Sep 26, 2011

What’s for Breakfast?

Breakfast is usually not a meal that invites a lot of culinary experimentation. Menus are pretty standard –save for a few unique tweaks according to each restaurant’s style. So instead of devoting entire entries for each locale, a more general review of some of Montreal’s best breakfast joints will follow. 

We begin with a restaurant that offers more of an upper-crust breakfast experience than most. Essentially, this is the ideal restaurant you would be inclined to take your mother to for a birthday brunch. In other words, a place that suggests you don’t indulge in hangover-induced caloric binges every Sunday morning. We’ll begin with the crème de la crème: Leméac. Many of you are not strangers to their ingenious and heavenly discounted late night table d’hôte special – however, their brunch menu is equally stellar. The star of this place is of course their brioche. You will not find a slice of French toast like this anywhere in the city. In fact, the restauranteurs of Leméac are so confident in this slice of breakfast heaven, that the dressed-up version is offered as a dessert on their dinner menu. The poached eggs, smoked salmon and Spanish caviar on blini is another great option and demonstrates a perfect pairing of execution and flavor. 

NB. Be prepared to leave with a dent in your wallet because this is probably going to be the most expensive breakfast you will ever pay for (but isn’t it all worth it knowing your mother leaves here with the impression that their child frequents only the most sophisticated of places?).

Onto the more wallet-friendly breakfast locales of Montreal, we have L’Avenue and Brasserie les Enfants Terribles. Both near or in the Plateau area, these are the places you go for a full and satisfying meal while you bask in the trendy ambiance. Both popular weekend destinations, these places are as much about the perfectly poached egg as they are about where the city’s socialites gather to discuss last night’s debaucheries. Enfant Terribles takes the cake for best décor with its modern meets log cabin aesthetic. Expect long waits at L’Avenue after 10 AM so be sure to arrive early and skip the brunch crowd. If you want to try a new and less crowded option, visit Fabergé which offers some unique twists on the classics. 
An oldie but a goodie – be sure to give Beauty’s a try if you haven’t already. Standard breakfast menu, with the mishmash being a popular signature dish. Long lineups on the weekend with the post-party crowds of students.  This is a Montreal landmark so shame on you if you’ve never indulged in a bagel and lox here at some point in your life. 

NDG boasts a few breakfast hot spots as well. Café Orange on Décarie is probably the best in terms of quality and quantity for your dollar. This place has been around for ages and the lineups on weekends never get any shorter. A local favorite, the crowd is a nice mix of families, elder folk, and twenty-somethings. Stellar pancakes and French toast. A few blocks up the street is Tiffany’s. Lacking some charm and not as wallet-friendly as Café Orange, however this place does the trick if you’re in a hurry and just need to fill your stomach with some generic breakfast food. One can’t, of course, forget Cosmo's - a local greasy spoon about the size of your kitchen pantry. This NDG legend offers one of the most affordable and satisfying breakfasts to start your day. Make sure you do not, under any circumstances, go for a cholesterol test after eating here. 

You could also go the breakfast chain route and visit your local Chez Cora’s or Ben & Florentine. The downside of these is the lack of ambiance and neighborhood charm and quality of food. On the upside they are more open to letting you substitute more healthy friendly options for each dish – such as fresh fruit instead of greasy potatoes – free of charge.

Since we’re running the gamut of Montreal’s best breakfast-brunch restaurants, we might as well include the following. The holy grail of all breakfasts: the Egg McMuffin with a side of hash browns. That’s right, as a restaurant blog, we have done the unthinkable and included a McDonald’s menu item. So what. It’s amazing and we know you’re thinking it too. 


L'Avenue on UrbanspoonLeméac on Urbanspoon

Beauty's on UrbanspoonLes Enfants Terribles on Urbanspoon
Cosmo on Urbanspoon

Orange Café on Urbanspoon

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