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montreal design guide

by Grace Bonney

[image via Nino H]

today’s city guide is devoted to montreal- one of the cities i’ve most wanted to visit for the past few years. i’ve always heard such wonderful stories about friends and family’s trips to montreal so today i’m thrilled to have a wonderful city guide, written by marie-eve of lake jane, to this beautiful city. if you’re lucky enough to travel to montreal i hope you’ll bring marie-eve’s guide with you- it’s chock-full of great places to shop, eat and enjoy the culture of montreal.

CLICK HERE for the full montreal guide after the jump!

Montreal Design Guide, by Marie-Eve Best www.lakejane.com

Growing up, my mother would often talk to us about Montreal, her beloved native city. There was always a sparkle in her eye every time she would describe the city’s impeccable taste and laid-back lifestyle. It comes as no surprise then that I always knew I’d end up making Montreal my home.

You really have to visit the city to get a taste of its magic, its je ne sais quoi. Gourmet Magazine did a good job of expressing one of the many reasons why tourists and Montrealers alike fall in love with the world’s second largest french-speaking city: “Montreal is still filled with surprises, and each time you come upon a new shop, a new restaurant or a boutique hotel, it feels like a discovery.”

It’s true. We Montrealers like to think that we are in on a secret that only few of us share. Everyone has his or her favorite coffee shop, bookstore and delicatessen. Small businesses can thrive for years and years because locals remain loyal to their neighborhood favorites. Consequently, there are tons of little gems hidden at every turn. I’ve organized this Montreal Design Guide by neighborhood because it’s probably the best way of discovering the city. You’ll feel like you’re hopping from one unique village to another, each with its own languages, legends and characters.

Mile End

This eclectic neighborhood (bordered by four major thoroughfares: St. Laurent Boulevard or “The Main”, Avenue du Parc, Fairmount Avenue, and Bernard Street.) has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last 5 years. Some of the city’s hippest restaurants, bars and boutiques are in this multicultural neighborhood, including:

The Sparrow: This English pub-inspired restaurant opened in February ’09 and was instantly embraced by locals. The décor is warm and the food comforting.

Jamais Assez: A boutique devoted to promoting Quebecois design selling everything from bedding to furniture with an emphasis on the environment.

Philz Twentieth Century Design: A classic design lover’s dream. Great vintage furniture from floor to ceiling.

Les Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois: Try Framboise, a raspberry coulis blended with a dark ganache delicately flavored with Malaysian long pepper.

Push Gallery: A great space devoted to showcasing emerging contemporary artists.

Les Enfants Terribles: Enjoy a glass of wine and steak tartare on this trendy bistro’s sidewalk terrasse facing the historic Outremont Theatre.

Atelier Dame Plume: Calligraphy and stationary services all in one beautiful little boutique.

Drawn & Quarterly: One of the most influential art and literary comics publishers in North America recently opened a bookstore in Mile End where they sell the best in today’s comics, fiction and art books by publishers from around the world. They also offer great after-hours workshops.

*Don’t miss: Try both St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel (I’m loyal to the latter).

Le Plateau

Known for its colorful houses and characters, Le Plateau is a maze of small residential and commercial buildings. One could easily spend hours exploring the mural covered alleyways, perusing the tiny cafés and browsing the funky shops.

Les Touilleurs: The award-winning kitchenware boutique offers in-store cooking lessons with some of the city’s top chefs.

Baldwin Barmacie: Airport lounge meets pharmacy is how best to describe the great décor of this funky lounge. Enjoy one of their homemade elixirs with a side of grilled cheese.

Hanneman Design and EcoDarling: Eco-friendly home accessories and gift store on a cute little side street. Also home to Hanneman Design who specialize in furniture design and re-upholstery.

Unicorn: One of my favorite clothing boutiques in the city. Check out their fantastic vintage accessories and unique Canadian-designed collections.

Au Pied de Cochon: Traditional Quebecois fare served by the friendliest staff. A definite must for any tourist.

Blume: Unbelievable florist on The Main; a veritable greenhouse in the heart of the city.

Domison: Beautiful furniture showroom that showcases the Periphere line and also supports fellow Canadian designers like Furni and Looolo.

Pop!: Hip wine bar with retro décor. Try the chocolate crème crowned with caramel mousse and sea salt served in a mini-Mason jar.

Les Commissaires: This design gallery-boutique carries some of the the rarest and most interesting objects in very small quantities.

HQ Gallery and Boutique: Vintage and handmade fashion and accessories boutique near Parc Lafontaine. Also check out some affordable art in the adjacent gallery space.

Lola & Emily: You’ll feel like you’re browsing through a friend’s closet in this beautiful little women’s clothing and home accessories boutique.

*Don’t miss: Tam-Tams (an impromptu gathering of local musicians and people-watchers) on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Jeanne-Mance park


The area is undergoing a complete transformation (from rather dingy to ultra cool) so it’s time to take advantage of the new boutiques, galleries and restaurants before the velvet ropes take over!

McKiernan’s: Gourmet Magazine described their food as Frenglish and I completely agree. It’s an interesting take on Quebecois classics with some English pub-fare influences. Quality ingredients and an eclectic décor.

Quartier Libre: A great contemporary art gallery featuring the work of young local artists.

Surface Jalouse: Very cool concept store specializing in wall and furniture decals. The stylish pieces are the work of graphic artists and designers.

Beige: Beautiful home furnishings and accessories boutique with a collection of hand-finished one-of-a-kind pieces.

Itsi Bitsi: Grab a cupcake to go while browsing baking supplies and other adorable kitchen accessories.

*Don’t miss: A bike ride alongside the Lachine canal followed by lunch at Atwater Market.


The Downtown area is abuzz with students, tourists and professionals alike. It’s fast paced and a great place to shop if you’re looking for more well-known retail brands.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: The Museum’s original building and it’s more contemporary counterpart are located across the street from one another but connected by an underground tunnel. Save some time for the decorative arts section!

Mona Moore: A shoe-lovers fantasy come to life. You’ll feel like you’ve walked into a pale pink walk in closet filled with carefully selected designer shoes.

Hôtel Le Germain: Fashion-forward boutique hotel with friendly service, a fantastic restaurant and a central location.

Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art: Located at Place-des-Arts, this gorgeous museum has an impressive permanent collection as well as interesting evening events.

Nota Bene: My favorite paper store in the city. Save some time for the small community gallery on the second floor!

*Don’t Miss: Montreal is the capital of summer festivals and the downtown core is home to the best of them. Keep your ear to the ground for the outdoor concerts at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Old Port

Some of the city’s most important historical buildings are found in the Vieux Port, many of which are now home to some of the newest and coolest restaurants, bars, hotels and boutiques.

Pointe-à-Callière Museum: An impressive museum (both inside and outside) devoted to Montreal’s archaeological history erected on the very site where the city was founded.

Habitat 67: Initially built as a thematic pavilion for the 1967 World’s Fair, Habitat 67 is now a fascinating apartment complex.

Cluny ArtBar: Located in the old Darling Factory, this restaurant serves breakfast and lunch to local officeworkers and artists.

Silophone: This unique project makes use of the incredible acoustics of a Montreal landmark, Silo #5, by introducing sounds collected from around the world using various communication technologies. They are played in the large structure then re-broadcasted to other listeners and to a sound installation outside the building.

Hôtel St.Paul: The historic facade of this hotel is in steep contrast to its interior which is very modern and almost ethereal.

DNA: Enjoy a cocktail in the funky orange lounge then head off into the truly unique dining room to enjoy the delicious Mediterranean-inspired menu and perfect views of the waterfront.

*Don’t miss: The new Montreal Convention Center’s colorful glass facade


One of Montreal’s primarily anglophone neighborhoods. Known for the gorgeous tree-lined streets and impressive real estate.

James: This clothing store is known for being on top of the latest trends.

Zone: The largest of Zone’s three Montreal home décor boutiques is in Westmount. Their window displays will certainly lure you in.

Flore: One of the city’s premier florists (and it’s easy to see why when you step into their gorgeous boutique).

Appetite for Books: Spend a couple of hours browsing cook books and register for an in-store cooking class.

*Don’t miss: Westmount Square, built in 1967, was Mies Van der Rohe’s last projects.

I hope you enjoyed my Montreal Design Guide. There is so much to see in this incredible city so it’s worth planning more than one trip. Perhaps you’ll make your own discoveries! I invite those of you who have lived here or visited in the past to share your favorites too.

Suggested For You


  • Thank you so much for this weel written article… I come from Montreal and I’m sure I’ll discover nice new boutiques with your listings!!

    I must say they are very different than mine, just as you have mentionned it as one on montreal’s particularities.

    It’s only sad you couldn’t add more pictures to your article… but I still think you did a great job discribing it!!


  • This is the first guide to Montreal that I have ever read that I wholeheartedly concur with! You’ve picked some of our city’s best jewels…
    Thank you!

  • Ah finally! I was wondering when someone would post a little peak into “la belle ville”! I would add in Moutarde on Bernard street which is sort of a France style decor store but they have a few AMAZING little decor finds…..

  • Wonderful! My boyfriend and I rented a friend’s apartment for 2 weeks this summer. This guide will be so useful!! Thanks a million!

  • Thanks for bringing back such great memories of my hometown (even though I was loyal to St-Viateur Bagel…). If you’re going to the other bagel place, check out the Japanese paper store (also on Fairmount, a block or two away), which has an awesome collection of paper at all price points.
    And a funny thing happened to a friend of mine while dining at Au pied du cochon: she ran into Rachel Weitz and Hugh Jackman who where finishing up filming The Fountain…
    I look forward to discovering more great places the next time I’m visiting home!

  • I have been a follower of design*sponge for a few months now after a desinger friend turned me onto it.
    Imagine my surprise and delight to see my own city featured in the blog. We all have our regular haunts, but now I have a few more to check out. Thanks!

  • MONTREAL REPRESENT!!! Yay Marie-Eve! I am a born and bred Montrealer and I love this city to pieces. Haha yes I too am loyal to St-Viateur bagel since childhood :) I think that Marie-Eve’s list would be 10 miles long if she allowed herself to include everything that makes Montreal so incredibly special. The beauty is in the discovery, and this is a fabulous guide to get started! I would like to add…

    – Beaver Lake and the lookout point on Mount Royal

    – Cosmos in NDG for the ultimate greasy breakfast

    – a leisurely stroll up St-Denis street, from Pine up to Mount Royal, a boutique/terrasse/people watching mecca

    – following Marie-Eve’s suggestion of lunch at Atwater Market, get back on the bike path and ride along the canal to Old Montreal, dine luxuriously at Club Chasse et Peche and then enjoy the fireworks during the Fireworks Festival

    Whatever you do in Montreal, you will love it. Grace, pack your bags this summer and come visit!!

  • Thanks for this..can’t wait to go check out some of these places! Being in Burlington, VT, I make it up to Montreal quite a bit (only 1.5 hour drive)…the only thing I would add is the mid-century modern vintage furniture shops on Amherst. I’ve gotten great stuff there!

  • I visited Montreal about 9 years ago and reading this post I’m thinking it’s time to go again! Spring should be gorgeous there!

  • I’ve been debating whether to go to Montreal for my birthday this year. I think the design guide just made up my mind! I can’t wait to book my ticket!

  • Montreal ROCKS/ I miss it everyday. I haven’t had time to read everything but here are some other things that I think D*S readers would dig. Just off the top of my head.

    1. the square concrete house on Marriane and Coloniale, especially neat in the summertime when its covered in ivy.

    2. At Hutchinson and Laurier I think, there’s a really nice french cafe that is all decorated with 1920’s bronze. Cool place.

    3. The burgers at Patatis Patatat are delicious. St-Laurent and Rachel I think.

    4. Mont-Royal park on sundays for the Tam Tams. Bring your hacky sack.

    5. For any D*S readers whose boyfriends are skateboarders, the best place to street skate is the Big O.

    6. and if they’re D&d geeks le Valet-du-Coeur has the best selection of Indie games in French Canada.

    that’s all I can think of. Summer if coming so all of you should take the opportunity and get your asses there. The winter sucks.

  • Marie Eve your guide is going to prove invaluable to all my overseas guests visiting Montreal from UK and the States this summer to attend a family wedding.Thankyou I am forwarding it to all of them right now!

  • Thank you so so so much for posting this. Months ago I planned a trip to Montreal for May and have found nothing as interesting or as exciting as this. (And comments too!) I’ll fit as much in as I can. I’m just afraid of falling in love and leaving gritty Baltimore behind.

  • Good article. I wrote something on the local craft art scene for the Globe and Mail a while back that I would share, but you have to pay to view it (silly newspaper!) Visitors and locals alike should check out WornJournal.com for info on great local purveyors of indie labels, craft art and vintage/remixed apparel and accessories.

  • Design*sponge est une de mes sites internet préférés. En plus vous parlez de ma ville, Montréal.
    Merci !

    Montreal is awesome, come visit us but don’t forget your english-french dictionary :-)

  • J’aime beaucoup Montreal!

    Definitely check out Habitat 67– I first saw photos in my architecture textbooks in university.
    The photos don’t do it justice.
    . . . As I recall, Celine Dion lives there?

  • Juliette et Chocolat on St. Denis!!! Best chocolate restaurant I have ever been to in my life… I live in Montreal now (student) and let me just say… you will go into a state of euphoria after indulging in ANYTHING on the menu,

  • wonderful! i go to montreal almost every summer–sometimes twice in the span of a few weeks! it’s visual candy. fvorite place to eat? au petite extra–unbelievable bistro cuisine on a budget and la prunelle–for those who can blow the budget once in a while. i’m going again for the jazz festival…can’t wait!

  • I live in Montreal too, near Marché Jean-Talon (a huge outdoor market during summer) and Little Italy (great Italian cafés there). Petit Alep is also a great place to have a good snack while visiting this part of the city.

  • montrealaise et fiere!
    merci pour la contribution quebecois.

    another great place for 5 a 7 is buvette chez simone on parc at st. joseph. good food, good drinks, good decor and good vibe.

  • I’m live in Montréal and my neighborhood might not be trendy but the’re some gems to visit. Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is in east of Montréal. It’s blooming from a poor manufactured era to a nice place to live. The must see is the Atomic café + Le septième (foreign movie rental store). http://www.leseptieme.com/photos.php. The coffee shop offers 1$ espresso in a 60’s vintage decor. http://japanesebystander.blogspot.com/2009/03/montreal-video-store.html

  • Ahhh Montreal….I miss it so

    I am planning a trip with my husband who has never been, so will add this list to my moleskin.

    Thanks for adding a guide for this unique + wonderful city that has a special place in so many of our hearts.

  • Yay Montreal!

    If you ever come to the thousand bell tower city, I would recommend to take long walks on these streets:

    St-Laurent ; St-Denis ; St-Hubert ; Beaubien ; Ste-Catherine; Mont-Royal.

    Visit also these areas: Little Italy (on St-Laurent, north of Beaubien) with the Jean-Talon market ; The gay Village (Ste-Catherine, between St-Denis and Papineau) ; Ste-Hélène island, where you can go to La Ronde, an amusement parc , le Casino and enjoy the island’s parc.

    Speaking of greenery, if you are a outdoors loving person, The Mount-Royal is an awesome place to spend your Sunday afternoon. The view is spectacular! There is also the Lafontaine parc and the Jardin Botanique you might want to visit.


  • I loved a shop called Couleurs at 3901 St. Denis filled with pottery, mid-century furniture, housewares and interesting lamps at http://www.couleurs.qc.ca/. Dinner at Au Pied du Cochon was great, try to leave room for dessert. We had Pouding chomeur which was excellent.

  • ::BEAUTY’S::
    amazing breakfast, brunch diner that’s been around over 50 years, make sure to order the beauty’s special (bagels&lox)

    delicious french food and it’s byow

    ::AU VIVRE::
    veggie&vegan food, amazing BLT made with smoked coconut

    ::DA EMMA::
    delish italian food, old port

    … a brownie from olive&gourmando, old port

    …cafe olympico coffee, mile end

    …cosmo’s breafkast, ndg

    …pizza at eurodeli, st. laurent blvd

    bon appetit!

  • Thanks for writing about Montreal! As a born and bred montrealer I agree with all of your suggestions. As the designer of the Sparrow restaurant, I appreciate your putting it first on the list! The food IS amazing, the service is great and the decor ain’t too shabby.
    I’d also mention L’Express on St-Denis as a great french bistro- a little taste of Paris. Les Chocolats de Chloé on Duluth is my vote for best chocolate. General 54 on St-Viateur is a great little shop with local designers and cool art. Bottega in Little Italy for great pizza. Café Olimpico on St-Viateur for the best lattés and people watching. And St-Viateur bagels all the way!!!

  • Yay for Montreal my adopted hometown! I have to say this is one of the best run downs of Montreal I’ve ever seen, lots of the known “best ofs” mixed with plenty of “oh I’ve heard of that place before, really need to check it out now!” I also wanted to say thanks SO much for including my boutique/gallery (HQ galerie + boutique) we’ve been working so hard over the past (almost)3 years, trying to make our store/gallery the best it can be. It’s so nice for our efforts to be recognized! And Grace, you MUST come up to Mtl after you’ve settled in to married life, you would enjoy it immensely, and it’s a very quick bust/train/drive up here from NY, a lot of my friends head down to NY for long weekends all the time!

  • Great job-In regards to DOMISON-
    its a great store-but the collection is made in China-not here in Montreal

  • Yeh for Montreal. I am also born and bred in Montreal.

    I want to thank Marie-Eve for the guide I can’t wait to check out some of her finds.

    Let me also suggest in the Cocoa Locale in the Mile End on Park ave (her cakes are absolutely divine!). Also make sure to get to the old port to try out Olive and GOurmando for their delish sandwiches, danishes and just to go and have a good time.
    Lastly on the plateau Qui Dort Dine is a gem of a boutique that sells linens for the home that are divine.

  • It’s great to see so many people liking my beloved hometown!

    I’d add to the list:
    -Happy hour at Else’s (Roy street at the corner of De Bullion) for cheap drinks and snacks
    -The Roy street galleries: L’Aspirine and Usine 106U (which I co-run) where you can find craaaaazy works by local artists at unbeatable prices
    -Les Chocolats de Chloé, most definitely. mmmm basil flavoured chocolate…
    -Café Cagibi (St-Laurent/St-Viateur)
    -Le Cheval Blanc on Ontario Street, my fave local brewery
    -picnics in Parc Lafontaine, dozing off in the grass on a sunny summer afternoon.

    this city is just so full of great places and people to discover..!

  • I am reading your article as I sit here in the sun contemplating my next trip which will be to Montreal. I can’t wait to visit Montreal again! It has been almost 10 years since i was there.

  • A definite MUST-SEE in Mile End is Les Commissaires (5226 St-Laurent). It is one of the best design stores in the city– if not the country, featuring gallery-style themed exhibits of limited editions and one-off objects from local and international designers. Highly tailored by the killer eye of Pierre, the owner, if you love design, it is a must-stop!

  • I understand the sparkle in the eye… I get it every time I speak of Montreal to people. I love this city. Montréal! C’est ma ville ;) Looking forward to checking out some of the places you mentioned.

  • Have you checked out Les Étoffes on the Main? They are right below Maguire on St-Laurent Blvd. Beautiful shop with precious finds! Lots of hard to find labels from all over, as well as select vintage finds and a whole Men’s section too. It is even worth it just to go look at the décor…!

  • There are two decor shops essential for design*sponge lovers:

    Buk and Nola at 1593 Laurier East
    http://www.buknnola.com (site is under construction): chairs that look like the best examples of d*s after shots- impecably refinished and upholstered with hip fabrics, lots of stuff from swedish ferm living, all at very reasonable prices.

    Loft Era: 122 Bernard, no website. Combination of well chosen antiques (early 20thC office dec., seltzer bottles, old maps) and contemporary design, with a number of items from Fench company IBride.

  • Finally! And just in time for warmer weather. I’m forwarding this list to all my friends to lure them to this lovely city.

    Les Étoffes + Cocoa Locale in Mile End are also some favorites to check out. And yes, Zoe, the brownies from olive & gourmando are delicious!

  • Point of clarification, everything noted as “St-Henri” is actually in Petit-Bourgogne (Little Burgundy). St-Henri starts west of Atwater; your listings are all east of Atwater. St-Henri has some really lovely new cafés – check out the one on the corner of Sir George-Etienne Cartier Square. One more Little Burgundy shout-out – check out ERA Vintage at Notre-Dame and St-Martin just east of Guy and the strip surrounding it, including Bonny’s vegan bistro next door!

  • As a design obsessed Montrealer I agree with all of lakejane’s suggestions. A couple of things I would like to suggest too.

    – Olive & Gourmando on st. paul ouest in old montreal. Baked goods and sandwiches out of this world.

    – Le Cartet also in Old Montreal on McGill College & Wellington. Very chic french lunch place. Eat in or take-out.

    – General 54 in the mile end area. Local clothing and bags. Very nice.

    – A local designer I am a fan of, Eugenia Leavitt. Makes affordable, 100% organic cocktail dresses and clothes.


  • this is a rather random question but i am hoping someone will be able to help me. i visited montreal a bunch of times last summer and went into an amazing stationery/pens/pencils store. i think their biggest theme is their unique selection of pens and pencils though. they have a really great selection and display their merchandise really well. i do not remember the name of the store nor the exact location. all i remember is it is on a one way street off of saint catherine street. it is a few blocks up from the berri- uqam metro stop. it is across the street from a grocery store (rather large one) and the store is small with a spiral staircase in the middle leading up to a little gallery space upstairs. i absolutely adored this store and would love to find out the name and address of the store. if anyone knows, please let me know! i would be so happy to find out! thanks

  • i made a mistake in my last post. i meant to say rue sherbrooke rather than saint catherine. rue sherbrooke is the cross street near the store i am wondering about. thank you!

  • Yeah for Montreal!

    to Kate Strzok
    The store you are thinking of is Nota Benne, which was in Marie-Eve’s list! It’s on Parc Avenue.

  • Perfect timing! I just arrived in Montreal and will be here for a few months. Plenty of time to check out some of these places and to make my own personal discoveries. I am loving this city! Thanks for sharing :)!

  • yay for montreal! great picks! so many of my favorites are listed. i’m not sure if anyone mentioned it but little italy also has some great spots – check out the huge market, marche jean-talon, and Effiloche, a little fabric shop that carries amy butler and other designers.

  • YAY! Thank you so much for featuring our beautiful city and introducing me to some places I hadn’t even known existed!
    I am so proud to be a Montrealer :)

  • Anyone have any suggestions about where to stay downtown? Going during Jazz Fest – any info appreciated!

  • I’m heading to MTL in late July with a couple of girlfriends- this guide is going to be so handy in helping us get a feel for the true vibe of the city. Thanks! I’ve been to MTL a number of times, but never with enough time to explore the artistic side. I can’t wait!

  • Other great restaurants in MTL

    Plateau >>
    brunch @ La Petite Marche on St-Denis or @ l’Avenue on Mont-Royal
    (shopping on Mont-Royal street is the best!)

    Little Italy>>
    italian coffee and breakfast @ Cafe Epoca

    Old Port>>
    great burgers and the DJ is awesome @ Le Mechant Boeuf on St-Paul street

  • it’d be nice if the addresses were included here. i’ll be visiting from the U.S. and some of these places have multiple locations. i don’t know the neighborhoods or canadian addresses very well.

  • Thank you- we just got back from Montreal. Les Commissaires and Unicorn were wonderful! Lola and Emily seemed to just have a lot of American brands, cute boutique but I could have skipped it in search of more unique local designers.

  • fuchsia epicerie fleur is a must see on the plateau! it’s an old general store from the 40’s or 50’s and the owner has kept the spirit the same. she now sells all things made with edible flowers- i can’t describe it with justice so check out the website and go see for yourself! http://www.epiceriefleur.com

  • There’s a store in Mile End that you won’t find anywhere else in Canada, and that’s Au Papier japonais at 24 Fairmount West. It has the largest selection of “washi”, (Japanese papers) outside of Japan –which is great if you are a bookbinder, artist, printmaker, designer, craftsperson or do origami. Plus there are over 60 courses on the incredible number of things you can make with paper.

  • Wow ! Marie-Eve and d*s followers have done a great job with this guide.
    BUT I have to add to the list this little café “Chez josé” : 173 Duluth Est (Le Plateau district) which is perfect for breakfast (yummy lemon crepes and this fruitful red fruits pie!!!) and Café Souvenir on 1261 Avenue Bernard for breakfast too (Outremont district).

    For flats shoes lovers, Pretty Ballerinas has open a new store few months ago in Westmount at 392, avenue Victoria.


    Enjoy ! Montréal, c’est le fun !

  • I’m excited to see some of these suggestions. Does anyone know the name of the large store of clothes and fabrics from India? I found it somewhat west of downtown a few years ago but don’t remember the address. Awesome scarves etc!!! Has anyone tried Laurie Raphael restaurant in Montreal? My favorite restaurant in Quebec City is now also in Montreal. Try the chef surprise for lunch (if you have no food allergies).

  • Has any one been to the Hotel Saint Sulpice – I’m looking for a romantic getaway to Montreal this weekend , and also love a great design experience.

  • @Elizabeth: You should check out the St-Germain or the W , I had great experience with both.
    @Andy you are right http://www.avant-scene.com is a great store, I work right next door and love walking by to see what they have in their store front!

  • Great recommendations, everybody!

    To add my two cents: practically next door to the much touted Olive & Gourmando, a small shop called “À table tout le monde” sells ceramics from local artists, as well as tablewares from Scandinavia, Japan, and Australia. Strongly recommended if you like buying beautiful little objects that make you smile every time you pick them up in your hand.

    In early December, the “Salon des metiers d’art” (an expo of Quebecois craftspeople and designers) takes place. There may be a lot of chintz on display, but it is still a good opportunity to see the newest work of established houses like “Les porcelaines Bousquet” and Koen de Winter (of Rosti fame)’s “Atelier Orange”. Plus, the number of fresh new designers increases every year.

    Finally, I have to say I’m pleased to see you mention kitchen shop Les Touilleurs. I worked for them all through university, and I can testify that besides running an award-winning store full of everything a serious cook could need or want, they are some of the nicest, most thoughtful, generous and principled employers a person could hope to work for. Seriously, I love them.

  • Where can I find a list of designers or decorators in Montreal??
    The ones I’ve found on the internet are decidedly bland, bleak, or downright awful. We are relocating to Montreal after a decade in Brooklyn and our design aesthetic is kind of vintage glamour global eclectic…let’s just say I mourn the loss of Domino magazine.
    Any suggestions??

  • Bonjour,

    La vie à Montréal est agréablement ponctuée par le passage par le pub, la brasserie, la taverne ou la micro-brasserie et ce en semaine ou le week-end : fous rires, bières fantastiques et rencontres délicieuses !
    Just saying breweries, tavernas and pubs accentuate the pleasure of montrealer’s daily joy.

    – Vice et Versa. Saint-Laurent et Saint-Zotique. Petite-Italie.(Best Québec brewed beer selection.)
    – Dieu du Ciel. Clark et Laurier. Mile-End. (Great brewery, great people.)
    – Le Réservoir. Saint-Laurent et Duluth. Plateau Mont-Royal. (Beautifull people and products)
    – L’amère à boire. Saint-Denis et Sherbrooke. Quartier Latin. (Like an island of peace and charm in quartier latin)
    – Taverne Dominion Square. Metcalfe et Sainte-Catherine. (Best 1920’s design in town, beautifull antiques, charming, delicious espresso and food.)

    Santé !

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. While I’m late in discovering it, I am now two weeks into a new life in Montreal and this guide will save me endless google searches for oh so many things.

    And of course, it makes my “places I must visit” to-do list that much longer!

  • For micro brewed beer and great food: Reservoir on Duluth (corner St-Laurent)… Nice staff and cool crowd. An incredible restaurant is La Salle a Manger on Mont-Royal (In the Plateau)… friendly, sunny and so good!

  • Hi,
    Can anyone recommend some thrift stores & fabric shops? Planning a trip at the end of summer. SO excited! Thanks for all this awesome info!! ~bridget

  • Ditto what Virginia said. I’m looking for a fun, not insanely expensive hotel to book at then end of July. Thanks!

  • Just returned from my first trip to Montreal and we planned many of our day trips around your recommendations. Man, were they worth it…Mile End was definitely a highlight for us. Thanks so much!

  • I echo Virgina…is there a great mid range hotel anyone can recommend? both mentioned in this guide are quite pricey.

  • Great city guide. Most of it was spot on. Just one point about Phil’z, in Mile End. If you have kids (and many people who buy furniture do) don’t bother going. In an otherwise family-friendly neighbourhood, this store stands out for staff that is rude to the point of being belligerent. Was once yelled at for daring to come into the store with a stroller (my son was asleep in it at the time, so I’m not sure where I was supposed to leave it.) My experience is not unique, nor is it limited to the Montreal store, apparently the Toronto location is equally unfriendly to families. There are a couple of other great furniture shops in the area, such as Castella, and for vintage you’re better off sticking to Amherst.

  • Great list, missing quite a few staples but better than the other ones I’ve see. In the plateau area, some stores should be moved to the mile end: unicorn, les touilleurs and barmacie. Commissaires should also be there but they closed their showroom a while back. Now it’s an amazing clothing store; in fact, there’s a serie of men stores on st Laurent in that specific section.

  • I am spending some time in Montreal right now, and I made a google map of these places to make it easier to find on the road:

    The florist Blume seem to have moved (it is not on St Laurent “the main”. Also couldn’t understand if Silophone is actually something you can visit…?

  • Getting psyched to explore Montreal for my bachelorette in August! I’m from DC & arriving with a group of friends, an artsy, fun-loving bunch. Saw the comment on Hotel Gault above. Any other hotels you can recommend with decent suites (pools, jacuzzis even better)? Eats, clubs, and additional suggestions welcome!

  • Our gallery – L’Affichiste – is situated on Notre Dame Street in the Antiques district (not far from the Atwater market and some of the other places you have mentioned in St. Henri). We have a huge selection of vintage, non-reproduction posters and our Victorian building has floor-to-ceiling windows, giving us great light and space in which to display our fabulous and original posters.
    We love this blog so much that if you come in and mention it to us, we’ll even give you a discount!!
    Thanks for featuring Montreal – we think it is a city with great taste, refined culture(s) and people who know precisely where the best place to live is – right here!

  • Ditto–I would never go into Philz in Toronto (or support their Montreal store). They are absolutely evil to children!

  • Looking for suggestions for New Year’s Eve 2012. Does anyone have any recommendations for where to find a good party or even a just a low-key hangout in a pub?

    Also, does anyone know if there is much open to visitors on New Years Day?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  • Hi everybody,
    I soon will be a Montrealer myself (for one short year), studying at UQAM.
    I wanted to know what neighborhoods to consider for housing that would be in a reasonable distance from the school – I’ve never lived in a big city and have a hard time figuring how far is too far.
    Thank you so much for your help, and thank you for this City Guide, lots of things to put on my list !

  • I got my super comfy Eames Lounge Chair from an online store in Montreal called Elite Modern Furniture. I’d recommend giving it a shot. Awesome prices and free shipping. Plus their support is top notch. Check em out.

  • I too wlove an update on Montreal! We are headed there in June for a week and are hoping to connect with local designers to feature at our home store in Santa Cruz.

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