48 hours in Montreal

After spending three days/two nights in Montreal, I really feel like I got a grasp on the city. It definitely has a European feel all around- small cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, cute coffee shops all around, everyone speaking French…maybe that’s one of the reasons I loved this city so much? It takes me back to Europe and even though you’re a mere 60 miles across the border, you may as well be 6000 miles away.fullsizerender-9

{Notre Dame of Montreal}

DAY ONE

We stayed at Le Westin Hotel in Old Montreal & I can’t recommend this hotel enough- it’s perfect location for walking around the city, the rooms are huge & comfortable and the staff is awesome. We brought the pup and they showed up with this adorable dog bed & food/water bowls so she would feel at home. How adorable is that?!

{Mela loved Montreal, both in the Westin & in the park!}

We started Friday evening with a pre-dinner drink and appetizer from Tiradito. We stumbled across this place by chance and I’m glad we did. Recently open, this bar-only seating restaurant had a very NYC vibe. It was a dim, sultry, swanky, funky spot. It’s a self-proclaimed Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant. For drinks, I had a pisco sour (typical South American cocktail) and it was amazing! He had a bourbon based cocktail, also creative & delicious. For our app, we had halibut ceviche- so fresh & delicious. I would love to go back and dine at this place.

{Notkins menu – Tiradito drinks – Notkins oysters}

For dinner, we hopped across the street to Notkins– an oyster bar that came recommended by a friend. Fun fact: the owner (I believe) holds the record for most shucked & cleaned oysters in an hour. It was over 8,000- can you even imagine!? After we heard that story, we knew we were in good hands. The place has a sophisticated, yet casual vibe. They’ve got a big raw bar, an even bigger wine list, and a live DJ spinning slow jam lounge music. It was a fun date night spot! We splurged on oysters, halibut fish tacos, cold lobster tail & frites. The service was excellent, and although it was a bit pricey, we both felt as though it was money well spent.

DAY TWO

We started off our next morning the way every day in Montreal should start- with a jog around the Mount Royal park (gorgeous park with tons of hiking trails, grassy areas, picnic tables & killer views), followed by some St Viateur bagels. I gotta say, I didn’t realize how doughy & fresh & light bagels could (should?) taste, until I had these. Words can’t describe how awesome they are- we sampled whole wheat, everything & rosemary. Surprisingly, the rosemary was my favorite. The flavors were baked into the dough & every bite was so delicious…

{Watching the guys make bagels in the huge oven}

After spending the next few hours walking around town, exploring local shops, park & stores and checking out the Montreal Olympics site, we decided to pop into Les 3 Brasseurs & chill for a bit. We shared a flight and, of course, poutine! (This is obviously a *must do* when in Montreal. There are countless places that claim to be “Montreal’s best poutine” so why not try a few?! I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong!)

{Exploring cute streets & buildings around Old Town Montreal}

{Run in the park + poutine = balance}

Based on the suggestion of a stranger (thanks, Chris!), we went to dinner at  L’usine de Spaghetti. Holy deliciousness! I’m not sure if it was the two glasses of house red I had, or the warm, quaint, European feeling vibe this place gave off, but the lobster linguini that I had was the best meal of my trip! The bf got grilled lamb chops over pesto spaghetti and he didn’t seem to complain either-we both happily licked our plates clean & then polished off a piece of tiramisu. Vacation for the win 🙂

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{Our awesome table in front of the impressive wine cellar}

On Sunday morning, we wanted to grab a quick, healthy meal before hitting the road. Thanks to Instagram, I found Olive & Gourmando: an adorable coffee shop on old street in Old Town with awesome home goods shops, restaurants & clothing stores. It’s got a very local, funky vibe with organic & healthy feel. I got a cha-cha-chia bowl: cute jar with layered chia pudding, coconut flakes, fresh banana & apple slices, quinoa, granola & cranberries. After my decadent Italian dinner the night before, this was exactly what I needed. If you like healthy, cute coffee shops (who doesn’t?), this is your spot.

{O&G’s interior – cute Halloween decor – world’s best chia bowl}

One thing I loved about Montreal (similar to Europe) is that while the food can be rich & decadent, the portions are small. Given that we chose to split most of our “splurge” dishes and that we walked all over the city (15K steps both days, woo hoo!), I didn’t leave feeling “gross” or “blah”. I felt like I experienced the culture, I tasted a few local treats, and I had an overall balanced trip.

Montreal, you’re adorable. I can’t wait to be back!

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3 thoughts on “48 hours in Montreal

  1. Pingback: 2017 Travel Goals – SouthEndStyle

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