Borderstan welcomes new contributor Aparna Krishnamoorthy. Email her at aparna[AT]borderstan.com
Art. French. Jazz. Montreal is about many different things, but it’s mostly about the food. Well, our trip was anyway! The husband and I recently traveled to Montreal from Borderstan for a short vacation and were blown away by the gastronomic scene. Here are our travel notes in case you’re thinking of planning a trip:
Where We Stayed
- Opus Hotel — A stylish, sophisticated boutique hotel in the happening area of town. Home to the suave Koko nightclub, featured in Conde Nast’s “hot list”, this hotel was vibrant, modern and warm.
- Hotel Gault — An amazing boutique hotel in Old Montreal, it had large rooms with minimalist interiors and was beautiful, cozy and chic, with excellent service.
Where We Ate (and Man, We Ate!)
L’orignal – Quebecois cuisine. Game meats. Local hangout. A cozy basement restaurant in old Montreal, elk, bison and moose are all offered on the menu. I decided to play it safe and got the miso cod, which came with a creamy celery root purée and mushrooms. The husband got the bison ossobucco — a generous portion of fall off the bone deliciousness served with quinoa. Midway through a bottle of Canadian red, I went for the bison and we ended up splitting both our dishes. Isn’t that what husbands are for?!
Le Filet – Small plates. Seafood. Well priced. A very popular place, run by some of Montreal’s most successful restaurateurs, the food here is spectacular. Everything sounded insanely good, making it hard to pick. We finally settled on a scallop/avocado/beet salad, followed by a raw fluke/wasabi/cucumber dish. Our “hot” dishes included a chorizo flake cod with macadamia, a char with vegetables and my favorite dish of the night — a rock crab risotto. Heaven! Words cannot describe the awesomeness that this place is. Go eat here!
O.Noir – Dine in the dark! Unique experience. A dining experience like no other — you eat in the dark and experience the food with your other senses. And pitch dark it is. This socially conscious concept restaurant is staffed entirely by blind waiters!
One can’t go to Montreal and not try the Poutine, which is Quebec’s signature dish — French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. We stopped by Montreal Poutine, which offered a variety of additional toppings, and tried the poutine with smoked meat. Poutine can be found everywhere in Montreal — including McDonald’s — and is very popular as a late night post-drinking snack.
Speaking of drinks, Dieu du ciel!, which literally translates to God in Heaven! is Montreal’s local brew pub. It has a loyal following and is a must visit for beer lovers. The beer here is varied and delicious, with about 15 different brews at any given time. We sampled a few different ones (including “Rigor Mortis!”), and all were fantastic and reasonably priced. Didn’t try the food, but it looked pretty good. A great place for a chill night out.
Other stops included Le Comptoir for charcuterie and wine, Schwartz’s deli for their world famous smoked meat, Brit and Chips for some maple and orange crush fried fish (which was pretty awesome), Point G for the most amazing macaroons (22 different flavors!) and a number of cafes and patisseries for café au lait’s, flaky croissants and tons of people watching.
If you haven’t been to Montreal, go!