Summer always brings out the best in food. I’ve been enjoying the great flavours of street food, relaxing on terrasses with a cool drink in hand, and many frequent visits to Montreal’s markets. Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to feast on some really good food, which would be selfish of me if I didn’t share my experiences. Here’s five places where you should be eating here, and eating this along with anything else that tantalizes your taste-buds.
1. The Cronetto from La Cornetteria
Ahhh the cronetto, or as many people have been calling it, the cronut. This, however, is not a cronut, it’s a cronetto. There’s a difference. La Cornetteria‘s claim to fame is their cornetto, a sort of larger croissant filled with ricotta cream, custard, nutella, or many other delicious fillings this quaint pastry shop in Little Italy can conjure up. Other fantastic items include panforte, cannolis, and zeppole (only available in March). The cronetto is a hybrid donut-cornetto. Both are fabulous, so combining them makes it SUPER fabulous. At $4 a piece, they’re worth every single bite. Soft, sugary, sweet, a hint of savoriness, and purely heart-warming. Eat one, and you’re guaranteed to leave with a bunch, that is, if you can before they’re all gone!
La Cornetteria: 6528 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2S; (514) 277-8030
2. Cold Seafood Platter from Oyster Shack
A hot summer night calls for a visit to a terrasse. A beer sounds good. Food’s probably a good idea too (duh!). A buddy of mine and I wanted to check out this place called Oyster Shack on Bishop street. I’ve heard good things about their seafood, so why not give it a shot. Their terrasse is located on the roof of the two-story establishment. Beers were ordered rather quickly and after contemplating some of the delicious-sounding items on the menu such as lobster mac & cheese, shrimp poboy, or the bucket o’ clams, we settled on sharing the cold seafood platter. For just under $60, this platter to share, and you should share because it’s a nice thing to do, is plenty for two people. One whole lobster, 6 oysters, 8 shrimp, 6 clams, and 8 crab legs. I must note, a bib should be required for this meal since the occasional spray can happen, so do apologize in advance to the table next to you. All the seafood was very well cooked, the oysters were fresh as can be, and overall it’s a really fun way to spend your time outside on a terrasse.
Oyster Shack: 1242 Bishop Rue, Montreal, QC; (514) 395-1888
3. Pulled Pork Burrito from Café Cantina
I know I’m going to hate myself for doing this, because this is one of those places I don’t want to share. I want to keep this one it all to myself. One day at work, I “forgot” my lunch at home. Yes, I do work besides writing for this blog. I noticed a couple of my fellow co-workers “oo-ing” and “ah-ing” over a ginormous burrito. The look on their faces meant this place must be good. On Rue du Centre in Pointe-St. Charles is a Mexican haven called Café Cantina. I’ve always said one thing Montreal doesn’t really have is good Mexican food. Well now I found it thanks to my two co-workers. I must warn you, this burrito is heavy. I mean food-coma heavy. One that hits you hard about 3 quarters of the way down where there’s no other choice to finish it to 1. say you did, and 2. because you want to test the theory of mind over matter. This burrito is filled with tender pulled pork, meaty black beans, rice, creamy guacamole, lettuce, and tomato. It’s so well constructed that nothing falls away as long as you keep it in the foil. Every bite is a new adventure in burrito world. Contrary to my gut feeling, this place is too good not to share.
Café Cantina: 1880, rue Du Centre, Montreal, QC, H3K 1H9; (514) 903-3511
4. Charcuterie Sampler from Les Cochons Tout Ronds
If making random strangers stare at you in pure jealousy is your thing, then the $5 meat sampler cone at Les Cochons Tout Ronds in the Atwater Market is where you should go. In a place filled with incredible colourful fruits and vegetables, a little meat is welcome to balance things out. All their artisanal charcuterie is made in Les Iles-de-la-Madelaine, so getting it in the market is really nice considering how delicious it is. A paper cone is lined with a hefty slice of proscuitto, then a few other gentle slices of bresaola, help support it. Then the cone is filled with wonderful hand-cut slices of spicy chorizo, soppressata, and any couple other really phenomenal charcuterie. They change it up a little every time, but this is definitely worthy of the $5. It’s a great snack and a great attention grabber. Next time you’re in the market be sure to pick this up.
Les Cochons Tout Ronds: 138 Avenue Atwater, Montréal, QC H4C 2G3; (418) 937-5444
5. Peking Duck from MonNan
Before I dig into to the details of this duck dish, all credit goes to ShutUpandEatMTL.ca for introducing me to the real deal peking duck. Located on La Gauchettiere in Chinatown, just east of St. Laurent blvd., MonNan specializes in this dish. Don’t be fooled by the fish or lobster in the tanks as you walk in, because you don’t want that on your visit. Not that the seafood isn’t good there, it’s that the peking duck is that good. This is a dish best shared between 3-4 people. You get a delicious duck soup with the bones still in it because that’s where the real flavour comes from in the broth. After slurping that into oblivion, the best part arrives. A stack of thin little pancakes still steaming arrive with a small variety of accoutrements: shredded daikon and carrots, thinly sliced green onion, and hoisen sauce. The duck arrives already sliced, while the crispy skin glistens from the light emanating off the wall-mounted fish bowl. The fun part of this to create your own little “roll” or chinese burrito filled with all the ingredients. The duck is slightly sweet and plenty juicy, the daikon, carrots, and green onion provide freshness and a nice crunch, while hoisen is the perfect salty sauce. Roll it all up, and there you have it: the perfect way to enjoy peking duck.
MonNan: 43 Rue de la Gauchetière Est, Montreal, QC H2Z 1K3; (514) 866-7123