A version of this article was first written for Guestful
Montreal is a city that loves to brunch, as witnessed by the dozens of restaurants who offer great brunch options every weekend and the hundreds of Montrealers who take them up on these offers. I look forward to a leisurely brunch on the weekends and I know I’m not the only one. However, sometimes, I don’t really fee like waiting in line to get into the latest hip spot or devouring a plate of homemade offal sausage on a bed of foraged greens. Some mornings what I really crave is the simplicity of a classic brunch offering: eggs, bacon, toast or perhaps some pancakes or waffles. Below is a short list of my favourite classic Montreal brunches.
Open for breakfast every day of the week for 30 years now, L’Express is where you head for a classic French breakfast, complete with a side of authentic Parisian brasserie ambiance. Express has classic offerings that you can mix and match like baguette beurrée et confiture, rillette, eggs, croissant or their delicious thick and moist pain doré.
Beauty’s serves what is, in my opinion, the most “Montreal” breakfast. In operation since 1942 and open 7 days a week, this is probably where the concept of “brunch” was born in Montreal. The Beauty’s Special – a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon – has become a true representative of Montreal here and everywhere else.
Open in 2001, Leméac has since become a classic brunch spot on chic Laurier Avenue in Outremont. The famous terrasse is very coveted in the summer (and heated in the winter) and the absolutely decadent pain doré – a supersize version of the classic French toast – is one of the most beloved items on the brunch menu.
I remember when Café Souvenir first opened in 1992 and how quickly I became a regular at weekend brunch. It’s open seven days a week from 7am and has since become a classic spot offering an extensive breakfast menu. It’s also a great spot for people watching.
Byblos le petit café
Brunch is served every day of the week at Byblos where the flavours of the Middle East lend warmth to the menu. Their feta omelette has become legendary in Montreal and is addictive, but any of their other breakfast offerings are equally tantalizing.
La Croissanterie Figaro
When you cross the threshold of La Croissanterie, it feels like you’re stepping into a Parisian bistro. Open daily from 7am, they serve fresh, homemade croissants all day long and a classic breakfast menu. In the summer, the wraparound corner terrasse is one of the best in town!
Flapjacks, biscuits and jam, chicken and waffles and classic egg dishes is what you’ll find on the Nouveau Palais brunch menu, all set in a classic diner décor in the heart of hipster Mile End. I love this unpretentious spot at any time of day.
Chez Nick used to be my go-to weekend brunch or lunch spot when I lived closer to it. A classic since 1920, Chez Nick is family-run institution located in Westmount. They offer no frills breakfast items such as pancakes, omelettes and eggs in a classic diner setting with great, friendly service.