Our co-founder John Quilter, AKA the Food Busker, is currently exploring Canada on his foodie adventures. He recently spent a few days in the city of Montreal and has taken the time to educate us on his top 3 foodie destinations, in case you ever find yourself wandering its streets.
Located at 263 St-Viateur Ouest, the flagship St-Viateur Bagel is a local landmark that should feature on any food lovers list of spots to visit in Montreal. Steeped in a long history spanning almost 60 years, I was ecstatic when I had the opportunity to meet the General Manager Saul Restrepo. At the age of 16 Saul delivered mail to the local bakery where he was offered a job and has been there ever since, over 40 years.
Much like it’s long serving staff members, their world famous bagels have been a part of the business since 1957 and are still made the exact same way. Using only 100% natural ingredients each bagel is hand-rolled, boiled in honey water and then placed in a wood fired oven that is designed to both cook and flavour the bagels. I had the privilege of trying my hand at making some of these famous bagels and like to think that I managed not to embarrass myself, although I’m not too sure they were up to Saul’s high standards.
With famous Canadian patrons that include Céline Dion, William Shatner and Leonard Cohen, to name just a few, it’s not difficult to understand why this traditional business appeals to locals, tourists and celebrities alike.
If you’re looking for the best traditional salt beef sandwich that Montreal has to offer then you definitely need to add Schwartz’s to your list. Said to be Canada’s oldest deli, located at 3895 Boulevard St-Laurent, they have been serving customers with their original recipe for over 80 years.
Having had a chance to witness their brisket preparation up close and personal, it’s clear why customers both local and international flock to this world famous deli. The meat takes nearly 2 weeks to prepare, including a 10-day cure with a secret blend of fine herbs and spices, 12-hour smoke and 4-hour steam.
By far one of the best restaurants I have visited on my Canadian adventure to date, Maison Publique combines a relaxed environment with knowledgeable service that is both charming and down to Earth. With a name that literally means “public house” in French, its interior resembles that of a traditional British pub.
Owned by Chef Derek Dammann, who once worked with Jamie Oliver at Fifteen back in London, the menu features hearty items such as welsh rarebit and parfait de foie gras. On my recent visit, I couldn’t help but give their Marmite Oysters a try and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.
With an ever-changing menu, I look forward to returning in the future to see what else Dammann has to offer.