This perennially popular bakery and sandwich spot can feel somewhat out of place. With its cozy atmosphere in a plant-filled space, and its menu of warm panini, delicious sandwiches on artisanal breads, generous salads, and perfectly executed pastries, it is the sort of restaurant you’d expect to find in one of Montréal’s cooler neighborhoods. Instead, it’s in the heart of Old Montréal. That is a definite plus for travelers visiting the city’s historic sights. It also means, however, that there is a lunch-hour rush when nearby office workers vie for tables. If you can plan on an early or late lunch—you’re on vacation, after all—you can avoid the worst of the crowd. Olive et Gourmando is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so if you are looking for a place for dinner, the same owners are behind the new Foxy (in the Griffintown neighborhood), which is quickly proving as popular as their first restaurant.
Brunch or Lunch at Olive et Gourmando
Olive et Gourmando is the quintessential Montreal brunch/lunch spot, located in Old Montreal. Pastries are all up front and sandwiches/gourmet dishes ready to order are in the back. Grab a table, go to the back and make your order, cafeteria style. Sit back down and someone will bring you your food. Not only is the food amazing—hello, truffled mac ‘n’ cheese—but the scene of the interchangeable English/French hybrid of locals in this bustling yet cozy room is fascinating to watch. If you can’t get a seat, get a croissant or ten to go.
Crack the Cafe Code
O+G has been one of downtown Montreal‘s most popular cafes since it opened more than 12 years ago. The bakery dishes a multitude of doughy treats, while the rolls and tarts remain my favorites. A great way to spend an afternoon: Order a cup of tea and a bowl of chickpea salad, grab a chair by the window, and watch the tourists roll through Old Montreal. If you’re nice, you’ll tell them all about O+G, but I wouldn’t blame you if you want to keep it to yourself.
Hungry? Three words...Olive et Gourmando.
Table for one
When the rain postponed my plans for a day trip to Quebec City, I knew exactly what to do with my morning. I grabbed my umbrella and made my way to one of Montreal’s buzziest dining destinations. Tucked away in Old Montreal on Rue Saint-Paul, you’ll find the charming Olive et Gourmando. There’s a reason why this bakery and café scores high marks with just about everyone. With a wide selection of mouth-watering pastries lining the counter, the restaurant also serves paninis, cold sandwiches and soups. The food is beyond superb, the staff friendly and attentive. There’s just a warm atmosphere to the place that makes dining alone--not really alone. Even when the lunchtime crowds started piling up in the small waiting area and seemingly out the door, I never felt rushed at my tiny table for two, but I did take two pastries to go.