|Sure, there are three
steps, but the first step is
easy and the last two
steps don't require any
work at all!
|November 5, 2012
Eating Our Way Through Montreal
Ostensibly, the reason for us going to Montreal was the fall
colors and old world architecture but my real reason for
wanting to visit was the cuisine. Sure I wanted to visit the best
bakeries and French restaurants but I had a craving for ethnic
samplings also. My French didn’t go to well as I still try to
pronounce consonants in lots of my French words, something
which French speakers seem to have an aversion to.
Anyway, we started at Olive et Gourmando, one of the most
popular coffee and baked good spots in old Montreal. With
two Americanos in hand we sampled a plain croissant which
was a bit disappointing. It was light and pretty but distinctly
lacked a buttery flavor. The turtle bars were heaven though,
with large chunks of sea salt topping off the chocolate, toffee
Next up was Chinatown where we survived the Zombie Walk
unscathed and saw some of the most ornate pastries ever.
Things got more filling the next morning at St. Viateur Bagels
when we enjoyed our first encounter with the Montreal bagel.
Montreal bagels are smaller, lighter, and less chewy than a
New York bagel. In addition to having a dough enriched with
egg, the dough seems to be higher in moisture, both leading to
a bagel that doesn’t break your teeth when you bite in,
something I really like. Also, Montreal bagels are always
handmade by joining two ends of a strip of dough, boiled in
water laced with honey, then finished off in a wood fired oven. I
One of my big culinary goals on the trip was finding truly great
croissants. We found the greatest of the great at Kouign
Amann (I kept mistakenly calling it Kofi Annan) on Mt. Royal. It’
s a small shop with only a few pastries but the croissants were
A number 1. They were light, buttery, and the laminations
showed very well. They were a bit more chewy than some
croissants I’ve had but in a pleasant way. I think the main thing
that made their croissants the best was the fact that the
croissants were baked throughout day in small batches. It
looked like they never served a croissant that had been out of
the oven for more than 20 minutes.
The next day we took the “Montreal Highlights” bike tour thru
Fitz and Follwell. Martin, our guide agreed that the Kouigan
Amann croissants were the greatest (he confessed to getting a
croissant there every morning). Of course, we had to get our
photo in front of the Five Roses Flour sign, then headed to
Atwater Market for lunch and a look at Premiere Moison, an
artisan bakery chain in Montreal.
Last on our bike tour was Point G (lovingly called the G spot by
many in Montreal), a bakery that sells only macaroons. I wasn’t
too excited about stopping there, because I didn’t yet know
that there are macaroons, and there are G spot (I mean Point
G) macaroons. They were tender, sweet and delicately
flavored, totally different than any macaroon I’ve had before.
After the bike tour we wandered up through the Plateau up to
Outremont, to Fairmont Bagels (pretty similar to St. Viateur
really) then to Mamie Clafoutis, reported to be the best overall
bakery in Montreal. The display cases, I must say, were very
impressive and I wish our stomachs were large enough to
sample everything. As it was, I only got an almond filled
laminated pastry and Chris got a raisin pastry and those two
rolls alone were more taste than our tummies could handle.
We ate at three French restaurants, but the bread was just a
side show at these places. The baguettes were good, but not
any better than you’d get in the states.
One day we took the train to Quebec City, spending the time
wandering and eating, then eating and wandering. The
croissants at both Paillard and Le Petit Couchon Dingue were
Finally, our last day in Montreal, we took Fitz and Follwell’s
eating tour of town, officially known as “Flavours of the Main.”
We started in Chinatown and moved north, never missing a
place to eat. At the Pool Room we sampled the Montreal fast
food staple, poutine. The most serious bakery we stopped at
on this tour was Seraphin, which had some great sweets, but I
cringed when I saw their handmade loaves wrapped up on
plastic bags. The horror!
Farther north, we hit little Italy, drinking espresso and visiting
an Italian bakery. Last stop was the Jean-Talon Market where
we passed up on the rabbit and duck pie. Au Pain Dore had a
nice collection of sourdoughs and we stopped at another
ubiquitous but beautiful Premiere Moison.
Anyway, we had a great time, and for foodies I can't think of a
better place than Quebec. We had a great time on our Fitz
and Follwell tours (fitzandfollwell.co) and recommend them
highly. You won’t leave Quebec hungry!