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.
DrinksElse’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.