After starting out the Montreal Street Profile series with a look at Rue Bleury and following it north on winding, eclectic path up Avenue du Parc, we decided to head back to the downtown core and explore Boulevard De Maisonneuve, a busy stretch of street that has some sophisticated gems nestled on its blocks….
De Maisonneuve Boulevard is named after Paul Chomedy de Maisonneuve, who was Montreal’s first governor and, as such, one of the city’s main founders. Since it is nearly 11km long, stretching from the East End of Montreal to the neighbourhood of NDG, for our purposes we’re going to cut it down to a more manageable length- say between the Bay and Concordia University’s downtown campus. This is not to say that the boulevard’s outer reaches don’t have things to check out: there’s the Grande Bibliothèque du Québec on one end and on the other, the beautiful Westmount Park, the Claire Morissette bike, which travels the length of De Maisonneuve, cuts through on its way to NDG. (PS- if you’re on the bike path, consider stopping by Moe’s for an unfussy, probably unhealthy old school breakfast). While during the summer months the boulevard’s main role is as the northern tip of the Quartier Des Spectacles, here are a couple stops along de Maisonneuve that you can check out all year….
Suite 88 : At Suite 88, they take their chocolate even more seriously than they take their interior décor. Which is saying something, because it’s the slickest chocolate shop I’ve ever been in. They make small-batch, handcrafted chocolates that are totally worth the price.
Pois Penché: This French bistro (a la 1940s Paris) serves fairly standard bistro classics, but their outdoor seating is the reason to go and their “5 a Huitres” oyster happy hour is my favorite seafood-related pun of the moment.
L’Entrecote Saint-Jean: Ok, technically this steak frites place is on Peel, just off De Maisonneuve, but it’s a must for any devotees of the steak-related arts. Their mustard-y steak sauce is a must-try.
Tapioca Thé : While a place like L’Entrecote is incredibly specific in what it serves, Tapioca Thé has a lot more on the menu than just tapioca. Sure it has serves the famed bubble tea and looks like it was designed by Hello Kitty, but it is, in fact, a seriously spicy Szechwan restaurant. Make sure to try the hot chili wontons and the Imperial Chicken.
Le St-Martin: This just-opened boutique hotel is the new kid on the De Maisonneuve blocks and for the person interested in exploring the downtown core, this location is ideal. Worth stopping by if only to check out their open concept restaurant, Bistro L’Aromate, the new home of chef Jean-François Plante.
M0851: I’d be lying if I said that I’ve ever been in this store, but my entirely more fabulous colleagues insist that you’d be hard pressed to find better quality high-design leather goods in Montreal.
Complexe Les Ailes : But really, if it’s shopping you’re after, enter the sprawling Complexe Les Ailes shopping complex via the De Maisonnueve entrance. As the saying goes, if they don’t have it, you probably don’t need it.