banh-mi-montreal © Will Travel for Food

Great mural at Báhn Mi Queen

It seems like summer still has its foot set right in on this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in Montreal! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! The leaves have just started donning their shimmering fall wardrobe and are dancing against the crystalline, cloudless sky. The crisp autumn light is just gorgeous but the air is as warm as a bright summer day. It feels great to be frolicking outdoors especially when you have a three-day weekend to enjoy.

Since the theme of the weekend seems to be bright colours, I thought I could tell you all about a few, very colourful establishments I’ve recently visited and loved. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Le Super Qualité – snack bar indien

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Le Super Qualité Indian Snack Bar {photo © Le Super Qualité}

This has been at the top of my list for a while now. Young owners Guillaume Lozeau and Jennifer Zachanawich were running the catering service Cook Caravan before deciding to partner up with Étienne Clément to open this very super little Indian shop. The restaurant is inspired by their travels and India’s casual snack bars. The dining room is a mix of bar seating and lower tables with an open kitchen on one end. The walls are painted a bright turquoise and accents of sunny yellow and deep reds are scattered all over this very cheery snack bar. Cheeky winks at India along with vintage accents create a kitshy, happy space that you’ll want to linger in. The menu is short but so enticing, you’ll want to order everything (which is what I almost did). If you’re in need of help deciding, just ask and the staff will be glad to give you a hand. I almost missed out on the best thing on the menu if it wasn’t for Guillaume who recommended I order the Dahi Batata Puri, a heavenly mélange of yogurt, crispy potato puffs, fried vermicelli and some magical sauces that made this addictive. Another favourite snack was the fried okra, which I am not a fan of in any form but fried. The okras were perfectly crispy and beautifully seasoned. A winning dish! The veg and non-veg thalis change every week and the one I tried was deliciously satisfying. Good thing Le Super Qualité is only a 10-minute walk from my place because I will definitely be back to try everything else on their menu.

Bánh Mi Queen

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The grilled steak báhn mi sandwich at Montreal’s Báhn Mi Queen

Do you like sandwiches? Bánh mi are some of my favourite sandwiches and these from the newly opened Banh Mi Queen are pretty delicious. The small take out counter is carved out of the Big in Japan space on the corner of Pine Avenue and St-Laurent Boulevard. The wall behind the counter is painted bright yellow and decorated with rows of sriracha bottles, thus creating a hot (pun intended!) and bold pattern. The opposite wall is covered with a colourful mural. The menu is short and includes 4 sandwiches and 2 salads. I ordered the grilled steak báhn mi and it was delicious! The bread is soft yet crispy and the sandwich consists of several layers of meat, sauces, crisp marinated vegetable and fresh herbs. This definitely deserves a spot on my list of Montreal’s best sandwiches.

Café Bonita

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Café Bonita’s colourful façade

EDIT: This little café is now closed due to an unfortunate fire that took out the entire building. Very sad.

I saw the bright turquoise façade of this café before it had opened and it reminded me of Havana’s colourful buildings and beautiful doors. Located on Viger Street near Chinatown, the tiny spot is the latest addition to Montreal’s growing list of independent cafés. A few seats are available inside the tiny store but the best ones are out in front of the cheerful façade. Order a classic café cubano or a café bombón, a layered concoction of condensed milk, espresso and foam. The affogato is also delicious.

Le Petit Dep

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Le Petit Dep’s bright exterior in Old Montreal {photo © Le Petit Dep}

Right in the heart of Old Montreal, on charming Saint-Paul street is the brightly coloured Le Petit Dep. Inside is a treasure trove of great products including a great collection of fine chocolate bars that made my heart flutter. Le Petit Dep is not new but they’ve recently renovated by adding a fresh layer of bright paint and charming accents to attract the passerby’s attention, and judging from the number of people snapping photos in front of it, it’s working. You can also get a great cup of specialty coffee, some pastries, ice cream and lunch here. There are only 4 stools available for in-store seating, eating or working but this is the grab and go kind of place you’ll want to get to know.

La graine brûlée

la-graine-brulee-cafe-montreal © Will Travel for Food

Café La graine brûlée’s colourful space {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

I haven’t been to this café yet but I’ve seen my friend Jeff’s photos of it and it’s definitely a must on this list of colourful Montreal spots. It just may be THE most colourful!. Have you been? Leave me a comment with your impressions and I’ll give it a try soon.

Café Bonita, Le Petit Dep and La graine brûlée have all been added to my list and Google map of Montreal’s best independent cafés, so you may always be close to a good cup of coffee.

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