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Colourful duplex houses in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal.

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24 Hours in the Plateau and Mile End: What to Eat and Drink

A tour of one of Montreal’s best boroughs, complete with buttery pastries, spicy Caribbean curry, and fancy French fare.

Houses on the Plateau
| Shutterstock

With long commercial strips on streets like Mont-Royal and St-Laurent, grand parks, and side streets lined with classic Montreal-style triplexes, the Plateau (including its sub-neighbourhood of Mile End) is one of the city’s most iconic (and pretty) boroughs.

The tourist guide descriptions of the area as “bohemian” are certainly a little dated: many of the artists and musicians have fled north or east in search of cheaper rent, and former industrial buildings in Mile End are now more likely to house apps and video game developers than studios. Then there’s issues with gentrification and local residents being turfed out to turn apartments into permanent AirBNBs (hot tip: do the responsible thing and stay in a hotel, hostel, or regular bed and breakfast).

And yet, the Plateau and Mile End, still have a lot going for them, particularly in the realm of food and restaurants. The area is home to long-time institutions serving Montreal’s iconic smoked meat and bagels, internationally renowned restaurants like Au Pied de Cochon, and much, much more. This suggested itinerary touches on some of the best bets, old and new, with a few lesser-known gems, too.

9 a.m. — Breakfast at Bagel Etc.

Bagel Etc in Montreal, Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Inside Bagel Etc.
Randall Brodeur/Eater Montreal

Start the day in a hearty way at this old-school diner, a favourite of late poet, songwriter and Montrealer Leonard Cohen. Open since the ‘40s, it serves all manner of griddled eggs, meats, and vegetables on fresh Montreal-style bagels. Alternatively, you could visit another diner, Beautys, just a couple of blocks away — the two have been in perpetual competition for years, and while Beautys is arguably a little more touristy, there’s plenty to like about both.

11 a.m. — Pastries at Rhubarbe

Patisserie Rhubarbe/Facebook

Head east past Laurier Park to Stéphanie Labelle’s reputed patisserie, tucked in the cozy Laurier East. Bagel Etc. is more of a savoury breakfast spot, so sate your sweet tooth with a creamy éclair or mille-feuille. If the weather’s nice, take it to Laurier Park, just a few minutes back west on the same street.

1 p.m. — Roti at Jardin du Cari

Montreal has a solid Caribbean food scene, and while the Plateau and Mile End aren’t at the heart of it, this no-fuss joint on St-Laurent is an excellent option. Grab Guyanese-style chicken, chickpea, or goat curry, either on a platter with rice and other sides, or wrapped up in more of a sandwich format with pumpkin in tender, flaky roti. Spice it up with some pretty damn fiery hot sauce, and ask if they have any peanut punch available to go alongside it. The ambiance isn’t much, but it’s some damn rich and tasty curry.

4 p.m. — Beers at Réservoir

A hand holds a glass of sour IPA in front of a black background.
Sour IPA
Réservoir/Facebook

Now you’ve had some time to explore Mile End, head back south to one of the borough’s primo craft breweries. Réservoir has been a beer staple of the Plateau for over a decade, but it got even better in 2016 when the owners of renowned-but-now-closed restaurant Hôtel Herman took it over. Options run from classics like a pilsner through to a sour IPA or rhubarb ale, but those who don’t drink beer are well served by a solid wine list. If you’re not still stuffed from lunch, the snack menu, with items like a simple yet divine tomato sandwich, is worth your time.

7:30 p.m. — Dinner (Aux Lilas, L’Express, or Au Pied de Cochon)

Inside L’Express restaurant, with a waiter in a suit, yellow walls, and old photos hanging on them.
Inside L’Express
Randall Brodeur/Eater Montreal

It’s choose your own adventure time: if you’ve never been to Montreal, there’s a good chance that meaty, oh-so-Québécois icon Au Pied de Cochon is on your must-eat list. It’s somewhat of a tourist haunt, but well worth the time and money (be sure to reserve in advance). But if you’ve been, consider ultra-classic French brasserie L’Express, not far away. Then, for a more out of the box suggestion, let us recommend long-time Mile End Lebanese restaurant Aux Lilas. A family-run business that has been open for around 40 years, dig into plates of mezze like hummus, falafel, and kibbeh, tasty meats, and sip on Lebanese wines or anise-based spirit, arak.

10 p.m. — Live music or cocktails

A panoramic view of Casa del Popolo, facing the street with tables on the left and the bar on the right.
Inside Casa del Popolo’s bar side
Casa del Popolo/Facebook

Continue choosing your own path: for something quieter (and fancier), visit Parc Avenue cocktail haunt the Emerald (previously known as Bar Sans Nom, or No-Name Bar). With tuxedo’ed servers and very restrained yet tropical interior, it gives off an Old Havana atmosphere — and fittingly, cocktails skew rather classic, with options like Manhattans or a Dark and Stormy.

Alternatively, head over to St-Laurent and drop by artsy staple Casa del Popolo. It’s a cozy neighbourhood hangout on one side, with shows taking place most evenings on the other side (in many cases, showcasing local artists). If by chance Casa doesn’t have anything on, its sister venues — La Sotterenea, La Sala Rossa, or La Vitrola (all of which are less than a block away) — will likely have something. Check the listings online.

2 a.m. — Late night poutine at Chez Claudette

Uh oh, you’re wasted! Fortunately, you’re in Quebec, home of notable drunk dish, poutine. Tourists often flock to 24-hour institution La Banquise. But, take a leaf out of the book of many locals, and visit Laurier Avenue casse-croûte Chez Claudette. You can keep it classic, with just fries, cheese curds, and gravy, or choose from an array of variations that add sausage, bacon, or other artery-hardening toppings. Chez Claudette is only open 24 hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, so if you’re looking for a poot on another night, you’ll have to hit La Banquise.

8 a.m. — Stock up on bagels

Inside St-Viateur Bagel
Shutterstock

We’re not going to take sides here: go to either one of Montreal’s famed bagel bakeries — Fairmount or St-Viateur — and grab a bunch to take home with you. (Put them in the freezer if you can — they get rock-hard within as little as 24 hours.) If you really want to take advantage of Montreal’s stellar baked goods scene, consider stopping by bakeries Guillaume or Hof Kelsten, both in Mile End, for extra treats. Note that Montreal’s main bagel stores don’t sell bagel sandwiches and such (although you can purchase cream cheese to smear on yourself) — so if you want a fuller breakfast, consider Larrys on Fairmount for excellent coffee and breakfast sandwiches any day of the week.

The Emerald Hotel

5295, Avenue du Parc, Montréal, QC

Le Jardin Du Cari

5554, boul Saint-Laurent, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 1S8 (514) 495-0565

Aux Lilas

5570 Avenue du Parc, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2V 4H1 (514) 271-1453 Visit Website

Fairmount Bagel

74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 2M2 (514) 272-0667 Visit Website

Restaurant Chez Claudette

351 Avenue Laurier Est, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 1G7 (514) 279-5173

Bagel Etc

4320 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2W 1Z3 (514) 845-9462

Casa del Popolo

4873 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1R6 (514) 284-0122 Visit Website

Patisserie Rhubarbe

1479 Avenue Laurier E, Montréal, QC H2J 1H8 (514) 903-3395 Visit Website

L'Express

3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2W 2M4 (514) 845-0673 Visit Website

Réservoir

9 Avenue Duluth Est, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2W 1G7 (514) 849-7779 Visit Website

St-Viateur Bagel

158 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 2L3 (514) 270-2972 Visit Website

Au Pied de Cochon

536 Avenue Duluth Est, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2L 1A9 (514) 281-1114 Visit Website
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