Savouring a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's is a right of passage for any visitor to Montreal

Le Foodie Guide to Montreal

By Shauna Rudd

Montreal is alive and bustling with exquisite restaurants, cozy eateries, fragrant bakeries and mouth-watering shops. These and many other delectable delights are waiting—just dig right in!

• Get a taste of bistro fare at Holder near Square Victoria. Its signature dish, steak tartare, is best ordered spicy with frites and a zesty green side salad. If traditional Polish food is more to your liking, trot down the cobblestone rue St. Paul to nearby Stash Café for a plate of home-style perogies.

• Pop into the charming crêperie Spanel, just south of the city centre. Serving both sweet and savoury crêpes stuffed with fresh ingredients, it’s a well-kept secret among locals. Alternatively, Premiere Moisson, with locations all over town, always impresses with fresh-baked croissants and other patisseries.

• Bite into a world-famous Montreal staple at the original St-Viateur Bagel in Mile End. Right next to St-Viateur is Chocolats Geneviéve Grandbois, an artisan chocolate boutique known for its designer bonbons and silky, Parisian-style hot chocolate.

Don’t miss the outrageously decadent foie gras poutine from Martin Picard at his restaurant Au Pied de Cochon in the trendy Plateau district. While wandering the Plateau, dip into Arthur Quentin for inspired tableware and gifts, including Laguiole wine bottle openers. Then it’s time for a classic: Montreal smoked meat from Schwartz’s on boulevard Saint-Laurent.

Trawl the city’s specialty food markets: Atwater Market and Fou d’Ici downtown, and Jean-Talon Market in Little Italy, for snacks and souvenirs with local flavour.

More shopping? Step into bright, airy Les Touilliers on upscale avenue Laurier Ouest for unique kitchenware, friendly service and cooking demonstrations in French by Montreal chefs.

When it’s time to retire, head to the relaxed, contemporary atmosphere of Sofitel, downtown near the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Replenish at the hotel’s restaurant Renoir, where French cuisine fuses with Quebec bounty such as Gaspé lobster and St-Hyacinthe fiddleheads. Or, stay at the glitzy downtown Ritz-Carlton, which houses the acclaimed Maison Boulud by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud. If internationally lauded dishes such as Lyonnaise charcuterie aren’t enough, you can choose to be seated in a glass-enclosed greenhouse.