Montreal is an extraordinary city, with a culinary scene as diverse and interesting as the people who live there. On my visit, I wanted to get a taste for the best of Montreal’s famous foods, so I decided to go on my first food tour!
Montreal is famous for food, and I’m famous for cramming protein bars and plain bagels in to my purse so that I can bolt from one place to another without wasting time sitting down to eat. I love seeing things and going places, and am not usually one to focus on food.
While planning my 3 day trip to Montreal, I realized that I was going to miss an important element of the city if I didn’t experience the cuisine. My regular strategy was not going to work, but I also didn’t want to trade exploring (or tons of money) for sitting in restaurants for a few hours every day.
With this in mind, I wanted something that allowed me to:
- explore new parts of the city.
- photograph cute areas.
- learn fun facts and hear great stories.
- experience deliciousness.
Enter: the food tour! I found a tour with Local Montreal Tours that included a walk around Mile End, a neighbourhood that I really wanted to see. If you’re like me, and you love being on your feet and out exploring, food tours are perfect for you. It’s the best way to blend everything together.
Here’s my experience exploring Mile End Montreal on a food tour!
Mile End Food Tour
Mile End is the up and coming, ultimately photogenic neighbourhood in Montreal, and it’s where the food tour that I went on took place. It’s a colourful place with extensive murals covering the sides of the buildings, and many family owned restaurants. Once a down and out neighbourhood, the art along the walls brought the Instagrammers (or something like that) and Mile End transformed in to a trendy place to live and visit.
Hope you’re hungry!
La Panthère Verte. Our tour began at La Panthère Verte, a vegan restaurant with a passion for recycling and reusing materials. We tried vegan wraps, a first intro to the wonder that is vegan food for many people on the tour!
What impressed me most here was actually that all of the furniture in La Panthère Verte is hand-made using recycled materials.
Chocolat Geneviève Gandbois. The owner of this lovely chocolate shop, Geneviève, has an incredible passion for her craft that you can taste in the chocolate. All of the chocolates are hand made, and carefully designed to deliver a unique experience.
Our group tried one that transitioned from a sweet coco taste to an explosion of caramel. This was followed by a sip of hot, melted down chocolate that would be perfect on a cold winter night.
St- Viateur Bagels. This place is famous for making the best bagels in the world. My expectations were high going in to this experience!
They’ve got bagel-making down to a science at St-Viateur Bagels. The process is rhythmic, and the shop is open 24/7 because they’ve learned that’s the best way to maintain the oven at the perfect temperature.
Verdict? Hands down the best bagel that I’ve ever eaten!
P.S. clearly not eating the bagel here. I was going to bite in to it for the camera and started laughing instead. When I did sink my teeth in, it was delicious.
Drogheria Fine. My personal favourite, Drogheria Fine is a small, authentic Italian spot where La Salsa de la Nonna pasta sauce is served over homemade gnocchi.
Picture me sitting on a curb, leaning back against one of the many murals of Mile End saying “That is SO good,” after every bite. This place is an absolute must-visit!
Boucherie Lawrence. I’ll be honest – I’m not much of a meat eater and opted to double up on cheese here and skip the cold cuts. This butcher sells locally raised meets, dairy, eggs, and other foods from nearby producers. My new found food tour friends assured me that it was some of the best meat they’ve ever tasted.
Bonus: they sell real Canadian maple syrup!
Kem Coba. Finally, ice cream! The couple behind Kem Coba decided to call Montreal home after years of travelling around Asia. Lucky for us, because the ice cream at this colourful little place is incredible!
Our ice cream cups contained a blend of raspberry and rose ice cream. I didn’t know there was such a thing existed, but now it’s my favourite.
Post-Food Tour Thoughts
I love a good meal, and even more than that I love a good story. Our guide told us stories about the neighbourhoods we were exploring and the people whose masterpieces we were eating, and it made every bite feel personal.
Food is powerful part of what makes Montreal unique. It contributes to the welcoming, multicultural feel of the city. Wherever you’re from around the world, there’s a restaurant cooking your favourite food somewhere in Montreal. If there’s not, your neighbours will help you open one.
- I took a food tour with Local Montreal Tours.
- Duration: 3 hours.
- Location: varies! 3 different tours are available.
Have you been on a food tour, and what did you think? Can you compare Montreal bagels to NYC bagels? It’s an ongoing debate as to which is better. There is a right answer.
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Disclaimer: my tour with Local Montreal Tours was complimentary. Opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.