A Weekend in Montreal
In early January, we planned a road trip from Toronto Montreal for our 1st wedding anniversary. We wanted to get away, but still stay somewhat close to home and make a weekend trip out of it! We downloaded a few podcasts, got out of Toronto early Friday morning and made the 6 hour trek. Thankfully, we had great driving weather and we were bracing ourselves for the freezing Montreal temperatures, but it was surprisingly mild all weekend long.
In this blog post I’m sharing where we stayed, our favourite food experiences and a few fun spots we stumbled upon. We discovered so many great places in such a short amount of time!
We stayed in the city about a 20 minute walk from Old Montreal at a cozy spot called Hotel Birks.
A beautiful historical building (that was decorated SO cute for Christmas when we went in early January) that had the French restaurant Henri to the left of the lobby, and the jewelry store Birks to the right.
I have nothing but amazing things to say about our stay at Hotel Birks and I would definitely stay there again. It’s a cozy spot and our room had a beautiful view overlooking an old Montreal church. It was close by shops, food spots as a short walk to Old Montreal.
I must admit, I did a ton of research and IG geotagging to find most of these food spots as I wanted to make sure we would love every spot!
The first evening we made a reservation for the Hotel restaurant, Henri, a french brasserie. It was only a few steps from the lobby so we didn’t even have to brave the cold! I only have a few dark, grainy iphone shots of our unbelievable food but this place was beautifully decorated and had a cozy atmosphere. I tried the lobster risotto and Mike tried the rib steak with bernaise sauce - both were excellent!
For Saturday’s brunch we checked out Barley Bar, a super cute cereal bar with an amazing brunch menu. I am so glad I came across this one because I would highly recommend checking it out!
They have SO many types of fun cereals at their bar to choose from, a millennial’s dream, complete with a charcoal lavender latte, which I had never tried before and surprisingly really loved.
For dinner we went to Da Emma, an authentic italian restaurant that has been around for over 20 years. Emma is the main chef and when you walk in, you can see all the celebrities that love eating there (hellooo, Leo DiCaprio & Halle Berry!). Don’t expect to find a fancy IG page or website because they don’t have either one.
I read many reviews of this spot, some were mixed but we absolutely could not recommend this Italian spot more. It’s located in a very historical building, one that used to be a women’s prison. The exposed brick and dark interior make it super romantic. The servers bring a personal menu by and describe each + every item on the menu. We couldn’t help but ask our server to tell us a celebrity story as he’s worked there for over 11 years and seen many during his time at Da Emma. The presentation of the food wasn’t anything special, but everything was spectacular, which is why they’ve probably been around for so many years.
Montreal has a few Tommy Cafe locations and we fortunately stumbled upon both while wandering Old Montreal. A short walk between the two, we stopped at the first one near Notre Dame on Saturday for a late lunch and the other one for Sunday brunch. Known for their amazing coffee and bagels, we tried out both and loved. I definitely had the smashed avocado on a fresh bagel both days because it was THAT good! Such a cool atmosphere and was packed both days.
If you’re only in Montreal for a short trip, I would recommend walking Old Montreal and popping into the shops and taking in all the historic sites. Notre Dame is beautiful and hard to miss!
If we had more time, I would’ve loved to see the city from above at the Observatoire Ville Marie. It has 360 views of the city and looks incredible.
A few other spots that will hopefully be on our itinerary for our next trip, that are worth checking out:
Beatrice - Italian eatery with an amazing patio
Gypsy - total brunch goals
Bretzel & Compagnie - all the pretzel & sweets at this bakery
Maison Pepin - beautiful home/design store with the cutest outdoor market in the winter