Whether you're planning a trip to properly kick off Montreal's 375th anniversary or simply want the latest scoop on maximizing your culinary excursion to the most sophisticated city north of the US-Canadian border, here are some great place to start:
Where to Stay:
It's hard to believe that Hotel Gault actually got its start in 1871 as a cotton factory. Now one of Old Montreal's smallest historic boutique hotels, its exterior retains the original ornate Paris-inspired Haussman grey stone façade.
The hotel's multi-use lobby functions as both a reception area and restaurant/lounge with brightly colored Knoll chairs situated near soaring windows perfect for people-watching over an Allongé and fresh flaky croissant in the morning — or, in the evening, for browsing their magazine library and gallery walls showcasing rotating art exhibits while sipping signature cocktails like a kombucha libre or Montreal iced tea.
Also located in the heart of Old Montreal but overlooking Place Jacques Cartier, this newly opened hotel is an artful amalgamation of preserved historic architecture and bright energy-efficient modern design. A newly constructed eight-floor, 127-room glass tower straddles eighteenth century crushed limestone Maison Edward-William-Gray and grey stone Maison Cherrier buildings.
Twice-daily housekeeping and minibars fully stocked with Made-In-Montreal snacks make the in-room experience extra special. The rooftop deck and cafe with full bar provides spectacular views of Old Port, Notre-Dame Basilica, and Victoria Square among other historic landmarks, while on-site Maggie Oakes restaurant features an indoor, wall-mounted herb garden, while aging prime steaks and their extensive wine cellar are both under glass, providing a most compelling dining room focal point.
Exploring the Culinary Landscape:
Once a major trade route linking the Atlantic Ocean with the interior of North America, the Lachine Canal served as a key shipping route up until 1950, when it quickly lost its relevance due to increasing vessel size and the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Today, the canal is purely recreational, with boat tours and an accompanying 14.5-km pathway open to bikes and pedestrians. And when it's time to eat, Atwater Market, one of Montreal's four Public Markets, awaits with copious fresh produce, bakeries, and stands for quick bites ranging from fresh sushi, paella, and individual pizzas to roasted meats and spicy Southeast Asian specialties.
Each 1.3-mile narrated walking & drinking tour through the Entertainment District includes tasting a total of six different craft beers from three breweries revered as neighborhood favorites. Beyond chugging the samples (a very tempting prospect indeed) your tour guide encourages you to look, smell, and note the flavor profile. Tastings are further enhanced with food pairings like poutine, gravlax and cheeses, and several varieties of chocolate. Plan on consuming the equivalent of two pints throughout the experience, making it quite adequate for developing a slight buzz.
Montreal Craft Beer Tours
Food trucks are a recent phenomena in Montreal. From 1947 to 2013, they were banned due to hygiene concerns and fear of competition with established brick and mortar restaurants. But The Quebec Food Truck Association worked hard to light a spark that has now ignited roughly 200 food trucks throughout the city. Choices range from mainstays like grilled cheese and pulled pork to mobile haute cuisine like foie gras poutine by Chef Martin Picard at Camion Au Pied de Cochon and lobster truffle cappuccino by Chef Jérôme Ferrer at Europea Mobile.