It’s no doubt that one of Montreal’s claims to fame is its legacy of consistently fantastic bagels. Notable differences when contrasted with other popular types of bagels—namely the New York bagel—include the smaller size, the sweeter taste, and the denser quality. Montreal bagels are always baked in a wood-fired oven, and they contain malt, egg, and honey-sweetened water. Below is a compiled list of Montreal locations that serve the best bagels.
Myer Lewkowicz moved to Canada from Poland in the wake of a post-Holocaust world. Having no previous experience with baking, Lewkowicz’s experience with hunger led him to help individuals find good food, and eventually found the iconic establishment in Montreal in 1957. At present, there are four St. Viateur bakeries, all run by the Morena family, who are continuing the 55-year long reputation of the company as one of the most authentic and welcoming Montreal-made restaurants to see the 21st century. From generations of families that will exclusively buy bagels from St. Viateur, to celebrities stopping in for the world famous taste of Montreal, the shops scattered across the city remain one of the pillars of the unique culture.
The bagels—which are made with 100 per cent natural ingredients and no preservatives—are always fresh, warm, and doughy. Each bagel is hand-rolled, which becomes evident upon visiting stores. The bagels are then boiled in honey water and cooked in a wood fire oven. The chewy and delicious result is mind-blowing—there’s no turning back to store-bought once you’ve tasted them.
Isadore Shlafman arrived in Canada and opened up the Montreal Bagel Bakery in 1919—the very first bagel bakery in Montreal, and the city’s very first experience with the unique Montreal recipe. The restaurant originated on Saint-Laurent and later settled down on Fairmount Street. Today, Isadore’s grandchildren continue the Shlafman legacy. All the bagels are rolled by hand and baked to perfection in a wood-burning oven. Fairmount Bagel has also solidified its position as a supporter of the community by donating to various organizations, including the Diabetic Children Foundation, Opération Nez Rouge, and Children Now.
With a few more flavours than St. Viateur, Fairmount Bagel features various unique styles of bagel, including chocolate chip, cinnamon and raisin, and blueberry. They also sell pretzels, Matzoh bread, and bagel chips, all baked in-store. But it doesn’t stop there; various sandwiches—including smoked meat—top the lengthy menu of the iconic restaurant.
Popular among the McGill community, Elmundo boasts some of the best coffee in the city. However, the well-known café also makes fantastic bagels. They take the bagels and fill them with flavourful and fresh ingredients. Chicken salad, BLT, and smoked salmon are among several of the bagel assortments. Two delicious sides are served with the bagel—either soup or salad— for under $10.00.
With an ideal location situated on the corner of Parc and Milton, you can also pair your bagel with a drink from Elmundo’s fresh juice bar, a steaming hot latte, an espresso shot, or a pastry for dessert. The staff will gladly bring the bagel and other assorted goodies over to your table for you—but be sure to ask for your bagel to be heated, since they are not baked in store.
Bagel du monde
Bagel du monde is a combination of minimalism and bagels. Without even a website, the restaurant located on Rue Beaubien Est simply describes itself as a landmark bakery producing assorted Montreal-style bagels. If you stop in on any given day, you will find that almost everyone in the shop has been there before. It’s the type of place where visitors make a point to stop in at each time they visit Montreal.
With reviews using words like “terriblement délicieux,” Bagel du monde is short and sweet. Its menu covers all the classics like sesame and poppy seed, but sells few toppings or spreads. Though it does not offer as many unique assortments as other locations listed, it only takes one stop at Bagel du monde to understand that its bagels rank among the most fresh and most tasty in the city. The minimalism and simplicity of the bagels offered is what makes it unique—it almost seems a shame to cover them up with loads of toppings.