Montreal - A Tale of Two Eating Days

First time back in 8 years. Solo this time while Mrs Z went to see folks in FL (thankfully I wasnt invited). We’ll most likely be back in July on our way to Quebec City.

Bistro Tôt ou Tard

I’m usually a serial researcher but was winging here to some extent. Something I don’t usually do is ask hotel employees for food reccos but made an exception when I first arrived. I asked for “welcome to Montreal” type recco nearby and was directed to this place.
It was buzzing with locals, tho I realized quickly this is brunch time and not exactly what I was looking for. My eggs Benedict with smoked salmon was ok. Eggs cooked through, potatoes too sweet, lacking seasoning. Meh start.

Café Cherrier

Met my daughter and her boyfriend who happened to be visiting as well at this local institution. Mixed bag overall. Painful wait for the mains so didn’t risk dessert. Good drinks. Enjoyed the funky goat cheese salad and the duck confit salad. The mussels with fries were terrible. Huge Nova Scotia mussels that looked promising, but too soft and mushy. Their famous strip steak was disappointing for the price (50). Surprisingly overcooked, thin cut. Much of the flavor came from the terrific sauce made with bone marrow. The star was the Steak tartare… spicy (I was asked) and well balanced.

Fairmount Bagel (Day 2)

The Montreal bagel is growing on me. Now that I knew what to expect. You cant compare to NY bagel just like you cant compare raspberries to blackberries. What I like about this is that its not heavy and you dont need to spread a pound of creme cheese to be able to taste the cream cheese. Ok, I guess I just compared. Good coffee next door at Caffé Grazie-Mille.

Overheard at Caffé Grazie-Mille
The (I think) the owner asking a patron: “How is the single life going”. Patron: “The ex wants to come back, and I’m receiving daily pics from that one in Singapore if you know what I mean. She even sent me pics while I was with clients yesterday”.

Ma Poule Mouillée - Portuguese chicken grill. Return visit. I cant think of a place like it in NYC. Just pure bird awesomeness with that salty spicy brushed piri piri that even made the fries taste great. Better to come outside lunch or dinner rush hour as its super popular. And they have Pastel de nata but I didn’t indulge this time.

Bouillon Bilk - Another return visit, this time for the 5 courser. Really just what you’d expect from a place like this. One Michelin star quality IMO but still quite affordable. Pleasant, efficient service. I asked for less than two hours if possible and was done in 70 mins which I didnt mind at all. Ingredient driven menu with each dish beautifully executed and just the right amount of food.

The highlight was the beef two way. Perfectly cooked beef with a pleasant truffle sauce, and a beef croquette with garlic butter, along with mushrooms and other goodies. The rest of the courses: Delicate Lobster spring rolls. Lamb tartare (so good). Cappelletti with leeks, mascarpone, mussels. And a superb dessert of Rhubarb with yoghurt, raspberry, chilled cucumbers, and white choc ice cream if I recall. Doesnt sounds thrilling but it works.


Helpful, thanks!

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The lack of salt in the bagels is what bothers me. Can’t sprinkle it on, doesn’t work!

I’ve been meaning to try the Portuguese chicken. Maybe next trip.

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Its an adjustment. I dont mind it so much with cream cheese as a simple breakfast where I dont need a nap after. A proper NYC bagel is almost like a monthly Sunday special for us.

Not a fan of Montreal bagels, but I’ll always grab a dozen or two to bring home.

The poppyseed Montreal bagels tend to have a bit more salt on the outside, relative to plain or sesame Montreal bagels in my experience.

I love Montreal , NYC and Toronto bagels (Gryfe’s, What A Bagel, Kiva’s or Bagelworld)

Gryfe’s are my favourite.

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I could be mistaken, but I think she might have meant there’s not any salt in the dough.


There is a little salt in the dough afaik, and definitely more sugar. I think the sweetness is unsettling for some people used to the NYC style.

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