateau with creative seafood & an open kitchen.

Bakeries & Cafés

Fairmont or St Viateur Bagels — Montréalers are partial to one or the other (I’m a St Viateur stan). They’re located almost around the corner from each other and stay open 24hrs. Order sesame or poppyseed (or both!) and grab a Liberty Cream Cheese from the fridge for schmear. Ask for what’s hot. Montréal bagels are best experienced fresh out of the wood-fired oven.

Santropol — Opened in the 1970s in a traditional Montréal house, this charming spot serves A+ soups & sandwiches. It’s a cozy place to hole up in winter; in summer, head to the pretty garden out back.

Crew Collective — Coffee to stay or to go in the gorgeous former Royal Bank of Canada building, complete with spectacular, ornate details and soaring ceilings. Crew is also a co-working space and is, hands down, the most beautiful one I’ve ever worked in.

Gibeau Orange Julep — You’ll need to Uber to this delightfully retro 1930s snackbar located in a giant orange beside a busy road into town. The classic order? An orange julep and a hot dog (or two). Montréalers call hot dogs “steamies” (steamé) because they’re steamed and, if you order one “all dressed,” it’ll come topped with mustard, chopped onion, relish, and coleslaw.


Else’s — This artsy pub in the Plateau was my local watering hole when I lived here and I still visit on every trip. It serves okay food, but you’re really here for the beer and local vibe.

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel — Québec has outstanding microbrews. Try them here. Currently closed for renovations until 2023.

Dominion Square Tavern — Picture an upscale English pub, in a restored 1927 building, with cocktails served in vintage glasses. Their signature Canuck is a mix of rye, maple syrup, lemon juice & angostura bitters.

Terrasse Nelligan — The rooftop bar of the Nelligan Hotel in Old Montréal has stellar city views. Open seasonally.