Because as we all know the best bucket lists are ones that bring you closer to the actual bucket, we put together a list of the can’t-miss dishes you need to eat while you reside within Montreal/this mortal coil, because you simply can't get them better (or in some cases at all) anywhere else on this Earth...
The Montreal food bucket list
Marconi Pizzeria (address and info)
Can’t make up your mind whether you want pizza or spaghetti? Have both! We invented the “pizza-ghetti” (you are welcome), a dish that would horrify any Italians. Typically served side by side on a plate, Marconi Pizzeria has reached a whole new level of culinary greatness by making a pizza with spaghetti on it.
Les Sucreries de l'érable (address and info)
This artisan bakery from the municipality of Dunham specializes in traditional Québécois recipes and has a satellite shop in Marché Jean-Talon. On your way to your friend’s dinner? Bring dessert and grab the bakery’s maple pie. Watch as everyone says it’s “way too sweet” but eats it all anyway.
Ma-Am-M Bolduc (address and info)
For over 45 years, this neighbourhood restaurant has served up one of the best poutines in town, such as the “Galvaude”, topped with chicken and peas, which is almost a hot chicken poutine.
Fèves au lard
La Binerie Mont-Royal (address and info)
A Montreal institution, La Binerie is where you go eat “fèves au lard” or baked beans, a staple of the Québécois breakfast. Get the “Assiette Québécoise” to taste a sample of many traditional foods like pea soup, “tourtière” (meat pie) and “ragout de boulettes” (meatball ragout), too. You might want to go have a nap after that.
Mâche (address and info)
The myth goes that this classic Québécois dish known as “pâté chinois” (literally “Chinese pie”) was introduced to Canadian railway workers by Chinese cooks way back when Canada was a big wild piece of land. The layers of ground beef with diced onions, canned corn, and mashed potatoes -- in that order -- survived many generations and Mâche does it best. Mix it with a ton of ketchup and voilà.
Chalet Bar-B-Q (address and info)
Forget the omnipresent chain St-Hubert BBQ and head to NDG for the best Québec-style BBQ chicken in town. Québec-style? That’s roasted chicken, fries, our special BBQ sauce, a side of slaw, and a hamburger bun. FYI, the bun is a vessel. You dip it in the sauce. It’s our way to drink BBQ sauce in a socially acceptable manner.
Smoked meat sandwiches
Schwartz's (address and info)
There’s a permanent line outdoors at this legendary delicatessen, but it’s all worth the wait because you haven’t had smoked meat before you had Schwartz’s. Get a side of fries, a smoked meat sandwich (ask for lean meat, there’s no reason not to, really), and wash it down with a Black Cherry Cott like many, many people before you.
Fairmount Bagel (address and info)
Unlike poutine, which we don’t really eat all that often, bagels are an integral part of our locals’ daily diets. Neighbouring 24-hour bagel institutions, Fairmount and St-Viateur, divide the city over which one makes the best. Grab a Liberty cream cheese (not Philadelphia) and throw an all-dressed bagel into the mix. It could change your life.
Au Pied de Cochon (address and info)
Decadent celebrity Chef Martin Picard, famous for all things meaty and over the top (his “Squirrel Sushi” and beaver recipes once shocked the nation), serves the best “poor man’s pudding”, aka pouding chômeur, in town. A must. Reservations recommended.
Steamed hot dog
Chez Ma Tante (address and info)
We steam our hot dog sausages and buns around here. A 75-year-old operation, Chez Ma Tante has perfected the art of the “steamé”, so order them all-dressed (relish, mustard, onions, and cabbage) and sprinkle some paprika on it. Something about their Shopsy’s wieners makes this place stand out from the rest.
1. Marconi Pizzeria2224, rue Beaubien Est, Montreal
2. Les Sucreries de l'érable3809, rue Principale, Dunham
3. Ma-Am-M Bolduc4351 Ave de Lorimier, Montreal
4. La Binerie367, Av. Mont-Royal E, Montréal
5. Mâche1655 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal
6. Chalet Bar-B-Q5456 Sherbrooke St West, Montreal
7. Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen3895 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal
8. Fairmount Bagel74 Ave. Fairmount Ouest, Montréal
9. Au Pied de Cochon536 Ave Duluth Est, Montréal
10. Chez Ma Tante3180 Rue Fleury Est, Montreal
This Rosemont Italian resto has been slinging tasty 'za and other food from the boot since 1968, and if you want to get their signature dish, try their Pizza-ghetti, which is an all-dressed pie with spaghetti meat sauce inside.
These Dunham confectioners make some of the best sweets you'll ever taste, from their signature maple pie to a long list of other including apple, peach, pecan, cherry, and more.
With some of the city's best poutine, burgers, and out-of-this-world brunches, this Plateau resto is a definite hit.
True to its name, La Binerie is famous for its baked beans. This place has been serving up traditional Quebecois cuisine since 1938, and it hasn't lost its touch. If baked beans aren't your thing, try the Tourtière (meat pie), Pouding Noir (black pudding), or Soupe aux Pois (pea soup).
This comfort food spot and burger joint will satisfy you with their specialty burgers and filling poutine, not to mention their outstanding pâté chinois, which is a classic French Canadian dish similar to shepherd's pie.
Chalet Bar-B-Q opened its doors way back in 1944 and ever since, it has doled out some of the best barbecued chicken out there, using fresh & plump chickens that are slow roasted to perfection in charcoal brick ovens.
Montreal is known for its smoked meats, and Schwartz's Deli has some of the best in the city. Order a sandwich -- literally any sandwich -- and prepare for your taste buds to explode from the deliciousness.
This place has been turning out its artisanal bagels for more than 60 years, and it's still owned by the family that started the first bagel bakery in Montreal. With more than 20 different bagel varieties to choose from, you can also select a cream cheese flavor or pick from several other topping options.
Dining at “the foot of the pig” ("Au pied de cochon") is a Montréal must, as Chef Martin Picard has created a temple for all things meaty, decadent, and over-the-top (read: poutine topped with foie gras!). While ultra-luxe ingredients like red wine chutney and pig's trotters are a common theme here, their application to low-brow foods is what sets this bustling restaurant apart. The price tag might not match the casual atmosphere, but exaggerated indulgences like pan seared foie gras with goat cheese and raspberries on a brioche will blind you to dollar signs.
Basically a counter with a roof, Chez Ma Tante’s menu features four items: less is more when you know what you are good at. It all started 75 years ago when they served clients out of a horse carriage (seriously). The fries here are amazing and sweet, just like the service, and definitely get a steamed hot dog ($1.90) while you’re at it because it doesn’t get any better than this in all of Montreal.