I found it oddly sad that the rest of Canada does not undertake speaking French. New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that is bilingual. Maybe it's just sad to be because I want to be able to read the menu's, but I almost felt as if I was missing out on something great.
My girlfriend and I decided to keep a list of various 'awards' that provinces could win as we went on our journey. Nova Scotia won the "most roadkill" award, Manitoba had the best gas station washroom, but Montreal won the prestigious awards of "city of food" and "best dish". I easily gained weight in this one city as it seemed that every corner held a new delicacy that was a must. The friend we were staying with insisted that everything was "the best ________ in the entire world." A phrase that quickly won me over.
Unlike the other major cities, Montreal seemed to lack a lot of the major food establishments. The usual sightings of Boston Pizza, Moxies, even fast food locations like McDonald's, Arby's and A&W, were lacking. Instead, there were most independent restaurants, bistros and diners that all seemed to cry out to be visited. The originality of the food simply won me over, and I couldnt help trying out as many things as I could get my hands on.
We were staying in a pretty hip neighborhood where everyone just wandered the streets. Driving was fairly hazardous and confusing (Montreal ties Winnipeg for Canada's "Worst Drivers") so everyone strolled around for their evening dinners. We had a whole chicken from the Portuguese district, just dripping with oil and spices. Delicious, and although unhealthy, it was worth getting! We couldnt live without getting a poutine of course, which cannot seem to be duplicated anywhere else in the world. Our friends also took us out for burgers and pizza, and while they weren't necessarily unique to Montreal, were simply delicious.
We also got a Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich from a little deli called Schwartz's, a place that has been around since 1928!! The place is so popular that people line up down the street for it. They had to expand into another building next door to satisfy the masses! And while I miss cheese, and would normally prefer a little less meat, it was delicious.
However, the highlight of our trip, and the winner of the "best dish" award, goes to an amazing breakfast of Eggs Benedict. Served on English Muffins with goat cheese and mushrooms, this dish knocked our socks off. I had ordered what our friends had called 'The world's best Belgium waffle', but I couldnt keep my eyes off of my girlfriends food. Even as I ate the waffle, which was darn good on it's own, all I could think about was what her dish tasted like. It was served in a nearby restaurant, which was called Universel. Unbelievable meal. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The picture that we took of it does not even do this dish justice!!
It is no wonder that this dish won the award, even over the famed lobster dinners of the East Coast! If you are in Montreal, it's a must!!!! Im already re-planning my next visit!