Justin Heritage is a Canadian native, a comedian, and has lived in and traveled Montreal. He shared some of his favorite places to go, and then scroll down for some picks from the rest of our staff and friends.
There are two locations but the one downtown is where the food party is at. With a custom built slow cooker for their ribs and chicken, this place makes the top of my list. This dimly lit haven of ribs is perfect drunk food. The staff is the same from back in the day and they got more pictures of famous people on their walls than Jeffrey Gurian’s apartment. (Believe me, I’ve been!)
Vitals: Casual family eatery that’s been serving slow-cooked ribs, chicken & onion rings since 1967. 23-minute walk from the Hyatt, 11 minutes in a cab. Opens at 11:30 am till 9 pm (10 on weekends). 1201 Guy St.
Smoked meat Mecca (Canada’s version of what you people call corned beef(whatever the f*ck that is)). The line is worth waiting for. This old school deli keeps it simple and that’s a recipe for success. This sandwiches might unhinge your jaw so be prepared and stretch. Just kidding I haven’t a clue on how to do that.
Vitals: You’ve heard of it, you know it, and you’re dying to try it even if you have been to Katz’s in NYC. It’s only 7 mins by car from the Hyatt or a 22 minute walk that will help you digest. Schwartz’s Deli, 3895 St Laurent Blvd. Open 8am to midnight but no hot meat till 10:30. They close at 12:30am, 1:30 on Fridays, 2:30 on Saturday.
Korean BBQ confuses me as a concept, going to a restaurant to cook the food you ordered seems a little counter-productive, but it’s the shit. Showing off your grilling skills aside the food is well prepared and fast to cook. The grill keeps people from looking at their food and if they are they are an asshole. I love going to this place and their’s a line for good reason. So get there and a good time and order all night because it’s a blast.
Vitals: All-you-can-eat Korean meats grilled at your table in a room with a backlit bar & dim lighting. 1824 Saint-Catherine St W, Montreal; You can get there in 13 mins with a car or taxi from the Hyatt, or take a nice 25 min walk.
This Montreal style bagel places makes 12,00 bagels a day and always has a line. They are best fresh out the oven and my dad used to get bags when I was a kid. They can be eaten plain they are soo good. The bagel lox and other varieties of bagel will make you wish all cities adopted this style. Something about cooking with wood is key. (trust me I’m Native)
Vitals: Iconic 24-hour storefront known for wood-oven baked bagels with varied flavors & toppings. 263 Rue Saint Viateur O. It’s an 11 minute drive from the Hyatt, but about a 45 minute walk. Take a car. 30 minute walk from the Mainline Theater.
I recommend this spot because as an Extremely well-travelled Quebecer (within the province), I got to say that small town mom and pop poutine is the best there is. Greenspot is a place I can rely on for a great poutine that reminds me of bumf*ck nowhere poutine. (it’s a lot better than I made that sound…). You can count on them for a great steamed hot dog and club sandwich that will leave you wanting more. Makes sense this their a mom and pop joint too.
Vitals: Old school diner serving Hot dogs, pizza & poutine with thick-cut fries. 3041 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, QC H4C 1N9, Canada Open 5am till 11pm (7 to 1am on weekends).Take a 15 minute drive from the Hyatt, or enjoy a nice 45 minutes walk.
Same reasons as the previous but they host street racer parties straight out of the Fast and the Furious, the first one and only good one (kidding). But the parties are for real and so is the poutine. The kind that leaves you stuffed the next morning. Plus they have an iconic Orange building (literally a giant orange), But the in-house Orange julep they make is to die for, it’s a drink that is orange juice on steroids, plus you can get some ice cream thrown in if you’re a real daredevil.
Vitals: Iconic giant orange orb along the highway, with hot dogs, creamy orange drinks similar to the orange julius & fries for takeaway. 7700 Decarie Blvd. Open 7am to 3am. Visit orangejulep.ca It will cost you 25 minutes in a car from the Hyatt. Take a car.
This place is unreal for grilled deli style sandwiches. Not much in the way of selection but that’s the point, it’s a no compromise, please leave if you don’t like it, kind of place. The sandwich is world famous and was featured in the Netflix show Cooked. Aziz Ansari went with the crew to the place and was mistaken for Sugar Sammy, a beloved Montreal comic who has nothing other in common with Aziz other than their skin color. So please if you see Aziz, please call him Sugar Sammy, he luuuves it.
Vitals: Jewish Deli, 34 Avenue Fairmount O. Open from 9am till about 7. Closes at 4pm on Saturdays. 12 minutes in a car, 40 minute walk.
I’ll be honest… not sure Oriental is exactly, PC. I couldn’t really care because these Asians bring the heat. I walked into these place once and this old lady was hand rolling shrimp dumplings and just looking at them made me order some. Dumplings and hunan dumplings aside(which was awesome), this place’s soups and noodles are to die for. This place screams ooooold school recipes. I love it and can’t wait to get more.
Vitals: 5540 Côte-des-Neiges Rd, Montreal. They’re open from 11am to 10pm; and it will take you 18 minutes in a car to get there. Or see below for some Chinatown choices just a few blocks away.
Everyone’s favorite breakfast spot is so close to the hotel, that you barely even have to leave the hotel. But you’ll also have to wait …and wait… and wait. If that doesn’t bother you, enjoy! Open 6am to 4pm, later on weekends. 190 Sainte-Catherine West
Just a block away from the Hyatt is Universal. If Universal was in NYC you’d call it a really good diner. The menu is big and accommodating for everyone, including both healthy breakfast options and the standard pancakes, french toast, etc. Everything is good, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating. If Eggspecation has a line, walk a block over to Universal. 1 minute walk from the Hyatt, on St Catherine at Rue de Bleury.
Recommended to us by our great friends from The Improv, Mark Lonow and his wife Joanne Astrow! Great Montreal breakfast and lunch and brunch. 7am to 3pm. 10 minutes in a car from the Hyatt, and about 30 minutes by car.
An unintentional secret is that Chinatown is just a five-minute walk away from the festival, and there are some fantastic finds in Chinatown. #1 on that list is Nouilles de Lan Zhou. Noodles made fresh right in front of you. It’s a small place, simple seating designed for small groups or singles, you’re basically going to get a bowl of soup with some pork or beef and noodles and vegetables. If that doesn’t excite you, move on. But if that does peak your interest, you are going to love it. Looking for a little more from your menu? Some dumplings perhaps? Head to Mai Xiang Yuan or Nudo. Also check out Chez Maxim Oriental, Beijing, Noodle Factory.Walk over to Rue Clark, then cross over Rene Levasque and just wander around.
Located at 3515 St Laurent Blvd, McKibbins came recommended from SiriusXM Canada radio personality Todd Shapiro. “My favorite place to just hang there is this place called McKibbin’s. McKibbin’s is where I met my wife. It’s also … I don’t know how to put this, but it’s kind of like if you were in the middle of Enid, Oklahoma, and I knocked you on the head and knocked you out, and I woke you up in McKibben’s, and I told you that we were in a pub in the middle of Europe somewhere, and there’s a lot of Irish expats hanging out there, you’d believe it.” Open till 3am and it’s about a 15 minute walk from the Hyatt.
Just two blocks apart these two stores will cover all your Cuban cigar needs. Casa is a bit more upscale with country club-esque lounge areas, and Vasco is more like a street tobacco shop but they’re are only blocks apart and both carry an excellent selection. Too expensive? No, they’re not ripping you off. Cigars can range from $25-$50 and up a piece because the taxes in Montreal on tobacco are outrageous. Don’t buy Nicaraguan or Honduran or anything you can get at home, because they’re just as expensive as the Cubans. In fact, you may want to make sure to bring some from home anyway to fill in between those luxury Cubans. It’s a lovely 18 minute walk, about 10 minutes by car; and since they’re close to each other, might as well visit both shops. Casa is open 10am to midnight at 1434 Sherbrooke St W and Vasco is at 1392-1394 Saint-Catherine West. Open 9am to 9pm during the week, closes a bit earlier on the weekend.