Eating Brunch in Montreal

Montreal is such a party town, it’s fitting that it’s also a weekend brunch mecca – we need something to take care of all those hangovers. You can choose from every sort of brunch under the sun, from fruit-filled and healthy to decadently greasy and comforting. Culturally speaking, the classic French-Canadian feasts meet their match in British traditions, Californian influences and Iranian delicacies. Just be sure to factor in some waiting time – you won’t be alone.

93 Avenue du Mont-Royal O, Montréal, QC H2T 2S5, Canada
This Plateau lunch counter is as close as you can come to a American-style diner in Montreal. It was opened in 1942 by Hymie Sckolnick, who can still be seen on his trusty stool at the counter, but he’s passed his management tasks on to his son and lovely granddaughter. On weekends, the lineup out the door is explained by the plump omelets and incredible challah French toast, smothered in local maple syrup. Lunch lovers won’t want to miss their mac’n’cheese served with a side of house salad (their dressing is addictive), or their deluxe Club salad: it’s like a club sandwich without the bread, with chicken, bacon, cheese and a mountain of veggies. Perk: most dishes come with a bagel.
1499 Avenue Laurier E, Montréal, QC H2J 1H8, Canada
The atmosphere alone in this Iranian restaurant is a wonderful introduction to any day. The sunny, high-ceilinged space on Avenue Laurier Ouest is decorated with nice wooden furniture and traditional Middle-Eastern patterned pillows, for your ultimate comfort as you sip sweet mint tea served in small gilded glasses and decide what to order. Will it be the selection of flatbreads served with fresh herbs, nuts and fresh cheese? It comes with a selection of house-made jams like kiwi and passion fruit or orange blossom. The “omelets” are also very special – they’re actually scrambled eggs mixed with ingredients such as feta cheese and dill. Photo: Frédérique Ménard Aubin
367 Avenue du Mont-Royal E, Montréal, QC H2T 1R1, Canada
This is whence all other Quebec breakfasts came from. Nearly 80 years old and as famous as Céline Dion, La Binerie is the oldest restaurant in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood, making it a classic in more ways than one: from its tiny diner space that has given cred to Avenue Mont-Royal for all these years to its traditional French Canadian dishes, like ragoût de boulettes and tourtière. Its breakfast is a greasy plateful of joy: the eggs-and-bacon combos are served with a small pot of cretons (Québec’s answer to pâté) and their signature house-made beans, which are different from the average sweet baked beans in that they’re white and savory – it’s up to you to add maple syrup tableside. All breakfasts come with bread fried in bacon fat.
5843 Rue Sherbrooke, Montréal, QC H4A 1X4, Canada
The Mishmash at this tiny, and let’s say it, cruddy eatery on Avenue Sherbrooke in NDG is quite possibly the most legendary brunch option in the city. That’s because, first, it’s simply scrumptious, and, second, it is said to contain as many calories as five Big Macs. It’s a four-egg mash with every type of meat: bacon, ham, sausage and salami, plus mounds of cheese and a smattering of tomato, not to mention the best hash browns in the city. Order it with black coffee and rye toast for the complete experience. If you’re watching your waistline, get the Creation instead: bacon, salami, a fried egg, cheese and lettuce on a bagel.
922 Avenue du Mont Royal Est
This is a queue-around-the-block type of brunch restaurant, where waiting outside with your friends is half (well, okay maybe a quarter) of the fun. Brunch is what this punky-decorated place does, so prepare for these to be among the best eggs of your life. Try the salty-sweet Benedict: two slices of crunchy Panko-dipped French toast, smoked ham, two poached eggs, Hollandaise, their famous home fries and a side of maple syrup. It’s the sensory overload you’ve always dreamed of.
351 Rue Saint-Paul O, Montréal, QC H2Y 2A7, Canada
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.
106 Rue McGill, Montréal, QC H2Y 2E5, Canada
This happening lunch spot for workers in the neighbourhood – Griffintown is a hotbed of tech offices, advertising agencies, architecture firms and designer boutiques – offers a great selection of take-away lunches if you’re planning a picnic along the Lachine Canal, just down the street. You can also sit down for a meal, though, which is a very popular option on the weekend when they serve a great brunch. The large, sunny space is a wonderful place to sit and plan your day over a creamy latte.
59 Rue Beaubien E, Montréal, QC H2S 1R1, Canada
This homely but homey little spot tucked away on Rue Beaubien makes an all-day breakfast that draws people from afar every weekend, and locals every day of the week. Saddle up to one of their handful of tables for their variety of eggs Benedict, all served with tomatoes fresh from the nearby Marché Jean-Talon and golden, chunky home fries. Or if you’re in a lunchy mood, try the BBLAT sandwich: brie, bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomatoes pressed together into an answer to your stomach’s prayers.
4631 Saint Laurent Boulevard
What started out as a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hole in the wall became a full-blown hype restaurant where masses gather to celebrate the joys of vegan cuisine. Thanks to the savoir-faire of brothers Michael and Liam Makhan, eating healthy can be its own reward when the food tastes so good. They use only local ingredients, according to the seasons, to create flavorful dishes that aim to once and for all destroy any myth about vegetarian or vegan food being tasteless. They are famous for their chapati sandwiches, which are cooked to order.
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