Once a remote fur-trading post, Montreal is now a thriving modern city brimming with Old World charm.
ILLUSTRATIONS ESRA CAROLINE RØISE
OWNER, GALERIE MONASTIRAKI
Riddell Fishing Tackle & Appliances has always been a source of fascination for me. It’s a messy little joint crammed full of trophies and talismans made and collected by George Riddell, an avid fisherman and luremaker who opened the place in the ’60s.
AUTHOR OF THE FRUIT HUNTERS
In the Plateau and Mile End, there are alleys bursting with fruit trees and stands selling reproductions of Goya prints. Those alleys are reminders that revelations lurk all around.
VOCALIST, HANDSOME FURS
Niu Kee is a Szechuan restaurant that plays Beijing opera and fills nearby blocks with the fragrance of “flower” pepper.
Indulge your vintage cravings.
The furniture stores on Amherst Street in the city’s Gay Village are a gold mine for midcentury finds. Start out at Jack’s, the biggest dealer on the stretch, where you can pick up pottery in neon colors, Danish credenzas and vintage rotary phones and television sets. Cité Deco stocks glamorous lucite desks and coffee tables, as well as whimsical pop art paintings. Montreal Moderne focuses on teak and rosewood pieces, including wall units and dining tables. The prices are reasonable, and the quality of the pieces runs from good to mint. And while an Arne Jacobsen egg chair might be too cumbersome to lug back in your suitcase, most of the store owners are flexible with shipping fees. Just browsing? You might enjoy watching employees carefully restore the pieces’ original grandeur.
Pig out at one of Montreal’s hottest restaurants.
Au Pied de Cochon is a carnivore’s paradise. The restaurant, which opened on a side street in the Plateau district back in 2004, has lured meat lovers (including chef Anthony Bourdain) from around the globe for artery-clogging dishes such as pig trotter salad and steak tartare. Chef and owner Martin Picard has developed bad-boy status in the culinary world with his unshaven look and larger-than-life personality. Though the dining room, with its wood burning fireplace, is quite serene, Picard is pumping out sinful dishes including 10 different preparations for foie gras—on hamburger, on pizza and, naturally, as a topping for the local specialty, poutine. If you can’t get enough of Picard’s gut-busting cuisine, head just north of the city, into the Laurentian Mountains, to his Cabane À Sucre (Sugar Shack), a cozy restaurant where the chef dishes up everything from buckwheat pancakes to fried lobster during the maple syrup– tapping season, typically mid-March to mid-April.