Let’s start with the most important factor to visiting a new city. What kind of food do they have and is it good? Montreal is filled with chic places to eat, perfect for young travelers, with so much cuisine variety and reasonable priced places to eat. From South African food to Thai, to traditional French, you will definitely be able to satisfy all cravings. We went on this Canadian adventure without having researched any places on TripAdvisor or Yelp prior, which is definitely unusual for us. It was Valentine’s Day weekend and many places required a reservation in advance. And in addition the majority of restaurants have expensive fixed menus on holiday weekends, so our goal was to find local places that gave us great variety in the menu while also being affordable. Here are my experiences and recommendations in Montreal!
1. Salumi Vino
Located in Old Montreal, we did a quick search in our hotel room and found Salumi Vino. The reason it appealed to us was because of the menu options and because there was no fixed menu price for dinner. We could be free to order what we wanted and how much we wanted. We walked into the chic Italian restaurant, and immediately noticed the intricate interior detail. It was tastefully decorated for Valentine’s Day with pops of deep red on the tables, complimenting the already low light color palette. Real stone accent walls made it feel cozy, while the other design elements, such as the use of elegant glass doors made it feel more modern, mixing the two perfectly. The kitchen was exposed right as you walk in and the rustic wine closet was easily admirable behind glass doors, and also easy to read on their menu. The menus were specially printed for Valentine’s Day weekend, showing the amount of detail that was tailored into the dining experience. I decided to order a “Le Orme,” which is a wine from the Piedmonte area of Italy. I knew I would be ordering a pasta dish with a cream sauce and a Northern Italian wine would go better than a Sicilian wine. The Le Orme was very fruity and light, a very different taste than a Supertuscan or Chianti. To start we tried the Tuna Tartare, with avocado, truffle oil, and spicy mayo (17.00 CAD) served with delectable olive oil and balsamic. And for our meals, we both decided to try the Ravioli di Zucca, which was homemade ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, served in a creamy asparagus sauce and truffle oil (24.00 CAD) It was so flavorful that we ate as slow as possible to savor every bit and scooped up every bit of extra sauce from the bowl. The pumpkin made us feel super warm, especially since it was -20 outside, and the asparagus gave a unique taste to the sauce. We noticed throughout our time in Montreal, they love to top entrées with crushed pepper, in addition to extra grated cheese. So we enjoyed the added flavor of pepper and cheese as well. To finish off the dinner we tasted the Tiramisu, one of my Italian favorites. (8.00 CAD) In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Tiramisu mousse was colored pink making it very cute and unique. Overall, the service was wonderful, with the owner coming over numerous times to take our order and check on our experience. Definitely not a place you would find in old Florence, but we loved the rustic modern young feel of Salumi Vino.
358 Rue Notre Dame E., Montreal, Quebec ,Canada Website: http://www.salumivino.com/ Phone: +1 514-759-0505
TripAdvisor Rating: ★★★★★ #69/4,824 Restaurants in Montreal . $$ (Italian, Wine Bar)
2. Crêperie Chez Suzette
I was concerned with our decision to choose Chez Suzette, mainly because it is located on a notoriously touristy street and I did not want to be walking into a trap for expensive and lousy food. It was absolutely freezing outside, so we wanted to get brunch close to the hotel, but also close to where we were spending the day, and this place seemed like the best option of very few. It was exactly the opposite of my expectation. Yes, the inside was mostly filled with English-speakers, who you could tell were American, but the waitstaff were humble and helpful. I didn’t care that it maybe was a little touristy, because if the people were nice and the food was good, who really cares? Opening up the menu I didn’t know what to get! Crepes, waffles, sandwiches, bagels, fondue, FONDUE! They had a great variety, and I wanted to order it all. I went with a classic bowl of their baked french onion soup (8.99 CAD), which the waiter gave me a nod of proud approval when I ordered it, and a Montreal Bagel with smoked salmon, onions, capers, and creme cheese (13.99 CAD). I had heard Montreal bagels give New York bagels a good challenge, and they aren’t wrong. Can’t really describe it, but it was damn good. The soup was also out of this world and 1,000 times better than any Panera french onion soup I have ever had, I was also strangely excited to eat it out of a le creuset. Wouldn’t expect it, but this place was my favorite in Montreal. It taught me to stop being so obsessed with making sure something is authentic, and trust that if there is delicious food and nice local people working there, it will never be a bad choice.
3 St-Paul E, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1E9, Canada Website: http://chezsuzette.ca/ Phone: +1 514-874-1984
TripAdvisor Rating: ★★★★ #71/4,824 Restaurants in Montreal . $$ (French, European, Brunch/Lunch)
3. Lola Rosa Café
I recently have made the decision to become somewhat of a vegetarian. No more beef, pork, and when I can help it chicken products. (This rule doesn’t apply when I go to Italy, but for now the effort is there.) With my new goals in mind, we hunted again for a place to eat dinner and found Lola Rosa, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the University section of the city. The inside was small but bustling with conversation, couples, groups of friends, and hippie vibes. A Siddhartha was painted on the wall, with vibrant colors and wood textures on the walls and tables making it feel organic and natural. We wasted no time ordering, seeing as we got the last reservation for the night at 9pm. It is very popular in Montreal for people to eat dinner later in the evening, much like Europe. It is not uncommon to walk into a restaurant at 8:15pm and have it be empty and by 8:45pm have it filled with customers. I ordered a Burger Au Chanvre or what we call a Hemp Burger (12.00 CAD) with extra avocado, a mixed green salad, chickpea salad, and a pickle! The Hemp Burger was a mixture of hemp seeds, lentils, chia, grilled tofu, cheese and homemade bbq sauce, topped with a tomato, lettuce, onions, and avocado. The burger tasted different than just a plan veggie burger. I could taste a ton of spices present and a mixture of flavors that was very unique. My experience with eating vegetarian is new, so I can’t really say how good it was compared to others. But I did end up eating the whole burger, re-discovered my love for chickpeas, and got some new vegetarian ideas of what to cook for myself!
545 Rue Milton, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Website: http://lola-rosa.ca/site/ Phone: +1 514-287-9337
TripAdvisor Rating: ★★★★★ #17/4,824 Restaurants in Montreal . $$ (Mexican, Vegetarian, Vegan)
4. Cacao 70
And finally we have reached the last place. If you would like diabetes or really love chocolate, I would put this on your itinerary. A perfect place for a casual brunch or late lunch, Cacao 70 has a fun atmosphere, 4 locations around the city, and everything chocolate. Waffles with ice cream, crepes filled with chocolate, crepes drizzled with chocolate, hot chocolate, chocolate pizzas, chocolate fondue, coffees, anything and everything. And if you’re not feeling the dessert crepes, you can always go for a omelette, sandwich, bagel, or traditional breakfast food. I started with a hot chocolate, because their coffee machine was unfortunately broken, and was delighted to taste a rich creamy flavor, that didn’t resemble anything of a powdery-mix hot chocolate like a Swiss Mix packet. Floating on top were marshmallows that were the perfect amount of gooey to enjoy. After, I indulged in my crepe stuffed with nutella and strawberries, drizzled with my choice of dark chocolate instead of milk, topped with powdered sugar. My companion ordered the black and white waffle, extra crispy, with a scoop of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, drizzled with white and milk chocolate served with more chocolate on the side and chocolate malt balls….ya we were pretty hyper on the walk back.
3485, Avenue du Parc, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Website: http://cacao70.ca/ Phone: +1 514-844-4442
TripAdvisor Rating: ★★★★ #574/4,824 Restaurants in Montreal and #15/106 Coffee & Tea in Montreal. $ (Cafe, Brunch, Crepes)