In a city with a food scene as good as Montreal’s, it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of excellent cookbooks that have come out of the city as well. From those written by chefs and restauranteurs, to books compiled by local food writers and bloggers, there are plenty of recipes to be found for all skill levels.
Plus, with ongoing closures due to coronavirus, purchasing cookbooks is one way to support local restaurateurs and businesses. We recommend trying to purchase the books below from local, independent bookstores rather than giant online retailers. A good bet is Westmount store Appetite for Books, which specializes in cookbooks — while it’s closed to the public right now, they can be contacted online for cookbook requests. Other options include Librarie Gallimard, particularly for books in French.
Books that have a direct affiliation with a restaurant will likely be available via that restaurant, too.
If you’re not on the market for cookbooks right now, there are other ways to support local restaurants or workers — see a round up of those options right here.
Montreal Cooks (available in English)
Cook like a chef from the comfort of your own home with this collection of 80 recipes from 40 chefs across the city. Written by the owners of independent Westmount cookbook store, Appetite for Books, it features recipes from an impressively wide range of chefs including, Antonio Park (Park), Fisun Ercan (Restaurant Su), Marie-Fleur St-Pierre (Tapeo, Mesón), and Marc-Alexandre Mercier (of now-closed Hôtel Herman).
The Simple Bites Kitchen (available in English)
Authored by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, creator of the food blog of the same name, her award-winning second cookbook focuses on family-friendly, wholesome recipes. While she and her family now reside in Nova Scotia, the book and its recipes were created while living on an urban homestead in Laval. Many of the recipes centre around plants, including gems like her lentil cottage pie, a vegetarian play on shepherd’s pie.
Alpine Cooking (available in English)
For those who dream of powder days and après-ski fondue by fireside, Meredith Erickson’s Alpine Cooking takes you on vacation to the Alps without setting foot outside your front door. Featuring cheese-laden and other hearty recipes from France, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland, the book is also intertwined with tips and tricks on navigating the Alps via foot or ski. Pictures of mountain vistas will also have you swooning with wanderlust.
Olive & Gourmando: The Cookbook (available in English and French)
Thanks to Dyan Solomon’s new book, you won’t have to wait in line to enjoy fare from this exceedingly popular Old Montreal staple. Learn how to make crowd-pleasing favourites like O+G’s fudgy brownies and other baked goods for an array of different skill sets, as well as savoury staples like their panino and cold soba noodle salad. Lunch at home has never tasted so good.
Trois Fois par Jour (available in English and French)
Marilou — the Québécoise pop singer and creator of food blog Trois Fois par Jour (“Three times per day”) — created this book to help readers build healthier relationships with food, and writes as somebody that turned to cooking to work through her own struggles with eating disorders. Produced in tandem with her husband, photographer Alexandre Champagne, Marilou crafts recipes that work for a broad mix of dietary requirements and skill levels; the desserts are a highlight.
Joe Beef – Surviving the Apocalypse (available in English and French)
With a title that has never been so timely, this tome from Joe Beef owners Fred Morin and David McMillan, and writer Meredith Erickson is part cookbook, part guide to becoming a gourmand doomsday prepper. For those looking to still eat well while fire rains down from the heavens, this is the ultimate resource, although it’s certainly geared towards more experienced home cooks. Stock up on preserves, while also learning how to make your own soap and cough drops.
Toqué! (available in English and French)
For those with time on their hands to dig into more elaborate projects, consider chef Normand Laprise’s cookbook. The book tells the story of its namesake Old Montreal restaurant, a doyen of contemporary Quebec cuisine, and pays homage to the producers who bring the ingredients from farm to plate, while featuring intricate recipes that are destined to impress any in-person (or virtual) dinner party guest.
Cuisine Botanique (available in French)
Written by Stéphanie Audet, chef of the popular vegan mini-chain, LOV, Cuisine Botanique focuses entirely on vegetarian (and often vegan and gluten-free) recipes that are satisfying and easy-to-follow. Whether you already follow a plant-based diet or not, you won’t miss the meat with comforting recipes like her homemade gnocchi with hazelnuts and herby lovage.
Montréalissimo (available in French)
Co-written by food writer Lynne Faubert, and Montreal chef, Michele Forgione (co-owner of Impasto), Montréalissimo showcases Montreal’s Italian side through both recipes and stories. Readers can take a tour through Little Italy’s Jean-Talon market, before going home to Nonna’s to prep Sunday lunch. All the while, you’ll learn about the immigration of Italians to Montreal in what might just be the most appetizing history lesson you’ve ever digested.
Montréal l’hiver (available in French)
As the title suggests, this book by Montreal food writer Susan Semenak and photographer Cindy Boyce features recipes that are ideal for cooking in the dead of winter (but they’ll serve you well during some so-so spring weather, too). Warm up with stews and pastas, while reflecting on what winter means for a city that feels frozen at least five months of the year, and how food can figure as a coping strategy through those polar vortices.
True North (available in English)
Derek Dammann, chef-owner of Plateau resto Maison Publique, takes the concept of Canadian cuisine well beyond well-worn ideas of Nanaimo bars and poutine in this book, co-written with food and travel writer Chris Johns. Through themed chapters (“Pacific”, “Field”, “Forest”), it’s a thorough dive into the bounties of a vast and often frozen land. The recipes within will generally compel you to go beyond your local Provigo in search of ingredients from whelks to wild mushrooms, but they’re still pretty approachable for home-cooks, as long as you’re game to work with game and plenty of seafood. —Tim Forster