Montreal’s St Laurent Blvd. is teeming with restaurants, odd buildings, grocery stores and cozy cafés. In fact, if there’s one place to eat in this city, it’s Saint Laurent. Running north-south, this street (aka “The Main”) starts in Old Montreal, goes through Chinatown, passes the “jet-set” corner of Sherbrooke Street, goes through the Portuguese neighbourhood, the trendy Plateau and Mile-End areas and all the way up into Little Italy. Yep, a ride on the 55 bus (the one that goes up St-Laurent) is a trip unto itself!
So, what restaurants should I suggest to you? For the sake of being concise, I’ll narrow down the list to 5 places between Sherbrooke and Villeneuve Streets.
1. Montreal Icon: Schwartz’s Stopping in at Schwzart’s deli for a smoked meat sandwich is an absolute must on any travel itinerary. Internationally renowned, this joint will delight your palate with their superbly spiced meat. For more information on how to order your smoked meat sandwich, please refer to the preceding post. Reason to go there: Even if you’re not hungry, go for the experience. Don’t be discouraged by the line up, which often extends onto the sidewalk.
3895 St-Laurent Boulevard, Montreal H2W 1X9
Open every day till midnight
2. Ethnic (Indian): Atma
Let’s be frank: It’s rare to find an Indian restaurant where as much care has been put into the décor as the dishes. At Atma, both eyes and stomach will be satisfied. The Punjabi cuisine from the north-west corner of India is served with care. Their classics like butter chicken and curried lamb are delicious, but you should also try the dahl makhani, yellow lentils prepared in the traditional way. One of the two chefs is responsible solely for the tandoor oven for the meat and naan bread.
Reason to go there: A perfect place for groups, since you can sit on cushions around a low table and share dishes, whether you’re on a date or out with friends.
3962 Saint Laurent Boulevard, Montréal, QC H2W 1Y3
Dinner, closed on Sunday
3. For Carnivores: Moishes (picture above)
Another great Montreal institution, Moishe’s is celebrating 70 years and is still managed by the same family that founded it. This Eastern European Jewish cuisine has made a name for itself with meat cooked over charcoal. Their filet mignon steaks are delectable, as is the chopped liver with marinated red peppers, also grilled over charcoal.
Reason to go there: Go with family or a group of friends and be greeted by the doorman who’s been there for 8 years. Keep an eye out for hockey players stopping in for dinner.
3961 St-Laurent, Montreal, Qc, H2W 1Y4
Open every night till 11 pm
4. For the Granola-Types: Aux Vivres One of Montreal’s oldest vegan restaurants, Aux Vivres serves salads, sandwiches, rice bowls with raw and well-seasoned vegetables. Try the dragon bowl with tofu and tahini and their milkshakes made with fresh fruit or vegetables.
Reason to go there: For a healthy meal at a reasonable price, the lovely patio out back surrounded by flowers and the take-out counter if you want to have a picnic on the mountain.
4631 St Laurent, Montreal, Qc H2T 1R2
Closed on Monday
5. For a the jet-set crowd: Buona Notte Established nearly 20 years ago, Buona Notte still sparkles as a Montreal nightlife institution. They’ve got the right recipe: Italian cuisine, pumping tunes, sexy waitresses and an electric atmosphere. Top picks from the menu include: carpaccio scallops and the pear, pecorino and fennel salad. And it’s the only restaurant I know of in Montreal with a concierge service.
Reason to go there: Even though it’s trendy, they serve good food. Plus you can see and be seen. It’s always full, regardless of the weather.
3518 Saint Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2V1
I already know that I’ll be getting tons of messages saying that I didn’t talk about a certain restaurant or that I forgot to mention a key place. But I warned you, there are just too many choices on this street. Instead, I invite you to add your favourites in the comments section!
In the meantime, here are a few other posts I wrote about other great places on St-Laurent Blvd: Épicerie le Marché du Vieux, Ripples ice cream shop, a video of Portus Calle, a wonderful Portuguese restaurant, and an introduction to Jean-Talon Market, which is just two blocks from St-Laurent Street in Little Italy.
If you’re looking for nightlife on St-Laurent Street, Brendan has already done a post on that.