(Club Chasse et Pêche)
After our long chilly winters, Montrealers just can’t wait to get out and enjoy some nice weather. Which is why we flock to restaurant patios (locally known as terraces) as soon as the snow melts. The result is that Montreal city streets are lined with outdoor patios all summer long, with locals lingering with coffees and croissants by day, and cocktails and tapas in the evening. Visitors tell me it adds some je ne sais quoi to the city vibe, but I personally enjoy patios for the people-watching opportunities.
If you’d like to partake in the action (if you can call sitting and eating “action”), have a look at my Top 10 Patios list.
Located in the chic Outremont neighborhood, this quiet patio has a real French café feel, with croissants, café au lait and, according to Brendan Murphy, attractive waitresses.
10:30 am: Café Olimpico
124 St-Viateur West, Montreal, H2T 2L1
This great patio in the Mile-End area is packed all day long. Clientele is a healthy mix of Italians in their golden years and young hipsters looking for a good espresso or latte.
Located just across the street from the restaurant, Le Club Chasse et Pêche’s patio serves fine dining lunches in a real 18th century garden at the Château Ramezay’s. If that’s not fancy enough for you, try their layered lobster salad with yellow and red beets, fresh peas, and delicate mayonnaise and tarragon emulsion.
2 pm: Les Folies
701 Mont-Royal Ave E., Montreal, H2J 1W7
Smack in the middle of the trendy Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood, it’s probably one of the best places for people-watching. Try their hamburger gourmand and the mango-ginger juice.
Located by the Bonsecours Basin in Old Montreal, this patio offers an amazing view. Try their specialty sangria. Open till 3 am.
Also in Old Montreal, Jardin Nelson has a hidden garden courtyard surrounded by historical stone walls. Live jazz music, crepes and thin crust pizzas… Mmm! The ambiance is great, and the patio is heated on chilly days.
5:30 pm: Santropol
This restaurant is a Montreal institution and has been open for 33 years. Closed to Mount Royal, it’s an oasis of tranquility with trees, a pond, enormous three-tiered sandwiches and gorgeous milkshakes. Granola-types and students love it.
Where lawyers and business people go to chill. Jerome Paris, their mixologist, makes a mean raspberry mojito and bubblegum martini. Exotic snacks include: grilled guinea fowl wings or giant shrimp cocktail with fresh mango salsa and guacamole.
8:30 pm: Le Local
Near the Cité du Multimedia, just west of Old Montreal, this old factory has a shady patio covered with ivy. The bistro brasserie is renowned for its tartares and braised meats. Lawyers, advertising execs and creative types gather here.
11 pm: Le Saint-Elizabeth Pub
This hidden garden terrace serves imported beers and a wide selection of whiskies. On weekdays, from 4pm to 8pm, you can order a pint of microbrew beer for $4. Classic pub fare is also served before 9pm. Like all other bars and pubs in Montreal, it closes at 3 am.
If you have a favourite patio in Montreal that‘s not mentioned here, leave me a comment!