What I won’t be eating…

>> I know I know, it’s harsh to reduce the city of Montreal to a dish that is probably neither symbolic nor representative of its full culinary delights.  However, I know next to nothing about the city other than this dish here because people seem to love banging on about the lushness of ‘poutine’ – fries doused in gravy with cheese curds.  I’m fairly confident that I won’t concur given that I don’t really eat cheese.  So I know what I WON’T be eating…

But perhaps some of you can enlighten as to what I WILL be doing… it’s travel-tips hunting time again.  Any words of wisdom regarding what to do, what to see, what to eat (other than things involving cheese…), where to shop in Montreal would be much appreciated…

The few things I am sure of are… I know I’ll be finally meeting and putting a face to the lovely personality of Angie of I Heart Norwegian Wood… seeing the Complex Geometries boys… seeing Reborn for real… but I’d like to of course, cram the days with plenty more given that I’m there until Sunday.


38 Replies to “What I won’t be eating…”

  1. I have never been to Montreal so cannot offer any advice I am afraid but I might have to make a trip to try some of this – cheese, fries & gravy, what’s not to be liked?

  2. the architecture museum usually has some great shows if you are interested.
    and montreal has some really good french cafes all around the city to substitute the french fries!

  3. I don’t eat cheese either, so i get my poutine prepared with no cheese, but mushrooms, green bell peppers and onions… Delicious!
    As far as restaurants are concerned, i’d advise you to try out Chuch or Chuchai, they offer vegetarian versions of traditional thai dishes. Delicious fake meats, they look/taste like the real deal! It’s on St Denis at Duluth.

  4. montreal is a beautiful city, but, yeah, quebecois cuisine can sometimes be a little overwhelming. delicious! but overwhelming. (sugar pie comes to mind, which is exactly what it sounds like)
    best coffee shop i’ve been to (possibly ever) is cafe myriade at 1432 mackay.
    have so much fun.

  5. Montreal is one of the most exciting cities in the world, in my opinion. Check out the shops on rue Ste Catherine and rue St Denis.
    Have fun shopping 🙂

  6. You should definitely stop by the Mode and Design Montreal Festival happening August 4 to 7 on McGill College Avenue! They have a large outdoor runway with fashion shows happening throughout the evening. The TransCanada Runway show is especially cool (August 5 at 10pm), they will be showcasing up and coming designers from across the country!

  7. Eva B on St. Laurent just above Ontario is a super fun vintage clothing/costume shop… It’s dark and disorganized but gems are waiting to be found!
    Best pastries in the city at Premier Moison… there are lots of locations around.
    And hit up Milton street, near McGill University for a lovely Vegetarian resto called Cafe Lola Rosa and a cute little used bookstore called The Word

  8. I’m Canadian and don’t eat poutine but it’s more appetizing than your picture would suggest – the curds melt a bit so it’s quite gooey. Montreal can be very beautiful – unfortunately the last time I was there it was February and -30 most days so I don’t really have any advice to offer other than eating wise to perhaps check out Au Pied de Cochon. It’s a well known restaurant that serves really interesting and hearty food (with large portions!). In fact, I think Montreal probably has the most comparable (to London) dining scenes in Canada so it’s really worth trolling around egullet to get dining suggestions.

  9. Maytbe I’m biased because I’m Canadian but I loooove my poutine! 😛 I will order it wherever it’s on the menu, no matter what haha. I’m addicted. I like it better the non-authentic way, with grated cheese instead of cheese curds!

  10. One of my favourite parts of the city is the Mile End, north of the Mont Royal. You can take the metro (underground) and get off at Parc on the blue line. Avenue Laurier is a very elegant street, full of interesting shops, and St-Viateur Street is a must to get the famous bagels at St-Viateur Bagels & see how they are made. Plus the best ice cream is at the Bilboquet on Rue Bernard, which also has some nice cafés.
    And if you have a chocolat craving anytime, try Juliette et Chocolat (they have one on Avenue Laurier, and one on St-Denis close to the Berri-UQAM station).

  11. Oops sorry, to walk around Mile End I might recommend taking bus number 80 from Place-des-Arts and getting off around Laurier Ave…Parc & Jean-Talon metro stations gets you to Little Italy instead.

  12. Dust – it’s true, I have a strict “must be eating poutine” policy whenever I meet new people! hee hee
    Can’t wait Susie! Prepare yourself though, it’s very hot and humid right now…just like in New York!

  13. I love poutine, I was just eating some yesterday! I have heard that it’s difficult to not eat cheese and dairy in Montreal. My cousin lives there and was a vegan for years but not long after she moved there she started eating cheese again because of the lack of vegan options (and all of the incredible Montreal cheeses were just too tempting).
    For finding places to eat I recommend urbanspoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/c/67/Montreal-restaurants.html
    I use it everywhere I go and have found a lot of great restaurants through it.

  14. The previously mentioned Eva B has a giant room filled to the ceiling with piles and piles of clothing, shoes, bags, fabric- all for one dollar.
    If you do decide to trek through the one dollar mountain, i highly recommend you come with a lot of energy, patience, and a pair of socks!
    All along St. Laurent and St. Denis you’ll find kitschy to upscale vintage, local designer boutiques, and lots and lots of bistros and cafes!
    St. Catherine is the place for all of the chain store shopping- you might want to stop at the giant Simons, a big clothing store which can be a little hit and miss, and La Maison Ogilvy, a fancy department store.

  15. You’re making a HUGE mistake skipping the poutine. Its one of the greatest gifts French Canadian cuisine has given the world. And you don’t have to be a cheese lover to enjoy it. Its more about the combination of the three ingredients. You may think it sounds gross but that’s a pretty short sighted, close-minded attitude coming from someone who seems to be anything but that… Seriously. Get some with a friend and at least try a bite.
    Anyway, if you are looking for a delicious snack stop at Saint Viateur bagels. Best bagel you’ll ever eat. I promise.
    -Long time reader from Canada.

  16. Finally you come to Canada and I’m not there. BAH!! Too bad you don’t like cheese, cos poutines really are something, haha!

  17. Alright alright, I’ll give it a go… but if I throw up on the spot (which is what happened, the last time I ate cheese outside the feta/mozzarella realm…), then I have you to blame!

  18. I love Montreal! You should love it too. Try to avoid Rue Saint Catherine…too many chains. Make your way up to St. Laurent or St. Denis north of Despines. Lots of great boutiques, great cafes and fun bars.
    If you are into flowering (and other) amazing teas, try one of my favorite tea shops ever, called My Cup of Tea, in Chinatown. Kenny, one of the owners, is super friendly and will welcome you into the shop with a cup of hot tea and offer you the latest and greatest-he always has something new up his sleeve.
    Good Luck. Have Fun!

  19. Middle Eastern-ish brunch at Byblos, beautiful flower-infused lunch at Fuschia, drinks at Sparrow! The best thing you can do in Montreal is find yourself a bike (or use the public bike service, Bixi). Honestly, clothes shopping in Montreal isn’t the greatest – but the food and feel of the city are amazing. Have a great time!

  20. For Fashion:
    -Old Gold on Mont-Royal street (you should get in touch with Jonah Leslie the owner, he’ll be more than happy to explain his concept-there’s a facebook group you can check out)
    -Close to Mont-Royal is Philipe Dubuc on Saint-Denis street. He is amazing. You can check out his website http://www.dubucstyle.com
    -And you’ve got a good list already: Headquarters (from I Heart Norwegian Wood), Reborn (which is on Saint-Paul, street filled with tons of great design stores and little finds), etc.
    For Food:
    -The best poutine in town is at La Banquise. Careful if you go after the bars close, there’s a line-up at 4am.
    -The Sparrow is also a fun breakfast place, but l’Avenue on Mont-Royal has a more extensive menu with more fresh fruits (that the chef cuts in the front window).
    -Garde Mang√©, Le Local, Les enfants terribles, etc. There’s an endless list of great restaurants. But if you want to find a real hole-in-the-wall gem, go to Nantha’s (68 Duluth corner Saint-Laurent). You’re practically in the guys kitchen when you walk in, and he’ll cook you great Malaysian food. Strike up a conversation with him – he’s great.

  21. you should try poutine even if you don’t like cheese, it’s like a little piece of heaven (:
    but there are plenty of things to do here.
    you can basically take the subway to anywhere you want to go in the downtown area, experience little ittaly and china town, shop in stores like XXI and Simons on St. Catherine street, or head on over to Sherbrooke street west and go into Hold Renfrew which is like a Neiman Marcus.
    whatever you do, you’re guaranteed to have a fun (:

  22. Hey Susie,
    I’m a big fan of your blog and I’m so happy you’re visiting my hometown!!!
    There are loads of fashion and food in Montreal. Another classic to try are the Montreal’s bagels (St. Viateur or Fairmont Street) in the very hip Mile-End.
    I also recommend to check out my friend Charlotte Hosten, she’s a brilliant jewellery designer based in Montreal http://www.charlottehosten.com/.
    I wish I could be in Montreal to show you round, but I live in London now!
    Have fun!

  23. -Go for Indian food up in Parc Ex, on Jean Talon; Burgers (tofu or meat) + fries at Patati Patata on Rachel; the best vegan food at Aux Vivres on St. Laurent; Bagels, etc. for brunch (a Leonard Cohen favourite) on St. Laurent; Poutine at La Banquise is definitely a must!
    -Check out the Lustre boutique http://lustreboutique.blogspot.com/
    -Fashion designer Dane Richards http://www.danerichards.com/
    -Fairmount or St. Viateur bagels (either one)

  24. I live in Montreal and absolutely adore it!
    I also love fashion, art, design, photography and food! Here’s what I recommend you visit while staying here:
    Fashion : For a truly unique experience head down to Eva B. or Unicorn. Eva B. is the best vintage shop/ cafe ever! It’s super trendy and fun! And Unicorn has some great ‘qu√©b√©cois’ designers + it’s one beautiful boutique.
    Art : Any of our museums will do, same goes for design + photography. Don’t forget to take advantage of the architecture to get your fix on both these points.
    Food : L’√©toile de l’inde (exquisite indian food located downtown), commensal or la faim du monde for hip vegetarian food, m sur masson (pricy but worth it), sho dan for sushi (also downtown), eggspectation for breakfast or brunch, and finally, the best of the best : treats! Head down to petits gateaux on Mont-Royal for some awesome cupcakes (flavours include anything from basic chocolate to violet flower with tea), Roberto’s on B√©langer for Gelato (seriously, I’ve been going there all the time for years and never get tired of their chocolate, pistachio, coffee or hazelnut ice creams which are what I enjoy the most) and Kilo cafe for their cakes (they have about 15 different kinds to choose from and I recommend any of their cheesecakes). Finally, go get yourself a dozen sesame bagels at Fairmount Bagels : they’re known all over the world!
    Have a nice trip :)!!!

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