Craving French specialties but don’t want to buy a plane ticket to Paris? Montreal has you covered. A few months ago, Untapped Cities’ Laura Itzkowitz suggested spots that you can visit in order to have a Parisian day in NYC. Here you’ll find a few suggestions on how to eat like a Parisian but this time, in another French-speaking metropolis, Montreal.
Travel guidebooks often refer to Montreal as Little Paris. Whether that nickname is deserved remains debatable. However, in these last few years French expatriates have been moving to the province of Quebec in large numbers due to a precarious economic situation. Walking around the streets of certain Montreal districts like the Plateau Mont-Royal or the Mile End, you may find yourself hearing nearly as many Parisian accents as Quebec ones. These French expats have crossed the ocean and brought along their love of good pastries, charcuteries and cheese. In order to cater for those needs, many restaurants and bakeries have opened. Here is a list of great places to discover so you can eat like a Parisian in Montreal.
Where to get a morning croissant like a Parisian
There are as many French bakeries in Montreal as there are opinions on which one is best. Since the Plateau Mont-Royal is the district where many of the French expats first move, you’ll find lots of great spots to get your Sunday morning Pain au chocolat and croissant but these are the three that come up most often: Kouign amman, Les Copains d’abord and Mamie Clafoutis.
Those that venture out of the Plateau neighborhood will want to try:
Boulangerie de Froment et de Sève, with the typical tables and chairs spilling onto the sidewalks of Beaubien street (not recommended during winter though, as Montreal winters are much harsher than Parisian ones).
In the Mile End neighborhood, Croissanterie Figaro has the decor and feeling a Parisian café. Grab a copie of Libération and spends hours drinking loads of café crèmes.
Over on Laurier avenue, Fous Desserts, won over a panel of experts who voted their croissants best throughout the city of Montreal.
Eating out like a Parisian:
Has your apéro stretched out into the late hours of the night? Stop by L’Express on Saint-Denis street. L’Express is a classic French brasserie where you’ll get the warm decor and the classic dishes of a typical Saint-Germain des Près joint. The food is standard and quality isn’t constant but the atmosphere is fun, especially past midnight, when the nightlife revelers come in for a late-night steak frites.
Montreal has a huge French dining scene, but here are a few other places where you can satisfy your desire to eat like a Parisian for a day (along with one of their signature dishes just to get your tastebuds going).
Les Deux singes de Montarvie (Duck ravioli with Foie Gras cream), Chez Léveque (Grilled filet mignon with gratin dauphinois) , La bulle au carré (Buckwheat crepe with leeks, potatoes and andouillette), Le Pois Penché (Escargot Mille-feuilles), Maison Boulud (Foie gras terrine marbled with Cacao)
Where to shop for food supplies like a Parisian
Should you prefer to stay at home to host your little Bleu-blanc-rouge themed party, here are some of the best places to shop so you can find lots of typically French specialty products, as well as classics desserts like Macarons or Millefeuilles (also known as Napoleon cake):
Marché de la Villette is where you should head for typical French charcuterie. This Old Montreal restaurant doubles as a butcher’s shop that sells rillettes, sausages and terrines among other tasty specialties.
Gourmet Laurier is gourmet grocery store that sells lots of hard to find imported products such as Carambars, Banania chocolate and marrons glacés.
O plaisirs gourmands is where pastry chef Olivier Potier prepares reinvented takes on classics, such as lemon pies, éclairs and Saint-Honoré cakes.
At la Maison du Macaron, the name says it all. Here the delicate cookies are available in dozens of flavors and on hot days, you can also try the ice cream version of this beloved sweet treat.