French Canadians tend to be a fiercely nationalistic bunch, going to great lengths to recognize and honor their Gallic heritage. So you know that when a restaurant is allowed to break their language regulations, it must be something special. And special Schwartz's is. Founded by a Jewish immigrant in 1928, this landmark shop is widely known for its delicious smoked meats and sandwiches, as well as for the long lines that you'll frequently find outside — so planning to get there early is definitely recommended.
Some restaurants only last a few years. Others, like Joe Beef, are forced to expand. Named in honor of a 19th-century tavern owner, this Little Burgundy gastropub opened in 2005 with only 30 seats but expanded in 2011 to seat 75 — due to high demand. Demand for what, you might ask? For the food, of course, which runs the gamut from conch fritters and lobster spaghetti to cheval steak and the legendary foie gras double down, an insane creation of bacon, cheese, mayonnaise, and maple syrup, all sandwiched between deep fried foie. Between that and the delicious poutine, you might want to schedule some gym time the next day.
Given its proximity to the first brewery in North America, it's surprising that it took Montreal so long to embrace the concept of brewpubs. But in the mid '80s it finally came around, granting license to Le Cheval Blanc (The White Horse). While the bar had been around much longer than that, it's since shifted focus, offering a half-dozen or so house-brewed beer options, including cask ales, as well as a strong selection of Belgians. There's often live entertainment or a DJ, and they also offer a small selection of snacks — but when you're here, it's really all about the beer. As it should be.
Co-founded by designers Byron and Dexter Peart and their partners Mark Wiltzer and Jacqueline Gelber, The WANT Apothecary has been providing exceptional service and an equally uncommon selection of goods to guys since it opened its doors in 2011. This lifestyle shop offers far more than just goods from the shop's namesake WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie line, however, as it stocks select pieces — tops, pants, and accessories — from the likes of Acne, Maison Kitsuné, Nudie Jeans, Arc'teryx Veilance, Flippa K, and more. The shop's also well-equipped to handle skincare and grooming needs, as they're the exclusive stockists for Aesop and Astier de Villatte in Canada and carry Ursa Major's facial care line, as well. [Scouted by Catherine]
Cleverly named after the space's previous life as a fur factory and boasting a lush interior designed by Zébulon Perron, Bar Furco is one of The City of Saints' hottest new nightspots. The industrial interior — filled with repurposed furniture, futuristic lighting, and a shiny copper bar — serves as a cozy setting in which to enjoy the bar's solid selection of wines, beers, and carefully-executed cocktails. Drink isn't the only thing on offer, either — the constantly changing, French bistro-inspired menu can be seen by checking out the strips of paper held by clothes pins to a line that runs above the opening to the kitchen. Just be sure to arrive early — it has a tendency to get really crowded, really early.
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.