Montreal was totally off my radar until my cousins extended and invitation for Kyle to join them for a family trip. After a bit of research, we discovered how much of a clear, foodie city it really was so we decided to check it out. The city is reminiscent of many European cities I’ve seen, with small city streets where the old city used to be in combination with a gridlock build metropolis. Montreal stands out to be because of the intriguing, versatile interpretation of art scattered and structures all over the city. It was like everything was pieced together randomly… but somehow it works.
For example, this beautiful structure was hanging from inside of a business & shopping center building
And this random group of people, which I found rather curious, was just on the sidewalk of a city street.
Or this bus stop (yea… I was just as confused) was next to a park
And it gets better… right down the street from this bus stop is a cathedral surrounded by office buildings.
Also, the people watching is just about as entertaining as the sites, and the people we encountered in Montreal were super friendly (even despite not knowing a lick of French).
We took a long stroll up to Mont Royal to get a birds-eye view of the city
On top of the hill was a beautiful building called the Mont Royal Chalet, that was built during the Great Depression as a make-work to help support the local economy.
Throughout out trip, we hopped around to various microbreweries, dive bars and cocktail bars, all of which were quite unique in their own way. Some were recommendations from a close friend, some from Google… but I don’t think we hit a bad place in the whole bunch.
Reuben’s for lunch was a must… and a place I highly recommend. It’s by far some of the best smoked beef I have EVER had in my life. It was most moist, flavorful and came in an athlete sized portion.. their super sandwich was 10 oz of meat, some mustard and a small bit of bread to hold it (kind of) all together. I would have taken a picture but I wolfed down my half WAY too quickly.
Like it’s diversity in art, their food selection through the city is a ton of fusions. Noren, a kawaii japanese fusion joint, had about 12 seats with a limited menu that was to die for. We had the Takoyaki (fried dumplings) and the Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) which I cannot say enough good things about… again, sorry… no photos.. Too hungry and too delicious to capture adequately.
As for their bars, there’s a pretty sweet local microbrewery by the name of Dieu du Ciel, which literally translates to good Lord. They had about 15 beers plus a cider on tap and the place filled up quite quickly after it opened. I tried a true American IPA which was very piney and Kyle had the Stout.
Next was this place which was pretty laid back on a Sunday but I’m told can get crazy electronica on a weekend night after 9PM. No a huge selection in beers, but pretty standard varieties of blonde ales, an amber and a stout or two.
My favorite place though (which I didn’t get a picture of), was La Distillerie (No. 1) located in the Quartier des Spectacles. It’s a well known cocktail bar which has 2 other locations, labeled as No 2 and No 3, respectively in different parts of the city. It’s bartenders are very creative and are willing to make whatever you’re in the mood for during non super busy peak times. I had a pumpkin coffee cocktail, followed by a smokey lemonade concoction. They have a great selection and super friendly and knowledgeable staff. If we make it back to Montreal, this will be on the list to re-visit.
Last but not least, Chinatown. Almost every major city has one and the food is just incredible. After growing up with an overly Americanized, butchered view of Chinese food in small town PA, Houston has opened my eyes to how diverse and AMAZING chinese, japanese, korean food can really be. The photo below is of a hot pot chain that I recognized from Houston so naturally a photo had to be taken and sent to a friend who visits Little Sheep Hot Pot on a weekly basis in Houston Chinatown. We didn’t head here for dinner, but instead.. decided to check out Mai Xiang Yuan, a famous dumpling joint. It was packed and for good reason. We had the beef curry dumplings, pork dumplings and seaweed salad. All of which were pretty fantastic.
So, long story short, if you’re a foodie then Montreal should most definitely be on your list to check out. We will be back 🙂