Truth is, one of the main reasons I make the trek to Montreal several times a year is for the food. Yes, I love the city for its European feel, and the art that seems to envelop the city. But the pastries? The poutines? The smoked meat? Hell yah!
Interestingly, to me anyway, Montreal is the only city I have always visited either with friends and/or family–never alone–which is unusual for me since I generally travel alone. Also, on every visit we have “bunked it out” as I like to call it. Or I go with my brother and…well…we bunk it out then too.
Bunking it out? Huh?
Staying in a hostel and sleeping in bunk beds. Why a hostel? It’s cheaper which will allow me to spend the leftover money on what else? Food!
Let’s do the math
- Gas to and from Montreal $130 (you can also take the Megabus for under $30 one-way)
- Bed in a 6-bed dorm $25-35 per night x 3 nights (more expensive on weekends–you can get a cheaper bed in larger dorms and at other hostels. My favorite hostel in Montreal is Montreal Central). Before you book your bed, compare prices at www.hostelworld.com/, www.hostelbookers.com/ and www.hostels.com/
- Parking $12 per day x 3 days (underground parking)
- Three day bus pass for unlimited travel in Montreal by public transportation is $18. More information on public transit passes here. It is so worth it to get one!
- Split between 4 friends? Comes to about $133 per person for three days in Montreal (breakfast free at hostel–not all hostels have free breakfast though! Montreal Central does)
On our first night my friends and I stopped for a drink and tea. I also got a slice of pie that was still half-frozen! Argh. Not a good start. Of course, I had to go and forget the name of this place, which is just as well since the food and drinks were nothing worth remembering. The ambiance was kind of nice though.
Every time I come to Montreal, I must have smoked meat. Most people like to go to Schwartz‘s, but I prefer Reuben’s Deli because of the portions, the huge array of menu options, affordable prices, and because I do not need to wait an insane amount of time in line on the sidewalk. It is also located downtown near a subway station.
Peppered smoked meat, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomatoes $15.49
FAMOUS SUPER SANDWICH
A 10 oz. sandwich piled high. Served on rye bread with mustard $15.99
REUBEN’S CHOP-CHOP POUTINE
French fries topped with cheese curds, “chop-chop” smoked meat brisket and our homemade gravy $9.49
You can’t visit Montreal and not have a poutine! My friend Angela is obsessed with them, and having never had a poutine in Montreal before – to say that she was excited is an understatement! So after much consideration, we decided to check out La Banquise. Reviewers were not kidding when they said that there is always a line! We were there at 2pm and there was a huge line! But it does move fast.
*Tip: go with the regular size poutine. The photos are of the regular size and believe me, we were full!
I expected a small side-sized poutine, but NO! It was the regular size. Definitely pay the extra $3 to upgrade the combo–amazing value!
The day I leave Montreal is the day I go crazy buying pastries and bread to bring back home. Unfortunately, I was so busy running around from bakery shop to bakery shop that I did not take many photos. But here are a few of my favorite shops…..
I love Mamie Clafoutis because of their many bread and pastry options, efficient service, comfortable seating upstairs (very comfortable couches), and I also like to look down at the chefs baking (you can see the kitchen from the stairs).
Other bakeries that I always visit when in Montreal, but did not take any pictures of are:
- Au Kouign-Amann
- St-Viateur Bagel & Café
- Boulangerie Première Moisson Mont-Royal
On our last day in Montreal, my friends chose to dine at El Dorado for lunch. Personally this was not on my top 10 places to eat at, or on my radar period, but I am pretty bossy when it comes to food, so I tried not to whine too much about their decision.
Personally I thought the service left a lot to be desired, and the food was average. Some of the annoying points were:
- My meal came with a coffee, but I never got it. Apparently I had to TELL them that I wanted coffee–hmmm, it DID come with it! You should have asked ME if I wanted some or not! Since I was under the weather, I was not in the mood to put up a fight.
- 2 friends got quesadillas, but the sour cream and salsa were extra! That’s a first!
- The staff was rude and not attentive. We were trying to waive our waiter down to get the bill, only to be rudely told that you pay at the front! Oops, I completely forgot my psychic powers at home. How the heck are you supposed to just know that?! And yes, I checked to see if there was a sign or two that pointed that out – there weren’t any. Maybe something like this would have worked a hell of a lot better .. as the waiter gives us our menus, “when you are ready to pay, you just have to go to the front and someone will take care of you.” How hard is that?!
I guess with so many great options in Montreal, this was a wasted meal opportunity.
♥ See you soon Montreal! I miss you already! ♥