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4.03.2015

10 Places to Eat & Shop in Montreal

montreal fashion, boston fashion blogger
Vintage coat, Sorel boots
Barroco Montreal; where to eat in Montreal
Barroco, in the heart of Old Montreal on Saint-Paul Street West & Saint-Pierre
montreal shopping, EPSACE PEPIN
ESPACE PEPIN (Maison) on Saint-Paul Street in Old Montreal
boston fashion blogger, boston style blogger, what to wear in montreal
House of Harlow 1960 Sunglasses
Patrice Patissier Montreal, where to eat Montreal
Roasted squash and arugula salad with almonds and cheese at Patrice Pâtissier on rue Notre-Dame West

Vibrant, a little edgy, but still steeped in history and elegance, Montreal is an easy escape for Americans ready to engage in a little Francophilia. Where Quebec City is quaint, and undoubtedly, unmistakably French, Montreal feels like a modern mash-up of Paris and Toronto, but with the ease and walkability of Boston. A city with an enthusiastic, affable vibe, but with a very high cool-factor, every corner brims with something a little distinct; Montrealers seem to observe the world through an unpretentious, yet experimental lens. 

A five hour drive (or hour and ten minute flight) from Boston, the city is perfect for a weekend getaway. Read on for ten of my favorite spots in Montreal! 
Harricana par Mariouche
Rows of fur caps at Harricana par Mariouche on Saint-Antoine West
Where to Stay: Hôtel Le Germain feels posh, but remarkably friendly, and offers ultra-thoughtful amenities (think: in-room Nespresso machines, luxuriously roomy walk-in showers, sinfully soft linens, hotel produced travel and fashion magazines that are actually fun to read). It's as though the staff has anticipated your every need, providing the answer before you even have the question, in the most unassuming, unpretentious way possible. The design and decor is the perfect marriage of chic and cozy, and the central location makes the whole city accessible. Pet friendly, with reasonable prices, this is my ne plus ultra of a modern, metropolitan hotel. (2050, rue Mansfield)

Best Restaurants in Montreal, if You're in the Mood For:

Funky, casual dining with the locals - Patrice Pâtissier: A pastry shop, hip luncheonette and a classroom all in one, this light-filled, airy eatery by Patrice Demers is nestled in the ultra-cool neighborhood of Little Burgundy. Poke around in the neighboring dusty antique shops (only in Montreal will the ultra-cool neighborhood include dusty antique shops), and then pop in for the simple, delectable menu. (2360, rue Notre-Dame West)

Tea & diamonds - Birks Café: Come for the breathtaking jewelry, timepieces and gifts in Maison Birks, stay for afternoon tea by Chef Jérôme Ferrer. Complete with sandwiches, scones, macaroons, and, of course, teas, Birks is a perfect mid-day pit stop after an afternoon of shopping on rue St. Catherine. While you're there, why not finish with a glass of bubbly and try on some diamonds? (1240 Phillips Square)

Authentic Quebec cuisine - Laurie Raphaël: Tucked neatly into the Hôtel Le GermainLaurie Raphaël is so much more than a hotel restaurant. Chef Daniel Vézina, and his son Raphaël Vézina firmly root their cuisine in Quebec (think: regional ingredients, a focus on simplicity), but strive for creativity. Even the decor nods to Quebec artists. (2050, rue Mansfield)

The perfect cup of coffee (just the way you like it) -  Café Myriade: A number of these recommendations come in surprising places (jewelry store, hotel), and Café Myriade is no exception. Located in the basement of the Club Monaco flagship, this chic little coffee shop has a surprising array of coffee and pastries. Don't let the variety of coffees scare you; this place doesn't take itself too seriously. The baristas are funny, friendly and offer helpful recommendations for non-coffee-connoisseurs (like me). (1000 rue Saint-Catherine West, inside Club Monaco)

Modern / Old World - Barroco: Ask any Montrealer for restaurant recommendations, and they're sure to have Barroco on the list, for good reason. With inventive cocktails, a casual but complete wine list, and brief, but well-rounded menu, you'll be surprised at how such a small restaurant can feel so lofty in its' endeavours. The stone walls and soft lighting (as well as the romantic location in Old Montreal) make this a perfect date spot. (312 Saint-Paul West)

Best Shops in Montreal, if You're in the Mood For:

Minimalist rebel - Rudsak: A little rebellious, but functionally so, Rudsak offers women and men's clothing, accessories, outerwear and shoes with supple leather and artful uses for fur. Streamlined and simple, the pieces let the materials speak for themselves. (visit www.rudsak.com for locations)

That perfect gift - ESPACE PEPIN: The Pepin family has an eye for design, as demonstrated in their Saint-Paul shops. Whether it's fashion (350) or home decor (378), you'll find the unique gift you're looking for (especially if it is a gift for you!). (350 and 378 Saint-Paul West)

Responsible fur - Harricana par Mariouche: You'll see a lot of furriers in Montreal, but Harricana is the go-to for responsible, recycled fur. Lest your mind immediately turn towards "stodgy", this is not your grandmother's coat! For fifteen years, Mariouche Gagné has been redesigning vintage furs into stylish, up-to-date pieces for the modern gal. You'll likely find hats and other accessories in local boutiques all across Montreal, but don't miss stopping by the Harricana workshop and boutique; the back room (where Gagné's team works on the vintage pieces) is gasp-inducing, and you may run into Gagné herself, who is amicable, passionate, and totally, straightforwardly cool. (3000, Saint-Antoine West)

Edgy / classic - M0851: This balanced, innovative brand is the epitome of the marriage between form and function. Designed and produced in Montreal, M0851 is unabashedly Quebec; there's an obvious DNA that resonates throughout the collections. Watch out - the leather jackets are the final word in chic. (visit www.M0851.com for locations)

Urban cool - Denis Gagnon: A Canadian fashion legend, it would just be wrong to visit Montreal without popping into Gagnon's boutique. Known for his "couture" approach to leather, Gagnon is the precursor to most of the designers / brands on this list. Expect pieces that mirror the Montreal attitude  - approachably cool. (170B rue Saint-Paul West)

Interested in visiting Montreal and Quebec? Read about great places to eat and shop in Quebec City

Cafe Myriade, Club Monaco Montreal
Café Myriade in the Club Monaco flagship on rue St. Catherine


montreal fur
Furs at Hurricana
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This post is presented in part by Tourism Quebec