- 1 / 8
Brunch at Beautys
Beautys Luncheonette is a true Montreal landmark. Opened in 1942, Beautys has lured regulars and visiting tourists alike for over seven decades with their delicious breakfast fare. Founded by a couple of newlyweds in the heart of Montreal’s Jewish garment district, Beautys claims to be the birthplace of the Montreal brunch, as their devoted lunchtime customers would bring their families back on weekends to try Beautys dishes far before the brunch craze began. Known for their bagel sandwiches layered thick with cream cheese, smoked salmon, onion, and tomato; and their “Superbeautys” — a breakfast smorgasbord of eggs, pancakes, potatoes, and meats, which we ordered times four — this cute and classic spot is a must-visit while in town.
- 2 / 8
Poutine to the Extreme
I’m going to level with you, I’m no stranger to cheese fries, a dish I’ve consumed in countless diners and burger joints during my time. However, poutine — Canada’s apparent junk food of choice — is way more extreme than any cheese fries I’ve ever consumed. My friends and I didn’t quite know what we were getting ourselves into when we ordered a plate of poutine each. Arriving piled high with gravy, cheese curds, and heaps of hot dogs and smoked meat, we definitely needed a little hike up to the Mount Royale observatory after this heavy, and admittedly delicious, mid-day bite. (Try poutine at home with this amazing Thanksgiving poutine recipe.)
- 3 / 8
Super Stacked Bloody Caesar
A bit of peer pressure went into the ordering of this wild concoction. We were drawn to L’Gros Luxe, a cute gastropub in the heart of the city, for its lovely decor, warm ambiance, and affordable menu (Montreal’s restaurants tend toward the pricier side). And while there were plenty of eye-catching menu items — my friend, craving even more poutine that day, ordered a grilled cheese with poutine inside — the item that really stood out on their menu was their selection of Bloody Caesars (a close relative to the Bloody Mary, made with Clamato). What set apart these drinks was their assortment of available bar-inspired toppings on a stick. You could mix-and-match items, or go all-in and order their L’Gros Caesar, topped with a mini burger, fried pickle, onion rings, mini rilled cheese, and mini quesadillas (still only $20 — a steal for a meal with a cocktail built right in). My friends urged me to order the over-the-top creation, reminding me of my eating mission, and we all basked in awe (and mild horror) when it finally arrived.
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- 4 / 8
Montreal Bagels at St-Viateur
I had heard tell of the Montreal bagel and its ability to stand up to its fluffier counterpart to the south, the New York bagel. I went in doubtful of this bagel’s ability to stack up, but after one taste I was hooked. I can proudly proclaim: I’m now fully on team Montreal bagel. Thin, dense, and doughy, these chewier bagels are like the best elements of New York bagels without the unnecessary fluff. (Get another look into Montreal bagels here.)
- 5 / 8
Classic French Fare Beyond France
One of the great things about visiting Montreal is that you get a taste of France with a much smaller travel time and cost. In addition to slightly polishing up my rusty French skills around the francophone city, I also got a chance to eat some great authentic French food. My friends and I made a stop at Restaurant L’Express, which served sophisticated fare with an affordable price tag — for escargots, bone marrow, steak frites, and this lovely cold octopus and lentil salad.
- 6 / 8
Poutine After Dark
If I had to guess, I would venture to say poutine was probably invented by someone after a night of drinking, who experienced a divine vision of their favorite drunk foods (fries, gravy, cheese, meat) in a big pile of booze-soaking brilliance. Naturally, our second round of poutine on the trip was at local mini-chain, Frite Alors, after a few rounds of cocktails around Montreal’s local bars. In New York, we have late-night greasy, cheesy pizza. In Montreal, they have late-night greasy, cheesy poutine.
- 7 / 8
Morning Caffeine Fix
Montreal has a thriving cafe scene, with lots of cute local spots with lovely decor and very Instagrammable tiled floors — like this location, Cafe Myriade. Their cafes have even inspired one of the most aesthetically pleasing Instagram hashtags ever, #MTLcafecrawl.
- 8 / 8
A Few Bagels for the Road
Anticipating Montreal bagel withdrawal, we made one last stop at St-Viateur, the iconic Montreal bagel institution, before hitting the road back to the States. St-Viateur is about as legit as it gets. With bags of flour stacked in the front, the sweet smell of dough filling the room, and an open oven — where you can watch in awe as a man expertly slides out long rows of bagels, balancing them in the air before dropping them into the sorter — its clear to see why this shop has been revered by locals since 1957. Plus, a bagel costs a mere $.85, making it safe to say if I lived nearby I’d be stopping in daily.
If you’re anything like me, you travel to eat. While I enjoy taking in the sites of a new city as much as anyone else, in many ways I far prefer exploring the tastes. This past weekend, my friends and I made a quick road trip seven hours north of NYC to Montreal, the hip French-Canadian hub for legendary bagels and indulgent plates of poutine (both of which I ate multiple times throughout my two-day visit), nestled on a mountainous island in Quebec. We didn’t go in with much of a game plan, but rather a few food parameters: distinctly Canadian, definitely tasty, and within our recent-college-grad budgetary constrictions. Here are the spots we hit and the carbs we ate — and oh, how many carbs there were. All photos by Gillie Houston for Yahoo Food.