The perfect morning smoothie 💚 #montreal #mtlfoodie #wellness #smoothie #cafe
There's even a gift shop inside the restaurant showcasing fellow female entrepreneurs in the city because being healthy isn't just about what you put in your body, it's also about the positive vibes you give off.
Okay, so you just tried your first — or four-millionth — goat curry dish, and the thought of eating anything other than Caribbean cuisine for the rest of the week simply won't fly. Thanks to Montreal's thriving Caribbean community, this city is full of top-notch Caribbean food spots to try... but where to start?
We enlisted the help of one of Montreal's favourite chefs, Chef Paul Toussaint. Toussaint, formerly the executive chef at Haitian eaterie Agrikol, is now the owner and executive chef of Kamúy, a hot Caribbean restaurant with rave reviews. If anyone knows where to get good Caribbean food and ingredients in this town, it's Chef Paul Toussaint.
You'll also find him at the Eaton Centre's Time Out Market where he "serves up his home country's savory and comforting cuisine, from crackling griot with piquant pikliz and fall-off-the-bone pineapple-and-rum ribs to sides of accra fritters and fried plantains," the website says.
Here are his picks for the best places to get Caribbean food essentials in the Montreal area.
Address: 2287, rue Guenette, Saint-Laurent, QC (but products are available throughout the province)
Why You Need To Go: "There are a few must-haves when prepping a Haitian dish: one of them being djondjon! The edible black mushroom is often found in northern Haiti and used as a delicacy in some Haitian dishes. One of my top djondjon can be found at Red & Blue Distribution Inc., one of our city's most renowned Haitian distributors," Toussaint told MTL Blog.
Address: Five locations in Montreal, including Lasalle, Laval, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Léonard and Dollard-des-Ormeaux
Why You Need To Go: "When cooking with fruits and vegetables, a pro-tip is to always cook with fresh produce for optimal flavours. My favourite place for fruits and veg is Sami Fruit, who always have fresh produce and make sure to deliver them at great prices. My go-to selects — plantains, malangas, yucca, sugar cane, passion fruit and their many varieties of sweet potato," said Toussaint.
Why You Need To Go: "I get many of my meats at Champfleury Butcher Shop, offering local artisanal production, optimal tenderness, and classic French butchery. If you're looking for great meats, every day the Champfleury team prepares fresh, simple and comforting products for you. My meat pick-ups usually include their Quebec farm-raised chicken and eggs, beef from Gaspésie, lamb from the Eastern Townships and all their homemade sausage prepared by Dominic, Alberto and the rest of their amazing team," Toussaint said.
Why You Need To Go: "Seafood is an essential part of Haitian cuisine, often incorporating fish and shellfish in meals. My favourite seafood shop is Casablanca Fish Shop, offering flavourful and fresh produce — perfect for cooking with! I especially like their Lambi, Haitian Conch and spicy Haitian lobster!" said Toussaint.
Why You Need To Go: "Haitian restaurants in Montreal are known for their authentic meals that will make you feel right at home! One of my favourite restaurants is Steve Anna Restaurant, where I can always count on a good authentic Haitian meal to recharge my batteries. I especially love their legumes or griot dishes. Also their fried beef. Everything is amazing there, it's hard to pick a favourite dish!" Toussaint told MTL Blog.
Why You Need To Go: "My go-to spot for the tastiest Guyanese cuisine. The food is fantastic. I would suggest ordering any of their dhal puris or their goat curry. Their mango hot sauce is also to die for," Toussaint said.
The team behind iconic Montreal nightclubs École Privée and Coda have opened a supper club called 212 in the heart of Old Montreal boasting an "immersive dining experience." Not knowing what the heck an "immersive dining experience" entails, I went to check it out — and if you're looking for a meal with a side of flair and pizazz, this is the place to get it.
Naturally, we started with drinks. The first cocktail to catch my eye was the 212 Spicy Margarita. I figured that a drink named after the restaurant means you're in for a treat, and I'm proud to say my theory was correct.
Moving on to apps, we ordered the tuna tartare, ceviche and a cauliflower roti. Have you ever had a plate arrive at your table and leave you in absolute awe? Not only were we so excited for the food, but the presentation was so gorgeous that we were overcome by the literal art that the kitchen had whipped up for us.
Once we were done marvelling at the dishes in front of us (and had obviously snapped some pics), we dug in. The only thing more impressive than how these dishes looked was how they tasted. We paired them with some wine from an impressive wine list, and we were in heaven.
As for the mains, we ordered some plates that really helped us tap into the creativity and luxury of 212. We tried the lobster linguine and duck confit caramelli.
I can honestly say I had to put down my fork after the first bite of each dish out of sheer wonder and excitement. They were that perfect mix of decadent and refined with just enough oomph to let you know you're eating something seriously special — just thinking about the server pouring bisque over my pasta makes my mouth water.
Brooke Walsh, 212 owner and Montreal club scene royalty, told me he wanted to create a supper club where the food was the top priority — something he felt was lacking among supper clubs.
He said he brought in his serious network of club creators and designers (we're talking about people involved in Madonna's Super Bowl Halftime Show and Billie Eilish's last tour) to help with the decor and ambiance, which includes a super trendy mirrored art piece on the ceiling.
From the moment you walk in, you feel like you're part of an exclusive club, but in the friendliest and most inviting way possible.
An immersive experience we were promised and an immersive experience we did get. This is my new favourite spot for drinks, dinner and boozy brunch! Plus, now that dancing is on the horizon for us in Quebec, you can bet I'll be dancing the night away at 212 after dinner and drinks very soon.
Montreal's Villeray neighbourhood is currently having a moment. Time Out named it the 18th coolest neighbourhood in the world in 2021 and, according to locals, it's for damn good reason.
Bordered by Highway 40 in the north, avenue Casgrain in the west, boulevard Jean-Talon in the south and rue Garnier in the east, Villeray is packed full of shops, restaurants, cafés, bike paths, charming architecture, green spaces and community gardens. Parc Jarry and Jean-Talon Market are also mere blocks outside the neighbourhood's technical border lines.
Keen on exploring one of the coolest parts of the city, but not sure where to go? We asked two experts for help: Villeray residents Émilie Bouchard and Stéphanie Guéritaud, both of whom have called the neighbourhood home for at least 15 years.
Why You Need To Go: Guéritaud calls this place "the one and only bakery." But you don't need to take her word for it. Its baguette won the title of second-best baguette in the world at France's prestigious Mondial Du Pain competition in 2011.
"A must for its variety but also for a coffee and croissant on its little terrasse!" said Bouchard.
Why You Need To Go: Guéritaud said this café is the neighbourhood's "newest little Instagram gem." It serves sandwiches, ice creams, gelatos, pastries and coffees, and — thanks to the colourful, floral decor — it makes every day feel like Valentine's Day.
Pro Tip: If you're there, you can also head across the street to the new Cantine Emilia, which Guéritaud described as a "really cute and relatively new place with affordable Portuguese specialties."
Why You Need To Go: This was one of Celine Dion's late husband's favourite restaurants, Guéritaud told us. And, according to reports, she's correct. René Angélil clearly had good taste when it came to spotting talent so we'll take his word when it comes to food, too.
Why You Need To Go: From Miss Villeray to Brasserie EtOH, Guéritaud said Villeray is "a great to have a drink" but one of her favourite spots is Huis Clos, an organic wine bar and restaurant with a huge drink menu including fun cocktails.
Why You Need To Go: This coffee shop is known for its delicious Italian coffee, massive sandwiches, and seasonal terrasse. A Yellow Page article described the owner's vision for the decor as something that could "blend in seamlessly with any stunning Wes Anderson movie" — and the Wes Anderson vibe is exactly what Bouchard said she likes best about it.
Why You Need To Go: "There are several grocery stores/fruit stores in the neighbourhood that are adorable. The people are really welcoming and we keep in touch as time goes by. The Tsikinis fruit shop with its employees who have been there forever," Bouchard said.
According to Bouchard, the service alone makes this the perfect spot to pick up fruit on the way to a Parc Jarry picnic during the warmer months.
Why You Need To Go: Bouchard said Knuckles, a new-ish casual Italian eatery on the rue Jarry strip, is really nice with large tables, making it COVID-19 friendly. Not to mention, the food will make you drool.
Why You Need To Go: While Bouchard is vegetarian, she said "carnivores agree that Pascal le Boucher is a must." And while she doesn't go there for the meat, she does go to Pascal to pick up Clos Saragnat cider so you can really get it all there.