Canada itself doesn’t really have its own traditional food. Like America we are a country of immigrants, the only difference is that we never had a revolution so we’re still attached to the crown.
Sure here and there we have some regional oddities but it is not until you come to the French province of Quebec that you start to see some distinct cuisine in Montreal restaurants. The city has a long history as a food city so it’s not surprising to see that the restaurants serving its most iconic food have been around for decades.
Perhaps one of the biggest controversies is which Montreal bagel shop is the best, St. Viateur or Fairmount. While Fairmount is the original Montreal bagel shop, Jodi from Legal Nomads recommends St. Viateur. Either way, the only time I’ll eat a bagel is if it’s from Montreal, others just don’t compare with sweetness and texture.
The most famous restaurant for smoked meat was Schwartz’s Deli on St.Laurent and it’s not much of a secret. If you want to eat in the restaurant instead of the nearby take out, you’ll have to wait in line – for a very long time.
When Cailin and I arrived there was a gigantic line and it started to rain so my first taste of smoked meat would need to be across the street at Main Deli. Fortunately we decided to split because there is A LOT of meat. It was heavy but pretty good although I lack in smoked meat expertise to fairly comment on it.
Nowadays the entire country is taking credit for poutine and many poutineries are opening up with variations on the traditional dish, like the pulled pork poutine I had in Toronto.
La Banquise is 24h, which is fantastic after late night drinking or early morning hangovers. It is also wildly popular so if you go for lunch be prepared to wait in line. And while everyone credits La Banquise for the best poutine in Montreal, I have to say it was good but I’m not so sure it was better than poutine in Toronto.
I’m sure that comment will put me on some poutine hit list for years to come. I’m sorry but it’s true.
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Tourisme Montréal, but I paid for all of this food on my own. They did not request that I write a positive review and had no idea I’d want to eat three at three Montreal restaurants before noon.