The Plateau-Mont-Royal is one of the city's most picturesque boroughs between its historic architecture, spiral staircases, and tree-lined streets. But it's not just a looker. It's got substance. The neighbourhood is packed with shops, bars and restaurants which — aside from a quintessential Montreal aesthetic — also embody a quintessential Montreal attitude: hip, artsy and cool without trying too hard to be cool. Naturally, that means the area is brimming with unique holes-in-the-wall that every Montrealer should know and frequent.
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Sure, other boroughs probably have great hole-in-the-wall spots too.
But the Plateau, which also houses the Mile End, is just the right mix of Montreal's classic charm with trendy attractions.
It's the perfect place to bring a friend who's visiting from out-of-town, to hit up a dive bar, to eat a wide variety of cuisines, to shop vintage clothes or to simply sit in a park (perhaps La Fontaine or Saint-Louis Square) and watch the hipsters go by.
Whatever you choose to do in the Plateau, you'll only get the full experience if you check out its best holes-in-the-wall — and the fact that your wallet will thank you certainly doesn't hurt either.
This place takes the phrase "hole-in-the-wall" literally. The tiny family-owned window shop is famous for its $5 gnocchi served in take-out boxes and slathered in nonna's homemade sauce.
Tucked away on a residential street, you might miss Else's if you didn't know any better (and if the bright blue exterior didn't tip you off) so it's a good thing you're reading this!
Else's is the true definition of a neighbourhood pub: cozy, low-key, and affordable with a hand-written menu — plus, plenty of patrons from around the neighbourhood.
Saint Sushi Plateau
Not everyone trusts sushi from unassuming locales, but we'll give you our word that you won't be disappointed here — even if there's sometimes a wait to get in.
Not many people know about this Guyanese-run Caribbean restaurant, but those who do rave about it.
This is your new favourite joint for roti, curry and jerk chicken. Ask for their house habanero hot sauce!
Nothing on the menu costs more than $11.75.
Snack N' Blues
What other place could be described as having "bottomless free snacks and an assemblage of artists who play eclectic music"?
This charming little spot is a go-to jazz bar for snack lovers... or snack bar for jazz lovers. There's also a pool table, a pull-down screen that displays music videos and lots of vinyl coming through the speakers.
Le Majestique Resto Bar
Le Majestique doesn't look like much from the outside. But inside you'll be delighted by the kitschy decor, $2 oysters, interesting wines — and a rip-roaring good time.
Lonely Planet once described Barfly as "Cheap, gritty, loud, fun and a little bit out of control – just the way we like our dive bars. Live bluegrass and rockabilly bands and bedraggled hipsters hold court alongside aging rockers at this St-Laurent hole-in-the-wall."
We don't think we could say it better.
A back alley lobster shack with a solid wine list. Yes, please!
Fancier than a dive but lives up to hole-in-the-wall status due to its hidden, speakeasy vibes.
This intimate basement cocktail bar will make you feel like you're in Mad Men, and you can rest assured you're in good hands with its mixologists.
Crème Glacée Bo-Bec
On the corner of l'avenue Laurier E. and rue Chambord with its blue awning, Crème Glacée Bo-Bec could pass for just another depanneur.
Instead, its interior has an old-school ice-cream shop look and feel. And the ice-cream itself is super creamy and decadent.
À Paul Boutique
This compact yellow record store on Mont-Royal boasts a wide selection of vinyl, CDs, DVDs, magazines and music memorabilia.
They just don't make 'em like this anymore. Paul's feels like a precious relic to be appreciated.
Bohème Friperie - Bohème Vintage
Although you can now find countless thrift stores in the Mile End, Bohème Friperie (also known as Bohème Vintage) was supposedly the first on its block.
You can still find a wide selection of quality vintage clothing, including name brands, for both men and women.
There's no shortage of casual, affordable and delicious Portuguese chicken options in the Plateau. And Romados is one of the best — especially if you like big portions and no-nonsense.
Order at the counter and then join a second line for pick-up. Don't forget egg tarts for dessert.
Since it's the Plateau, we'll throw in one more excellent traditional Portuguese chicken rotisserie joint.
If there's a line-up at one, it's good to have a back-up plan so no one gets hangry.
They don't call it "la casa de las empanadas" for nothing. This is empanada heaven! They also have other Chilean and Mexican classics, such as tacos and burritos.
Reviewers on Facebook say this spot has "The best smoked meat sandwiches in Montreal," "Most underrated sandwiches in Montreal" and "best bang for your buck." Plus, no line-ups to get in.
All very bold yet worthy claims!