MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA
- Best neighborhoods for exploring - Old Port, Plateau and Mile End are my favorites. St. Henri is the new up-and-coming neighborhood. It used to be sketchy/dumpy, but a lot of artists moved there when the rents in the Plateau and Mile End kept increasing. It's like the Bushwick of Montreal.
- Mont Royal - Mountain in the middle of the city. It's an easy hike up the trail (like 20-30 minute walk) and you get the best view of the city from the top thought I wouldn't hike in the winter. There is a place on the mountain that you can drive to and rent snow shoes, cross-country skies and snow tubes. I snow shoed once and it was really fun. On Sundays in summer, people hang out at the park on the base on Avenue du Parc and play bongo drums, smoking, foam sword fight and walk tightrope on the grass... it's called Tam Tams.
- Parc La Fontaine (Plateau) - Really nice park to relax in or walk around. There is a picnic law in Montreal so you can bring beer and wine to the park as long as you have some food with you. It can be something as simple as a bread and cheese or even chips. But obviously, not a winter thing.
- Jean-Talon Market - (Little Italy 7070 Avenue Henri-Julien - neighborhood above Mile End) Local outdoor market to get fresh, regional produce and good. I highly recommend Quebec strawberries (and blueberries) and getting maple syrup on snow with a popsicle stick (you'll see them standing over a tray of slushy ice pouring maple syrup over it and rolling it up with a stick... it's very popular and Canadian) It's outdoor and open year round.
- Atwater Market (Atwater - 138 Avenue Atwater) - Similar to Jean-Talon, but more of an Anglo (English-speaking) crowd and in mainly indoors.
- Crew Collection & Cafe (Old Port - 360 Rue St Jacques) Great work space and cafe. They have a free section where people work (I worked from there last spring) and another where you can pay for a spot by the day or month. It's located in a beautiful old building.
- La Banquise (Plateau - 994 Rue Rachel E) - 24 hour poutine, every topping imaginable. Poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curds.... DELICIOUS) is a Quebec specialty and this is one of the most legendary places to go to. Post-bar or for lunch.
- Schwartz's (Plateau - 3895 Boulevard Saint-Laurent) - Montreal is also known for smoked meat (like pastrami.) This place is the best to go in the city. The line can get long, but it's good. Lunch.
- Romados (Plateau - 115 Rue Rachel Est) - Best Portugese chicken you're ever going to have. You can preorder it and skip the line. I tend to take it to go since there isn't much seating there. Lunch or casual dinner.
- Laika (Plateau - 4040 Blvd St Lauren) - One of my favorite brunches with great coffee and food, but also a good spot for a nighttime drink. They usually get interesting DJs at night. Pretty chill. Lunch/Brunch
- Juliette et Chocolat (Plateau - Mile End 1045 Avenue Laurier O) Fantastic desserts.
- St. Viateur Bagels (Mile End - on St. Viateur, there are two) Grab bagels to go. You have to eat them when they're fresh and hot. Montreal bagels are amazing. Open 24 hours.
- Aux Vivres (Mile End - 4631 Boulevard Saint-Laurent) Best vegan restaurant, ever. My friend Shawn is a manager there. Lunch.
- Olive et Gourmando (Old Port - 106 Rue St Paul Ouest) - Some of the best sandwiches, ever. Great for lunch.
- Le Cartet (Old Port - 106 Rue McGill) Awesome brunch
- LOV (Old Port - 464 Rue McGill) Vegan and vegetarian cuisine.
- Kazu (Downtown - 1862 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest) - Japanese tapas. Dinner.
- Foiegwa (St. Henri - 3001 Notre-Dame Ouest) - Recently opened French diner from the owner of Barroco. I haven't eaten there yet, but I heard it's great.
- L'Académie (Plateau - 4051 Rue St-Denis) It is a culinary school and has really good mussels. BYOB for wine and beer.
- Restaurant L'Express (Plateau - 3927 Rue Saint-Denis) Classic French bistro right around the corner for my old apartment.
- Leméac (Mile End - 1045 Avenue Laurier O) - Open a bit later than most restaurants. Great French food.
- Fabergé (Mile End - 24 Avenue Fairmount Ouest) - Breakfast and brunch spot. I love their breakfast poutine.
- Joe Beef (In Atwater) - comfort food using fancy ingredients. Chef is Dave Macmillan. They have a great Caesar (Canadian version of a Bloody Mary but it's made with clamato) with shrimp and a oyster shot on top. Chefs has been featured on everyone one of Anthony Bourdain's Montreal's specials. You must make a reservation for dinner. The backyard is the best in best in the summer. (MY FAVORITE!)
- Barroco (Old Port - 312 Rue Saint Paul Ouest) - Great chimichuri steak, the ribs are phenomenal. All dishes and drinks are delicious. Good vibe and small. Dinner. (my friend Roberto is an owner)
- Au Pied Cochon (Plateau - 536 Avenue Duluth Est) - French Canadian cuisine. They're known for their duck in a can. Chef has been featured on Anthony Bourdain's Montreal's specials. You need a reservation. Dinner.
- Philemon (Old Port - 111 St Paul Ouest) - My friend Ariel's bar. Simple bar with a DJs at night. Great wine list.
- Hotel Nelligan Roof (Old Port - ) - Great rooftop bar for daytime cocktails with a view. The white sangria is my favorite.
- Luwan (Chinatown - 1050 Clark) - It's owned by a guy I know who is a DJ and owns other fun bars. DJ with fun music.
- Le Mal Nécessaire (Chinatown - 1106 B Boulevard Saint-Laurent) - They serve drinks in pineapples. It has a bit of a tropical vibe.
- Furco (Downtown - 425 Rue Major) Similar vibe as Philemon. Great drinks, good DJs. Fun for early drinks or late drinks.
- École Privée (Plateau - 1 Rue Milton) Lounge. DJs.
- Big In Japan Bar (Plateau - 3723 Blvd St. Laurent) - Japanese-style speakeasy. Really great drinks and Japanese saki with a more chill vibe. Can be hard to find. Look for the big red door. I'm not sure if there's a sign.
- Bar Datcha (Mile End - 98 Laurier Ouest) Late night, indie party kind of spot. DJs and dancing. MTL has a big electronic scene.
- Pub Burgundy Lion (Atwater - 2496 Rue Notre-Dame O) Really nice English "pub" owned by my friend Paul. Across the street from Joe Beef.
- Atwater Cocktail Club (St Henri - 512 Avenue Atwater) Back alley cocktail bar behind Foiegwa with good music and dark decor. They serve some dishes from Foiegwa there.