Three Foods You Can’t Leave Montreal Without Trying

Poutine in Montreal
If Montreal is in your travel plans, there are many excellent foods to sample. It was tough to narrow down the list but here are three iconic Montreal foodstuffs you cannot leave without trying.


In 1919, Isadore Shlafman opened the first bagel shop in Montreal, rolling bagels by hand, boiling them in honey or molasses water and baking them to perfection in a wood oven. Folks fell in love with the soft & chewy delicacies and his business grew quickly. You can still get Mr. Shlafman’s original bagels at many Fairmont locations around the city or try both of Montreal’s top shops with a trip to St. Vriateur which Holocaust survivor Myer Lewkowicz opened in 1953. We guarantee you’ll think twice about NYC bagels after a taste of Montreal.

Montreal BagelsMontreal Bagel Shop Display

Smoked Meats

While there is an unresolvable argument about who introduced Montreal to smoked meats, when you try them, you’ll be eternally grateful to whoever that angel was. Eiran Harris, Archivist Emeritus of the Jewish Public Library, the first smoked meats were likely introduced to our fair city in the 1880’s when many Jewish immigrants were moving here by the first kosher butcher, Aaron Shaft, and inspired by the cuisine of his native Romania. This heavenly creation consists of variable-fat brisket cured with a variety of seasonings including coriander, garlic, mustard seeds and a touch of sugar to give it just the right amount of sweetness. Montreal smoked meats are traditionally served on light rye bread with mustard. Dine at Schwartz’s Deli, Snowdon Deli or Lester’s Deli to experience some of the best.

Lester's Deli Smoked Meat SandwichSchwartz's Deli Smoked Meat SandwichSlicing Smoked Meat at Snowdon DeliHanging Smoked Meats at Snowdon Deli


The residents of Montreal are serious about poutine. While it didn’t hit the city until the 1950’s, these plates of french fries and cheese curds covered in brown gravy became popular enough to be referred to as Canada’s national food. Many restaurant owners put their own spin on poutine in Montreal by adding brisket, smoked meats or other ingredients. Check out these local spots for both traditional and innovative versions: Pierrette Patates, Paul Patates or Le Gras Dur.

Traditional PoutineNontraditional Seafood Poutine

And since we couldn’t leave you without dessert …

Orange Julep

Though technically a drink rather than a food, the Orange Julep is one of our most famous must-try items. Harmas Gibeau first sold this frothy, fruity drink to adventure seekers at Belmont Amusement Park before opening his own location in 1966 on Décarie Expressway. You can’t miss it – the building is a giant orange ball and will likely have a crowd smiling and carrying Gibeau’s signature green cups.

Orange JulepLarge Orange Ball - Orange Julep building in Montreal
Wherever you are headed once you leave Montreal, you are certain to leave full & happy after trying our signature foods!

*All images courtesy of businesses linked to.