In case you're not up on your French, Festival International de Jazz de Montreal roughly translates to The Montreal International Jazz Festival — and it's not just the best in the city or country. It's likely the best in the world. Taking place over 10 days — June 28 - July 7, this year — the world's largest jazz festival features over 1,000 concerts and activities, two-thirds of which are free and outdoors, with the rest spread across 15 concert halls. With close to two million festival goers, performers both well-known and obscure, and an ideal location in downtown that puts you steps from hotels and world-class food, it's a great way to spend a few days this summer.
Come for the drinks, stay for the food. Nearly hidden down a set of unassuming stairs underneath a red "restaurant" sign, Le Bremner offers up some of Québec's best seafood, with a menu that includes such treats as lobster focaccia, a seafood cabbage roll, and a fried oyster BLT. And while the food is certainly worth mentioning, so are the cocktails — the restaurant features two new ones each week, and while the top of the food menu mentions the house-made tonics and syrups, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs that go into them, you won't find any listed on the menu — so don't forget to ask your server for the current selections. [Scouted by Gino]
There are plenty of places to stay in Old Montreal, but fewer better than Hotel Gault. The century-old facade of the building belies the updated, modern appointments within. Loft-style rooms, expanded suites, and terrace-laden mini-apartments are all on offer, as are an on-site spa and restaurant, the latter of which offers up lunch, dinner, and a killer brunch. A terrific blend of old and new, and not too far from our friends at Rooney, either.
Quebec might be the last place you'd expect to find a traditional diner, but Le Gros Jambon would certainly seem to qualify. From its small interior dominated by counter-top stools to the walls covered with a curated selection of vintage photos, magazines, and other trinkets, the place screams small-town USA. The menu offers a cleverly French take on the traditional greasy spoon, with a range of burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and pizza, as well as a lengthy brunch menu that rivals any here below the border.
It might be located in Old Montréal, but there's nothing old about the selection at Rooney. This quintessential mens shop has been offering up quality goods since 2006, focusing on up-and-coming brands, and stocking a good mix of high-end and standard, everyday wear items. While the clothing is the star of the show, don't forget to keep your eyes open for bags, shoes, accessories, magazines, books, and apothecary — everything you need to make this a one-stop shop.