A Food-Focused Walking Tour of Montreal
Many Montrealers are true gourmets, or at least enthusiastic food-lovers. And, indeed, the city has thousands of restaurants, markets, and food boutiques catering to just about every conceivable taste, from Middle Eastern shish kebab to Portuguese barbecue to Tonkinese soup. Most menus are posted outside, so you can stroll around a neighborhood and leisurely choose whichever sounds most tantalizing.
If you need to stock up on supplies, a good destination would be the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal. Try a smoked-salmon crêpe or spinach quiche at the tiny Crêperie Chez Suzette or the maple butter cookies and maple vinaigrettes of Les Délices de l’Érable. Both shops are on rue St-Paul.
While you can’t go wrong starting the day with a bowl of steaming café au lait at Café Myriade in Downtown, for something a little different head over to Chinatown for a dim sum breakfast at the neighborhood institution, Maison Kam Fung.
Fortified with filling dumpling dough, walk up through the streets of the Latin Quarter on rue St-Denis and you’ll hit Square St-Louis.
Turn west, then north on boulevard St-Laurent and browse through dozens of ethnic food shops and delis, inhaling the aromas from the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe. If that reanimates your appetite, stop at the iconic Schwartz’s Delicatessen and split one of the world’s best smoked-meat sandwiches, served piled high on rye (it’s best slathered with spicy deli mustard), with your walking companion.
Next, work up an appetite for lunch with a walk. Head east along avenue Duluth and take a stroll through Parc Lafontaine. When you leave the park, go northwest on avenue Christophe Colomb until you reach avenue Mont-Royal, a spirited stretch of terrasses, tattoo parlors, and thrift shops. Stop for a bagel sandwich on a hot and sweet Montréal-style bagel at St-Viateur Bagel & Café. In summer, stop for some ice cream at Le Glacier Bilboquet, on avenue Laurier Est.
Time to cheat. Hop on the métro at Laurier station and head north to the Jean-Talon stop for an afternoon visit to one of Canada’s best markets, Marché Jean-Talon. You can spend hours browsing fish, sausage, and cheese shops and sampling everything from smoked buffalo to seasonal produce like heirloom tomatoes.
There’s no leaving this area without stopping for dinner, so stroll over to boulevard St-Laurent and find a place to eat in Pétite-Italie (Little Italy). Two restaurants to try are Inferno and Bottega Pizzeria. Finish with a bracing espresso at Café Italia, where neighborhood men huddle around the TV to watch soccer.
From here, it’s an easy walk back to the Jean-Talon métro stop for a ride back to Old Montréal or Downtown.
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