September 27, 2018

Our Three Night Trip to Montreal

Leather Jacket: Parker | Denim: Frame (part of their ‘stockup18’ sale) | Shoes: Fendi  (I walked around them the entire time and they are the most comfortable shoes I own)

Last month, Keith and I had grand plans of taking a trip to Venice and Florence. At first, I had a blog related project in Venice and excitedly, I asked Keith if he’d be able to get some days off work and come along. He’d help me shoot for the project and on top of that, we’d tack on some days to explore. We made all the necessary childcare arrangements since it would be a much needed, adults-only trip. Unfortunately, plans fell through and Italy was not meant to happen this time around. Rather than getting upset, we decided we’d still take a little mini trip, just the two of us, and use it as an excuse to explore, eat, sleep-in and stay in a lovely hotel. After a ton of research and back and forth, we decided on Montreal.

The main reasons: it was close (about 1.5 hours away by plane from JFK), it had a European feel, and the food scene-from what we heard- was out of this world. It’s been over a decade since I’ve gone to Montreal, and I kind of went into it without any expectations. I was just excited to get away and spend some quality time with the hubby.

Well, let me tell you guys: we had the BEST time. We walked, we explored, we drank wine and cocktails, slept in and ate THE BEST FOOD. Seriously, I was blown away at how incredible most of our meals were. So many of you messaged, DMed and emailed me suggestions and I wish we could get to every recommended place, but we barely cracked the surface. All I know is, we plan to go back. I would recommend Montreal to anyone, but especially if you’re on the east coat; it is just such an easy getaway. I kept saying to Keith “how come more people don’t talk about it?” It almost feels like this hidden gem.

The below recommendations is a very edited list. Part of me hates giving “guides” about a city that I’m not an expert at, but most of these choices were recommended by many Montreal locals (who were nice enough to DM or email me), so I knew we were in very good hands.

Cashmere sweater: Vince (part of the ‘stockup18’ sale) | Denim: Something Navy (old) | Boots: Fendi | Sunglasses: Celine Tilda

WHERE TO STAY: 

We stayed at the Hotel Le Mount Stephen, also very famous for their stunning historic bar, bar George which I highly recommend getting a cocktail at. All that said, as beautiful as the hotel was, it wasn’t the hotel for us. We booked our hotel three days before flying and I wish I did a tad bit more search. Somebody recommended it, it had glowing, 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor so I just went ahead and booked it. The reviews and rating are completely warranted, but it just wasn’t the ideal location for us. Every single day, we found ourselves walking 30 minutes to be near the Old Port. The positive is that considering all the food we ate, I came back feeling like I actually lost weight because we literally walked 8-10 hours a day.

If I had a do-over, I’d stay at Hotel William Grey. Once we got to Montreal, so many of you messaged me to recommend it, but at that point, it was a bit too late. However, we did explore and have drinks there and it was incredibly chic and in such a wonderful location. If you don’t end up staying here, if the weather allows, have cocktails  on their outdoor patio. Such a fun atmosphere with great people watching.

The other two hotels that were recommended several times (and both with great reviews) were the Ritz-Carlton and Auberge Du Vieux-Port. Keep in mind, the Ritz-Carlton is not in Old Montreal (where we’d prefer to stay next time), but closer to the shopping area. Auberge Du Vieux-Port might not be as hip as William Grey, but from what I heard and read, it’s wonderful and in an ideal location.

WHERE TO EAT:

I’m going to start with all the incredible places we ate at, but I’m also going to include a few others that we never got to, but that came recommended over and over again.

Arthurs Nosh

Pinky ring and middle finger rings from Ring Concierge (use code ‘brooklynblonde’ for 20% off mostly anything) | Other bands from Seawave Diamonds in the diamond district. 

B R E A K F A S T :

Aruthurs: Almost every single person recommended Arthurs for brunch and holy moly, it was worth the hype. It’s a modern take on Jewish deli food and being a New Yorker, I know jewish deli. Truthfully, I prefer this version to the traditional type. We did have a wait, but it was only 15-20 minutes and so worth it.

Le Cartet: We came here on our final morning and it was simple, fresh and incredibly delicious. Keith and I shared eggs with smoked salmon, an omelette and crepes and each dish was better than the last. We were warned that there is often a wait, but we got here relatively early (9AM) and got seated right away.

Olive & Garmando

L U N C H: 

Olive & Garmando: This place is mouth watering for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Almost every single person recommended it and warned us that there would be a line. We did wait, but only for 10 minutes. While we waited, I ordered a cappuccino and a croissant to snack on and admittedly, I was fairly disappointed in the croissant. I was afraid that it would be an indication of the rest of the meal, but it wasn’t. Everything we ordered (pictured above), was mouth watering. Also, apparently Olive & Garmando is most famous for their salads and sandwiches, so just an FYI if you plan to go (which you should!)

Lov Vegan: This vegan spot was on our list but unfortunately, we never made it to. There was just too many places and too little time. I cannot comment personally, but I will say that dozens of people recommended it. Judging from the photos, it’s also visually beautiful with a bright an airy feel, making it an Instagram favorite.

D I N N E R: 

Foxy’s: The same people who own Olive & Garmano own Foxy’s so I knew we were in for a treat. We expected it to be good, particularly because every single meal we had was exceptional, but whoa, it was even better than we expected. Keith and I shared oysters, a fish dish, a pasta dish and some sides and not one thing was mediocre. One of the best meals we had the entire trip (and that’s saying a lot).

Nora Grey: If you’re in the mood for some of the most incredible pasta, you must come here. One of my good friends, who spent years traveling and studying in Italy, recommended this place and it did not disappoint. My mouth is watering just thinking about the lemon farfalle with zucchini flowers and poppy seeds. Along with that, we shared some seasonal salads and wine and it was one of the best meals we’ve had.

Le Vin Papillion: From the same team as Joe Beef and Liverpool House, Le Vin Papillion made it on basically every “must eat” list that got sent our way. Unlike Joe Beef, they do not serve meat, but, you won’t miss it for a second. Personally, I love veggie focused restaurants (a main reason ABCV in NYC is my fav) so this was one of my favorite meals.

Also, they do not take reservations, so keep that in mind when coming here!

Joe Beef: Hands down, the number one most recommended restaurant in Montreal. Sadly, we couldn’t get in, even with the DINR app*, but we’ll make it a priority next time.

Damas: Again, we never made it here, but one of my foodie best friends, insisted I put Damas on the list. According to her, 98% of the reviews online and all the people who DMed me, it is a must. Middle Eastern and from what I’ve been told, the tasting menu is a must! Definitely on our list for our next trip.

*Major tip: a reader suggested we download the DINR app to get alerts for the extremely popular restaurants. We got into Foxy’s for a 6PM seating (I love a good early-bird special) because of this app. Highly recommend to download while you’re there.

WHAT TO DO:

Aside from walking around and eating and drinking our way through the city, one of our most memorable experiences was seeing the light show at the Notre-Dame Basilica. It was truly jaw dropping and an experience I’d recommend to anyone. Just make sure you buy tickets a few days in advance! I’ve been told that they sell out rather quickly.

In general, I will say the same thing as I tell people who are visiting NYC and ask me what to do. Explore, eat, drink, walk around, get lost and repeat. There are museums there, but we didn’t have a chance to get to any. It was just so nice to have such a leisurely itinerary. That is my definition of the perfect trip.

To anyone who reached out to me with suggestions, I cannot thank you enough!

xo,

Helena

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14 comments

  • Roses for Fridays | by mia

    Beautiful guide! Merci for sharing your tips.

    🍂🌸🍁ROSES FOR FRIDAYS 🍂🌸🍁 | by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • Chloe

    Montreal sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing x

    Chloe x
    http://www.softoctobernight.com

  • Simplement Lui

    Montreal is a fantastic city and I’m sad I haven’t been there for almost 20 years! Souvenirs souvenirs!

    Happy Friday xx

    https://4highheelsfans.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/ai-ai-ai-caramba/

  • Peppermint Dolly

    It all sounds fab!

    Rebecca | http://www.peppermintdolly.com

  • Mireia

    I’d love to visit Montreal one day! The architecture looks so beautiful!

    Mireia from TGL
    https://thegoldlipstick.com/

  • RAchelle

    Great guide will bookmark it! Love your rings.

    xo
    Pinksole

  • BeingIsabella

    I must admit, I’m actually yearning to get to Montreal. I heard it was live the Paris of North American which means it would be perfect for me. I’ve been to Québec City and had a phenomenal time … and enjoyed working my way through the city with my rusty French hehe … but Montreal would be amazing I’m sure and I love the architecture. If something doesn’t go to plan, I always make the most of it and think that it was meant to be xx

    http://www.beingisabella.com

  • Ewa Macherowska

    Lovely pics! x

    http://www.evdaily.blogspot.com

  • Rach

    Isn’t Montreal the best?! We went there last year and I had an amazing time. Plus, there was so much charm!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  • Nicole Sioui

    I live in Québec city, so I’m only a few hours away from Montréal, and yes, it is a great city! For a greater European feel; you have to visit Old-Québec. Glad you enjoyed your stay. 🤗

  • Political Cartoons

    wow superb guide

  • Joanna

    I lived there when I was young. It’s a happening city with lots of history, great food and entertainment. If you’re on a short visit you should stay in Old Montreal to be in the midst of it all. I still have two charcoal drawings that I bought on St Catharine Street. I think it’s time for another visit.

  • Marielle

    This is fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing. So glad you had a great time! I’m definitely adding Montreal to my travel list 🙂

  • Neurocare Product Franchise Medicines

    Its an incredible joy perusing your post. It’s brimming with data I am searching for and I want to post a remark that “The substance of your post is amazing” Great work.

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