I’ve been in Montréal a few times now, with the most recent trip being after Christmas, so I decided it was time to put together an itinerary for a couples weekend trip in Montréal. Read on for hotel, restaurant, brunch and bar recommendations!
Arrive in Montréal and get settled into your hotel. Originally we were going to drive, but then we decided it wasn’t worth it given we were only in Montréal for 3 days and the drive is almost 6 hours each way, so we used our points and booked flights with Porter Airlines. The flight is only an hour so it saved us a lot of time! We headed straight to our hotel, Hotel Bonaventure from the airport. Check-in wasn’t until 4pm and we were there at 12.30pm but we decided to check if the room was ready, and luckily it was! If you room isn’t ready, it’s always handy to get checked in anyway and leave your bags at the hotel. We were upgraded to a Presidential Suite and all I can say is “WOW”. Our room was more like an apartment, it was absolutely fantastic. The hotel itself was fabulous and has a beautiful outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi and sauna, which was great. I love sitting in our outdoor jacuzzi during winter, there is something so nice about it.
The weather was bad the day we arrived, it was cold and wet out and there had been freezing rain that morning so everything was covered in a nice sheet of ice. Because of this, we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous hotel we were in, and head to the bar for some drinks and lunch. Phil had the Smoked Meat Poutine and I had the French Onion Soup and both dishes were delicious, Phil actually said it was one of the best Poutines he has had! If you don’t want to hang out in your hotel, then head out for lunch; Red Tiger or Sumac for a more casual option.
Head out for a romantic dinner on your first night, and go to Restaurant Bonaparte. Before going to the restaurant, grab a drink at a cute speakeasy across the street called BOHO! This is a trendy, tropical themed cocktail lounge that does some amazing cocktails. From the outside it looks like a small bakery, or dessert place, but don’t let that fool you! When you walk in, they will check your coats in the front bakery part, and then lead you to the back part which is the hidden tropical lounge. Be warned, they expect cash tips for the coat check so it’s better to have some on you if you are going there! The atmosphere was great in BOHO and it momentarily made us forget about the icy weather outside.
When your cocktails are done, go across the street to Restaraunt Bonaparte and enjoy fine French cuisine. We absolutely loved this restaurant and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Montréal. I had the duck for main course, and it was one of the best duck meals I have ever had. For a full review of the restaurant, click here.
After dinner, if you are feeling like a nightcap, head to Rue St. Vincent as there are a few bars around that area, including a fabulous tiny bar that takes you to Cuba! El Pequeño Bar holds about 10 people and makes cocktails that taste like they came straight out of Cuba. The Daiquiri was so delicious. I highly recommend going in there for some drinks.
Get up, fill up on breakfast and get ready for a day of exploring! If you aren’t doing breakfast at your hotel, then head to L’Avenue, however, be prepared to wait in line to get a spot, especially on weekends. Next up, head to the famous Notre Dame Basilica, the earlier you get there, the shorter the queue will be. It tends to get quite busy in the afternoons. It’s $10 for adults and kids under 6 get in for free. It’s well worth it though, and I’m not even a person who likes churches! Once you are inside it is absolutely beautiful. The alter is simply stunning and it’s very peaceful inside.
Once you have found your inner peace at Notre Dame Basilica, take some time to just wander around Old Montréal, it’s truly beautiful and you feel like you have stepped into Europe. Walk down to the waterfront and if you are feeling brave, you can do the zipline that’s down there. There is also a ferris wheel, and if you are there in winter, hidden behind the ferris wheel is a skating rink. The famous spa Bota Bota is also located on the waterfront. Because we had the outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi in our hotel, we didn’t go to Bota Bota, but I’ve heard from lots of people that it is amazing. The funky thing about Bota Bota is that it’s a historic river ferry that has been turned into an upscale spa.
Along the waterfront, you will also see the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel accross the street. You can go into the chapel and they also have a little museum. You can also pay $7 to go up to the lookout which gives you great views of the city and the waterfront.
My cousin Sam and his girlfriend Lara, were also in Montreal so we met up with them for dinner on Saturday night, adn we went to an Italian restaurant – Elena. The restaurant is slightly out, it took us about 10 minutes in an Uber so be aware of that before deciding to eat there. However, the food was really good, they are known for their pizza and pasta and the meal did not disappoint. Everyone at our table, except for me went for pizza, and they were very happy with it, I decided on a spicy pasta dish and it was really good and very flavourful. Some other restaurant recommendations are Beni Hana , their tepanyaki is amazing and L’Original is also fantastic – they do farm to table game and seafood dishes and the restaurant itself is funky and welcoming.
After that, we headed back to Rue St. Vincent to try and get into the Coldroom, which is a hidden speakeasy. After ringing the doorbell and giving our name and numbers, we ended up going back into El Pequeno Bar to wait. In the end it took so long to get the text from the Coldroom that we stayed in El Pequeno and enjoyed their cocktails!
Head to Le Cartet for brunch. It will be busy but the queue moves really fast as it’s really big inside. There was about 12 people ahead of us and we had to wait for about 15 minutes for a table, but it was well worth it. The food was really tasty. I had the Jalepeno, which is scrambled eggs with chorizo and other yummy stuff and my god, scrambled eggs have never tasted so good! They also have a delicious homemade hot sauce there!
If you don’t feel like walking around again today or the weather isn’t co-operating, then you can do the hop on hop off bus. If you buy a ticket, it is good for two days and it brings you to all the top attractions including Mount Royal Park, Chinatown and includes Old Montréal. This can be a nice way to see the city if you are a first time visitor to Montréal, and it’s exactly what we did with my parents a couple of years ago. You can buy tickets ahead of time here. The tours are guided so it’s also a nice way to learn about some of the history of Montreal. If all that newfound knowledge has made you thirsty, then I recommend stopping at Le Brewsky for a nice cold beer. This is a microbrewery and whiskey pub and has a great selection of drinks. The pub itself is small and cozy, perfect for some beers on a cold winter’s day!
Other points of interest
Montréal has a lot to see and do, so here are some more places that you might want to visit if you have time:
- Saint Joseph’s Oratory
- Montréal Botanical Gardens
- Montréal Science Centre
- Tommy – for coffee
- Crew Collective & Cafe
- Ming Tao Xian tea house
- Schwartz’s Deli
- Greenwood for routine
Enjoy your next trip to Montréal! Until next time 🙂
Disclaimer: Our room was upgraded at Hotel Bonaventure at no cost and our meal at Restaurant Bonaparte was complimentary, however, all opinions expressed above are my own.