Hello – Shir here!! Did you think another #wanderlust post wasn’t in the works? My most recent destination of Summer 2017 was Montreal, Canada.
Earlier this month, my family took a week-long trip to attend my cousin’s wedding and enjoy some quality family time. Considering I only had one week to explore the city, I was adamant on visiting the top restaurants, bars, and areas in the second largest city in Canada. I drove my cousins crazy and I’m pretty sure they saw more of the city that week than they had all year! Below are the highlights of my trip. ENJOY!
P.S. French is the primary language spoken in Quebec, but everyone still speaks English, especially in Montreal. I was happy I was able to practice my French-speaking skills, so I made the effort ;).
This beautiful street is the second longest street in Montreal. I love this street because there is so much to do along it. The east part of the street begins in Le Plateau and Olympic Park all the way until the west part which is filled with luxurious houses and Park Avenue. It’s one of the busiest streets in Montreal and in the summertime they line up flags of all the countries. You can find Montreal’s botanical garden here and the Château Dufresne which is now a historic monument.
This is my FAVORITE part of the city. It revolves around Le Vieux-Port de Montréal which is the Old Port. This area of Montreal truly juxtaposes the North American and European cultures. I could roam the streets of the oldest part of the city for hours. Many boutique hotels, authentic restaurants, and businesses have opened up here in recent years; this led to the increase in the population, creating a hustle and bustle atmosphere. In this area you could check out the Basilique Notre-Dame, the beautiful cobblestone Saint Paul street, and the Town Hall.
Also known as the “Gay Village”, this area of town is the largest gay village in North America. Meaning, amazing restaurants, shopping, and hair dressers! Like most gay districts I’ve seen (in Paris and NYC especially), the area has been gentrified. Saint Catherine Street creates a fun “festival” vibe in the summertime thanks to the “Pink Balls” Project, which is an annual installation of thousands of pink balls stretching for almost 1 mile supporting the LGBT community…this calls for cute pics!! Sky is a cool club with a rooftop bar that we stopped by for a bit. The rooftop has a pool and the DJs are pretty great.
This mountain in the middle of Montreal is where the city’s name is derived from. My cousin and I hiked up the mountain/hill and enjoyed a beautiful view of the city when we reached the top of it. There is a huge cross installed at the top of the hill as well, which lights up in different colors at night! The first cross was placed there in 1643, so it’s amazing to add some history there.
Can’t have a complete vacation without a little bit of “light” shopping! This is the largest mall in the Montreal area (Laval is an adjacent island) and is a beautiful one! Fairview is another good one, but this mall has an extensive food court (important, duh) and a HUGE Zara and Aritzia, so obviously my fave.
To take advantage of the warm weather, my cousin, dad, and I went to a ropes course 45 minutes away from Montreal to get some physical activity in our schedule and do some zip lining! I had so much fun and was so happy to get such a beautiful view of the wilderness. There are 4 different levels, and I’m proud to say I did them all!!
Canada has a bunch of Chalets (lodge/cottages) in more rural areas (where English isn’t spoken as much as in Montreal). My cousins and I went to a chalet in Wentworth-Nord along Lac Notre-Dame. The lake was beautiful and it was a nice, little getaway from the city. We went kayaking, canoeing, and tanning on the docks.
Arthurs Nosh Bar
This restaurant is adorable (great photo ops) and the frosé is delicious! They’re famous for their weekend brunch, but I went on a weekday and ordered an Avocado toast and the Quinoa Salad from their regular menu. The lines for brunch in Montreal over the weekend are INSANE and we didn’t have time, but if you have the time and patience to wait, get the Moroccan Toast- my friend Dinah SWEARS by it.
BEST SALAD BAR EVER; according to my cousins, it’s best in the city. There are so many options and all of their unique dressings are delicious. I customized my own with the following ingredients: goat cheese, avocado, pecans, roasted sweet potato, dried figs, and white tuna salad. I couldn’t decide between the variety of dressing flavors, so I mixed the Basil & Sage and Tumeric Tahini…IT WAS UNREAL. Also, the interior designer Mandy’s used did an AMAZING job decorating the salad bar. Wear a cute outfit and be prepared for cute photos.
These bagels are to die for!! When you go, get the fresh-baked bagels, and if they don’t have any at the time, either have them heat up the already made ones or wait 20 minutes or so for fresh bagels to come out of the oven. Yes, NYC has some of the best bagels, but Fairmount is just as good and even better than some in the city!!
I’m not much of a coffee drinker- mainly because I’m naturally hyper and can’t handle too much caffeine, but I had to taste it to give you guys an honest review! My cousin swears by their coffee, so I got a mocha latte and it was actually really good! I only drank half of it though, because I had already felt my heart beginning to flutter from the caffeine.
OTHER RECS: Lov, Chez Régine, Le Cartet
This restaurant is more of a dinner option, because of the poppin’ bar and loud music. I highly recommend making a reservation because it fills up fast. The food and cocktails were extremely good and the vibes were great! Perfect place to eat dinner and then hang out by the bar and meet YUPPIES 😉
Les Enfants Terribles
This is a chain in Montreal, and it’s adorable! I love the decor of the restaurant and how it’s half outdoors and half indoors with the patio open making the restaurant feel more open- atleast in the location I went to in Outremont. I got this delicious labne, tomato salad which was refreshing and different. Honestly, perfect place for a first date and not expensive at all!
This sushi spot has an extensive menu with some of the freshest sushi I’ve had in a while. It’s located right next to Cheskie’s, a great bakery you can stop by after your delicious dinner.
Honestly, this is the place where everyone goes to in the middle of the night to eat after a night in the town. It’s kosher, so I was able to try poutine!! It was delicious, but SO FILLING. Canada- I gotta say I’m a fan. Tip: If you don’t keep kosher and want poutine, I hear that La Banquise is the spot to go.
OTHER RECS: Jatoba, Escondite, Kampai Garden, Bia Hoi
This ice cream/gelato shop has a variety of unique flavors- the lychee and matcha are amazing. It’s a cute, little shop with a line that usually wraps around the building, but as I always say, ” If there is a long line, it’s got to be worth it.”
Felix & Norton
For one of the best, but really low-key, cookies in the city, stop by its cookie truck by the Old Port. They’re so good, a few grocery stores in the area has them in stock too!
BeaverTails or Queues de Castor
I came here to try a Beavertail. For those of you who don’t know, Beavertails are a Canadian fried-dough pastry topped with sweet condiments. Typically people to it with cinnamon and sugar, but you can choose Nutella and banana, whipped cream, etc. I love desserts so 10/10 highly recommend.
La Dolce Vita
This place is Montreal’s hidden gem; it’s hidden in the middle of a quaint neighborhood, operated by Italians. By far some of the best gelato I’ve ever had, including the ones I’ve had in Italy!
If you’re looking for a delicious, kosher bakery this is your place! The chocolate and poppyseed babka is delicious! So good that I brought back half a loaf to NYC for my friends and I.
This cute Speakeasy is located in the Old Port inspired by the Miami/Cuban scene. The entrance is behind a bookcase- I had the hardest time finding the bar and was shocked when I saw the bookcase open. There are palm trees and have super miami vibes, which made me feel right at home! The cocktails are really well made and the music is great! It’s very dimly lit, so don’t expect to take many cute photos.
This London-inspired cocktail bar looks like a 19th century Victorian tea room. It’s the perfect place for an elegant date or soiree on weekdays, but on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights it’s filled with electronic music blasting throughout the night by talented DJs. I met up with a few friends from home here who have friends who live in Montreal. Definitely check it out if you’re in the city over the weekend!
OTHER RECS: Velvet, New City Gas, Les Torchés, Bily Kun, No Name