The world is abundant with cities that are ample with delectable restaurants, legitimate hubs of eating. From New Orleans to New York, London, Barcelona, Bologna, Boston, the list goes on… These are places where you can plan a two week vacation to, and spend the entirety of that time gorging yourself on world-class cuisine without a dull moment. These are places you can easily gain 10 to 15 pounds in the span of several weeks without blinking an eye. These are world renowned destinations that only the most dedicated of food connoisseurs venture to. Usually Montreal doesn’t make the cut to stand amongst those giants in the food world, but in this article I hope to convince you otherwise.
It is a family tradition that on your 18th birthday, you can select a destination from anywhere around the world and plan a vacation around it. We embark on these vacations with our mother, and spend our days wandering through historic areas, going to museums, exploring cities, and most importantly eating. For my trip I chose to focus primarily on the latter, and we did a masterful job eating our way through Montreal. After a wildly easy one hour flight from JFK Airport, we arrived in the promise land. Following our landing, we discarded our bags in the hotel and adjourned to the restaurants. The restaurant scene in the Old Port of Montreal, where our hotel was located, was outstanding. The beautiful grey stone buildings were bustling with action. Cafes, breweries, restaurants and high-scale shops were overflowing with patrons, tourists and residents alike. My mother and I flocked towards the renowned Olive & Gourmando (oliveetgourmando.com/) for a post-flight bite, but as we pulled the hefty door open we were met by a wall of hungry customers. We proceeded to put our name on the list to be seated, and headed into the frigid outdoors to explore the Port, building our hunger in the process.
As our hunger grew to unconquerable levels and ears and noses turned red from the cold, we wandered back into the restaurant. Luckily when we arrived, our seats were ready. While our faces thawed and we pulled off our jackets, a waitress provided us with the concise menu. The day was still young, and thus we ordered off the breakfast segment of the menu. I ordered a Dirty Chai and my Mom got a Mocha. My Mom followed her Mocha with a Oeuf Coquette and I followed my Dirty Chai with a “Poached Egg On Your Face” Panini.
The Dirty Chai is made with a shot of espresso, thus the “dirty” aspect of the name. It was rich and creamy at its base, but velvety and frothy at the brim. The Chai was intense in its spices and fierce in its flavors. After an hour outside in the wintry weather of Montreal, it was the perfect drink to warm every nook and cranny of my body.
The Mocha was laden with a copious amount of luxurious chocolate but packed one helluva caffeine kick on the tail end of the sip.
The Oeuf Coquette was made up in a small clay pot and was filled with a moist, runny poached egg floating in a shredded, steaming tomato soup with a light dusting of brittle feta, crispy crumbled house chorizo, and a buttery avocado. The dish was accompanied by a crusty grilled flatbread (for dipping purposes).
“The Poached Egg On Your Face” Panini was a masterpiece. Let me give you the breakdown. The sandwich was built on two oily, crisp pieces of ciabatta bread and was plentiful with several tender poached eggs, a scattering of fresh herbs, silky, melted Louis d’Or cheese, a thick layering of succulent, salty speck ham, hot slow roasted tomatoes, and a schmear of mayonnaise.
After our wonderful first experience at Olive + Gourmando, we returned back a few days later, ordering the same drinks, but this time getting a croissant. The croissant was delicate and flakey on the outside, but when split open, a supple, buttery inside was revealed. The pastries from Olive + Gourmando were unparalleled by any other place we went to on the trip.
Overall my experience at Olive + Gourmando was one I will savor forever, one that I recommend you try in the future. The food is fantastic, the Old Port is stunning, and the atmosphere is inviting and cozy. I would give it ZZZZV – 4 ½ Z’s – Great!