Lifestyle Travel

Montreal Magic: Exploring the Beauty and Charm of the City

Picture of downtown Montreal
Downtown Montreal

Ooh-la-la! Montreal is by far my favourite Canadian city- vibrant and multicultural, famous for its mind-blowing history, jaw-dropping architecture, finger-licking food, and nightlife that’ll keep you partying till dawn! What really sets Montreal apart is its awesome blend of French and English cultures. French is all official and stuff, so you’ll see French signs, menus, and street names all over the place. But don’t fret, English is spoken too, especially in those tourist hotspots. So get ready to have a blast in Montreal, where the fun never stops!

Montreal’s Neighborhoods: Where Unique Characters Unite!

First up, we’ve got Old Montreal, known as Vieux Port for the locals. The historic district that’ll transport you back in time. Think cobblestone streets, colonial-era buildings, and a waterfront straight out of a postcard. It’s all about that vintage charm!

Old Port Montreal

Next on the list is the one and only Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood. Brace yourself for trendy cafes that serve up the most Instagrammable lattes, bars that know how to mix a mean cocktail, and shops where you’ll find the hippest threads. It’s a total hotspot for the cool kids!

Plateau Mont Royal Neighborhood

And let’s not forget about the Latin Quarter, the place to be when the sun goes down. This neighborhood is all about that vibrant nightlife, my friend. We’re talking bustling streets, epic parties, and more energy than you can shake a glow stick at!

Let’s talk about the real deal when it comes to Montreal: the food scene! Get those taste buds ready because this city knows how to satisfy your cravings like nobody’s business. We’ve got a smorgasbord of cuisines that’ll make your mouth water.

For the Love of Poutine

First things first, you can’t talk about Montreal without mentioning the French-inspired dishes that make it famous. We’re talking buttery croissants, cheesy poutine, and oh là là, the most divine pastries you’ve ever laid eyes on. Prepare for a flavor explosion!

Poutine is a beloved Montreal dish originating in the late 1950’s to early 1960s and gained popularity worldwide in recent years. Made of crispy french fries, fresh cheese curds, and savory gravy, it’s expanded to exotic creations creating a delicious and satisfying combination of flavors and textures.

One of the best poutineries in the city is La Banquise located in the Plateau Mont-Royal region. They offer a menu of 32 poutine combinations from Classic to T-Rex for the meat lovers which includes sliced steak, bacon, pepperoni and sausage. Other great poutineries include Montreal Poutine and Poutineville. Prices range from $11 for a small classic poutine, to $24 for large with the works.

Montreal Poutin
Nacho Poutine

Craving some Italian? I’m talking food- stick to the topic!

I’ve been on a wild pizza quest for the past couple of years, searching high and low in this city for the ultimate Napoletana-style masterpiece. You know the one I’m talking about—the kind that’s kissed by a wood-fired oven, with a crust that’s delightfully charred on the outside and oh-so-chewy in the center. It’s a pizza fit for royalty, my friends. I’m talking about none other than the Queen herself—Queen Margherita, the OG pizza namesake!

I’ve tried my fair share of pizzas on this journey. Some were decent, others were just meh. But there was only one that truly captured my heart and taste buds, and it was fit for a queen indeed!

Brigade Pizzeria took me on a pizza adventure that made me feel like Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love” when she had that mind-blowing pizza frenzy in Naples. You know, that scene where she had to loosen her jeans? Well, lucky for me, I was already rockin’ a loose dress, so I could fully indulge in the pizza greatness.

Let me tell you, this pizza was a game-changer. It wasn’t heavy or bloating like some pizzas can be. This crust was pure perfection. It had a soft, chewy center that made me want to do a happy dance, and the slightly charred crust gave it that extra oomph. But here’s the real kicker—the toppings! They used fresh fior di latte, which is like a fancy, soft mozzarella that the locals go crazy for. None of that shredded stuff you find elsewhere. And those crushed tomatoes? Fresh as can be, with little bits of pulp that made me feel like I just plucked the tomatoes right off the vine.

Brigade Pizza Margherita. Photo by Cate Amalfi

You won’t believe it, but a 12″ personal pizza was only $17! Can you say a steal? Compared to some other pizzas I’ve had, this was an absolute bargain. Let’s just say I left Brigade with a smile on my face and a very satisfied belly.

So, my pizza-loving compadres, if you’re on the hunt for the crème de la crème of Napoletana-style pizzas, heed my words and make your way to Brigade Pizzeria where you can customize your pizza and salads too! Trust me, it’s worth the quest. Prepare to be crowned with pizza greatness and savor every delicious bite.

War of the Bagels

You can’t go to Montreal without picking up a dozen (or 4 dozen, or a car full) of bagels.

Get ready for the ultimate bagel showdown! We’ve got two fierce competitors in this corner—St. Viateur and Fairmount. These bagel legends have been battling it out since day one, and let me tell you, it’s a doughy war like no other.

St. Viateur bagels

Now, let’s talk about the bagels themselves. St. Viateur brings the heat with their denser and chewier creations. On the other hand, Fairmount takes a sweeter route. Their bagels have a touch of sweetness and a more airy texture that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance.

What’s the secret behind these bagel differences, you ask? Well, it all comes down to their baking processes. St. Viateur boils their bagels in honey-sweetened water, infusing them with that golden touch of sweetness. Fairmount, on the other hand, takes it up a notch by boiling their bagels in water with both honey and malt. It’s a flavor explosion you won’t want to miss!

But wait, there’s more! Both of these bagel hotspots take their creations to the next level by baking them in a wood-fired oven. That’s right—fire meets dough, resulting in that classic, mouthwatering flavor that’ll leave you craving more.

The Festival Wonderland

Get ready to party, my friends, because Montreal is the festival capital of the world! We’ve got a calendar jam-packed with events that’ll make your head spin and your heart sing.

First up, we’ve got the Montreal International Jazz Festival, where the sweet sounds of jazz take over the city. It’s one of the biggest jazz festivals on the planet, and boy, does it swing! Get ready to tap your toes, snap your fingers, and let the rhythm carry you away.

But hey, we’re not just about jazz here. We’ve also got the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, a comedy extravaganza that’ll have you rolling in the aisles. We’re talking big-name comedians, hilarious stand-up acts, and laughter that echoes through the streets. You won’t want to miss it!

And hold on tight, because we’ve got even more in store for you. How about the Montreal International Fireworks Competition? It’s a pyrotechnic spectacle that’ll light up the night sky and leave you in awe. Grab a spot, sit back, and prepare to be dazzled by the explosion of colors and lights.

Montreal International Fireworks

Oh, and let’s not forget about the Montreal World Film Festival, where movie buffs come together to celebrate the magic of cinema. From indie gems to blockbuster hits, this festival has it all. Get your popcorn ready, because you’re in for a cinematic treat!

Last but certainly not least, we’ve got the Montreal Pride Festival, a celebration of love, diversity, and all things fabulous. It’s a rainbow-filled extravaganza that’ll make you dance, cheer, and embrace your true self. Let your pride shine, my friends!

So, mark your calendars and get ready to festival-hop like there’s no tomorrow. Montreal is the place to be, with events that’ll make your heart soar and your spirits soar higher. Let’s get this party started!

What’s your favourite spot in Montreal? Curious minds want to know! Share your comments and let’s discuss La Belle Villle!

Cate Amalfi

Fashionista- Nutellaholic- Baker- Cake Designer- DIY- All things pink

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