THE BEST SPOTS TO EAT & DRINK IN MONTREAL
Travelling is a gift that can often be overlooked. As I start to get older, I find myself gravitating more towards experience and culture rather than materialistic articles and possessions. For some reason, in my mind, travel has always meant leaving Canada... well, not this time. Last week I had the pleasure of travelling to Montreal for the weekend, and even though it was only an hour long flight, I felt like I was in a different country. With the help of recommendations from my followers on social media, I basically drank and ate my through this city and don’t regret a single bite. I honestly feel that without the help from social media, the trip simply wouldn't have been the same.
With this being my first travel blog, I wanted to do something a little differently than the average blogger. Not only will you find a list of the places I went to as well as my thoughts, but you will also find the complete price breakdown of this weekend getaway to assist you with any future travel plans and budgeting. With that, here is a roundup of all the places I visited and a rough estimate of the cost of each.
Bistro Le Passe Compose - okay so this brunch spot was hands down the best brunch I have had in my entire life. I know that is a bold statement but holy mother F it was insane. They focus their dishes around poached eggs that are each equally unique. I don’t even want to say its a “play on eggs bennie” because it so far elevated from that that you can’t even justify that as a benchmark.
Highlight: Foie Gras Poached Eggs - Brioche bread, pancetta chips, caramelized onions, pan-fried foie gras and foie gras sauce.
Don’t skip: The french toast. I don’t care if you all by yourself, get it to go it was insane.
Downside: The lineup can get long, so be prepared to wait.
Price Point: A tad on the more expensive side for brunch. Looking at $50-60 for two people.
Cafe Sat - Is an artsy creative space that makes one hell of a cup of coffee. I stumbled upon Cafe Sat as it was right behind our hotel and I am so glad I did. Not only was it aesthetically pleasing, but the staff and the coffee were equally as pleasant. They host pop ups and events for artists, serve a few smaller breakfast items and just have that modern hustle vibe down pat.
Highlight: The fact that they alternate their coffee roasters allowing you to try new brands every month. I had @rabbit_hole_roasters and wish I bought a bag to bring home
Don’t Skip: Their breakfast. Don’t underestimate this place. Their breakfast is just as appealing as their aesthetic.
Downside: For a coffee shop, there honestly wasn’t one.
Price Point: Standard Cafe pricing. Looking at $3-$5 a coffee
Hotel Zero 1 - is a large scale hotel with a boutique vibe. This hotel was perfect for a few nights in Montreal. Location was on point as it was walkable to the main shopping and tourist strip, next to Chinatown, and very close to old montreal and the St. Lawrence River. It had a beautiful mid level rooftop patio and was the perfect home away from home for a few nights.
Highlight: The size of the room - I had a corner unit and it was massive
Downside: The gym - There wasn’t very much equipment, I was still able to do a travel workout. The smell on the other hand was almost unbearable.
Price Point: Not horribly expensive for a boutique vibe. Looking at $170- $200 a night if you book through a travel website.
Les Enfants Terribles - is hidden on the rooftop of one of the corporate finance buildings in the downtown core. I had high hopes for this place and was sadly more or less let down. The view is insane but the vibe of this place just wasn't me. It was full of either very old corporate people or very young corporate wannabees. We stuck to a cocktail and serving of oysters before we hit the next spot.
Highlight: The view - if you don’t feel like dinning there you can go to the @observitiorepvm and see a 360 degree view.
Downside: The vibe -
Price Point: On the more expensive side of dining out. Looking at $30-$40 for a few cocktails and a light bite
Tavern Square Dominica - is what I like to call an upscale pub. Incredible craft cocktails combined with a mix of traditional french and englighn comfort food made for the perfect rainy night meal. The atmosphere in this place amazing and I noticed that it really picked up around 10:00pm. It was a delicious meal at a fair price and a place I would definitely go back to. .
Highlight: The atmosphere & service. The food was also very very good but I genuinely loved the vibe.
Don’t Skip: The old fashioned - this place is known specifically for their old fashioned cocktail
Downside: Location - It may have been because it was dark and I was in a foreign city, but I felt like I was on a sketchy side street. I didn’t love what we had to walk past to get to and from this place.
Price Point: Average dinner pricing. Roughly $120 for two people including cocktails.
Mandy Salads - A highly recommended lunch spot. This place was the cutest darn thing I’ve been to in a while. There was a great white picket fence patio on the street and a very welcoming garden like room indoors. The food was definitely on point and I encourage any health conscious enthusiast to make the trip.
Highlight: The establishment - The casual/comfortable healthy living vibe that this place has is amazing. I wish there was some place like it in Toronto for me to spend all my money and time in.
Don’t Skip: The tahini dressing. It was to die for.
Downside: Despite the salad being large in size there was not a lot of protein in it and I found myself considering ordering more.
Price Point: On the pricier side - considering I was still somewhat hungry after and $18 salad and therefore should have ordered something else, it makes for a pricey seat yourself grab and go lunch.
Le Mal Necessaire - an Asian inspired underground cocktail bar. Located on the outskirts of Chinatown, this hidden gem was definitely a cool find. They had a DJ behind the bar, skilled mixologists doing their thing, and a neon green lit atmosphere that really sets the place apart. You will find unique cocktails, cocktails that come in fruit, Asian inspired beers that threw me back to my trip through Thailand, and small snack menu to tide you over in between.
Highlight: The DJ or the beer and shot special for $7. Tough call on who the lead is there.
Downside: Service - Even though we were sitting at the bar and there was a man mixing drinks right in front of us, it was difficult to get their attention to order.
Price Point: Great drink specials and cocktails are on the cheaper to average price point. Looking at $40 or so dollars for a few drinks and a snack for two.
Le Bremner - this place stole my heart. Hidden below ground in Old Montreal, Le Bremner is an absolute must. From the easy going, trendy, and accommodating staff, to the stone walls, 90’s throwback music, and food that will make you never want to be full, this place is incredible beyond words. If I had real money, I would fly to Montreal just to go to dinner here and fly home 😂. An absolute must.
Highlight: The chefs tasting - we ordered this rather than trying to select just one thing on the menu and it was definitely the right call.
Don’t Skip: The pancakes for dessert
Downside: Reservation - we booked last minute and thankfully still got a table. Our seating was at 10:15pm. We thought maybe they would have room at the bar earlier but they also reserve out the bar. This isn’t really their fault (ha) but I had to come up with something.
Price Point: Chef’s tasting dinner for two with cocktails and wine including tax & tip was just over $300. I feel that it was worth every penny and you could definitely cut the cost of that if you chose to be more selective with the menu.
Bota Bota Spa - and it was an actual boat-a. I couldn’t (and still can’t) get over the fact that it was on an actual boat... Bota Bota is very similar to a scandinave spa, but for some reason (well we know the reason) way cooler. The design, multiple levels of cold and hot pools, combined with the area where you can actually talk made for the perfect combination of items for total serenity. We had to go first thing in the morning in order to fit it into our day and this was the best blessing in disguise anyone could ask for. The place was practically empty and it felt like we had it all to ourselves. There was also a discount for arriving before 10:00 am, as well as an additional $15 discount for adding a service. We left feeling so relaxed, rejuvenated and felt as though it was definitely money well spent.
Highlight: The garden water circuit was my favourite area. Partly because you could talk in this area, but it was also the most inviting with a mixture of greenery, a waterfall, the indoor hammocks and sauna. Literally everything you could ever ask for.
Don’t Skip: The food - apparently the food and kitchen is great. We skipped it simply because of our time limitations but it is the one thing I wish we didn’t.
Downside: Popularity - this is a happening place. It gets noticeably busy around 11am (at least on the Sunday) and as much as I understand the fact that you need customers to make the place run, it takes away from the serenity vibe when there are people everywhere.
Price Point: Reasonable - for the services it is well worth it, but I would definitely consider this a luxury spend. After my massage, tip and pool fees it was a total of $180. If you’re looking to keep the price point lower, arrive early and skip the service. $50 for three hours of relaxation would be totally worth it.
Arthurs Nosh Bar - feels like third generation jewish cooking, but is actually only three years old. This place had a lot of hype and I am happy to say that it actually met its expectations. When you first arrive, you would think that it has been owned and operated by the same eldery couple for years, but that isn’t the case. This establishment is only a few years old and is owned by a young millennial couple. Many items on the menu are made, smoked, or cured in house, and you can definitely tell. I wanted to order every single item on the menu but settled with only two things (LOL). There is an adorable patio on the street and a modern take on an 80’s diner inside.
Highlight: The McArthur chicken schnitzel sandwich. This thing tasted like a big mac but better and I would have eaten three of them.
Don’t Skip: The smoked in house smoked salmon. Holy mother F this was insanely good.
Downside: The wait - this seems to be a common theme - It was a good hour and twenty minute wait to be seated. I also felt slightly sick after eating there, but to be fair, I overdid it. Not sure who we can blame for that.
Price Point: Definitely on the less expensive side for brunch. Was roughly $40-$50 for brunch and two caesars.
Clearly I wasn’t kidding when I said I ate and drank my way through Montreal.
To finalize the budget for this trip here are a few more key items:
Flight: $280 round trip including seat selection - Air Canada was having a sale and I booked as soon as I found out.
Hotel: $400 for two nights
Food & Drink: Adding up the totals from above, we landed around $700-$800 in food and drinks for two people. This seems like a lot but it is inclusive of one very indulgent celebration dinner at Le Bremner.
Entertainment: $260 - $180 per person for massage and spa
Extras: Uber - We walked to most places but the Uber to and from the airport was around $40 each way, as well as inner city transportation. Looking at a total of $200 on taxies over the three days.
Total Spend: Roughly $2,200 for two people.
Some people may consider that a lot, other people may not. The point of this is to help guide you not only by recommendation, but by price point and value. It's fun following travel bloggers, seeing where they go, and all that they do, but I always wonder if it's actually realistic for someone like me. By providing this detail, I hope that I can make my trip, or at least parts of it, realistic for you. If you ever make it to Montreal, hopefully you will have a better idea of where you may want to go, may be able to go, and more importantly, where not to waste your money.