It’s a completely bizarre concept to an Australian that you can drive a couple of hundred kilometres and suddenly be unable to speak the local language. Firstly, because driving a couple of hundred kilometres usually gets you nowhere in Australia and secondly, almost no one speaks anything other than English.
So while I was aware that driving into Montreal would mean switching to French, I was not at all prepared for not being able to read the roadsigns or understand where we could park and how long for. We ended up driving an unnecessary loop around the city. It was kind of fun! Like being in Europe.
Anyway. Montreal is a known foodie haven and armed with a list of tips from my cousin who lives in India (we have a complicated family!) Andrew and I set out to taste it all.
We started where most good nights out end: with poutine.
Poutine is the irresistible combination of french fries, cheese curds and gravy. It’s thought to have originated in rural Quebec in the 1950s and these days is the favoured midnight snack for jolly college students and other intoxicated up-late revellers.
We ducked into Montreal Poutine in the heart of the tourist district partly to escape the blustery cold, but also to tick ‘eat Poutine in French Canada’ off our list.
We were told many times by many people to try the Montreal bagels and in the end we decided on Fairmount Bagel, figuring they must be good seeing as they’ve been around since 1919. A Montreal bagel is very different to the the New York kind, it’s rolled by hand and baked in a wood-fired oven. The result is a smaller, denser, thinner, sweeter bagel with a bigger hole.
We had the sesame bagel with cream cheese and it was really tasty! Not sure I’d opt for it over a NY bagel but absolutely worth trying.
If you love Jewish food (which I do) as well as meat (which I do) you will find a scrumptious meeting of the two at Schwartz’s Deli. We went on a Sunday night and happily joined the line out front, tummies rumbling. Less than 10 minutes later (after a waiter come out, sized us up and decided we would slide into the cramped seats better than our ahem, larger compadres at the front the line) we were seated!
Their signature smoked meat sandwich is to die for. Really. It’s similar to pastrami but not quite the same. And the pickles? Probably the best I’ve ever had. This place is an absolute must as far as I’m concerned.
Lots of the reviews on Yelp complain about the service but our waiter was lovely. No complaints at all.
Aaaand now I’m hungry! Have you been to Montreal?