5 Gastronomical Delights of Montreal

Montreal Food

Montreal, cultural capital of Canada, and also the undisputed food capital of Canada. Located in the French-speaking province of Québec, Montreal has some of the most exciting gastronomical delights. Its unique food heritage is a blend of local Québécois dishes and food introduced by various immigrant communities. The great part is that the best food in Montreal are very affordable too.

You’d most likely be greeted with a “Bonjour!” before a “Hello” here, but don’t worry, because many Montrealers are bilingual. It’s only a one-hour plane ride from New York City and Toronto, or a five-hour train journey from Toronto. If you happen to already be in North America, make a short trip to Montreal and try these yummy food.

Smoked Meat sandwich from Reuben's

Smoked Meat Sandwich

Smoked meat sandwich to Montrealers is what Hainanese chicken rice is, to us Singaporeans. In a word: Iconic. A dish brought in by Jewish immigrants as far back as the 19th century, meat is smoked as a preservation technique, with a blend of spices and herbs.

It is traditionally served with a splash of yellow mustard, with generous portions of smoked meat sliced right before serving, practically bursting between two slices of rye bread. Smoked meat is very tender and literally falls apart when you sink your teeth into the moist layers. Albeit, it is a little salty for the Singaporean palate but it is anything but flat. If flavours come in 3-D, the smoked meat would be it.

Smoked meat sandwich is readily available in Montréal, but the most famous smoked meat deli would be Schwartz’s, which has been around since 1928, though I should warn you about the notoriously long queues (I have been assured that it’s definitely worth the wait). An alternative is Reuben’s Deli, which is cosy and welcoming in a Tony Romas-ish way, (read: yellowish lighting, comfy booths, wooden interiors and friendly waitstaff).

3895 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
H2W 1L2, Montréal, QC
Tel: +1 514 842 4813
Sun to Thu: 8.30am – 12.30am
Fri: 8.30am – 1.30am
Sat: 8.30am – 2.30am

Reuben’s Restaurant Delicatessen
888 Saint-Catherine Ouest
H3B 1E2, Montréal, QC
Tel: +1 514-861-1255
Mon to Thu: 8am – 10.30pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 11pm
Sun: 11am – 10.30pm

La T-Rex Poutine from La Banquise


Poutine is a Québécois dish unique to the region, made up of French fries, cheese curds and drizzled with brown gravy. A hugely popular snack among locals and tourists alike, even fast food companies like Burger King have poutine as part of their regular menu here!

It is a Quebec-only exclusive menu item, that is not available even in the other provinces of Canada. Quebecers have also created fancier versions of the classic poutine, by adding over-the-top toppings, so that the poutine could sometimes even be taken as a meal on its own. For me, it is the perfect late-night snack.

La Banquise is the indisputable go-to place for the best poutine. Ever. If you are there, order the most elaborate poutine on the menu, “La T-Rex”. Just imagine: ground beef, bacon, pepperoni and hot dog, on top of a mountain of yummy fries, combined to form utter heaven with slightly-peppery brown gravy.

Another place that you should consider is Au Pied de Cochon, which is well-known for its Foie Gras Poutine. It is even featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. Foie gras poutine. ‘Nuff said.

La Banquise
994 Rachel Est
H2J 2J3, Montréal, QC
Daily: 24 hours.
Tel: +1 514 525 2415

Au Pied de Cochon
536 Duluth Est
H2L 1A9, Montréal, QC
Tel: +1 514 281 1114
(Reservations are necessary)
Wed to Sun: 5pm – Midnight
Closed on Mon & Tue



Another favourite food staple for Montrealers, also originated from the Jewish community, is the bagel. While those familiar with the New York bagel might be used to a larger, denser version of the bagel, the Montreal-style bagel has a natural sweetness with a nice springy texture.

The most common way of eating a bagel will be slathering on some cream cheese—nice and traditional. If the New York bagel is colourful and flamboyant, its Montreal counterpart is understated and classic.

Visit one of the two most famous bagel bakeries in Montreal: St-Viateur and Fairmount. They insist on traditional methods of baking bagels over a wood-fired oven. It is always quite a sight to see mountains of bagels before you. And the smell! Oh, fresh bagels smell amazing! Fairmount’s bagel flavours are more adventurous, with choices like Blueberry, Muesli, Cinnamon and Raisin, Pesto and Black Olive… etc, just to name a few.

St-Viateur Bagel Shop (main shop)
263 St. Viateur West
H2V 1Y1, Montréal, QC
Tel: 514 276 8044
Daily: 24 Hours

Fairmount Bagel
74 Fairmount West
H2T 2M2, Montréal, QC
Daily: 24 Hours


Montreal’s pizza is comfort food, whenever you are hungry after a late-night study session, you can be sure that pizza places would stay open until at least 10pm. Or even into the wee hours of the early morning on Fridays and Saturdays, because Montrealers appreciate the beauty of good pizza after clubbing. Its thin crust has a nice slightly-crunchy texture, so its thin but not all floppy like the NY pizza.

There are two places that you can go for pizza – Chez Dany’s and McGrill Pizza. Chez Dany’s prices are really cheap. For $4.99, you get a “Trio”: 2 slices of pizza, 1 can of soft drink and a good portion of their extremely delicious fries. The shoestring fries are the best fries you will ever have. McGill Pizza, which offers free delivery, is an all-time favourite among McGill students for its delicious and freshly-made pizza.

Pizza Chez Dany
370 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
H3A 1B5, Montréal, QC
Tel: 514 842 3842

McGill Pizza
625 Rue Milton
H3A 2A8, Montréal, QC
Mon to Fri: 7am – 11pm
Sat & Sun: 10am – 11pm

Basha combo meal

Lebanese food

Middle-Eastern food in Singapore is usually pretty pricey, which you could only get at those chi-chi restaurants. However, with the large Lebanese community in Montréal (a more popular choice for Lebanese immigrants than English-speaking cities like Vancouver and Toronto, due to the common language of French), yummy Lebanese food is offered at very affordable prices.

A chicken pita sandwich from Basha costs around $4, with generous helpings of chicken shaved of the rotating rack and a variety of fresh vegetables. In part of a tiny indulgence, I got the Special Trio for an add-on combo of: a choice of salad, spiced potatoes and a fountain drink. If you like beef or lamb, check out the other stuff on the menu like the shawarma, or the merguez. Want to go for a vegetarian option? Get the falafels, which are deep-fried balls of chickpea and spices. Before you go, pick up a Baklava — a sweet, flaky dessert with finely-chopped nuts and syrup — for only a dollar!

Basha (Eaton Centre food court branch)
705 Rue Saint-Catherine Ouest
H3A 3T2, Montréal, QC
Tel: 514 284 4272
Mon to Fri: 10am – 9pm
Sat: 10am – 6pm
Sun: 11am – 5pm

About the writer:
Ng Jie Yu is a final-year undergraduate student at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, Canada. She is currently studying English Lit, with a minor in History (European region). Jie Yu loves writing, fashion, food and travel; she hopes to be an author someday.