Montreal: A City of Festivals and Food

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Explore Montreal   Food and Festival   Travel and Eats  

 

Montreal is a city in love with festivals, the arts, good food, living well and enjoying life to the fullest. If you’re planning on visiting the beautiful city, you should plan to do the same. Known as a cultural hub and culinary destination, Montreal is a city that is packed full to the brim with festivals, art, music, and delicious food with amazing restaurants on every corner.

If you’re visiting Montreal, be sure to time your vacation to align with one of the many festivals throughout the year. And of course, plan your culinary adventure in advance so you know exactly which of Montreal’s many restaurant options to choose from. With festivals and food galore, it can seem a little overwhelming but don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. Check out this list for some of the very best of Montreal’s festivals and food.

The Festivals in Montreal

 

1. Fantasia Film Festival

 

Fantasia Film Festival
Picture Credits: Fantasia Film Festival

For fans of Fantasia, there is nothing like the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. Located in the heart of Montreal, Fantasia Film Festival is a cultural and professional destination point. The festival’s ever-growing popularity has attracted the attention of the international film industry alongside a legion of attendees from across the world. At the festival, every facet of the filmmaking chain is represented: directors, actors, producers, studio representatives, distributors, and festival programmers. With over 100,000 festival attendees in 2017, Fantasia is North America’s largest genre film festival and an increasingly important staple of Montreal’s cultural scene.

 

2. Montreal Bach Festival

 

Montreal Bach Festival
Picture Credits: Montreal Bach Festival

The Montreal Bach Festival is North America’s premier destination for the timeless music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The festival features a series of concerts and educational programs while showcasing elite musicians and bringing world-class performers to Montreal. Every fall, the festival attracts both international and local audiences with performances by renowned stars like Yo-Yo Ma and Sergei Babayan. If you’re in Montreal in November, the Bach Festival is a wonderful way to spend a few days getting lost in magical notes of beautiful classical music.

 

3. Montreal, Nouveau Cinema Festival

Montreal, Nouveau Cinema Festival
Picture Credits: Montreal, Nouveau Cinema Festival
 

Another cultural staple of Montreal is the Montreal, Nouveau Cinema Festival, the oldest film festival in Canada. The eleven-day Festival is designed as a space devoted to discussions, meetings, and sharing, where film fans can come together with artists and professionals to exchange ideas in an informal setting. Every edition is a chance to get together and celebrate our shared passion for the film around each new lineup. And since the festival is a showcase for the cinema of all types, from offbeat, one-of-a-kind niche works, to crowd-pleasers, to daringly innovative big events, you’ll be able to find something for everyone. If you’re planning to visit Montreal during October, be sure to plan to catch showing or two at Montreal, Nouveau Cinema Festival.

 

4. Montreal International Jazz Festival

 

Picture Credits: Montreal International Jazz Festival

Many travelers will plan their entire vacation around the Montreal International Jazz Festival and for good reason. The festival is known as the world’s largest jazz festival and has been synonymous with a passion for music for nearly 40 years. Spread over 10 days, the festival takes over the city of Montreal in the summer. With over 2 million visitors each year, you’ll run into every kind of fan and every type of jazz-related music. Enjoy hundreds of shows and all the best festival perks including delicious food and drink on every corner of downtown Montreal. If you’re a jazz aficionado or a music lover of any kind, the Montreal International Jazz Festival is a must-see.

 

 

The Food in Montreal

 

1. Restaurant de l’ITHQ

 

Restaurant de l’ITHQ
Picture Credits: Restaurant de l’ITHQ

Restaurant de l’ITHQ is ideal for an adventurous foodie because it is a teaching kitchen – meaning that their menu differs depending on the day and who is in the kitchen. But don’t worry, the students are the best of the best and are following the expert leadership of Chef Jonathan Lapierre-Réhayem. The delicious meals prepared in the teaching kitchen are those of any Canadian foodie’s dream. With modern cuisine meeting local flavors, the seasonal menus showcase local Quebec products while an impressive cellar with a vast selection of Quebec and Canadian wines will delight even the most demanding wine connoisseurs.

 

2. Jerrome Ferrer’s Europea

 

Jerrome Ferrer’s Europea
Picture Credits: Jerrome Ferrer’s Europea

Jerrome Ferrer’s Europea is truly an unbeatable dining experience. Voted No. 1 in Canada and the 24th best restaurant in the world, Europea should be at the very top of any foodie’s list when visiting Montreal. The pre-chosen, multi-course meals are sure to be a true dining experience. Sit down and stay a while – you won’t want to leave anytime soon.

 

3. Alexandraplatz Bar

 

Alexandraplatz Bar
Picture Credits: Alexandraplatz Bar

If you’re looking for a casual spot to grab a brew or beverage after an afternoon of sightseeing, Alexandraplatz Bar is the spot. With a spacious interior with plenty of picnic table seating, this is a great spot to come with a larger group. The menu also caters to a wide variety of tastes with classic cocktails, beer on draft and bottled, and a great selection of wines, bubbles, and spirits. At Alexandraplatz, everyone is sure to find something to quench their thirst.

 

4. Terrasse Nelligan

 

Picture Credits: Terrasse Nelligan

If you’re visiting Montreal in the beautiful summer months, you absolutely must stop for a drink at Terrasse Nelligan. Nested on the rooftop of the Iconic Hôtel Nelligan, the splendid Terrasse Nelligan offers fresh and colorful lunch, brunch, and dinner menus as well a great variety of cocktails and drinks. Located right in the heart of old Montreal, Terrasse Nelligan gives you a unique vantage point from which to enjoy beautiful views of the city. Perfect for day and night, the Terrasse Nelligan is a great place to enjoy the summer season and enjoy a drink with friends.

 

5. Les Enfants Terribles

 

Les Enfants Terribles
Picture Credits: Les Enfants Terribles

Les Enfants Terribles has six different locations so wherever you’re staying, there’s no excuse not to eat and drink at this delicious restaurant. With a wide array of different delicious dishes, there’s a little something for everyone. The high-quality meals are made from the freshest ingredients and prepared with care by hand. Enjoy anything from soups and salads to fish and meat dishes at any of the six locations.

 

6. Boulangerie Guillaume

 

Picture Credits: Boulangerie Guillaume

Boulangerie Guillaume is one of Montreal’s very best local bakeries. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, the air smells like delicious bread baking, and the busyness of the space is more of a pleasant liveliness than an overwhelming crowdedness. Guillaume bakers are at the top of their field and you can tell by the pure quality of product offered at this welcoming little bakery. With bread and pastries available at affordable prices, it’s your choice whether you grab something for a quick snack or stock up for a week’s worth of sandwiches and toasts. Either way, it’s a necessary pit stop during your visit to Montreal.

 

7. Breizh Cafe

 

Breizh Cafe
Picture Credits: Breizh Cafe

Crepes, a true French art, served up warm and fresh by a true French artist at Breizh. Head Chef Frédéric Coupard is a native of the Breton capital of Rennes and graduate of the Hotel School of Dinard. In 2013, Frédéric decided to open his own restaurant on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and ever since has been serving up the very best sweet and savory crepes (or as he prefers to call them, Breton pancakes) in the business. Stop by Breizh Cafe for a culinary adventure in the land of Brittany. With simple but high-quality ingredients and professional service, you won’t be disappointed.

 

8. Restaurant Lawrence

 

Restaurant Lawrence
Picture Credits: Restaurant Lawrence

Restaurant Lawrence is one of the well-loved restaurants in Montreal. If you stop for lunch at Lawrence you’ll enjoy a tasty, gourmet but a casual meal that you know is not only delicious, but also sustainable and created from ingredients sourced from local farms and suppliers. The restaurant offers creative, thoughtful and honest cooking alongside a properly curated beer and wine list so you’ve got a perfect combination of food and drink. With an elegant but informal setting, Restaurant Lawrence is perfect for a lunch or informal dinner during your visit to Montreal.

 

9. Poutine Centrale

 

Picture Credits: Poutine Centrale

When in Montreal, you’ve gotta try the local cuisine and that means poutine. If you’re trying poutine, the undeniable best is from Poutine Centrale. With over 25 kinds of poutines as well as homemade fries & juicy burgers, Poutine Centrale is the spot to go. Loosen your belt buckle a notch or two – this cheesy, gravy-covered meal isn’t low in calories but it sure is full of flavor.

 

 

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About the Author: Annie Albrecht

Annie Albrecht is a freelance writer, editor, and content marketing strategist from Austin, TX. Currently based in Madrid, she spends most of her time trotting around Europe, hiking mountains, and facetiming her dog while sipping a glass of red wine. Besides travel, Annie loves discovering new music, lively political discussions, and being outside.

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