It’s currently raining in NYC so reliving this post is putting a huge smile on my face. This is the second part I suppose to my previous Montreal post. Whilst there we did a food walking tour around Mile End which is a pretty hip, happening neighbourhood (similar to Williamsburg or any artistic/independent hood). There are several food tour groups to choose from but we opted for Local Montreal as they had great reviews and weren’t that expensive.
We met up at eleven in the morning and were the last ones to get there (woops). There were about fifteen of us all together and from all different corners of the world. The whole experience was as social as you make it. Many people stuck to talking with the people they came with but a lot of the places had limited seating and therefore sometimes you’d mingle with others on the tour. The whole experience lasted about three hours and we hit up six places.
The first stop was The Green Panther and they specialise in healthy living and food. We had their falafel sandwich which was delicious and my sister gave it two thumbs up. Next we walked to Boucherie Lawrence which is a butcher shop that offers local and respectfully raised meat and cheeses. We got to sample a selection of sausages, cheese and local beers. Throughout the whole tour our guide would fill us in on the history of each place, the neighbourhood and different facts about Montreal. She was really friendly and very interested in getting to know us (always nice to be wanted haha).
We walked past a bunch of cute boutiques and vintage stores to get to our third destination – Kem Coba. They are an ice cream place that produces unique flavours and swirls. Every two weeks they have a new concoction and this time it was passion fruit and vanilla – yum yum yum. The owners talked to us for a while and their whole vibe is really relaxing and scrumptious. After that sweet treat we walked through some alleyways and went to St-Viateur Bagel. Apparently bagels are a huge deal in Montreal? I never would’ve known haha. We got to watch them prep the dough and then cook the bagels which was neat. Compared to the New York bagel it was pretty good and also very sweet.
By this point I was starting to get full but still two stops to go! Melina’s Phyllo Bar is a cozy, nook and cranny kind of place. We got to try one savory and one sweet treat. There was a spanakopita aka a spinach pie and a sugary one (I don’t remember the name sorry). The pastry was so flakey and warm – I absolutely loved it. The owner again came out to welcome us and talk about her place. The whole tour is not just about eating good food but also getting to know the area and how welcoming and community strong it is. Our guide would stop us mid-walking to tell us stories about the local florists and businesses so we could fully grasp the area which I thought this was really nice. Our last stop was of course chocolate! There were a bunch of different mixes to choose from including berry, nuts, caramel etc. A very nice and sweet way of ending an overwhelming few hours.
It was without a doubt a great way to explore a different (and not so touristy) area of Montreal, as well as eat lots and get out in the sunshine. If you’re looking for something fun to do that doesn’t require planning or research I’d recommend this. I think we as travellers need to learn to get out and see beyond the tourist spots and really embrace destinations!