McGill Recommendations, Out on the Town, Student Life

The quest for Montreal’s best donut

Located in Old Montreal, 49th Parallel is a Vancouver-based chain of small cozy cafés that are mostly known for their coffee roasting. They typically focus on selling sustainably sourced coffee, but at their Montreal location, their main attraction is ‘Lucky’s Beignes,’ a donut kitchen tucked away towards the back of the café. Glass walls that enclose the kitchen offer a glimpse into a world of handcrafted and fresh donut-making. 49th Parallel offers a core set of donuts year-round which include classics like vanilla-glazed and chocolate-covered donuts, as well as seasonal flavours like the pumpkin donut my friends and I tried. Despite being on the pricey side, the synchronicity of the cream cheese glaze and pumpkin filling crafted the perfect fall donut.

Originality: 8, Taste: 8,  Price: $4 – 4.40/donut, Overall Score: 16/20 

Tunnel Espresso – 705 St Catherine St W

Part of the Time Out Market at the Eaton Centre, Tunnel Espresso is the last place I would go to get a donut. Their slew of elaborate flavours may initially draw your attention, but they are no different from your regular donut. All are made of the same simple plain dough with a flavoured glaze and they’re not worth the $4.50 they charge, plus tax and tip. Luckily, I spotted their cookie selection which made up for my lack of donut satisfaction. Tunnel Espresso, your s’mores cookie was delicious, but your ‘Salted Brownie’ donut will probably remain unfinished at the back of my fridge for the next couple of months.

Originality: 6, Taste: 4, Price: $4.50/donut Overall: 10/20 

Krispy Kreme – 375 St Catherine St W

Downtown and looking for a cheap snack? Krispy Kreme’s $2 donuts might just be your best bet. Donuts are what they do, and they can do them well. Coated with two different types of maple glaze, their maple donut was a classic—everything it needed to be. A simple donut done well can be as good as (or better than) an extravagant donut embellished with creams, toppings, sprinkles, and fillings. With a choice between the classics and rotating specials, Krispy Kreme offers variety and is a fast, effective donut stop to alleviate a sweet craving and get your sugar fix for the day.

Originality: 8, Taste: 8.5, Price: $1-2/donut, Overall: 17.5/20 (+1 for price) 

Trou de Beigne – 30 St Catherine St W

This one is tough. The best donut we tried, ‘Blizzard,’ was an Oreo donut. The soft interior working in conjunction with the crispy texture of Oreo crumbs that covered the entirety of the donut was nothing short of heavenly. It was, however, the most expensive donut we tried and smaller than the palm of my hand. With a limited selection of more ornate flavours, Trou de Beigne is definitely a gourmet donut shop, which aligns with their tiny portion sizes. Trou de Beigne also happens to be the only donut shop we explored with solid vegan options. There’s a second Trou de Beigne location in the Plateau (156 Rue-Zotique E) where you might get your money’s worth as it serves a larger version of each donut. Bottom line: If you’re feeling fancy, head over to Trou de Beigne––maybe money really can buy happiness.

Originality: 9, Taste: 9, Price: $2.50 – 3.50/donut, Overall: 17/20 (-1 for price)

La Beignerie – 3979 Saint Denis St

Overall, the best donut we tried in Montreal. Selling original flavours like Earl Grey, lime, and crème brûlée, but also the classics like the powdered donut and the Boston Cream, La Beignerie offer a good-sized, tasty, and affordable donut with a chill vibe in the Plateau—miles away from the swarms of people scampering on Ste. Catherine. A quaint porch is set up outside the shop, great for people-watching while we ate our donuts. There was literally nothing on the menu other than donuts. La Beignerie puts all of their focus into the deliciousness of their treats, and it pays off. They have both the best array of flavours, and we also agreed they had the best recipe for their actual donut dough.

Originality: 10, Taste: 9, Price: $4 -5/ donut, Overall: 19/20

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