The Canadian Kitchen: 5 Classic Foods to Try in Montreal

Like A Local Guide • 14 Apr, 2016

If you’ve visited Canada, you know that Montreal can well be considered the country’s food capital. Montrealers are very proud of their classic dishes and love spreading the joy when they travel or receive visitors. Wondering what meals you should add to your bucket list? Here are five classic foods to try on your next trip to Montreal. Bon appétit!

1. Smoked Meat

You can’t visit Montreal without trying this quintessential dish. While Schwartz is the most popular place for it, most eateries have smoked meat on their menus. Not to be confused with pastrami, Montreal smoked meat stands on its own. Commonly eaten in a sandwich (or on top of a poutine), the brisket is caped over rye bread, slathered in yellow mustard and served alongside French fries, coleslaw and a pickle.


Photo credit: Danny Kim

2. Bagels

Locals get passionate about the everlasting battle between St-Viateur and Fairmount bagels. Both shops are located in Mile-End, and you’ll rarely find a group of Montrealers who agree with one another about which one is the best. Try both and be the judge! How do Montreal bagels differ from their New York City counterparts? The secret is in the cooking process. Our dough is boiled in water that’s sweetened with honey before going into a wood-burning oven.


Photo credit: feministjulie

3. Foie Gras

Our French and European influences have inspired our cuisine in many ways. This includes cooking with foie gras. Chefs like Martin Picard from Au Pied de Cochon and Frédéric Morin and Dave McMillan from Joe Beef are notable for devising dishes that include this divine ingredient (hey, we put Anthony Bourdain in a food coma). Try Joe Beef’s Foie Gras Double Down or head over to Au Pied de Cochon for the ultimate gluttonous experience.


Foie gras burger at Au Pied de Cochon. Photo credit: Tri.

4. Steamies (Steamed Hot Dogs)

Yes, hot dogs – or simply, Montreal Hot Dogs – are a staple for most who grew up here. Normally found in “casse-croute” greasy spoons like the Montreal Pool Room, La Belle Province, Valentine and Lafleur, they’re not the kind you find at American baseball games. Montrealers love a traditional steamie – we top ours with mustard, relish, onions and sauerkraut. If you want ketchup, you’ll have to ask for it.


Photo credit: AILAFM

5. Poutine

We can’t write an article about the city’s food scene without profiling Montreal’s beloved poutine. Composed of French fries topped with gravy sauce and cheese curds, it may seem strange at first, but you need to try one after leaving the bar at 3 am to understand. To get the best poutine with the most variety, go to La Banquise.


Photo credit: Yuri Long

For more local recommendations read:
What locals like to do in Montreal
Where locals like to eat in Montreal
Where locals like to party in Montreal

Special tip: For a more authentic Montreal experience, get the Like A Local mobile app

photo 1Sofia is a freelance writer and copywriter with an affinity for travel and a love of her hometown of Montreal. She enjoys exploring her city, whether it be discovering hidden gems or wining and dining on a sunny terrace.

Opening photo credit: Miyuki Mouse

Like A Local Guide
Like A Local Guide is about stepping off the tourist trail and finding cool and cosy spots where locals like to spend their time. We built a website and mobile app to bring insider recommendations from around the world to your fingertips.


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    […] You have to eat poutine, even if you think it looks gross. Believe me, you’ll quickly change your mind once you try […]
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