Our second day in Montreal was filled was much of the same—bikes and great food—but we also explored more of the beautiful city and discovered a few hidden gems along the way.
Our first order of business was to find some breakfast. Montreal has great patisseries thanks to the city’s French roots, so I was particularly excited to try Au Kouign-Amann Boulangerie Patisserie.
Croissants are great and all, but Kouign-Amann’s namesake, a traditional Breton cake layered with butter and sugar, is tough to find even in New York City so I relished the opportunity to have one. It didn’t disappoint and the other items in the small shop’s pastry case looked equally delectable.
While hunting for coffee, we stumbled upon La Distributrice, a precious little window along Avenue Mont-Royal where coffee and espresso was served. Literally tucked away beneath a stairwell leading to another restaurant, La Distributrice was the best coffee we found in the city.
After that, we got on our bikes and road down along the Lachine Canal and the Old Port, which gave us great views of the city.
This time our destination was Rue Notre-Dame, also called “antique shop street.” The street is lined with rows of antique stores for several blocks, ranging from luxe, high-end stores to mom-and-pop shops with more primitive wares. Much of what we found was incredibly reasonably-priced for the quality and the stock rivaled what I’ve seen in Paris. In fact, we came home with two antique oriental rugs, both more than 100 years old, for less than $200.
After antiquing, we rode back through downtown and through the campus of the gorgeous McGill University to a Montreal insitution: Schwartz’s.
Schwartz’s is one of the original Hebrew delicatessens in Montreal and is also part of the inspiration behind Brooklyn favorite Mile End. We each ordered a fatty smoked meat sandwich and shared an order of fries. A perfect late lunch after a day of riding around in the sun and surprisingly warm temperatures.
We headed back to the apartment to rest for a bit and freshen up before our dinner that night at Le Bremner.
Le Bremner seems to fly under the radar a bit on Montreal, but it was undoubtedly one of our favorite meals of the trip. Tucked away in an unmarked basement, the restaurant feels like somewhere where rowdy ship captains would gather for a drink with its dim lighting and stone walls.
We elected to sit at the bar and loved making small talk with Bremner’s excellent bartender, Brynley. He’s working very hard to bring excellent cocktails to Montreal and his drinks didn’t disappoint, especially his root beer and rum, made with housemade root beer and cola syrups. (The small plates of rustic seafood were truly delicious, as well.)
The weather was great, so we leisurely strolled home, sad to have just one more day left in Montreal.
– Laura and Ryan