We took a lovely  road frip from New York City to Montreal over the the 4th of July weekend. We enjoyed the preformances at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, some flying adventure, walking around the pleasant, manageable city, but most of all, we enjoyed eating!

We found that French influence in Montreal can’t be more evident than its food culture. Life in the city seems to revolve around food. Eating here seems not only meant to feed the stomach but the senses and the soul as well.  It is not surprising that Montreal is considered one of the best foodie destinations in North America. Restaurants in Montreal, CanadaAccording to Lonely Planet, “Montreal has more eating choices per capita in North America, except New York City.”  We found that at every corner we turned and in every block we walked on there were always  inviting dining choices and they came in huge assortment- from French to Asian cuisine, from traditional to innovative. Montreal is delicious indeed and we would like to share with you some of our taste of it.


2491 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest (Little Burgundy neighborhood)

Based on our research, Joe Beef was the place we shouldn’t miss. It has been consistently voted as one of the top restaurants in Canada and the current favorite of  food critics.

Apparently, it is very popular. When we made a reservation three weeks before our trip, it was fully booked and the earliest available table was a month after our trip.  But we remained optimistic. As soon as we checked in at W Hotel Montreal, we asked the concierge to check for any last minute cancellation for that night. She came back to us with, ‘There’s a cancellation for 9:30 pm. Would you like to take it?” Absolutely!Joe Beef Restaurant, Montreal, CanadaJoe Beef offers Quebecois fare in a quaint, casual setting.  The service was very warm and genuinely friendly. Who says fine food always goes with pretension? Not here.

There’s no hand out menu here. You have to look up the board for the night’s delicous offerings and for the wide variety of fine wine selection.Food at Joe Beef Restaurant, Montreal, CanadaWe started with several kinds of oysters, which were ones of the freshest we ever had; they melted in our mouth. We followed it with fresh asparagus mixed with herbs and topped with poached egg. It was creatively delicious. For entree, I had a fresh sweet lobster over aspaghetti that was simply but flavorfully sauteed in garlic and olive oil.  It was divine! Keith had a baked halibut that was so fresh and moist. Two thumbs up from him. He also loved the generous portions.

Did I mention everything was “fresh”? Every ingredient here is indeed fresh off the market, farm or garden. I guess that and the innovative dishes make Joe Beef a standout.

12 Rue Notre Dame Est (Old Montreal)

Keith’s boss, who used to live in Montreal, recommend this place.  A friend also texted me to make sure we check out this place for breakfast and staff at the hotel recommended it as well.  Eggspectation whose tag line is “Grab the day by the eggs” is a chain based in Montreal with 7 locations within the city and few others in other Canadian city.

We visited the location closest to our hotel for brunch. The place was very casual but the eggs here are nothing but. They’re not your typical breakfast egg. They’re very fancy, very creative and very egglicious. Eggspectations, Montreal, CanadaI had ” Lobster Benny” (left photo) – two poached eggs with sautéed Nova Scotia lobster over toasted English muffin and a natural lobster reduction sauce. Keith had “Yolk Around The Clock,” a grilled sliced bagel with a sunny-side-up egg in each hole, topped with bacon and cheddar on one half and swiss cheese on the other. Both were served with our  seasoned lyonnaise-style potatoes on the side.  We’re not into potatoes and we didn’t touch them. I’m sure it will make potato lovers cry.

900, place Jean-Paul-Riopelle Ouest (Old Montreal)

Toque was one of those places that kept popping up  as a “must-go.” Its seven course tasting menu was described in on one of the reviews we read as “the pinnacle of dining in Montreal,”  We made a reservation 3 weeks before the trip and we were lucky to grab the only availability during our stay.Toque Restaurant, Montreal, Canada We found Toque elegant but not too over the top. We say that it’s casually elegant and s0 is the service. The maitre d’ explained that Toque means “a bit stubborn” which is a reflection of the chef’s insistence of using only the freshest local ingredients from the best producers. The menu changes daily, depending on what the chef find in the market, but foie gras, duck, and wild venison are staples.Tasting Menu in Toque Restaurant, Montreal, CanadaWe went for the seven-course tasting menu with wine pairing.  As I am a pesceterian, they modified my courses. Instead of foie gras  I was served a vegetable course. Instead of duck,  I was served a fish.  Each course was presented beautifully and tasted exquisite,  and the wine pairing was perfect. It was a great dining experience and was worth the splurge.

7070 Avenue Henri-Julien (Little Italy)

March Jean Talon is the largest is Montreal’s largest and most diversed market place. This is where many of the the city’s chef shop for ingredients for their menus.  Walking around the market is pretty satiating.Marche Jean-Talon, Montreal, Canada Locals come here to buy the freshest produce as well as local specialties like the maple syrup, of course. Marche Jean-Talon, Montreal, CanadaLocals also frequent the market to dine and to sample wine, beer, cheese, etc.Marche Jean-Talon, Montreal, Canada Marche Jean-Talon, Montreal, CanadaFor sweet tooth, there is a galore of decadent goodies to be had at the market.

7032 Rue Waverly (Little Italy)

We found this delightful place in a residential area about seven blocks east of Marche Jean-Talon. The neighborhood reminded us of Queens in New York City.  It was a great find away from the bustle of the market. It appeared popular among hipsters. It mainly offers sandwiches. Don’t be fooled by its unassuming setting, the sandwiches were of gourmet quality at a price that won’t break your wallet.

Le Pick Up Restaurant, Montreal, CanadaWe placed our order at a small counter inside and found a seat at one of the picnic tables that surrounded the shop (no seating inside).  It was busy when we came and the wait for the food was a bit long. But we didn’t mind; we felt so relaxed.

I had a tuna salad sandwich in artisanal bread. It was the best one I ever had. I liked that it was not laden with mayo. Instead , it was flavored with balsamic vinaigrette and capers and mixed with baby arugula. Keith had a veggie burger, which he said was really good.  We saw a lot of people having pulled pork sandwich, which was the shop’s specialty.

263 Ave St. Viateur Ouest (Mile End)

The neighborhood of Mile End is considered one of the best food destination in the city. It is also known for its hipster cafes and bars. We actually had a pleasure of hanging out with the coolest of the hipsters at one of its bars where we watched the World Cup. We were fascinated with the cool beard culture. But anyway, we came to Mile End for one thing – to try what is claimed as the “best bagel in the world!” St Viateur Bagel Shop, Mile End, Montreal, CanadaFounded in 1957, St. Viateur Bagel is a well-loved Montreal institution. It’s open 24 hours a day and was surprisingly busy even in the middle of the afternoon, when we found customers buying bagels by the dozens as if it was breakfast time. The shop also carry different kind of spreads such us lox and cream cheese.

We bought a sesame bagel and tried it with cream cheese. We found it sweet, chewy and very moist inside. It was really good. We learned that the “secret” to its flavor was the boiling of the dough in honey water followed by baking in wood-fired oven.

Is it the “best bagel in the world? ” Not sure if we’re being snobbish, but as New Yorkers who are proud of our own delicious bagels we’re not quite willing to concede to that claim.


The quaint Chinatown of Montreal contributes to culinary diversity of the city. But within Chinatown, the cuisine is actually quite diverse. You will not only find Chinese cuisine, but also Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese, etc. It should actually be called Asiatown.

Chinatown, Montreal, CanadaWe went to a Chinese restaurant specializing in Cantonese cuisine.The restaurant name was not easy to remember but the food was remarkable. Basing on the large number of Chinese clientele, the place was pretty authentic.

And of course, the POUTINE.  

We dreaded trying it, but we had to. Or else, it was like we didn’t travel to Montreal at all. To those not familiar, this traditional Quebecuois dish is made of fried potatoes with cheese curd topped with gravy. We avoid eating fried food and anything rich as a gravy. The cheese we can take but the combination of the three is a bit too too rich for  our taste. But we conceded that we should try at least a bite. Poutine, Montreal, CanadaAnd so during our time at the Jazz Festival we finally decided that it was time to try that one bite each.  What did we think? Hmmm…the potato fries didn’t taste greasy at all. The gravy was actually light and flavorful, and the cheese was fresh and light.  Guess what? We almost finished the whole serving! We found it a delightful guilty pleasure. Now we understand why Canadians who are away from their country for sometime actually crave for Poutine!

Oh Montreal,  you satisfied our palate and senses. Until next time.


Linking to Travel Photo Thursday, Travel Photo Discovery, & Mosaic Monday.

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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

42 responses to “A Taste of Montreal

    • Marisol

      Hi Lili, they really are!

  1. Mike

    Marisol and Keith, you know what a foodie I am so this sent me spinning with cuisine delight! I’m picking the very last one to say I’m soooooo glad you tried and liked the poutine! I actually want to make that at home and have it be as non-greasy with light gravy like yours was! lordy I’m absolutely craving this now! Great post as always, our friends! :)
    Mike recently posted..The Sasquatch Tavern And Grill in Verdi, NevadaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Thank you Mike, I’m sure you will make a great poutine. I wish I can try it though.

    • Marisol

      Hi Molly, Montreal is indeed a delicious destination. I hope you explore its culinary delights when you visit the city.

    • Marisol

      Hi Rachel. It’s fascinating indeed. The variety of eateries is just delightful.

  2. Nancie

    Your lobster eggs benny had me swooning, and it was a Nova Scotia lobster! Your post brought back a lot of great memories. Montreal used to be part of my territory when I was an account manager. For 8 years I spent several months a year in the city. I did some great eating! Actually, my history with the city goes back even further. I was conceived there :)

    Halifax is also a great foodie city. I once attended a conference there, and several of my Montreal customers told me that the food scene in Halifax, rivals Montreal. That’s quite a compliment!

    Loved all your choices, except the poutine. I personally hate the stuff! :)
    Nancie recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday — 21/08/14 — Penang’s Ponytail GirlMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Nancy, I’m gald we brought you some good memories. Your history with the city is so sweet indeed :)
      You piqued my interest more on Halifax. It’s great to know that its another foodie city. We really have to check it out sometime soon. It’s interesting to finally meet a Canadian who hate poutine!.

  3. jan

    We went to Jean Talon market, purchased some goodies and found a park with a covered picnic area (it started to rain) and had ourselves a picnic. Chinatown was a favourite of ours too, the food was not expensive and tasted great. Marty liked the Chinese Bakeries of course. We found poutines varied enormously – yours looked nice and fresh and light. I can imagine in cold weather they would be soul food. I wished we had found the DEPANNEUR LE PICK-UP. It looks so inviting. We shall have to return to Montreal and explore more places like it. Thanks for the inviting photos. :)
    jan recently posted..Angkor Wat is Heaven on EarthMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jan, you’re welcome. Jan Talon market is indeed a perfect place to pick-up picnic food. Interesting to know that poutine can vary enormously. I guess we lucked out that we got the lighter side of it. I think Montreal is worth going back to just to explore more of its culinary delights. Definitely check out Le Pick-up.

    • Marisol

      Hi Phoebe, Montreal is a perfect destination for you then. I hope you can visit soon.

  4. I just gained two pounds reading this post!! What a great foodie trip you took us on. (Have you thought of linking to Mosaic Monday @ Lavender Cottage Gardening? These mosaics are great! And I love the first shot of the red and black chairs and clothing!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..When Travelers Need a ‘No-Brainer’ Vacation ~My Profile

    • Marisol

      Ha! Ha! Glad ;you found it appetizing. Thank you for letting me about Mosaic Mountain. I just linked up to it.

  5. eating its food is one of the great ways to know the city. well done. it didn’t look like you overate for the 4th of July :)
    Photo Cache recently posted..A Little Las VegasMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Maria, it truly is. We could have eaten more:)

  6. Agness

    I have not had my dinner yet, so I’m literally licking the screen of my laptop right now. What a great selection of food. To me, EGGSPECTATION would be the best place to dine out. The food options seem so delicious!!

    • Marisol

      HI Agness, Eggspectation is a wonderful choice!

    • Marisol

      Hi Kathryn, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. They’re all good!

  7. Judith @ Lavender Cottage

    It has been many years since we’ve been to Montreal and it’s not that far from Ontario where I live! Amazing eateries available and all so tempting. When I was in Ireland in June, walking around in Belfast it was difficult to find anything other than pubs full of men for somewhere to eat. The hotel had to make do for us.
    Thanks for linking to MM.

    • Marisol

      Hi Judith, I have been to Ireland but not in Belfast. It must haave been frustarting for you not to find a good variety of eateries during your trip. For me a big part of traveling is a good dining experience. Thanks for letting me know about Befast, at least I know what to expect when I visit.

  8. I am so glad you tried poutine! It’s so funny because every American I have ever described this dish to has always said it sounds disgusting (which I don’t understand at all!), but tasting is believing because every single person I know who has tried it (begrudgingly even) has wound up loving it!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..The Agony in the Ecstasy of Sri Lanka’s East CoastMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Steph, we were really glad we tried the poutine You’re right, to taste is to believe.

  9. Shane

    Montreal sounds like the gourmette capital of Canada – just as Lyon is on France!

    I was most interested in ‘the little Burgundy neighbourhood”, as my daughter and her family live in Burgundy in France. Their white and black asparagus are delicious as starters with a vinaigrette.

    What a delightful destination for gourmands – your photos are a wonderful memory for you.
    Love this post and meeting up with you at Mosaic Monday!

    Shane recently posted..Beautiful Windows of FranceMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Shane, thanks. Glad you enjoyed the post,. I haven’t been to Lyon and Burgundy and you whetted my appetite to visit. My husband and I will surely enjoy these gourmand cities.

    • Marisol

      Hi Donna, glad you agree. It’s a great foodie destination indeed.

  10. Eileen

    What a wonderful place to eat so many restaurant choices. It would be hard to choose just one. Your reviews and photos have made me hungry! I would love to visit that market place.. Great post, thanks for sharing. Enjoy your week!
    Eileen recently posted..Weekend walk_Aug 16thMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Thank you Eileen, The market place is indeed a good place to start your gastrono,ic adventure in the city.

  11. Romer

    Great posting! The photos are amazing as well as the gastronomic adventures.

    • Marisol

      Thank you, Romer. You and Bruce should head there soon!

    • Marisol

      Hi Noel, glad you enjoyed our choices. Poutine was surprisingly good. Yes, good food mixed with good jazz was fantastic.

  12. JP

    I’m so glad to have found your site here! Just connected with you on all social media platforms. Looks like you had a great time in Montreal, the last time I visited I gained 10 lbs haha
    JP recently posted..8 Reasons Why You Should Holiday in CyprusMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi JP, glad you found your way here. Thanks for connecting. I look forward to visit your site.
      Gaining lbs in Montreal is a good thing! that meant you enjoyed what the city offers best:)

  13. Bama

    “Life in the city seems to revolve around food.” Sounds like I will instantly fall in love with Montreal just because of that, let alone the palpable French atmosphere in the city, as some of my friends said. What a delightful culinary experience you had, Marisol! Oh and I’m glad you tried poutine even though you’re not into fried food. Some things are worth trying, indeed. :)

    • Marisol

      Hi Bama, Montreal is definitely your kind of city, my friend You will be in gastronomic heaven! We’re really glad we tried the poutine. As Steph said, to taste is to believe.

  14. Anda

    Montreal looks like my kind of city: vibrant and colorful city with lots of great places to eat. Very comprehensive post, thanks for sharing.

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