St. Viateur's looks like a mini factory the second you walk in. There's a guy with an impossibly long paddle lined with bagels that he's either putting into a large kiln-like looking oven, or taking out of the oven and dumping them into a big wooden trough. They have a few token varieties such as plain, seseme and poppy seed (the classics!) and if you're lucky like me, they'll be so fresh you can't even pick them up yet because they're so hot from just being baked.
There's no seats in St. Viateur's. It's strictly take-away. But there's a few coolers filled with cream cheeses, smoked salmon and various dips for you to purchase if you simply can't wait unitl you get home, or you don't want to stop by a grocery store. I think the prices were pretty comparible though. We took our bagels to a near-by coffee shop a little further down rue St. Viateur, purchased some coffee and sat on the outdoor patio to eat ours.
It's hard to describe why or how Montreal bagels differ from other bagels. Maybe part of it was the fact that they were so fresh that made them so good. But it just seemed like they were chewier and the texture was better. Sorry, I don't really know how else to put it! Definitely worth the trip to Outremont!
Also, on a side note, if you take Ave Du Parc to get there, it's lined with some incredibly cheap fruit markets. We got some fantastic blackberries and raspberries for less than $1 CAD/quart last summer.
Along with Celine Dion, the Olympic stadium and the Canadiens hockey team, the bagel is probably one of Montreal’s best known symbols. But do you know why? Because Montreal bagels are rather unique, and what makes them different also makes them tastier. Specifically, I think that Montreal bagels beat out New York and Toronto bagels, hands down.
But don’t just take my word for it. Check out this video of some Montreal bagel die-hards at St-Viateur Bagel. http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Blogs/Epicurean-Life/Montreal-Bagels-The-Lowdown
When I think of Montreal food, I always think of smoked meat and bagels. This is because Montreal is famous for its own unique style of bagels and their own unique way of preparing smoked meat.
While there are many bagel shops in the city of Montreal, St-Viateur's is possibly the most legendary and a local favourite. For starters, they've been around since 1957!
On a cold December evening, we wandered through my significant other's old childhood neighbourhood and stumbled across St-Viateur's. I doubt it was by accident.
Through the windows I could see the bakers at work, baking the round pieces of dough in the wood-burning oven. We walked in and the smell was delicious. Even though it was cold and dark outside, people were arriving to pick up their bagels. It turns out that this place is open 24 hours! As we stood in line I noticed the coolers containing all kinds of cream cheeses, and all kinds of smoked salmon for the bagels.
When it was our turn, we bought half a dozen bagels - 3 poppyseed and 3 sesame seed. They were so fresh, they were still hot! They were put into a brown paper bag, and away we went.
Outside I bit into the fresh poppyseed bagel. The entire thing was covered in poppy seeds. The bagels themselves are made with a sweet, dense dough of malt flour, flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, oil and water. The bagels are then simmered in hot honey water for 4 minutes which gives them their sheen and their sweetness.
This is quite a different style from the New York bagel, Montreal's biggest bagel rival. However, you can't compare Montreal bagels really... accept them for what they are. Some people say that they remind them of fresh-baked soft pretzels. Whatever they remind you of, I think they're definitely a must-try when you're in Montreal!
Favorite Dish: While St-Viateur bagels are excellent fresh as they are, you can also slice them in half and toast them with cheese. They make an excellent snack!
A great restaurant in a trendy part of the NDG (Notre-Dame-de-Grace) district. We went for brunch on a Saturday afternoon and had to wait 30 minutes for a table (as they don't accept reservations). But the food was definitely worth the wait!! The waitresses and manager were quick, friendly and efficient despite the crowd and the small space. The menu was easy to read in French or English and it offered a variety of bagel sandwiches with extras such as homefries, salads, cheese, etc. The juice menu included orange, apple and grapefruit. Desserts were strawberry cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate cake and some other goodies. You could also simply have bagels to go. The best thing about their bagels is that they have no preservatives and you can choose flaxseed, wholewheat, plain and sesame flavours among others! Good value and great tasting food!
Favorite Dish: Sloppy Johnny
It is probably Montreal's most famous bagel shop. It first opened its door in 1957. A small shop with no design, except for the newspaper and magazine clippings about the shop that are hung on the wall. Everyone comes here simply to buy the freshly baked bagels. You can see the workers preparing the dough and put them into the stone oven right in front of you. There are a number of varieties to choose from, such as poppy and 9 grains. You can them individually, half a dozen or a dozen. There are also all kinds of spread, cream cheese and anything that goes good with bagels. The store opens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Favorite Dish: The bagels are so fresh and soft, unlike anything I've tried before. The freshness still stays even though I bought half a dozen 2 days ago. I recommend the poppy ones.
When you get in the bakery, you see the 'factory' : a man rolling bagels, putting them in the oven ; another one pulling them out of the oven, and gently throwing them in a vat in front of you...
This is one of my children's memories... The smell if fresh bagel in the bag, still hot, and my mom or dad letting me hold the bag! And I knew they were hiding some cream cheese, somewhere in another bag! Heheh!
Favorite Dish: Bagel and cream cheese... argh! MIAM!
Yes, its in every guidebook and there is always a wait in the morning, but it's worth it. The wait wasn't outrageous, the service was good and fast, the prices are cheap and the bagels are yummy. I like NYC bagels better, but these were the best I had in Montreal.
They give you plenty of food-- don't be fooled by the thinness of the bagels-- they are filling. My friend got a salad that was huge!
Favorite Dish: Cinnamon Raison Bagel!! With butter!! The tea was pretty darned good, though, too.
Nothing but fresh warm bagels. They don't toast them with butter or anything. I respect that, and after tasting them you don't really need anything else. I prefer the Montreal style to the New York style, so for me this is the best bagel shop on earth. If you're not familiar with the Montreal style, it is quite unique and well worth checking out.
Favorite Dish: Definitely the best bagel around, baked 24 hours a day, jewish style, thin donut with big hole, either with sesame or poppy seeds. Not that huge donut bread-type with a tiny hole crap, New York style with dozens of flavours (onion, blueberry, etc...).
I was neighbour of their 2 locations on St-Viateur for more than a year and got so addicted, i dumped bread to buy their bagels everyday. Now in California, i make a special turn every time I visit Montreal to buy 2 dozens and stuff that in my suitcase (call me crazy!). Their bagels are not comparable to anything you can find in the supermarkets. Bagels are not round-shaped bread...they're bagels. You can only understand this after you tasted a bagel there.
If you know Noah's bagel in the US...let me tell you...their stuff is flavored bread compared to St-Viateur.
The restaurant is opened 24 hours and if there is a line up at the location close to Ave du Parc, walk East where they have an other location on the same street (on the other side of the street). There are not much space to park around there but everyone squat the old bank parking beside it. You won't get towed.
They give plastic bags to freeze your bagels. The dry up quick so it's good to freeze them. I put icve pack in my suitcase to keep them good.
For something a bit different, walk down one street to Fairmount Bagels...it's the main contendor...
And there is the Arahova Greek restaurant across the street, a must try !
Favorite Dish: Bagels and their Smoked Salmon variety.
Montreal is somewhat famous for its homemade bagels and this place is one of the best! They make them fresh each day by hand and the results are impressive.
Favorite Dish: A sesame seed bagel and a cup of coffee gets me off to the right start in the morning.
For the best bagels in Montreal - some people say the world! - I recommend you go to du Parc and St. Viateur (south of Bernard and north or Laurier). Walk 1/2 block east and you'll find St. Viateur's bagels. Fresh, delicious, and ohhh so wonderful!
Favorite Dish: As an aside, I have an ongoing "debate" with one Peter Franklin, a famous taxi driver in New York City [www.gabby.com] about bagels. Even hinting to him that Montreal bagels might be superior to those found in NYC is sacrilege! If you happen to be going to New York right after Montreal then do me a favour and bring half a dozen bagels down to Peter and take one of his excellent tours!!