What they say is true; winters in Montreal are cold. Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, as my grandma used to say. However, if there’s anything to find solace in, it’s these comforting eats. From sweet to savoury, fried to braised, they are exactly the remedy required for winter's bite.
Dinette Triple Crown: fried chicken, biscuits, gravy, and mac n’ cheese
Comfort food doesn’t get much more stick-to-your-ribs than stellar fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy, especially when the biscuits are probably the fluffiest you’ve ever had in your life and the gravy is good enough to bath in. Round out your meal at Dinette Triple Crown with a side of mac n’ cheese and you’ll be ready to hibernate until spring comes.
Lattuca: Dinosaur short rib and baked beans with brisket
For most, barbecue is typically summer eats, but what’s more comforting in the heart of winter than a big plate of tender brisket with a healthy side of baked beans? John Lattuca is doing it right with all of his wood-smoked meats. Whether you go for the dinosaur short rib or pulled pork, you will leave happily sated and ready to brave whatever winter throws at you.
Hof Kelsten: Babka (chocolate or maple)
Cold temperatures mean carbs. Hof Kelsten’s babka is about as decadent as you can get in the bread department. Swirled with either chocolate or maple, it’s best eaten warm right out of the oven, all gooey and sugar-laden.
The Cold Room: Bloody Manhattan
If you’re looking for a cozy place to hole up after you’ve had a hearty meal, check out The Cold Room in Old Port. It’s not the easiest place to find, but the polar vortex temperatures will force you to put on your detective hat and hunt down the doorbell that lets you into this hidden speakeasy. Try its bloody Manhattan with blood orange shrub.
Bar Le Lab: Tiki bowls
Go grab yourself a flaming tiki bowl at either of Bar Le Lab’s locations and forget about Montreal’s harsh winters. If the heat coming off the flaming alcohol doesn’t warm you up, the drink itself definitely will once you take a sip or two.
Tiradito: Papa rellena
This new Peruvian fusion spot serves up a double whammy with its pisco cocktails and salty, spicy bites to match. Want a unique take on the familiar classic that is shepherd’s pie? Try the papa rellena: fried potato balls filled with beef and dipped in sweet chili sauce. Wash it all down with a pisco sour, or Tiradito’s pisco-based take on a Manhattan.
Greenspot: classic poutine
Admittedly, it’s a bit stereotypical to eat poutine in Montreal at any time of year, but if you’re going to do it, Greenspot, especially in the wintertime, is the place to be. Don’t bother waiting in line at La Banquise, you can get the same thing for much cheaper at this little hole-in-the-wall down by Atwater Market. Fries, extra squeaky cheese curds, and gravy. That’s it, that’s all.
Flyjin: maple lattes
Quebec is the land of maple syrup and coming from someone who sweetens her coffee with it on the daily, you can take my word that Flyjin makes the best maple lattes in Montreal, if not the entire world. Make it your mission to freeze your butt off wandering around Old Port just so you have an excuse to pick up one of these babies to warm you up.
Chez Boris: warm doughnuts
There are plenty of fancy-ass doughnuts out there, but sometimes you just want a simple one that’s covered in sugar. Chez Boris fries all of its doughnuts to order and coats them in sugar while they are still piping hot. You have three options: plain sugar, cinnamon sugar, or cocoa sugar. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
Depanneur Le Pick-Up: burgers
A dep (that’s convenience store for the rest of Canada) isn’t exactly the place you’d expect to find killer eats. At Dep Le Pick-Up, however, you can get all of your greasy diner favourites, like BLTs, pulled pork sandwiches and perogies, plus weekly specials. I’m partial to its burger though, topped with a melted slice of Kraft Singles. It’s cold out, you need the calories to stay warm, right?