Mile End Montreal: A complete guide the best neighbourhood
The Mile End is a 10 block neighbourhood conveniently sandwiched between Le Plateau du Mont-Royal and Little Italy. Despite its small size, this neighbourhood is a microcosm within the city of Montreal. A community primarily based on excellent coffee, enviable fashion and underground artists. Can you think of anything better? This sector is a melting pot for musicians, artists and a community of Hasidic jews. All these unique lifestyles manage to live parallel to one another, shoulder to shoulder, making for a unique district. We’ve put together a list of local favorites that offer the best “Mile End Montreal experience”.
Vegan and Vegetarian Grub Galor
Not only is Mile End saturated with vegetarian options, but a few vegan restaurant chains have taken root in the area over the last few years. Check these spots out to find out why they’re all the rage in this city.
Crudessence: When you hear the words “raw food”, what do you picture? Baby carrots, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers? Okay, time to get those out. Crudessence will grant you visions of decadent lasagna, “cheese”cake, spring rolls, and more delightful savoury raw edible delights you never thought were possible. Really, make your way here while you’re in town. 66 St-Viateur West
La Panthère Verte: First of all, their falafel is voted #1 by Cult Mtl year after year. Next up, their Mile End spot attains casual dining perfection: spacious yet cozy, adorned with furniture made from repurposed materials. Still not convinced? Let the
friendly staff and outdoor seating do the rest. Oh and, pssst! ingredients are organic and mostly local! 160 St-Viateur East
SoupeSoup: This Plateau-native chain has recently opened their new flagship location on Casgrain near Maguire, in a minimalist/ industrial space. Come tame your veggie hunger in this elegant locale with one of the Mile End’s best soup and salad combos. Though it is not entirely vegan or vegetarian, vegetarians will find no shortage of insanely delicious soup and salad combos. 7020 Casgrain
Our recommendation for your mandatory trip to Fairmont street is the following: stop by La Dhrogeria Fine for some homemade gnocchi, served with what is arguably Montreal’s best pasta sauce, la salsa de la nonna. The owner serves these out of a walk-up window where you can order your gnocchi to go. Then, savour this saucy delight on one of the many benches that line Fairmont. Finally, end your delicious adventure next door at Kem Coba, the artisanal ice cream shop that’s so popular there’s a Twitter account dedicated to the length of its lineup.
Bonus: Now that you’re nice and full, you can venture into Fairmont Bagels, and grab a dozen to bring back home, or maybe just one, so you can sample St-Viateur’s favourite bagel rival.
Drawn & Quarterly: This is the bookshop that keeps on giving. The Montreal based graphic novel publisher has not only contributed to the city’s literary scene, but is an active creator of community in the Mile End. Monthly graphic novel book club meetups, frequent book launches, as well as special events are all hosted by this wonderfully curated bookstore. Walk in here and peruse only the finest titles of the moment, graphic novels, along with some of the classics. 211 Bernard West
Pier 66: Sea food lovers will be happy to discover Pier 66. Affordably priced, locally sourced seafood in a classy (but not pretentious) atmosphere? Yes! This spot is a 2016 addition to Bernard street, and we’re all quite happy about it. Try the smoked plate, the lobster caesar salad, the oysters… yum. 361 Bernard West
Dépanneur Café: Aching to discover the Mile End’s local musicians? Le Dépanneur swaps out tired playlists for local acts, almost all day long. Locals can sign up to play, so it’s definitely an authentic sample of Mile End musicians! The quirky mismatched decor will either leave you charmed or slightly confused. Us charmed folk will want to linger a while, order a bagel sandwich, a latte, and probably come here repeatedly. 206 Bernard West
Dragon Flowers: Bernard street is where you will find the enchanted world of Tamey Lau. Pretty white bird cages and flowers adorn the shop’s exterior, creating a miniature paradise nestled between shops and restaurants. Iconic businesses often become so due to the people behind them, and Dragon Flowers is no exception. The shop’s owner, Tamey Lau, is known for her passion, hard work, and generosity. The Mile End community is very happy to have her, as well as her miniature paradise, be part of it. 159 Bernard East
Take a Mile End Food Tour!
Whether it’s because you’re strapped for time, or because you’re the kind to enjoy a cavalcade of food and culture, or maybe because there aren’t many ways to experience 6 food stops for about 50$… The Mile End Food Tour is an amazing deal and the perfect way to spend 3 hours in the Mile End. Stopping at St-Viateur Bagel, The Green Panther, Kem Coba ice cream, even the Rialto… It covers the culinary as well as cultural essentials while a guide tells you about the area’s history, and quirky tidbits. A must-try! Read about it and book your tickets here.
Dieu du Ciel
Dieu du Ciel translates to God of the Sky, which I suppose may appear like a grandiose claim but is in fact quite accurate. The brewery has been named, now for ten years in a row, best brasserie in Canada by ratebeer.com! With a highly coveted outdoor terrace, it’s a total Mile End treat you must experience. 29 Laurier West
St-Viateur: Bagels and Coffee Wars
St-Viateur is perhaps the most quintessentially Mile End street. Vintage clothing stores, eateries, coffee shops, handmade benches… it’s all here.
Community spirit takes on the form of furniture with the Givebox, a tall wooden armoire where people leave what they no longer want for others to take. One man’s trash is another man’s gold, yes? Find it right outside Latina’s grocery store, on St-Viateur and Waverly.
The much talked about St-Viateur Bagel shop is a must. This bagel institution is a favourite amongst locals, celebrities, and Mr. Anthony Bourdain himself. Come find out what the buzz is about! And if you really want to get into it, cross over to Fairmont bagel and compare! Which one wins the infamous bagel war?
158 St-Viateur West
Wake yourself back up from your carb coma by taking part in another war, the coffee wars. Café Olimpico on the corner of St-Viateur and Waverly has been said to serve up the best Italian cappuccinos, but so does the Social Club, only one block away. In the summer, locals flock to both of these joints’ terraces to get caffeinated and enjoy the sun, the breeze, and the Mile End vibes.
Olimpico: 124 St-Viateur West
Social Club: 180 St-Viateur West
Brunch Like a Local
Arts Café: This spot has a part bohemian, part hip café vibe and is perfect to extend that hazy morning feel way into the outdoors. Rustic decor, neighbourhood vibes, art books and manifestos on the walls.. come enjoy one of their many perfected menu items: shashuka, bagel sandwiches, scones and jam… it’s a menu made with love and it shows.
201 Fairmont West
Fabergé: This one’s a more decadent, artery clogging option, but it’s done right. Known for their benny mac (mac n cheese eggs benedict, yes), their chicken and waffles plate…oh and their nutella crepes… oh and… Etc. Come equipped with a severe calorie deficit and eat your little heart out.
25 Fairmont West
Lawrence: A favourite amongts not only Mile Enders, but Montrealers in general, Lawrence serves up a mean British-style brunch. Scones with jam and clotted cream, a plate simply called “English Breakfast”, and then maybe some pig’s head with braised greens and eggs for the more adventurous. Lawrence where you know you’re taking part in the city’s buzz, and you’re pretty happy about it.
Hof Kelsten: A smidgen past the Mile End border, you’ll find Montreal’s darling bread maker, Hof Kelsten, right on the Main. The vibe here is inevitably trendy, but inspires an eat-and-go type meal (you won’t find cushioned seats and romantic candles here, but rather a low-key industrial look, where food is the center piece). Snag some pastries to go, and gobble down French toast, eggs, meats… all with the Hof Kelsten signature Jewish and Eastern European twist.
Lunch Time Buzz
Swinging by the Mile End mid day? Make sure you’re hungry and indulge at one of these eateries.
Larry’s: Lawrence restaurant’s little sister, Larry is the new kid on the block that the Mile End has welcomed with open arms. Come here for outstanding coffee and a tapas-style lunch.
9 Fairmont East
Brooklyn: Ah, Brooklyn. A charming wooden back patio gives it that authentic neighbourhood vibe, and yet the place remains quite sophististicated. Perhaps it’s their retro furniture for sale section? Here you’ll find locals and workers on their lunch break, savouring Brooklyn’s delicious and varied menu.
71 St-Viateur East
Farine: Since its recent opening, this lovely Italian-style bakery and pizzeria has been a rapid hit amongst Mile Enders. Enchanting decor, enchanting brownies, fresh pasta made with seasonal ingredients and so much more.. it’s a drop of quality food that’s worth every penny. 102 St-Viateur West
Champs des Possibles (local’s secret): OR, you can do like the locals and picnic in Champs des Possibles! This park is a community-driven project: volunteers maintain it and advocate for it. That’s like having a picnic right in the middle of the big beautiful heart of the Mile End.
Located off of De Gaspé between Bernard and St-Viateur
Navarino’s: If you’re a fan of 7$ meals, fresh salad bars, and Greek pastries… Navarino’s will make you quite happy. The salad bar is what we would call tried, tested, and true, with recipes that have remained the same for over a decade! Bonus: try their baklava for dessert… yum
5563 Avenue du Parc
Where to Dine
The beautiful thing about the Mile End’s food scene is that you can get anything from a bang for your buck kinda meal, to a cutting-edge fine dining experience. The options below are somewhere in the middle, perfect for a Mile End dining experience.
La Petite Maison: One of Quebec’s few celebrity chefs, Danny St-Pierre, has graced Parc avenue with a wonderful little gem. It is the cozy, but oh so delightful restaurant, La Petite Maison. Stone walls, affordable table d’hote, flowers and candles on each table… All the little things that would inspire its name, “the little house”. Chef St-Pierre’s meals are known for their ingenious simplicity, such as his inverted poutine…
5589 Av du Parc
Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins: This spot is known for its lively open concept kitchen and succulent dishes. Sitting at the bar, sipping wine, and watching the chefs prepare your fresh, local ingredient meal is an incomparable dining experience. Try their lobster, salmon, roasted cauliflower.. all of it!
Hotel Herman: Stunning culinary creations are served here by friendly, knowledgeable staff, in a sleek and classy atmosphere. The food presentation is something to behold: expect edible flowers, savoury mousse, and more innovative ways to make sure your eyes feast too. Pro tip: the U-shaped bar is where you’ll want to be. Come here if you want to splurge a little and indulge in a sexy meal.
Magpie Pizzeria: Wood ovens are hard to come by in Montreal, but luckily for the Mile End, Magpie’s got the goods. This small but charming pizzeria has been compared to those of the Brooklyn variety, melding that hip vibe with thin crust pizza pies that’ll blow your mind. A good litmus test for a pizza place is their Margherita, and Magpie’s buffalo mozzarella, basil, and tomato sauce ratio is top notch. 16 Maguire
Where to Party
Datcha: Datcha is a Russian themed bar with awesome DJ’s and a smokey dance floor. Its sister bar, Kabinet, is located right next door, creating a two-venue experience on the weekends: dance party at Datcha, and sophisticated Russian drinks on the other. 98 Laurier West
Bar Waverly: Bar Waverly is the Mile End’s quintessential neighbourhood bar. Located on St-Laurent and St-Viateur, it is actually named after a different street in the area, throwing in some irony right off the bat. Come here for a taste of a Mile End summer: open windows, sidewalk terrace seating, and good local vibes. 5550 St-Laurent
Ping Pong Club: Ping Pong Club is pretty much what you’d expect for a Mile End spot by its name: a resto bar with ping pong tables, a hip vibe, and a menu filled with comforting options. Their mac and cheese balls, alphabet soup, and milkshake will cheer you and your friends up along with a game of babyfoot or Jenga. They also have a fully stocked bar, and many slush versions of their cocktails. A definite must-try.
Local’s tip: Le Marché des Possibles
Le Marché des Possibles is a community space maintained by locals, which just so happens to be a park in the Mile End. Revamped by locals a few years back, it is now a space that holds cultural event throughout the summer, such as shows, BBQ’s, markets, and more! It’s a lovely way to bask in the summer sun and let the neighbourhood love you a little. Check out their program here.
Credits: All pictures were taken by Gaëlle Leroyer