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Discover the cultural delights of Montreal: Poutine, Bagels, and more!

Montreal, a vibrant city steeped in culture, is a culinary haven that beckons both locals and visitors alike. Explore the city's iconic dishes and their rich histories.
Posted on Juin 20, 2024

Montreal, a vibrant and culturally rich city, is also a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts. With its numerous culinary specialties and iconic addresses, it captivates the taste buds of both locals and visitors. Here’s a glimpse into Montreal’s must-try delights through their history.


Poutine is undoubtedly the most iconic dish of Montreal and Quebec in general. This comforting dish, composed of crispy fries, melted cheese curds, and savory brown gravy, originated in the 1950s in rural Quebec. The origin of poutine is shrouded in myths, but it is generally accepted that it was created when a customer requested fries, cheese curds, and gravy to be combined in one dish. The unique combination of textures and flavors quickly gained popularity, becoming a culinary symbol of Quebec.

For an authentic and varied experience, La Banquise is the ideal spot. Located on Rue Rachel in the heart of Plateau-Mont-Royal, La Banquise is a lively restaurant, open 24/7, offering a multitude of variations, from classic to the most original flavors of the city. The friendly and relaxed atmosphere makes it a popular meeting place for Montrealers and visitors alike.

A plate of poutine with a generous amount of toppings, including cheese curds, gravy, and crispy fries.


A bagel sandwich and a cup of coffee placed on a table.

Montreal bagels are renowned worldwide for their unique texture and unparalleled taste. These ring-shaped breads, boiled and then baked, are perfect for a savory and balanced meal. Introduced to Montreal by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, Montreal bagels are distinguished by their wood-fired cooking and slightly sweet taste, thanks to the addition of honey in the boiling water.

St-Viateur is the best place to discover these delights. Located in historic neighborhoods such as Mile End and Mont-Royal, this iconic bakery hand-makes bagels and bakes them in a wood-fired oven. The warm atmosphere and irresistible smell of fresh bagels attract food lovers at any time of the day.

Cabane à Sucre

For a typically Quebecois culinary experience, a visit to a cabane à sucre (sugar shack) is a must. These establishments offer specialties made with maple syrup, such as maple sausages and traditional desserts. Sugar shacks are rooted in the tradition of French settlers who learned the technique of maple harvesting from Indigenous peoples. The sugaring season in spring is a significant event in Quebec culture, where families and friends gather to celebrate the end of winter.

Around Montreal, your clients will find numerous sugar shacks where they can enjoy these delights in a warm and rustic atmosphere.

A person holds a wooden spoon over a tray of ice cream, drizzling it with maple syrup.

Pouding Chômeur

A bowl of pouding chomeur cake with a spoon and a glass of milk, a delectable dessert combination.

Pouding chômeur is a classic Quebecois dessert that will delight sweet tooths. This cake, soaked in maple syrup and often served with ice cream, was created during the Great Depression when a group of working-class women sought to create an affordable and comforting dessert using basic ingredients. Its simplicity and sweet taste have made it a favorite in Quebec households.

For an authentic experience, visit La Binerie Mont-Royal. Located on Avenue Mont-Royal in a lively and diverse neighborhood, La Binerie is a small, cozy, retro restaurant famous for its traditional Quebecois dishes.

Smoke Meat

Smoke meat is a Montreal specialty that leaves no one indifferent. This smoked meat sandwich, prepared according to a traditional recipe, is a true delight for the taste buds. Introduced by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, smoke meat has become a staple of Montreal cuisine thanks to its unique flavor and artisanal preparation.

To savor this specialty, visit Schwartz’s Deli, the reference in smoke meat in Montreal. Located on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, also known as “The Main,” this iconic restaurant offers a retro ambiance and quick service, typical of New York delis.

A plate with a sandwich featuring smoke meat and cheese.


A box of BeaverTails, a cup of coffee, and a book placed on a table.

Despite its unappealing name, the beaver tail is a delicious dessert shaped like a beaver’s tail. This fried dough, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, is perfect for being topped with chocolate, sugar, maple syrup, or jams. Invented in 1978 in Killaloe, Ontario, by Grant and Pam Hooker, the beaver tail quickly gained popularity and became a Canadian favorite. Its simplicity and versatility make it a popular choice for families and tourists.

To taste this treat, head to BeaverTails Old Montreal. Located near the port in the iconic Old Town, this stand is perfect for a gourmet break during a stroll in this historic and picturesque district.

Montreal is a city to be discovered through its flavors. From poutine to bagels and maple delights, each culinary specialty tells a part of the local history and culture. By exploring these must-visit addresses, your clients will enjoy an unforgettable gastronomic experience in the heart of this vibrant metropolis.

Happy culinary discoveries!