Edible Montreal :
A Tasting Tour of the 514
Dive into into a melting pot of marvelous eats.
Combine a cup of classic French cooking, a quart of Jewish deli, an array of ethnic spices and Quebecís agricultural bounty. Voila! The melting pot that makes up Montreal cuisine. With a food scene as diverse as its citizens, Mount Real is as culinary as it is cosmopolitan. In this bi-lingual city of Anglo and French, food is the common language. Eager to venture beyond downtownís tourist traps and go where the natives dine? Here is an edible expedition to explore new neighborhoods, one taste at a time.
Canadian writer Mordechai Richler dubbed Montreal smoked meat to be a ìmaddening aphrodisiacî. While lunch meat and seduction seem to be odd bedfellows, once you try this famous, salt-cured brisket, you will understand. Every Quebecker has their preferred place to nosh; my family are fans of Snowdon Deli, an authentic Jewish joint far from the tourist-trodden Schwartzís. With waitresses and a pink/beige palette from a bygone era, a meal at Snowdon offers a glimpse into Montrealís past. Order your smoked meat hot or cold; those who prefer a leaner cut can choose ìtraditionalî, but I prefer the fattier ìold-fashioned. Sandwiches come piled high on rye with a side of unbelievably tasty and oh-so-not frozen French fries. Speak like a local when ordering Montrealís other prized delicacy, the bagel. Black (poppy) or white (sesame) are topped with some of the loveliest lox in town. Thanks to the richness of schmaltz--rendered chicken fat--the chicken liver p‚tÈ will please even those averse to offal. Instead of room service, pickup knishes, blintzes, matzo ball soup, and bagelach, a sweet cheese-filled pastry, for a terrific takeout dinner.
Side Dish: Down the street, you canít miss Orange Julep Gideau, a gigantic, 2-story orange-shaped building. Since 1932, this slice of kitsch has been home to a fast-food restaurant famous for their sweetened, Orange Julius-like drink and poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy). On summer nights, the parking lot fills with classic cars.
5265 Boulevard DÈcarie
MontrÈal, QC H3W 3C2
For a taste of quintessentially Quebec cooking, head to Little Burgundy, the revitalized quartier near Old Montreal. Inspired by the nearby Lachine Canal, Liverpool House is part oyster bar, part gastro-pub, all bonhomie. A meal here is as boisterous as the enigmatic chef-owners, FrÈdÈric Morin and David McMillan, who have put Montreal on the culinary map with their signature style of hearty, decadent grub. Perhaps itís the rustic dÈcor--mismatched paintings, white-washed wainscoting--, the butcher block of apertifs, or the amiable staff, but this place feels like home. Or, more aptly, a seaside escape.
Begin with bubbly and oysters to get you in the mood. For a bite of the chefsí whimsy, order the foie gras Monte Cristo, which is slathered in Quebecís famed syrup. On a wintry night, the cod and clams poached in beer, mustard and cream is pure comfort. The Flinstonian rib-eye is must for any meat-lover. Wash it all down with a bouteille of wine, selected from the mostly French, chalkboard wine list. If you are craving more carnivorous offerings, check out Liverpoolís sister restaurant, Joe Beef, just a stoneís throw away.
Side Dish: Rent a boat or kayak along the Lachine Canal with H20 Adventures. For a gourmet picnic, head to Atwater Market, which brims with local cheeses, charcuterie, and farm-fresh produce.
2501 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
MontrÈal, QC H3J 1N6
A metaphor for Montrealës diversity, Mezcla fuses Nuevo Latino zing with French-cooking technique. This new addition to the dining scene will shake up your dining doldrums, using purple corn, jalapeno, and avocados to brighten the palate. During the summer months, dine al fresco. Spice up the winter with these South American flavors. In spite of Mezclaís proximity to bustling Rue Ste.-Catherine, this East End spot feels wonderfully remote. Inside, the open kitchen creates an inviting space, further enhanced by low-lighting, an exposed brick wall, and a chalkboard menu.
Start with Pisco Sours, the refreshing Peruvian cocktail; one sip will whisk you away to warmer climates. Dive into the tasting menu for a dazzling array of dishes: red snapper ceviche, yucca-battered shrimp, bison short ribs, and a magnificent blood sausage and chorizo duo. For dessert, a Montreal favorite--the maple-tinged unemployed (chÙmeur) pudding--reminds you weíre still in Canada. This mouthwatering menu is an embarrassment of riches that wonít break the bank--it costs just 39 dollars. Mezcla is still somewhat undiscovered; go before the masses unearth its magic.
Side Dish: At nearby Parc La Fontaine, summer nights come to life at the free, outdoor arts venue, ThÈ‚tre de la Verdure. In the winter, make like a Canadien--Montrealís NHL team--and test out your skating skills on the meandering, river-like ice paths.
1251 Rue de Champlain
MontrÈal, QC ....