Last minute trip to Montreal in 2 weekends...
December 21, 2019 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Two women traveling. We love great restaurants (especially really unique ones), moseying through terrific shops, and amazing museums. I'd appreciate any suggestions for must dos and sees. Also any suggestion for the best neighborhood to stay would be welcomed.
posted by beccaj to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I was there recently and was quite disappointed with most of the restaurants. I was travelling with some foodies and we were trying to find some well-reviewed places but most were meh. The one place we are all obsessing over (and need to go back and visit one day) was called...the wet chicken but in French? Ma Poule Mouille in the Plateau. It's an amazing and very busy little Portuguese place that does delicious roast chicken and fries. So good. And then we walked way up towards Mount Royal to a little Portuguese bakery and ate yummy pastis de nata (or whatever they are called--the custard tarts). 11/10 would do again :)
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:26 PM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I am a huge fan of Mile End neighborhood for moseying (depending on weather). A lot of nice shops, a few excellent bagel places (Montreal style bagels are my fave and getting a half dozen fresh out of the oven is so good) and there are some good AirBnB places around there.
posted by jessamyn at 6:35 PM on December 21, 2019

Eater Montreal is probably the best Montreal resto writing in English. The Hottest Restaurants from this month and the 38 top restaurants from this fall are good lists.

Montreal has also just seen the opening of two fancy food halls, Time Out Market and Le Central. I found the latter somewhat less pretentious and more approachable, but the former is attached to the underground city so it might be more useful if the weather turns frigid and you want to shop and eat without going outside.

Notre-Dame Street in St-Henri, and then again east of Atwater, is a hotbed of restaurant activity. Keep walking east and eventually you'll get to Old Montreal which is, again, a part of town you ought to see including the church which gave the street its name.

There's a museum site where you can look up what's on at the various museums.
posted by zadcat at 7:18 PM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

We just had a meal at Europea. Highly theatrical, whimsical multi course tasting menu. Delightful fun if you like that kind of thing and don’t mind spending $$$.

We also enjoy l’Express for bone marrow and duck confit.
posted by stray at 8:52 PM on December 21, 2019

We had one of the best meals of our lives at Le Filet.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:55 AM on December 22, 2019

Two words: Bouillon Bilk.
posted by lalochezia at 7:24 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

We had such a good time in Montreal. I don't know if the weather will allow it, but we really enjoyed the bike tours offered by Fitz - very easy going (not strenuous) and a great way to see many neighborhoods and sights.

We had a fantastic time at Joe Beef, but we made the reservations ages in advance. We enjoyed every restaurant we went to and found the waiters, etc. to be extremely friendly and welcoming everywhere we went (contrary to stories we heard about French-speakers being snooty to Americans).

You of course must try every Montreal bagel place. Just google.

We enjoyed the big farmer's market, though I don't know how that will be in the winter.
posted by Mid at 9:27 AM on December 22, 2019

The Syrian fine dining resturant, Damas, is the best meal I have had in Montreal. link here. It's also a beautiful walk.

Also, the Caribbean food near Plamandon station, esp. Maison du Curry. link to menu

Also, Montreal has weirdly brilliant club sandwiches, and I like the one from either Green Spot in St Henri, or L'Anecdote on Rachel.

Lastly, Montreal smoked meat--Snowden deli is better than Main Street, which is better than Schwartz's. Snowden is far away, Main STreet is across the street.
posted by PinkMoose at 12:29 PM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh and neighbourhood notes: downtown (Ville-Marie, which includes Old Montreal), Mile End, Plateau Mont-Royal or St-Henri would be best. There are plenty of other good places, but they would all mean more of a hike to the kind of action that might interest you.

Here's the public transit commission's page for visitors. The three-day pass for $19.50 is a pretty good deal – most of what visitors want to see is somewhere near a metro station. You don't mention whether you're coming by car but Montreal is best seen with a combination of foot and transit, since parking can be difficult.

Notes from people about nice walks should be regarded cautiously. For people who've only visited in summer it's difficult to convey how different a place Montreal is in wintertime.
posted by zadcat at 3:48 PM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was in Montreal last March and second zadcat's advice. Residents seemed to have a pair of crampons as part of their normal gear. People were out for their morning jogs on the trails around Mont Royal, which were absolute sheets of ice several inches thick. I thought I was going to die, locals were just having their daily constitutionals. It was wild.

I enjoyed all my meals, but I'm vegetarian so my advice might be of limited utility. The bagel thing is real, though. Get the bagels.
I'm a history geek so I spent a lot of my time in the Old Port area and when I made reservations to go back with my husband this spring, I got a hotel there rather than where I'd been last time (downtown). Montreal is a bigger city than I'd been expecting (and I live in a city so I'm pretty used to city-sized cities). My suggestion would be to decide where most of the stuff you want to see is and stay in that neighborhood because there can be some long, hilly walks and it's real cold.

Anyway, you didn't say anything indicating you'd be into this but I'm going to mention it anyway: the spas are great. Great. Bota-Bota is such fun, Scandinave is very very chill. Those memories are literally my happy place when I'm having an anxiety attack. There are other Nordic spas around too, but those are the two I can personally recommend.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:37 PM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Second vote for Bota-Bota. It's partly aboard a boat moored in the Old Port, partly on land. There are saunas, steam rooms, hot and cold pools both on and off the boat. You can sit in a hot tub on the prow with a view of the entire cityscape, listen to the bells of Notre-Dame while snow falls.
posted by zadcat at 6:22 AM on December 23, 2019

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