This francophone city is older than Canada with over 375 years of history and with time comes a developed and refined culture, which many would find paradoxical — both seasoned and fresh.
Our airbnb loft was located in the heart of the financial district which is a blend of old architecture and modern condominiums.
After landing late Saturday night we took a stroll into Old Montreal looking for a place to grab some dinner. It was at dinner we discovered that the weekend we visited Montreal was in fact a Quebec Holiday — St. Jean Baptise Day. Everywhere was packed and we lacked reservations. After a few no’s we came across Bocata a small and intimate restaurant with a candle-lit rustic interior. The hostess was kind enough to seat us at the bar top. Sitting at the bar? A turn off for some, but after we looked at the menu we knew we made the right choice. From our seats we were welcomed by our bartender, neighbouring patrons, and the tattooed/bearded guy through the expo window who garnished each outgoing dish. We ordered the lobster carbonara tagliatelle, squid ink risotto with shrimp and chorizo and the half-baked cookie.
The next morning, we grabbed brunch at Holder — a place our bartender from the previous night recommended. It offered classic french cuisine in a sophisticated restaurant with classy servers. At any point in time you are attended by three people at a time, one to check up on you, one to refill your coffee, and another to take your dish and replace your cutlery for your next course. Come here if you’re looking for a light breakfast before walking through the nearby shops. We ordered the fresh fruit salad, gravlax eggs benedict with hash browns and a watermelon sauce, and smoked salmon salad dressed in a white cheese vinaigrette.
The narrow corridors and cobblestone roads of Old Montreal are packed with clothing stores, restaurants and art.
Depanneur Cafe is a funky confectionary that makes it’s own ice-cream in-house. Walking in we were greeted by two of the staff jamming out to Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious.
Before Ikanos, I’ve only ever had Greek food at Opa. An open view of the kitchen staff from the sidewalk add a certain transparency and authenticity to this classy spot. They specialize in modern Greek mezze (tapas) and although this restaurant is on the pricey side, each dish is meant to be shared. I found myself switching from plate-to-plate balancing the saltiness of the saganaki with the cool tanginess of the tzatziki. We ordered the snow crab, swordfish, sauce trio with homemade pita bread, flambé saganaki, and lamb kebab.
Fairmount Bagel is a Montreal staple. Their bagels can be found in Second Cups, Costcos, and coffee shops all over Quebec. We visited the original 1949 bakery which still uses the same old fashioned wood fired ovens.
How I’ve never come across Lebanese food I have no idea. Trip de Bouffe is a deli-style restaurant with fresh salads, pastas and shwarma — it’s a perfect place to grab a quick lunch while shopping in the Plateau district. We ordered the holy guacamole salad, moussaka, and chicken shwarma all-dressed.