One of our favourite cities that we’ve visited as a family has been Montreal. While it makes things easier if you speak a bit of French, with the amount of family attractions and great food in Montreal, you’re guaranteed an amazing time no matter your grasp of the language.
Now, my list of Top Ten Montreal Restaurants for Families leans more toward the foodie side than the “let your kids run wild” side. I may not have sleep trained Ella, but I definitely restaurant-trained her and my recommendations are based on our personal experience of bringing a well-behaved foodie kid to these restaurants.
She sometimes stands on her chair to eat and will strike up a conversation with the person at the next table, but she’s usually pretty good about keeping her noise level down and staying in her seat. If your kids are a bit more enthusiastic, Montreal is a great city for finding quick deli grabs and family-friendly cafes, and a couple of these restaurants will still be good picks.
Juliet et Chocolat
We ate at two Juliet et Chocolat locations during our stay – we loved our experience at the Laurier Ouest location, but found the manager at the Ste Catherine location to be rude, which is obviously not what you want in a family restaurant. However, our experience at the first location was so wonderful that the chain is still making the list.
The staff was generous and kind to Ella, and offered to watch our stuff during the frequent bathroom visits that Ella insisted upon (probably something about ascending that gorgeous staircase). Plus, the food – especially the chocolate, oh the chocolate – was amazing.
What we ate: Chocolate fondue for two, Cafe Mocha, and The Spinach Complete crepe.
An amazing gourmet restaurant that seems like it should be a lot more pretentious than it is. They treated Ella to a couple of extra dishes and the chef came out to meet her after she sent back her compliments. They have lunch and supper seating and I would bring a family for lunch, mostly out of respect for the other patrons.
The food was beautifully executed and presented, and they were willing to bring out the dishes a bit quicker to accommodate a shorter lunch period for children.
What we ate: Lobster cappuccino with truffle puree; house smoked jerky; pea gazpacho with snow crab and celeriac remoulade; caramelized scallops; and an amazing assortment of desserts, including madeline cookies, cotton candy, creme brulee, banana pudding, and meringues
Jamie Oliver’s only North American location, Maison Publique is helmed by the wonderful Chef Dammon who Ella was sad to have not met. (He was in two old reruns of Jamie’s show and Ella was so excited at the idea Jamie Oliver would hire a Canadian.)
We had a wonderful experience at Maison Publique, the staff was so attentive and encouraging of my budding chef, sending her out complimentary dishes to try, welcoming her into the kitchen to prepare her own dessert, and showing her their edible flower garden. She may have also been told to come see them for a job when she’s 16, and still almost a year later she still talks about, “when I’m 16 and move to Montrenal to become a chef.”
Even without the special treatment, Maison Publique had expertly prepared, simple dishes that honoured British traditions while still staying true to their French-Canadian surroundings, and the little details throughout the restaurant were fun to discover and made you feel like you were in a rustic cabin that could have been found in the English or Quebec countrysides.
What we ate: Rabbit; prosciutto and melon; Welsh rarebit; bakewell tart; and a soft serve ice cream prepared by Ella!
Patisserie Au Kouign Amann
THE BEST CROISSANTS EVER. A small cafe surrounded by little else that you’ll want to visit with kids (other than some other great restaurants), Au Kouign Amann has an amazing assortment of pastries, some of which sell out before the late afternoon, so try to get there early — and bring cash, as they do not have debit.
We returned back at least five times throughout our week-long stay… they are that good.
What we ate: Croissants, chocolate croissants, cheese croissants and one slice of kouign amann which I did not get a single bite of…
Located at: Avenue du Mont-Royal E, Montréal, QC H2T
Au Pied de Cochon
I’ve mentioned before my daughter’s slightly concerning obsession with Anthony Bourdain, and this restaurant definitely made it onto our itinerary because she watched him eat a disturbing amount of food at this restaurant in an old episode of No Reservations… and you don’t have to ask me twice when foie gras is involved!
Great neighbourhood, friendly staff, and a fun atmosphere, and though the staff was nice about communicating in English, they definitely preferred communicating in French so brush up a bit before your visit if you’re not fluent.
What we ate: Foie Gras Cromesquis (mousse in breading); house salad; Foie Gras Poutine; Tarte de boudin; Cheesecake
While in line for this classic deli, we spoke with a family who had driven four hours out of their way to grab a sandwich. If that’s not a testament to Schwartz’s tasty smoked meat, I don’t know what is.
The servings are incredibly generous and the waiter snuck Ella a free sandwich after watching her devour one completely to herself. (I couldn’t even finish half of mine – it was an impressive feat.) She somehow also managed to eat an entire chicken poutine within half an hour of finishing the sandwich…
What we ate: Smoked meat sandwich, french fries, pickles, and coleslaw. And a coke, of course.
We stopped at two specialty crepe places, and ordered crepes at several others, and Une Crepe? was definitely the stand-out. (Not to mention they encouraged Ella to watch her crepes get made and allowed her to put the final touches on her plate.)
What we ate: Nutella Crepe with extra strawberries
Ella loved this cafe where we stopped twice during our stay to sit and eat decadent pastries and sip water (her) and espresso (me). The staff was incredibly friendly and helped us track down a close-by convenience store that sold San Pellegrino lemonade, which we absolutely needed for our picnic that afternoon.
What we ate: Macarons, croissants, strawberry tarts… and way too much espresso. They also had sandwiches and other lunch options.
Fairmont or St. Viateur Bagels
You have to eat bagels in Montreal, and if you’re like me, you have to eat bagels from the top two competing bagel empires and compare the two. I found the bagels from each to be distinctly different, but delicious. St. Viateur’s allowed Ella to go “behind the scenes” and check out the bagel making process, while Fairmount was close to a great toy store and had chocolate chip bagels, so she was a happy girl.
What we ate: BLT; sesame seed bagel; and chocolate chip bagels.
Dinette Triple Crown
A take-out picnic joint, this is a brilliant idea for a family, especially if the kids can be a bit unpredictable or you need a super low-key option. It’s also close to the Arts Center, making it the perfect option if you want to grab something casual and fun for lunch or supper to compliment having to stay in their seats during a performance.
What we ate: fried chicken; pork belly and chicken liver mousse bahn-mis
- Garde Manger. We stopped by this restaurant after having called first – they do not allow children due to their licensing, but they welcomed Ella into the kitchen for some photos and an ice cream brownie dessert. Definitely a great one to check out if you’re without kids one night.
- Ritz-Carlton. We had afternoon tea here but there were eyes on us from the other patrons the whole time, despite how well behaved Ella was – even though the staff was friendly, I wouldn’t say this location was “family friendly” unless you were attending a special event.
- Toque. Another option you would only want to bring older children to – I personally can not wait to bring Ella here.
- Chez Le Portugais. Our food experience was mixed here (amazing paprika-spiked sauce on the chicken poutine), but the atmosphere was refined and they were very welcoming to children. Ella was even treated to a bit of a serenade.
- Pizzadelic. Great cheese pizza and a casual atmosphere (especially in the summer when the patio is open).
- La Banqueisse. Every kind of poutine imaginable, this is more a college hot-spot than a family joint, but everyone will enjoy the food and you don’t have to worry as much about how the kids are acting – the college students are going to look at them like they’re aliens either way.
If you liked this list, be sure to check out our Top Ten Chicago Restaurants for Foodie Families.
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