We tend to end up in Montréal on American holidays — Fourth of July 2009, Fourth of July 2011, and Thanksgiving 2014. The first time we went to Montréal as poor college students, we decided to find some free housing on Couchsurfing. It turned out to be an amazing experience as we stayed with four different hosts who so kindly open their homes to us and showed us around. We became good friends with many people we met on this first trip and fell in love with Montréal. This city is truly lovely all year round. Well… it’s really cold there in the winter; but the good new is if you are ready to invest in a good winter jacket — there are some amazing options, designed and/or made locally in Montréal.
Joe Beef If you are a meat lover, you will love this place! So many interesting dishes to try, including the foie gras double down — two slabs of foie gras, breaded with crumbled potato chips, deep-fried, stuffed with bacon, cheddar, and aïoli, and drizzled with maple syrup. The only advice: don’t try to eat this by yourself. Otherwise, go crazy and you will not regret it!
Le Vin Papillon Same owner as Joe Beef but with a more “normal” menu. Everything is amazing — try them all!
Restaurant Le P’tit Plateau Our friend Manat recommended this amazing tiny little BYOB spot and it did not disappoint! Bring a couple bottles of wines and buckle down for some of the most well-prepared classic French dishes such as cassoulet and magret de canard. We had an amazing time and our bellies were quite satisfied!
La Banquise Poutine If you have had poutine, you know it’s genius! If you haven’t, poutine is a Canadian dish (Québecois to be exact) consisting of fries topped with cheese curds and a brown gravy sauce. At La Banquise, your wildest dream about poutine will come true as they take the poutine toppings to the next level!
Shambala One of the first friends whom we met in Montréal took us to this little Tibetan restaurant and it remains on our list of favorite places ever since. This is your chance to try yak meat and salted butter tea!
Schwartz’s This is a MUST GO in Montréal! The most amazing pastrami! If there’s a line, don’t worry it moves fast; but try to avoid prime meal times so that you don’t have to wait in line at all! The meat has the exact amount of fatty bits to keep it moist and is so tender that it melts in your mouth. The large plate is perfect to share between two people!
Sumac Wonderful Middle Eastern spot for a quick lunch. Everything is beautiful and tasty!
Big in Japan Bar Beautiful speakeasy with great cocktails!
Dieu du Ciel Tasty beers. ‘Nuf said.
Westmount Greenhouse Beautiful greenhouse that is open to the public free of charge! It’s such a hidden gem and a true oasis of nature in the middle of the city. Come with breakfast or lunch or a snack to take in this beautiful view!
TO SHOP FOR WINTER JACKETS
After four brutal winters in New York City, I always resorted to wearing 4-5 layers when it’s cold and never thought that one jacket would ever be enough. Then my life was forever changed when I decided to invest in a real winter jacket with a good down layer! Bye bye layers. Hello wearing-summer-clothes-under-my-extremely-warm-jacket! The challenge with finding the ideal outerwear is the perfect marriage between style and warmth. Check out these awesome local Montréal brands!