Montreal Brunch 101 — Everything You Need To Know About The City's Favourite Meal

Bagels, booze and brunch are a recipe for weekend success. 🥯🥂🍳

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​Someone holds up pancakes from Arthur's Nosh Bar. Right: Brunch plates at L'Avenue.

Someone holds up pancakes from Arthur's Nosh Bar. Right: Brunch plates at L'Avenue.

Montrealers know it's not breakfast that's the most important meal of the day, it's brunch. There's just something about waking up late on Sunday morning, stumbling to your favourite brunch spot and feasting on all of the sweet and savoury delights the city has to offer. But that's not the only reason residents are so brunch-obsessed — the history of brunch in the city is as rich as the mid-day meal.

For starters, Montreal is famous for hearty (and brunch-compatible) cuisine, like fragrant bagels loaded with lox, gravy-drenched poutines and juicy smoked meat sandwiches. Local restos are keen to offer creative takes on the traditional Quebec fare along with North American classics like maple syrup-soaked pancakes or French crêpes and golden-fried chicken and waffles.

The origins of brunch are largely traced to late 19th century England when a breakfast-lunch combo was enjoyed by the wealthy before a hunt or after Sunday mass. It wasn't until the 1930s that the food phenomenon picked up across the pond.

One of the earliest brunch spots in Montreal, Beauty's Luncheonette, opened in 1942. The beloved Mont-Royal diner still serves nostalgic charm and home-style cooking inspired by the owners' Jewish heritage.

In the following decades, more restaurants started offering a late breakfast menu on the weekend to cater to those who wanted to sleep in after a night out on the town.

By the 1990s, Montrealers were heading to their local diner or neighbourhood café to enjoy a leisurely, affordable weekend meal with friends and family. Some of the popular brunch spots during this time were Bagel Etc. — a personal favourite of Leonard Cohen — and Chez Cora, especially once the Québec chain franchised.

In the 2000s, brunch in Montreal evolved into a cultural phenomenon. People would form long lines to land a table at the latest trendy brunch destination. Restaurants like L'Avenue in the Plateau and Le Cartet in Old Montreal expanded local offerings to include everything from eggs Benedict to shakshuka.

Now, more restaurants and cafés than ever offer brunch seven days a week, making the meal a staple of Montreal's culinary scene and reflecting the city's love of good food.

Brunch is a weekend reset button. You can wash away the night before (and your hangover) with bottomless mimosas or find comfort during colder months with all-you-can-eat nosh.

Whether you're a die-hard brunch fan or just looking for an excuse to get out of bed on the weekend, Montreal's brunch scene has something for everyone (even dog owners).

Here are some of the most iconic brunch spots in the city:

Régine Café

Where: 1840, rue Beaubien E.

Reason To Try: This brunch staple near Plaza St-Hubert is styled after an English tea room. You can nom high-quality comfort food, like fresh cinnamon rolls ($4.75), brioche french toast with banana butter ($22) or a plate of eggs, beans and bacon ($22), from the comfort of elegant couches.

The place is popular so anticipate making a reservation during the week, or getting there early on the weekend, if you want to avoid a wait.



Where: 922, av. Mont-Royal E.

Reason To Try: One of Montreal's most famous brunch spots is L'Avenue, which opened in 2002 and is known for its large portions and quirky decor (there's a whole motorcycle hanging from the ceiling).

People pack into the Mont-Royal destination for giant colourful smoothies ($9), filling huevos rancheros ($18) and stacks of fluffy pancakes topped with blueberry coulis ($18). Once you make it inside, you will not leave this place hungry.

L'Avenue now also has another location on Notre-Dame Ouest.


Beauty's Luncheonette

Where: 93, av. Mont-Royal O.

Reason To Try: The local brunch scene is a thing of beauty, or rather Beauty's. This Plateau institution has been serving breakfast and lunch food, like the famed Mish-Mash omelet with hot dog, salami, green pepper, fried onion and cheese ($22), for over 80 years. There's often a line-up to get in the door, but every Montrealer should enjoy the diner's iconic eats, warm atmosphere and retro decor at least once.


Arthur's Nosh Bar

Where: 4621, rue Notre-Dame O.

Reason To Try: This Saint-Henri deli celebrates Montreal's rich Jewish history and culinary traditions with breakfast and lunch staples like challah french toast ($22) and the latke special with poached egg, potato pancakes and smoked salmon ($18). People who dine here once often add it to their rotation of go-to brunch spots.


Bistro Tendresse

Where: 1259, rue Sainte-Catherine E.

Reason To Try: This chic vegan restaurant in the Village serves gourmet meals so good you'll question whether meat is ever a necessary ingredient. The succulent king oyster mushroom "calamari" with aioli dip ($16) is a must-try, as is the breakfast poutine with minced soy, refried black beans and hollandaise sauce ($18). You can pair your weekend meal with mimosas ($15 for two) to sip in the relaxing pastel environment.


St-Viateur Bagel & Café Mont-Royal

Where: 1127, av. Mont-Royal E.

Reason To Try: Montreal is famous for its bagels, and when you've got a food that delicious, it's only natural to want to turn it into brunch. This extension of the iconic St-Viateur shop serves eight kinds of bagels with eleven different fillings, like smoked meat with yellow mustard ($12), ricotta topped with fig jam and balsamic glaze ($10) and spicy marinated eggplant with goat cheese, sun-dried tomato and pesto ($12). There are few better ways to upgrade your Montreal-style bagel consumption.



Where: 25, av. Fairmount O.

Reason To Try: This Mile End brunch spot serves classic dishes with a unique twist, like the Belle Province bacon-stuffed waffle ($18) and smashed avocado eggs Benedict ($21). You can also get a signature cookie dough latté ($8) or espresso martini ($15) to complement your meal. The generous portion size and laid-back vibe make this a neighbourhood favourite.


These prices are confirmed at the time of publishing, but they can change at any time. Taxes and fees may not be included.

Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an award-winning writer, editor and former radio journalist with a passion for finding hidden gems in the city.