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European Escape to Montreal

Last year for Mark’s birthday we spent some time in  Colorado, so why not keep the tradition going and go away for his birthday again?! We originally had planned to go to Seattle, but the flights kept getting more expensive so we decided to save a little money & fly to Montreal, Canada! We booked less than a week in advance and got a good flight deal and great Airbnb for our little getaway.

Day 1:

Since the flight was so short, we were able to take a smaller plane to Montreal from Newark.  I wasn’t expecting any snacks or anything on such a quick flight, but was thrilled to see when they handed us Byrd’s maple wafer cookies! They were the same cookies we had when  we visited Savannah.

When we landed, obviously our first stop was to get coffee at somewhere Mark researched –  Café Saint-Henri. Nice to add a little pep in your step and ease into the morning! Our Airbnb wasn’t ready yet, so we grabbed lunch at  Burger Bar Crescent, known on Yelp as “one the best burger joints.”  We had the *delicious* buffalo mac and cheese, a beef & veggie burger and local beer. We then visited  Montreal Underground City which is a big underground mall – right up my alley!

Everyone in town was overly excited about the Montreal International Fireworks Competition taking place over the Jacques-Cartier Bridge at night, so we had to go check it out.  We had an awesome night watching the fireworks with synchronized music but of course, it started down pouring on us LOL. We were the only people without umbrellas and were completely soaked, but it was still quite the sight! We walked back to where our Airbnb was and went to this cute little restaurant/bar by our place called  Bar Furco. We got drinks and to our surprise, the kitchen was already closed! We decided to call it an early night and head back to the Airbnb to watch How I Met Your Mother – which is still on Netflix in Canada! Great news for us.

Day 2:

We started our morning at  Pikolo Coffee where we enjoyed some coffee and chai tea with a cheese/pepper scone and croissant. Since we didn’t have a car, we Ubered to Mount Royal. We hiked the mountain (without a map) and eventually got to the  Mount Royal Lookout where we saw a great view of the city. It was super packed with other tourists, but we were able to snap a few pictures while listening to a man playing the piano at the top!

We didn’t get enough walking in ?, so we decided to do some more walking around Downtown Montreal and checked out all the pretty architecture, including the Notre-Dame Basilica.  I read great reviews about  Il Focolaio so that was one of the “must go” places on our list because it has a massive pizza menu with tons of options to choose from. We sat outside and enjoyed some personal pizzas and local beer as well as a salad for balance!

After lunch we walked around to digest a little and listened to some live music on the street. We also walked up and down St. Laurent Boulevard to see what all the hype was about. Mark couldn’t go on vacay without trying to find the nearest rock gym, so we spent a few hours at  Allez Up, which was a fun little stop! After all the activity, Mark’s cousin (who he’s never met before) lives in Montreal, so we met up with her for the night and tried some Poutine at  Dunn’s Famous. I didn’t know how I’d feel about it, but it was actually good! They’re also known for their smoked meat! We spent a few hours talking and hanging out, and it was really great to see them catch up.

Day 3:

Before going to Montreal, everyone kept saying their bagels competed with NYC/NJ bagels and we had to try! We went to  Crew Collective & Café (which is actually an old bank vault) for some yummy coffee and bagels/toast. The bagel was actually very different than I imagined as it was covered in sesame seeds and crunchy! It was tasty but there’s still no competition to our bagels. 🙂

We walked around Old Montreal and explored the Sailor’s Memorial Clock Tower down by the water. It was beautiful! Then we went to Chinatown and got dumplings for a little yummy lunch at one of the nearby restaurants, Mai Xiang Yuan (cash only).  After doing a lot more walking, we stopped at  Arepera Du Plateau for mid afternoon lunch part two. I had a La Sifrina arepa which was filled with pulled chicken, cheddar cheese and “Reina pepiada”- just enough to hold us over!

If you’re starting to catch on, this trip was a ton of walking and eating. We relaxed for a little and went to Gibby’s for dinner which came HIGHLY recommended by our Uber driver. When you sit down, they give you warm bread and butter with a massive plate of pickles. So random but we were into it! We shared the delicious French onion soup and I had chicken and a baked potato. So.much.food. But that didn’t stop us from getting dessert since we all have a second stomach for dessert, right?!

We went to the highly recommended  Chocolats Favoris for some dipped ice cream cones!  We strolled around town and listened to another live band outside before calling it a night.  

Day 4:

Our final day was supposed to be an early morning flight out so we could get home in time to celebrate Mark’s birthday in Brooklyn with his friends, but to our surprise our flight was CANCELLED. The airline was trying to get us on the next flight which was days away but of course, I was not allowing such a thing. I got our flight refunded and booked another flight which had a connection from Montreal to Toronto to Newark.

We had a few hours before having to catch out flight, so we went for some brunch! The lobster eggs benedict at  Eggspectation was really good! We wandered around so I could get some souvenirs and wound up back at the underground mall. Afterwards, we still had time to spare and stopped at  Café Humble Lion Coffee where I had maple coffee. We were en route to the airport when I received a notification that our flight from Toronto to Newark had been cancelled. What the heck was going on?! Someone was trying to keep us in Canada!

I highly recommend Porter Airlines. Their customer service was amazing! The employees worked their magic to get us on the next flights out and what was even better – unlimited wine, beer, non-alcoholic drinks and snacks! We were also lucky enough to sit next to a cute little puppy while we were waiting in Toronto. Eventually we did get home and I got refunded for my parking. (I’m still working on the refund for my flights. ☺)

Montreal is a great place for a quick weekend getaway! It felt like we were in Europe without having to travel too far away.

xo C