Magnifique Montreal Cuisine

Magnifique Montreal Cuisine



Montreal, QC / Activities / Culture / Dining

Montreal is a destination for foodies and authentic French cuisine lovers without having to leave the North American continent. Nestled within this sleek modern city steeped in rich tradition and history are countless traditional French dining venues of every price point in various eclectic neighborhoods. Take this tour as a one-day sampler of the traditional French cuisine Montreal has to offer without having to break the bank. Festin vous-même! (Treat yourself!)

1. Boulangerie Au Pain Doré (Breakfast: Inexpensive)

Boulangerie Au Pain Doré Ltée

1411 Peel St Montreal, QC, H3A 1S4

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If you're doing a day of shopping, start your day off with a typical light French breakfast in this bake shop, or boulangerie. Au Pain Doré has 12 locations within Montreal, but the Rue Peel storefront has ample seating, less foot traffic and provides easy access to the Saint Catherine and Maissoneuve shopping strips. So before hitting Men's Collection, Maison Simons, Ogilvy, Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen, be sure to fuel up with a buttery light croissant, sweet or savory crepe and a cafe au lait or espresso. Pair these with a selection of cheeses and you are properly fueled up until lunchtime. Breakfast favorites include a flaky chocolate croissant, a small slice of French creamy farmer's cheese and a smooth cafe au lait. Au Pain Doré prides itself with making it's baked goods, cheeses and prepared meals with only the freshest of ingredients (without preservatives) and with age-old traditional French family recipes. The food is light, flavorful and, on occasion rich (it IS French food we're talking about!).

On recent trips, I've made this my last stop in Montreal to bring back rillette sandwiches and traditional salmon pies for the flight back and for dinner back home. If on a budget, you can have all meals at Au Pain Doré and experience authentic French Quebecois cuisine while having more cash left over for other vacation indulgences.
'La Poupee Quit Fait Non' by Michel Polnareff

2. Cafe Vasco de Gama (Lunch: Moderate)

Café Vasco da Gama

RÉSO Montreal sous terrain, Montreal, QC H3A 1T1, Canada

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After a morning of shopping and sightseeing in the McGill University district, stop into Cafe Vasco de Gama for a hearty lunch in this charming eatery serving both Portugese and traditional French fare. On warm days and nights the french doors and windows are opened with the smells of the cafe wafting into the street. Arrive early for lunch or exercise patience in waiting as seating quickly fills up. When you walk inside, stylish Quebecois can be seen chatting over a beautiful plate of dishes like pan-fried pork cutlets on Portugese bread, duck and candied fig panini and parma ham with St. Georges cheese on a baguette. A personal favorite is their beef and foie-gras burger, a succulent seasoned burger with slabs of foie-gras within the meat served with a small rotini pasta salad or mixed green salad, making it the most decadent burger you'll ever have.
'Comme un Igloo' by Etienne Daho

3. Jean Talon Market (Snack: Inexpensive)

Jean-Talon Market

7060-7070 Avenue Henri Julien, Montreal, QC H2S 2V9, Canada

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If you're traveling within eastern Montreal, be sure to stop by the Marche Jean Talon, or Jean Talon Market for a snack or simply just to check out the sights of this open-air food market selling fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, seafood, sweets and flowers. Visitors will be amazed at the choices within this sprawling complex of kiosks that caters to every palette, taste level and budget. If you're feeling peckish, snack on a small box of fresh strawberries or have a cone of fig gelato to refresh yourself until dinnertime.
'La Mer' by Charles Trenet (audio only)

4. L'Express (Dinner: Expensive)


3923 Rue St Denis, Montreal, QC H2W 2M2, Canada

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One of Montreal's most respected restaurants serving traditional French cuisine, L'Express easily transports patrons to a Paris of the 30's and 40's. Ironically, the restaurant only opened its doors in 1980, but soon gained a rabid following of both locals and tourists alike for L'Express' menu of French favorites such as foie-gras, pot-au-feu and steak tartare. While you wait for the food to arrive, you can munch on their fresh baked bread paired with succulent cornichons, small sour pickles, served in large mason jars. I've been here at least 5 times and I only order the same thing: the fish soup and shrimp risotto paired with a glass of their house white . The fish soup starter is a tart, spicy puree of fish, tomato and cream served with mustard and baked cheese-topped crostini. One could taste the freshness in L'Express' shrimp risotto main course where the tender shrimp tops a bed of cheese and porcini mushroom arboria rice. The combination of these two dishes make for a rich and flavorful dining experience in one of Montreal's most popular and highly rated restaurants in the trendy St. Denis district.

As it's incredibly popular, a good rule of thumb is to make reservations in advance. Walk-in's are accepted, but a long wait is expected. Out of all the restaurants I've frequented in Montreal, L'Express unfortunately does have the snooty French waiter element. The excellent quality of the food does make up for it, but, if you go to L'Express, know that there is a certain boy bitch waiter identified in the L'Express photos below. He is both rude and obnoxious and we were thankful when we received another waiter to serve our meals. Otherwise he would've gotten the pimp hand.
'Traume' by Francoise Hardy