My boyfriend and I visited my cousin in Montreal for a weekend. We spent some time taking in a few sights, and doing a lot of eating!
When a city’s Chinatown has not one, but four gates, you know they mean business. We kicked off our day with a stop at Patisserie Harmonie in Chinatown to satisfy my craving for Chinese snacks. The BBQ pork buns with their shiny tops were full of pork. Other soft buns were laced with goodies like sweet potato or red bean paste, the latter being French inspired with its croissant shape. There are more traditional treats too, like egg tarts (both the regular variety and the Portugese version), red bean-filled “pineapple” buns, and moon cakes. This is clearly a popular bakery – we returned the next day to overhear one of the staff say that it wasn’t as busy due to the holiday weekend, but there were still a constant flow of people to the store. Meanwhile, there are at least two other bakeries a stone’s throw from Harmonie, and those did not appear to be nearly as crowded.
Info: Patisserie Harmonie, 85 Rue De La Gauchetiere Ouest, Montreal, QC, Canada
We walked through Vieux Montreal, with its narrow sidewalks and elegant stone buildings. It was like being transported to Europe. We had a light lunch at the rooftop terrace of the boutique hotel, Hotel Nelligan (106 Rue Saint Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC).
I had the signature clear sangria made with sparkling wine and decorated with lichees and red grapes. Nelligan Terrace is also known for its smoothies, available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. My boyfriend’s veggie burger had one of the best, most flavourful veggie patties I’ve ever tasted. I had the pear and arugula salad – a bit overpriced for a big bowl of greens ($16) but the hazelnuts and cashews did make it a lot more filling than I had expected.
We followed lunch with a stop at Les Trois Brasseurs, a chain of brew pubs with the majority of its locations in Quebec and France. It has a presence in some perhaps more unexpected places too, like Tahiti and New Caledonia. The beers are brewed on the premises, and the menu includes suggested beer pairings for each food item. The white and blonde beers are light and refreshing, the amber is bold and would pair well with smoked meats and pork dishes, while the brown has a subtle coffee flavour. Sampler flights let you try 25 cl glasses of four or six different beers.
After visiting the Vieux Port and enjoying panoramic views of the city from Mont Royal, we enjoyed a Quebecois dinner at Restaurant L’Entiché. A great thing about Montreal is that you can walk into just about any restaurant without having Yelp’ed it first, and be fairly certain that you’ll have a terrific meal. Restaurant L’Entiché is BYOB so we stopped by the dépanneur across the street and picked up a bottle of red wine and a six-pack of beers first. The restaurant consists of several 2- or 3-course, prix fixe menus (on Saturdays you cannot order à la carte).
I started with a wild board terrine with hazelnuts, wild mushrooms, and tomatoes. It was a textured pate, not too gamey, served over alfalfa sprouts, with a small mesclun salad.
This was followed by a roast duck leg with fig jelly, served with a grilled tomato and fingerling potatoes. The duck was moist and the meat fell cleanly off the bone.
I skipped the dessert but my cousin had the vanilla crème caramel, decorated with a fancy sugar tuile.
Service was wonderful – our server both conversed with us in French and explained the entrees patiently in English when needed. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a terrific French meal. Stay tuned for Day 2 in Montreal!
Info: Restaurant L’Entiche, 2070 rue St-Denis, Montreal, QC, Canada