We attended Le Festival du Jazz de Montréal in early July and although not particular jazz fans we had a thoroughly enjoyable time. We have attended the last few years and find that we go more for the food and beverage aspects of Montréal then for the music. It is a short drive from southern New Hampshire, the Canadians are a very hospitable group, the restaurants are inviting, many let you bring your own wine and I get to stop by King Arthur’s Flour on the way back.
It seems that French culture everywhere supports quality food, fresh wholesome food, artisans craftmanship and good wine. Like New Hampshire, Quebec Province rigidly controls the sale of wine and spirits but that is where the similarities stop. They have a very broad selection of wines and formats in addition to offering whites and rosés already chilled. The attitude towards alcohol consumption in public is condoned and they certainly have more of the Live Free attitude that makes Canada such a great place to visit.
We took a side trip this year to the Atwater Street Market, which really isn’t a street market but more of a permanent structure on Atwater Street. It is a short walk from the Metro station. Blueberries, raspberries and especially strawberries were in full attendance, the building is surrounded by flower markets and inside the building is a bakery, coffee roaster, pasta maker and numerous butcher shops.
There were also numerous vegetable vendors in attendance and I was struck selection of tomatoes:
One of the restaurants that we frequent is a classic French Bistro which has no liquor license but plenty of wine glasses and ice buckets if those are required. There is no corkage fee. It is located on a primarily pedestrian street that runs between boulevard Saint Laurent and Place du Saint-Louis.Le Square 162 rue Prince Arthur est
Around the corner is a Portuguese Tapas restaurantPapas 3547 boulevard Saint Laurent
Down the hill and a little east is another French inspired restaurant that looks an awful lot like a college bar until you go inside and sit in the tiered open air court-yard.Le Pèlerin-Magellan 330 rue Ontario est
And if you are looking for Dim Sum then just on the edge of Chinatown is:La Maison Kam Fung 1111 rue Saint Urbain
These restaurants are all fairly close to the Jazz Fest venue but if you venture back towards the center of Montréal on Sainte Catherine or Peel Street then you will find many, many more. Or for a nice change go to Old Montréal, walk along the river and soak in some the history. It is a truly delicious Town.