Montreal, named after Mount Royal, is the most populated city in Quebec and the most bilingual (French and English) city of Canada. Armed with a friend that studies at McGill University, we headed to Montreal for the weekend to eat and explore! For all travelers, be aware that tax is 15% and tip is also a minimum of 15%. Furthermore, if parking, make sure to double check signs for limits! Now let’s jump into our best 3 days in Montreal itinerary built with our own experiences and recommendations from Montrealers.
Brunch is the best start to any day so we headed to Faberge. There’s almost always a line so get there early (before 10) to ensure you’re not waiting for an hour. We had the Mac & Cheese Benny, Chicken & Waffles, and Original Benny. They were all very delicious with filling portions.
After such a large meal, walk it off by exploring the McGill University campus. Start at the Roddick Gates at Sherbrooke and make your way up the hill.
Visit one of Montreal’s best coffee shops. This local café is hip and well known for its perfect drinks. Many claim it is second only to the espresso in Italy so you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Though small and busy, the quick service, second floor of seating, and patron time limit means Pikolo never gets too overwhelming.
Going up the mountain is a must for the view and the enjoyable hike. There are many ways to venture up. If you’re going by foot, be prepared for a lot of stairs. I would recommend starting at Peel and Dr. Penfield. There is also paid parking at the top of the mountain. Simply drive up Voie Camillien-Houde and Chemin Remembrance and follow the signs towards the Smith House. We parked at the lot across from the cemetery and made our way from there to the panoramic lookout over Montreal by the Chalet du Mont Royal.
This gem is home to the best schwarmas (though they call them sandwiches). They grill the wrap giving it a toasty delight. The plates are perfect for those who are extra hungry or have a bigger appetite. They are delicious, affordable, and filling. The garlic potatoes are a must!
Juliette et Chocolat (on Rue Sainte-Catherine)
This place is a well-known chain in Montreal. Though we didn’t get the chance to try it out personally, it was highly recommended for its chocolate and desserts. Crepes with chocolate seemed to be a crowd favourite. They also have brunch, which is considered pricier compared to other places.
Allo Mon Coco (on Boulevard de Maisonneuve)
This Quebec chain is well-known for its large portion sizes at very affordable prices. Much like other brunch places, it is best to get here early to avoid any lines depending on the location.
You can’t visit Montreal without walking around Old Montreal. Visit the Basilique Notre-Dame (where Celine Dion got married) for an entrance fee of $5 or for free on Sunday mass. There are a number of cute furniture and lifestyle stores as well.
A must try is Olive & Gormando, which is a sandwich/coffee shop renown for its sandwiches. There is almost always a line so be ready to wait to be seated. We were still full from our last meals so we got a latte and croissant to go – both lived up to the high expectations that were set for us.
Next is dinner. Yokato Yokabai has the best ramen in Montreal. Some claim they like it more than Toronto’s Kinton and Sansotei. Like many places, it allows choice of broth, meat/vegetarian, and toppings. We got the Tonkotsu and Kara (spicy) broth. The broth for both was extremely rich and flavourful, though we enjoyed the Tonkotsu more. The pork was extremely tender and soft, which was different from the usual grilled/charred. We also added a side dish of karaage, which we would highly recommend.
Poutine is a must in Montreal and what better than a 24 hour poutine place? We shared a regular size of L’Obelix between two people and did not regret ordering a larger size. The smoked meat, cheese curds, gravy, and fries was perfect for a late night snack.
Again, get here before 11 to avoid the lines. Beauty’s is 50s diner themed and serves classic breakfast options. It is known for the Beauty’s Special – salmon and cream cheese over a Montreal bagel. In addition, the diner is rich in history and has very fast service.
Kem Coba & Fairmount Bagel
Gelato and bagels don’t sound like a good mix, but grabbing bagels from Fairmount Bagel on your trip home is necessary. Pick and choose an assorted dozen ranging from flavours like All Dressed (a personal fav), Garlic, and Cinammon Raisin. For gelato, I got the Pandan and thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff was extremely friendly and it reminded me of Kekou Gelato back in Toronto.
Museum of Fine Arts
What’s the best part about the Museum of Fine Arts? The regular collection is free for those 30 and under. Major exhibitions include Pompeii and SHE Photographs right now. The entrance fee is $12, but $10 on Wednesday evenings after 5 pm. Get your art fix and walk off the food.
This independent coffee shop is a little pricey but for good reason. The lattes are amazing, made from Canada’s Forty Ninth Parallel roast and topped with beautiful art. While there is no WiFi, the cafe continues to be bus and bustling throughout the day so don’t be surprised by lines.
This Japanese joint is extremely popular due to its inexpensive, incredibly fast, delicious food! We got there before 5:30 pm (opening time), since we had a large group, and there was already a line outside. Groups were quickly seated and squished into the tiny restaurant with a continuously growing line outside.
We ordered the 48 hours pork bowl, tuna salmon salad rice bowl, and chirashi-zushi. All were quite large in portion with the best option definitely being the tuna salmon rice bowl. I also ordered the green tea panna cotta, which was very small but definitely a recommendation if you want to treat yourself.
Smoke Meat Pete
Were you wondering why Schwartz wasn’t mentioned in this post? That’s because we have a better alternative for smoked meat! With a shorter line and tastier compared to Schwartz, Montrealers were quick to suggest that we visit it. The reason why it’s on the end of day 3 is because it’s on the way back to Toronto. Stop by this 24 hour restaurant for a quick sandwich and be sure to buy some home to eat with your bagels!
In conclusion, that’s our weekend or 3 days in Montreal. Bon voyage! Let us know if this helped you – what did you try? Planning a visit in the summer? You don’t want to miss the International Fireworks Competition in July!
Stone & Fern is a travel and lifestyle blog started by friends who have a passion for exploring cities, capturing moments, and trying new food. This is part of our Check In city guides series. To see more of North America, click here.