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Where to Score the Best Brunch in Montreal
Ask twenty Montreal residents where's the best place to brunch. Go ahead. Try it. You'll get about as many different answers.
What can I say? People are precious about their hybrid meal, myself included.
Some are willing to linger in lineups as legendary as the brunch spots themselves. And yet others can't bare the wait lest the pain of caffeine withdrawal set in, preferring locales slightly off the beaten path for a quieter, neighborhoody experience.
Whether you're a must-eat-at-the-latest-hottest-place kinda foodie or a laidback-whatever-works type, this list has something for everyone, including those of you yearning for something a little different from eggs and bacon.
Full disclosure: absolutely no one paid their way onto this list. This list is for information and editorial purposes only. Any opinions expressed in this profile are independent, i.e., free of public relations and promotional bias, and serve to direct readers as honestly and as helpfully as possible.Continue to 2 of 21 below.
02 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Sparrow
Trend hunters aching to be scene (bad pun), here's a bar/restaurant/brunch spot for ya. One part pub, one part hipster haven, Mile End's Sparrow had peeps buzzing from the get-go over its relaxed vibe adorned with scones, crumpets, homemade doughnuts and red velvet waffles. Unfortunately, the red velvet waffles are no longer, BUT the doughnuts remain, complemented by a fresh list of brunch offerings. Think house smoked trout served with a soft boiled egg, spinach and green onion pancake and beet salad (see photo). Or steak and eggs with chimichurri and sweet potato home fries.
Or try Sparrow's Moroccan shakshuka or the Turkish breakfast, which is perfect for finger foodies. It's got feta, olives, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, a soft-boiled egg, walnuts, dried apricots, fig jam and a side of flatbread. Anticipate lineups and a crowd leaning heavily towards twenty and thirty something. Cozy spot.
When: Brunch served weekends, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: 5322 St. Laurent,... corner of Maguire (one block south of St. Viateur); (514) 690-3964
Getting there: Laurier Metro
Note that menu items, prices and opening hours are subject to change without notice. Always double check details online before heading out.Continue to 3 of 21 below.
03 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: La Récolte
The weekend brunch menu is hyper-seasonal at La Récolte, a small restaurant gem four blocks from Marché Jean-Talon. Expect housemade sausages. Or snow crab eggs Benedict. Maybe smoked trout with fried shrimp. It changes all the time. And the raves are legion over the laidback ambiance contrasting with upscale, elegant plating.
When: Brunch served weekends, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: 764 rue Bélanger (corner avenue de Châteaubriand); (514) 508-5450
Getting there: Jean-Talon Metro
Note that menu items, prices and opening hours are subject to change without notice. Always double check details online before heading out.Continue to 4 of 21 below.
04 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Café Régine
Ever since Café Régine opened up or the borders of La Petite Patrie in 2012, the place has been PACKED. Everyone loves it here. And I mean everyone. Service is warm, portions are generous and menu items are clever, original and sometimes even gluten-free, like the Gauffré, a dish composed of corn waffle, trout gravlax, cream with chives and tomato salsa (see photo). Sweet teeth risk orgasming over the Sweet Régine (homemade crumpets, candied oranges, pistachios, chocolate whipped cream and ganache) and the Doré (french toast, mascarpone cream, macadamia nuts, bananas and dates).
And if you feel like sharing (or if you're just really hungry), consider ordering Un Peu de Tout. That`s French for ''a bit of everything.'' Served on a tiered tray comparable to what you'd find at high tea, crumpets, fruit and other assorted pastries accompanied with house spreads are the usual suspects.
The best part? Café Régine serves brunch every single day of the week. Expect... lineups. They're unavoidable unless you get there first thing. Very family-friendly environment. To quote Café Régine's website: ''we have high chairs for youngsters. Children enrich our lives and are always welcome at Régine Café. We also have a change table and a microwave oven to warm up baby food.''
When: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and holidays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: 1840 Beaubien Est, corner of Cartier (one block east of Papineau); (514) 690-3964
Getting there: Beaubien Metro
Note that menu items, prices and opening hours are subject to change without notice. Always double check details online before heading out.Continue to 5 of 21 below.
05 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Le Cartet
Hosting posh friends from out of town? Passing through Montreal yourself? Bring them to Old Montreal's Le Cartet.
Offering sleek interior design and a mini-food market with jams, chocolate, specialty goods and meals-to-go, Le Cartet brunches scream freshness and are fairly on-trend, plates complete with complimentary extras like sides of stuffed figs, sweetbread and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Not the cheapest brunch in town -Old Montreal is like that- but you get good portions. AND you're near the Old Port, Montreal's archaeology museum, the Montreal Science Centre, and the Notre-Dame Basilica, just to name a few attractions. There's enough to do in the area to keep you busy the rest of the day. Go for a skate in the winter or work on your tan come summer. Expect minor lineups.
When: Brunch weekends only, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location: 106 McGill, corner of Wellington; (514) 871-8887
Getting there: Square-Victoria Metro
Note that menu items, prices and opening hours... are subject to change without notice. Always double check details online before heading out.Continue to 6 of 21 below.
06 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Olive and Gourmando
I love this place. Olivia Wilde loves this place. Everyone loves this place. But until you break away from the takeaway counter and brave a minor wait to sit down and linger over a panini, baked good and glass of vino or two, you don't truly know this place.
There's a reason Old Montreal's Olive and Gourmando has been hovering in the top spots on Tripadvisor for years. Everything they serve? Beautiful. Their this-is-not-a-cupcake cupcake? The housemade ricotta? The Cubain panini stuffed with pancetta, roasted pork, raw milk gruyère and slathered with lime, cilantro, chipotle, and pickle mayonnaise? Try to find something wrong with them, I dare you. And once you've been seated, boom, the service. It's charming and doting and patient amidst the controlled chaos that is a near perpetual given at Olive and Gourmando. Seriously. Don't even try to figure out when there's no wait time. Even the owner told me that showing up at the crack of opening hour is no... guarantee to avoiding a lineup. But the wait times are reasonable, maybe 20 minutes at most. And don't be scared by the crowd. It's more tempered than you think.
A great spot to start off a day of Old Montreal sightseeing, you're barely a five-minute walk from Montreal's archaeology museum. From there, it's another five minutes to the Montreal Science Centre and the Notre-Dame Basilica. While you're at it, go for a skate or linger along the Old Port's urban beach.
When: Tuesday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: 351 St. Paul West, corner of St. Pierre; (514) 350-1083
Getting there: Square-Victoria MetroContinue to 7 of 21 below.
07 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Prohibition
Okay. Now the thing with Prohibition is this: the Monkland Village haunt makes good brunch. No doubt. But some folks complain that the lineups are too long. We're talking a 30- to 45-minute delay on a warm, sunny day. And that wait time might have the effect of increasing expectations to the point of requiring an angel drop from the sky and personally deliver the order to experience any level of satisfaction.
So here's what you have to do.
Step 1? Expect a wait. If it is a gorgeous day outside, ask the host or hostess how long the wait is and then go off, grab a coffee and walk around. Peruse Monkland Avenue. That's what I do. Screw standing there stewing. It doesn't even feel like a wait as I check out local boutiques with a thermos full of piping java. And if you just can't bare the wait, fine. Cross the street and eat at the St. Viateur Bagel Café. Or walk a little further down Monkland for some of the best scones in the city. Otherwise, stick around and consider... one of these three dishes.
Step 2? Order one of the house's strongest dishes. The Bulgarian Benedict is an orgy of tart, sour and umami featuring two poached eggs served atop a generous dollop of garlic yogurt mixed with sheep’s feta doused with paprika oil. Toasted baguette is served alongside to scoop up any remaining yogurt and feta. Meanwhile, the maple fried challah bread French toast served with a piece of fried chicken, cinnamon sugar and maple syrup is just... mark my words. I have NEVER tasted French toast this good. And the house-cured salmon gravlax served on a sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese and topped with a generous portion of cherry tomato caper salad is a gem, better than standard lox.
When: Brunch Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: 5674 Monkland, corner of Oxford; (514) 481-8466
Getting there: Villa-Maria MetroContinue to 8 of 21 below.
08 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Auberge du Dragon Rouge
Auberge du Dragon Rouge is hilarious. Think off-the-beaten-path medieval tavern complete with service staff in character. A place where you can eat with your hands if you want to. You might almost have to.
Don't believe me? Try scoring a fork. Ask for one just to see what they bring you. Oh, and watch out for the dragon's blood. That stuff is spicy. Don't sip it. Just down it.
But does Auberge du Dragon Rouge serve the best brunch food in Montreal? I'd be stretching it and/or accepting a bribe if I said yes. It's a solid brunch though, standard eggs and bacon fare slightly pricey for what it is. But the ambiance is so completely in character that when you factor in all that theatre, you get your money's worth.
When: brunch on weekends only 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: 8870 Lajeunesse, corner of Émile-Journault; (514) 858-5711
Getting there: Crémazie MetroContinue to 9 of 21 below.
09 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: L'Avenue
I remember back in the day when I first went to the Plateau's l'Avenue, it was just to see the bathrooms. Before they even mentioned the food, my friends were raving about them. (Not saying more. You'll just have to see for yourself).
Quaint and creative, l'Avenue is upscaled casual dining, the kind of upscaled casual dining that existed well over a decade before it ever became a "thing." This is the real McCoy folks, right here in the heart of the Plateau. And it's got the lineups to prove it. Rain, shine, North Pole temperatures, people wait. And they wait.
From l'Avenue's trademark service to the effort staff puts into design and presentation, down to the edge of every plate, patrons can expect large portions of omelettes, poached joys -raves abound over the steak and eggs Benedict- and fruit at affordable prices served well into the afternoon hours.
Just one thing. The menu is is French only. But if Molière's got your tongue, don't worry.... Staff will translate.
When: Monday to Wednesday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: 922 Mont-Royal East, corner of St. André; (514) 523-8780
Getting there: Mont-Royal MetroContinue to 10 of 21 below.
10 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Cosmo's
Cosmo's lives up to the legend: amazing service, the best in greasy breakfast fare, cheap prices and the spatial ability to listen in on any conversation in the diner, right in the heart of N.D.G.
With ten stools, one counter top and modest terrace space out front, customers are served fast and with family-run warmth that should never go out of style. Be aware though, weekend lineups are probable by 10 a.m. and guaranteed by noon but they wind down by mid-afternoon before closing time. And things move fast so don't worry too much about the wait.
My favorite menu item? Cosmo's Creation Sandwich, made with eggs, cheese, bacon, thick salami, tomato, lettuce AND the bread of your choice. There's like six different kinds to choose from and the home fries that come with it are, in my humble opinion, the best in Montreal.
One final note: closing time, while officially 5 p.m., can be as early as 4 p.m. The diner closes shop early if customers wind down.
When: Tuesday to Sunday 7... a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: 5843 Sherbrooke West, corner of Draper; (514) 486-3814
Getting there: Vendôme MetroContinue to 11 of 21 below.
11 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Gryphon d'Or
Gryphon d'Or bakes what are arguably the very best scones in Montreal. And I don't know of any other joint that serves eggs Benedict on house-baked cheese scones with house-brewed Guinness sauce. It's SUBLIME.
Friendly service too. And if you're in the mood for high tea, perfect. You couldn't pick a better place in Montreal for that. Just be sure to make reservations 24 hours prior if going the high tea route. Staff needs time to prepare the most stuffed tiered tray you will have ever seen. Doggie bags a must.
When: Brunch weekends only 10 a.m. to 2 p.m
Location: 5968 Monkland, corner of Royal; (514) 485-7377
Getting there: Villa-Maria MetroContinue to 12 of 21 below.
12 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Leméac
Looking for a posh and polished hoodie-free ambiance for your next brunch? Try Laurier Avenue West's Leméac, an elegant French bistro known for consistently getting it right. And try the poached eggs, smoked salmon and Spanish caviar on blinis. It's beautiful. Also, consider getting a fruit plate to share as it comes with a pleasantly abundant assortment of produce, including doughnuts and soft cheese reminiscent of labneh. Count on sleek and skilled service, if cold at times.Continue to 13 of 21 below.
13 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Hof Kelsten
Montreal's best brunch? Try Montreal's best bread. The Main's Hof Kelsten has been tearing up the gluten circuit since its storefront debut in 2013. Prior to its public launch, the bakery/East European style deli had been supplying several of Montreal's upmarket restaurants -Joe Beef, Leméac and Toqué, to name a few- behind the scenes for many moons.
So brunch at Hof Kelsten is all about bread. And borscht. And matzo balls. And latkes. Available Wednesday through Sunday, sandwiches run the gamut of gravlax -my favorite- served with capers, cucumbers and dill dressing, curry chicken and grilled cheese with egg. And there's a weekend brunch menu that usually features up to four items, dishes like schnitzel or North African shakshuka or smoked mackerel with eggs on house baked English muffin. Grab a pastry for that sweet tooth and you're good to go.
Quick note for hipster haters: there have been sightings. You've been warned so don't be filling my inbox with... complaints now, cool? I don't make the rules.
When: opening hours Wednesday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., brunch menu available weekends 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
Location: 4524 boulevard St. Laurent, corner of Mont-Royal; (514) 649-7991
Getting there: Mont-Royal MetroContinue to 14 of 21 below.
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Montreal's Best Brunch: Beautys
A breakfast/lunch diner a few blocks from Mount Royal Park open since 1942 and made famous in the '70s by Mordecai Richler novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Montreal has only one Beautys and the lineups are fierce on the weekends. Get there before 10 a.m. or you will wait a while for a table, but you'll also savor some of the city's best bagels and lox. Generous with the side fruit, Beautys prices are not amazing but all of their breakfast items are, so you won't be disappointed. The house specialty? The Special, a Montreal bagel lox sandwich with smoked salmon, cream cheese, sliced tomatoes and onions.
When: breakfast and brunch weekdays 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekends 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: 93 Mont-Royal West, corner of St. Urbain; (514) 849-8883
Getting there: Mont-Royal MetroContinue to 15 of 21 below.
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Montreal's Best Brunch: La Binerie
I wouldn't DARE mention one classic Mount Royal diner without mentioning another icon, Montreal's beloved Binerie Mont-Royal, a source and supply of Quebec soul food done right since 1938.
Now a proper visit to La Binerie must involve two things: tourtière (Quebec's answer to meat pie) and baked beans, or as we call them in these parts, fèves au lard or even better, bines. Pronounced ''bin,'' bines is a joual anglicism. So most of La Binerie's breakfast dishes -eggs and bacon, buckwheat pancakes, omelettes- come with a side of beans, but double check just in case. And for a small fee, a slice of tourtière can be added to any order.
But if you're feeling especially frisky for a purist dining experience, come in around noon when the lunch menu is served and get the Assiette Québécoise (i.e., Quebec platter). It comes with pea soup, meatball stew, tourtière, potatoes, veggies, baked beans, a poudding chômeur and coffee or tea. Get yourself a side of... Quebec maple syrup and that meal right there folks, is bliss. And it's cheaper than a sugar shack meal but just as good. It's also, in my humble opinion, PERFECT as a brunch stand-in.
When: Monday to Wednesday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday 6 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight, Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: 367 Mont-Royal East, corner of St. Denis; (514) 285-9078
Getting there: Mont-Royal MetroContinue to 16 of 21 below.
16 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Hoogan et Beaufort
Touted as one of Montreal's best restaurants, period, Hoogan et Beaufort propose a sensational à la carte brunch menu ranging in price from roughly $7 to $22, the highest priced dish at last check being a braised lamb dish with poached egg, sausages, sour cream and baked beans, a steal when you think of the quality on your plate. And for $14, score one of my favorite flavor combinations, the epic richness of blood sausage paired with the tart acidity of marinated apples, burnt apple puree, and a refreshing touch of celeriac. There's a standard eggs Benedict dish for the less adventurous and if you dare, try the scones seasoned with sea buckthorn.
When: Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Location: 4095 Molson, corner of Rachel East; (514) 903-1233
Getting there: Préfontaine MetroContinue to 17 of 21 below.
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Montreal's Best Brunch: Stash Café
Can you ever go wrong with Polish food? Old Montreal's Stash Café is not the usual spot you'd associate with brunch though. They don't even open on weekends until noon. But bear with me here. Their lunch menu lends so well to brunch, it might as well be stand-in for the hybrid meal.
Think breaded veal scallops with a sunny side up egg (or two) plopped onto with a side of potatoes and beet salad. Or how about some pierogies? Or potato pancakes served with sour cream or apple sauce? Or kielbasa with potato salad and sauerkraut? They've even got crepes stuffed with meat or mushrooms topped with creamy mushroom sauce. Admit it. Polska food was MADE for brunch.
When: Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m., Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
Location: 200 St. Paul West, corner of St. Nicholas; (514) 845-6611
Getting there: Place d'Armes Metro
Note that menu items, prices and opening hours are subject to change without notice.... Always double check details online before heading out.Continue to 18 of 21 below.
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Montreal's Best Brunch: Lawrence
Barely more than a block away from Sparrow is another Montreal brunch buzz generator, Lawrence. Must-haves? The lemon doughnuts, french toast, and an authentic English breakfast with bangers, blood sausage, bacon, beans, potatoes, eggs, you name it. Other options, depending on the week, may include lobster roll and smoked mackerel with sauerkraut. Prices are on the high side: count on spending roughly $15 to $25 per person, taxes included. As with Sparrow, anticipate lineups and a crowd leaning heavily towards twenty and thirty something.
When: brunch weekends only 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: 5201 St. Laurent, corner of Fairmount; (514) 503-1070
Getting there: Laurier MetroContinue to 19 of 21 below.
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Montreal's Best Brunch: Kim Fung
Kim Fung. It used to be Kam Fung. One day I blinked and vowels were exchanged. I'm assuming an ownership shuffle has something to do with it since there's a Kam Fung in Brossard, just south of Montreal, but I don't get paid enough to pick up the phone and investigate so... Kim Fung.
It's in Chinatown. It's a huge, loud dining room composed of dozens of round tables serviced by automatons --I used every bit of lovable charm I could muster to crack a smile out of service staff on my last visit and I managed to score one(!!!), but just one; it was a special moment. And they serve bucket loads of dim sum --shrimp, pork, scallop, and beef varieties. Kim Fung also offers fried counterparts like chicken's feet --don't knock it til you try it-- and if you enjoy innards, consider the beef stomach stew. Get there before 11 a.m. for a prime table close to push-cart action. Dim sum available every day 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When: brunch served every day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Loca...tion: 1111 St. Urbain, corner of René-Lévesque; (514) 878-2888
Getting there: Place d'Armes MetroContinue to 20 of 21 below.
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Montreal's Best Brunch: Jardin Nelson
Let's get one thing straight. You don't go to Old Montreal's Jardin Nelson for the food. No one does. You go for the gardens. You go for the courtyard, the weatherproofed one that makes the terrasse experience nothing short of glorious should your sojourn be blessed with rainfall. The droplets pitter patter on giant parasols and retractable awnings set against a backdrop of assorted flowers and trees. Meanwhile, the menu is what it is: crêpes, French toast, eggs, breakfast burritos... your standard fare. Nothing to blow your socks off, but again, that's not why you're here. Note that Jardin Nelson is open from mid-April to Canadian Thanksgiving only.
When: brunch served weekends and holiday Mondays from 10 a.m. to noon
Location: 407 Place Jacques Cartier, corner of St. Paul East; (514) 861-5731
Getting there: Champ-de-Mars MetroContinue to 21 of 21 below.
21 of 21
Montreal's Best Brunch: Lili.Co
Because who in their right mind could say no to a Vietnamese crepe filled with egg omelette topped with cilantro, cucumber, bean sprouts and cubed salon sashimi? Or thick banana pancakes served with a fat, portly chunk of bacon. Lili.Co's bubbly brunch drinks are nice too. Just watch out for that budget and don't be surprised if your breakfast-lunch hybrid exceeds $20 per person, or rather, be surprised if it doesn't. And keep in mind that there are only 30 spots in here so don't drag your feet with but a half-hour left in the brunch kitchen and expect a seat.