Last updated on May 14th, 2022
Montreal is home to a diverse range of cuisines and many styles of restaurants. The food scene in Montreal features innovative, creative and passionate chefs, and each year the food scene in Montreal gets better and better. From its love for food, you could call Montreal a foodie city. With so many restaurants in the city, it can be difficult to choose where to eat in Montreal. This food guide will help you with some ideas of must-eat places in Montreal. This list is perfect for first-timers to Montreal and those looking to explore the Montreal food scene.
Montreal is famous for many food dishes, including (in no particular order):
- Smoked Meat
- Orange Julep
Must Eat Places in Montreal
Each of these iconic food items is included in this list of must-eat places in Montreal. All the food places I recommend, I have visited myself and tried the food.
If you need an itinerary to pair with this list of where to eat in Montreal, check out this Montreal 2 day itinerary, perfect for a weekend trip.
Schwartz’s Deli – Chez Schwartz
Schwartz’s is a famous Jewish deli in Montreal and is a must-eat place in Montreal. Since 1928, Schwartz’s Deli has been serving its signature dish: smoked meat on rye bread topped with yellow mustard. Cured for ten days in the smokehouse before slicing, and making into sandwiches, the meat is very juicy and tender. One of six original delicatessens of Montreal, Schwartz is a fan-favourite, beloved by locals and tourists for over 90 years. Schwartz’s pronounced reputation as a Montreal classic ensures that there is always a lineup outside to get in.
While the smoked meat sandwich is not the only item on the menu, it is the most popular choice. They also offer turkey sandwiches, salami sandwiches, fries, poutine, coleslaw, pickles, and peppers. The traditional meal at Schwartz’s includes a medium fat-smoked meat sandwich with a side of fries, coleslaw, pickle, peppers, and black cherry soda.
Schwartz’s offers two dining options: dine-in or takeout. The dine-in and takeout options are housed in two separate sections of the establishment and have their own individual lineups. The dining room features communal tables, where groups of customers can mingle and dine together while enjoying a delicious smoked meat sandwich. The takeout side of Schwartz’s features hot prepared food-to-go, as well as pre-packaged cold, sliced smoked meat, loaves of rye bread, mustard bottles, pickles, and coleslaw: everything you need to take the Schwartz’s experience home. There are a few extra food options to choose from off the dine-in menu.
You cannot go to Montreal, and not try Schwartz’s Deli, so make sure if you only choose one restaurant off this list, pick this one. For your first visit, order the smoked meat sandwich, don’t even think about the turkey or salami sandwich, or you will miss out on an amazing flavourful experience.
During my visits to Schwartz’s, I get the smoked meat sandwich, but I have also tried and enjoyed the fries, coleslaw, and smoked meat poutine.
Schwartz’s Deli – Chez Schwartz
Hours of Operation: Sun – Thurs 11 am – 11 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am-midnight
Address: 3895 Saint Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, QC
La Banquise is a 24-hour restaurant in Montreal that specializes in poutine, a staple dish of Quebec. Opening as an ice cream shop in 1968, La Banquise evolved into a snack shack and later in the 1980s into a poutine restaurant. Serving more than 30 flavours of poutine, La Banquise has quite the selection of poutine flavours, ranging from classic to vegan to wild combinations of toppings. While poutine is not the only dish on the menu, it is the dish you will want to order.
One of Anthony Bourdain’s favourite Montreal meals, and loved by locals as their favourite late-night eat, La Banquise is a great place to enjoy poutine.
Be warned poutine portions are massive. A regular is good for two people or one hungry person, and a large is good to share between your table. The best way to experience La Banquise is to order multiple flavours and share.
For my visit to La Banquise, I had The Royal, poutine topped with pulled pork, apples, and bacon. It was delicious!
Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours
Address: 994 Rue Rachel East, Montreal, QC
Wilensky’s Light Lunch
Wilensky’s Light Lunch, known better as Wilensky’s, is a kosher-style lunch counter in Montreal. Since 1932, Wilensky’s has been serving its famous special: an all-beef salami and all beef-bologna sandwich topped with mustard. With no modifications of the special allowed, the service is quick. The simple and delicious special has been served the same since 1932 and makes for a unique dining experience. It feels like you’ve entered a time warp when you walk through the front door.
The Wilensky Special has been featured in books, magazines, and even Anthony Bourdain’s TV show. Served by the Wilensky family and their long-time staff, there is nothing like being served food from the owners of a restaurant themselves.
Other than the special, Wilensky’s serves egg sandwiches and cheese sandwiches, as well as their old-fashion style soda. Their old-fashion soda features ten flavours, including cherry, pineapple, and chocolate. All drinks get mixed by hand, and flavours are combinable.
Wilensky’s is a classic Montreal lunch spot that you will not want to miss. During my visit, I had a special, a lemon-lime soda, and a chocolate soda.
Wilensky’s Light Lunch
Hours of Operation: Tues-Sat 10 am – 4 pm, closed Sunday and Monday
Address: 34 Fairmount Avenue West, Montreal, QC
Slice + Soda
Slice + Soda is a local pizza and soda chain in Montreal, serving NY-style pizza in a hip and vintage-inspired environment. Not your regular pizza place, you will notice from the moment you walk in the front door. Slices of pizza and delicious creative sodas are served, with a unique vibe of hip-hop music, pinball machines, and a small grocery area.
It is unlike any pizza shop I have ever seen before, and I fell in love with the sodas, particularly the Hurricane flavour. Pizza and soda are not the only things on the menu; they also serve salads, gnocchi, and cookies. Slice + Soda aims to serve pizza in a fun atmosphere, and they definitely deliver that experience.
Beware their soda can be addicting! I ordered the Hurricane soda four times over three days, but I enjoyed every one of them.
Slice + Soda
Hours of Operation: Daily 11 am – 10 pm
Address: 3845 Saint Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, QB and various locations around Montreal
Jean-Talon is an open-air farmers market in Montreal selling a variety of local products, including meats, cheeses, fruit, and seafood. Some of the vendors in Jean-Talon Market include restaurants and cafes. There are many good eats to nibble and snack on in the market, including a creperie, sushi shop, seafood restaurant, and multiple cafes selling pastries. You will be able to find something that meets your taste bud needs.
I recommend spending a few hours at the market and experiencing multiple food options. During my visit to the market, we indulged in pastries, tacos, seafood, and Quebec cheeses.
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 8 am – 6 pm, Sun 8 am – 5 pm
Address: 7070 Henri Julien Avenue, Montreal, QC
Ma Poule Mouillée
Ma Poule Mouillée is a popular and casual urban Portuguese restaurant in Montreal, known for its chicken. Translating to English, Ma Poule Mouillée means My Wet Chicken, and it is accurate as the chicken meat is very tender and not dry at all. The chicken is roasted over charcoal and then gets served with a special housemade spicy sauce on the side. Affordable and delicious, Ma Poule Mouillée has been serving Montreal since 2013.
While chicken is their main focus, Ma Poule Mouillée also serves chorizo sausage, poutine, and calamari. Ma Poule Mouillée has been featured on the TV show Somebody Feed Phil. The restaurant features a small dining area where you can observe the chickens cooking while you eat.
During my visit, I tried the chicken, and I enjoyed it. I recommend eating at Ma Poule Mouillée.
Ma Poule Mouillée
Hours of Operation: Daily 11 am – 9 pm
Address: 969 Rachel Street East, Montreal, QC
La Croissanterie Figaro
La Croissanterie Figaro is a Parisian-style café in Montreal. You will feel like you’ve been transported to Paris when you see the adorable greenery-filled patio and see the café interior. A beautiful and relaxing spot, perfect for brunch, lunch, dinner or even evening drinks. The menu features dishes including burgers, pizza, sandwiches, and croissants. Make sure you try a croissant while at La Croissanterie Figaro.
During my visit, we dined at La Croissanterie Figaro twice: once for takeout croissants and again for a delicious brunch. I had the opportunity to meet the owner of La Croissanterie Figaro, and he was very kind and inviting, which enhanced the experience. I recommend you try La Croissanterie Figaro.
La Croissanterie Figaro
Hours of Operation: Daily 7 am-midnight
Address: 5200 Hutchison Road, Montreal, QC
St.Viateur Bagels is a local bagel chain in Montreal, famous for its Montreal-style bagels. For over 60 years, St.Viateur Bagels has thrived and expanded in two bakeries, three bagel shops, an online store, and a food truck. It is one of Montreal’s longest-running bagel shops and competes with Fairmount Bakery for the best bagel in Montreal. The company name comes from it is located on: St.Viateur.
Bagels at St.Viateur are still made the same way since 1957: hand-rolled, boiled in honey water, topped with seeds, and baked in a wood-fired oven. Available flavours are plain, sesame, poppy seed, all-dressed, muesli, whole-wheat, rosemary sea salt, pumpernickel, blueberry, and cinnamon raisin.
Montreal-style bagels have a wider middle hole, taste sweeter and are thinner than NY-style bagels. A staple breakfast for Montrealers is the Montreal-style bagel.
Featured in media, on the TV show Somebody Feed Phil, you can see why St.Viateur is a must-visit in Montreal.
During my visit, I purchased multiple flavours of bagels from their shop, along with cream cheese and smoked salmon spread to enjoy with the bagels. Be sure to pick up some bagels to take home with you.
Hours of Operation: Daily 6 am-midnight
Address: 263 Saint Viateur Road West, Montreal, QC and various locations around Montreal
Gibeau Orange Julep
Gibeau Orange Julep, known as the Orange Julep or the Big Orange, is a fast-food restaurant famous for its orange julep drink made from the Gibeau family recipe. Housed in a giant orange-shaped building, the Big Orange stands 60 feet tall, making it an unmissable roadside attraction. Serving orange julep since the 1930s, the location on Montreal’s “sunset boulevard” has been around since the late 1960s.
The Big Orange serves fast-food dishes, including hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and poutine. Open late Orange Julep is a great place to grab a late-night bite. The building illuminates at night, and the parking lot is always filled with cars, making it very inviting anytime, day or night.
During my visit to Gibeau Orange Julep, I bought an orange julep drink. Fruity and delicious, it tastes different from regular orange juice. You have to try it for yourself.
Gibeau Orange Julep
Hours of Operation: Sun-Thurs 8 am – 3 am, Fri-Sat 8 am – 4 am
Address: 7700 Decarie Boulevard, Montreal, QC
Iconoglace is a creative ice cream shop in Montreal. Serving both regular and vegan soft-serve ice cream, milkshakes, and sundaes. Not just vanilla and chocolate soft-serve, Iconoglace offers all in-house made ice cream flavours that change, such as banana, Nutella, mango, and raspberry. While there is an indoor dining area, they feature an adorable rear patio, a perfect place to enjoy your ice cream.
Nothing like a homemade ice cream treat to tame your sweet tooth. With all items on the menu coming in multiple sizes, you can easily pick the right ice cream size for you.
During my visit, I tried the Drumstick Maison, which is their version of a Drumstick, and it was delicious! I also tried a soft-serve of banana and Nutella swirled together, and it was very rich and yummy! I highly recommend adding Iconoglace to your must-eat desserts in Montreal.
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs 1 pm – 9 pm, Fri-Sat 1 pm – 10 pm, closed in Winter
Address: 1320 Belanger Road, Montreal, QC
Chocolat Favoris is an artisanal chocolate shop born in Quebec. What started as an Easter chocolate shop in 1979 has grown and spread across Canada, with multiple locations in Quebec, and a few shops in Ontario and British Columbia. Since 1996, Chocolat Favoris has been serving its famous treat: chocolate-dipped ice cream cones. With 12 different chocolate dipping flavours to choose from, you can create a unique experience every visit. In addition to dipped ice cream, they also sell take-out fondue cans, chocolates, and other chocolate treats in their shop.
During my visit, I had a dark chocolate-dipped cone topped with Skor, brownie, and caramel; it tasted delicious. I look forward to trying their Ontario locations also.
Hours of Operation: Sun-Thurs 10 am – 10 pm, Fri-Sat 10 am – 11 pm
Address: 150 Catherine Street West, Montreal, QC, and various locations around Quebec
Hope this information helps you choose where to eat in Montreal.