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Things to Do in Montreal

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1. Eat like a Local
Things to Do in Montreal

The Jean Talon Market is in Montreal, close to the Jean Talon Metro station.

Photo © Tourisme Montreal

See also Top Montreal Attractions | Quebec Food

Eating is an important aspect of any visit to Montreal. French Canadian food ranges from hearty and unaffected to gourmet. Try to get a sampling from as wide a range as possible, which will be friendly to your tastebuds and pocket book.

For example, visiting a fresh-food public market is a great way to mingle with Montrealers and eat local foods without spending a lot of money. Have lunch or breakfast at the market and pick up some food for later.

The biggest, most popular public markets are the Jean Talon, Atwater (especially known for its extensive flowers and greenery), Maissoneuve, and Lachine. All of these Montreal markets offer fine foods and related products and have a bakery or other places to eat. They are open year-round every day of the week except for certain holidays.

In addition to these four major markets, there is an abundance of seasonal neighbourhood markets and metro station markets.

See a full listing of Montreal public markets, including directions and hours.

Montreal is probably most famous for its smoked meat sandwiches and bagels - both culinary derivatives from the Montreal's Jewish population. For smoked meat, try Schwartz's Deli, which has been around since 1928, but be prepared for a wait no matter what time of day you're there.

Montreal bagels are smaller, denser and less bready than New York style bagels. St. Viateur's is the place to go in Montreal to sample bagels made the traditional way - boiled, then baked in a wood-fired oven. Check out the pictures of celebrities who have visited the shop as you wait for your order.

A traditional Montreal breakfast is a good, inexpensive way to sample French Canadian food. La Binerie on Mont Royal serves hearty fare like baked beans, créton (fatty pork spread seasoned with onions, cloves and maybe cinnamon, nutmeg or garlic), tourtiere and other high-fat, high protein foods that will fuel your day. Diner decor and a friendly owner complete the experience.

In addition to diners and bagel shops, splurge on an evening of fine French dining - even if it's just steak frites - at one of Montreal's many cafés, bistros or gourmet restaurants. Try L'Express, Au Pied de Cochon or read through our Montreal restaurant reviews to see what makes your mouth water.

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