Best Things to Do in Montreal? Eat!

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Want to know the best things to do in Montreal when you only have one night?

We’ve been so busy with our pop-up restaurant we weren’t able to celebrate Dave’s one-year anniversary in Toronto – unfortunately it falls on February 14th and we were working on Valentine’s Day.

So when Intercontinental® Hotels Group gave us IHG® Rewards Club points to celebrate we knew there were so many things to do in Montreal we had to go there!

Unfortunately we don’t have 2 available nights this month, but that didn’t hold us back, instead of delaying the celebration we decided to have as much fun as we could with 24 hours in Montreal.

Oh we had fun.

We woke up early to take the train to Montreal. Some people think a four hour train ride would be crazy but we love the train. So much space and you don’t need to go through security like at an airport.

Things to Do in Montreal

palais de congres Montreal
Palais des congrès de Montréal


L'InterContinental Montreal
Our room at L’InterContinental Montreal

The best part about taking the train from Toronto to Montreal is that you arrive right in the city centre. So we dropped off our bags at the InterContinental Hotel in Old Montreal and went straight to Schwartz’s Deli, an iconic destination for Montreal Smoked Meat.

Read Reviews of our Hotel on TripAdvisor or Book a Room on Expedia

Schwartz Smoked Meat

montreal smoked meat

Schwartz’s Deli

Here’s the thing, there’s always a line at Schwartz’s. I have a rule about not waiting in line for food so during my last visit to Montreal I saw a line-up at Schwartz’s and went across the street to its rival, The Main.

But Dave really wanted to try Schwartz’s smoked meat and so we waited. But the sun came out and we were inside after only 20 minutes. Maybe I should be more flexible?

Schwartz's Deli
Montreal smoked meat

And it was good.

While I love charcuterie I’m not really a fan of smoked meat.  But this was sweet and soft and the first time I really enjoyed smoked meat. We were off to a good start.

After wandering the butcher shops on St. Laurent (yes that’s what we do to have a good time) we went back to the hotel for a quick nap because we were about to have a very big dinner.

au pied de cochon

Au Pied de Cochon

Au Pied de Cochon is an iconic restaurant in Montreal, Chef Martin Picard helped define modern food in Quebec. It’s a rite of passage for most chefs in the city to work here early on in their career.

We picked a late reservation for 9:30 pm and we’re happy to see we had seats at the bar, which gave us the best view of the kitchen.

split pea soup

poutine with foie gras

au pied de cochon duck in a can

But eating here can destroy you. You need to come on an empty stomach or not eat foie because it’s on everything.

We started with foie gras cromesquis then shared split pea soup with cotechino. We then ate and maple poached foie gras, foie gras poutine and a whole duck that comes in a can. Wee couldn’t eat it all. But Dave still wanted dessert as there was maple poudding chômeur – a dessert every child in Quebec enjoyed growing up.

We waddled home making it an early night because we had so much more to do the next day.

No meat? No worries! Check out this guide to Vegan Montreal.

la societe montreal

JP Miron

La Societe

Through the wonders of instagram, Dave virtually met LeMousso and JP Miron who were interested in collaborating to bring Loka Snacks to Montreal. We met for lunch, which began with introductory shots, mimosas and a table full of food.

It was one hell of a brunch. And if you think the fun was over when we jumped back on the train to Toronto…

dave mottershall

Dave pulled out the maple cotton candy he picked up at Au Pied de Cochon. The fun never ends…


Traveling to Quebec? Also Check Out:

Check out the best cafes in Quebec City. For the best coffee and pastries check out the others on our list.

Best Cafes in Quebec City

Our picks for the best Baie Saint Paul restaurants, cafes, farms and cheesemakers.

Best Restaurants in Baie Saint Paul

Join the Conversation

  1. A Lady in London says:

    Wow, looks like you had a great trip! The food at Schwartz’s Deli seems like it was worth waiting in line for!

  2. Well, I guess it’s safe to say you ate up my town 🙂 next time, let me know, i’ll show you around!

  3. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer says:

    Yummy! Thanks for the suggestions for Montreal! I would really like to make it up to Canada for the first time this summer 🙂

  4. I love Montreal and I absolutely always make a stop at Schwartzes every time I visit!

    That would be so awesome if Loka expanded to Montreal!

  5. Caroline Eubanks says:

    I went to Schwartz’s before it opened with a private tour guide just so I could eat some meat!

  6. City I live! Beautiful 🙂 one! And goody write up!!! Bravo girl!

  7. Gingermommy says:

    This is amazing! We are headed to Montreal a few times this summer. Going to bookmark this page for easy reference.

  8. Bernice Hill says:

    Great post! I’ve never been to Montreal but I am sooo looking forward to FBC 2015! I can use your post as a starting base for where I want to explore while I am there.

  9. Please tell me you shopped, too? I can’t visit Montreal and not hit up Simon’s!

  10. That last picture with the maple cotton candy is just gold. Dave’s face looks like a kid at Christmas. I would absolutely love to go to Montreal, solely for the food. I did also do quite a lot of studies about Quebec at uni too, so it would be quite interesting to see how it compares too.

  11. Indeed! Exactly what I did while there, at Katz, and also some Poutine of course =P

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Katz? Isn’t that NYC?

  12. Food looks amazing and I’m sure it tasted twice as good.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was delicious indeed!

  13. Tip for Schwartz’s – go for “brunch”. We went around 10:45 AM – no lineup and the place was kinda empty. By 11AM it was full and the line was out the door. It seemed kinda early for smoked meat at first but, best decision we made that day!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Now that is a great tip!

  14. Marie @ a Montrealer Abroad says:

    I’m so glad you and Davec enjoyed my hometown. It’s too bad we couldn’t meet for a coffee! Next time you need to stick around longer.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know! It was such a quick trip but we’re only a short train ride away so we’ll be back.

  15. OMG, maple cotton candy?! I’m very hungry and jealous now. Will be heading to a Quebecois bistro this weekend in the interior of BC, and I really can’t wait to eat there now!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      As much as I love Toronto, Quebec really does have the best food.

  16. Montreal has so much to offer foodies … this post made me drool, so congrats on this!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is the best city in Canada to eat, no doubt.

  17. Natalie T. says:

    Funny enough, I just did 24 hours in Montreal as well and met JP on my trip too! He took off his pants for Brilynn! Ha ha I hope you do a collaboration with him. He’s good fun. I haven’t been to Au Pied in a few years. I think I’ll have to make it back because Dave’s happiness with the cotton candy convinced me. Great recap and it goes to show that you can still have an enjoyable trip even if you don’t have a lot of time. Montreal never fails!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      We had really hoped to go for 2 nights but we didn’t have 2 consecutives nights available this month. But we hate to complain as being busy is a good thing!

  18. Gwen @ Delightful Adventures says:

    Looks like you had an amazing time in Montreal! Especially the food parts 🙂 The last time we were in Montreal, we discovered an amazing bakery that I can’t wait to visit again. I love discovering new-to-me places to eat when out of town.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      What is the name of the bakery? I’ll have to check that out!

      1. Gwen @ Delightful Adventures says:

        It is Première Moisson. So, so good!

  19. That is an amazing guide and all the food looks totally amazing – since I am a pure vegetarian, my favorite pick is the dessert! 🙂

  20. The problem with reading your posts is that they make me HUNGRY!! 😉

  21. Hi Dave The reason iI think you enjoyed the Montreal Smoked meat is because it is probably the first time you tasted the REAL thing. 99% of all smoked meat is injected with chemicals today to speed up the brining process. Swartz is done the old fashioned way NO CHEMICALS … a long process but worth it to people who care about good food.

  22. My hubby and I are going to Montreal this month Jan 2019. We already have reservations for Au Pied de Cochon, so excited. We’re staying in old town and have booked a food tour also. Can’t wait to indulge in the markets and all the awesome food. Any other suggestions are appreciated. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If you like sweets Montreal is renown for their patisseries. Patrice is amazing but also check out Libertine Bakehouse and Pâtisserie Rhubarbe. The Atwater market is great on the weekends. Joe Beef is great if you can get reservations. Also if something is booked check out the DINR app, which restaurants use for same day reservations when people cancel.

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