I'm heading out for the first time with some civilians at the end of the month. Any recommendations on what to eat/drink/see/do?
Go get a Montreal style bagel at St-Viateur. L'express is a classic brasserie with good wine prices.
I've heard good things about Joe Beef (I believe he was in an episode with Anthony Bourdain during the recent Newfoundland episode) and Au Pied de Cochon from somm friends who have been. I haven't been myself though to either.
Here's a food guide as a starting point.
I would recommend La Belle Province in the east end for some amazing poutine, but I love poutine!
I just got back from my first trip to Montreal; I really enjoyed my experience and can't wait to go back! It's very difficult and/or expensive to obtain a liquor license so most restaurants are BYO. Bring wine with you if you can.
Here's a few restaurants I visited that I'd recommend and are all around where I stayed in Le Plateau Mont Royal. This whole borough is full of cute bars (a lot are open until 4am), coffee shops, ice cream parlors and neat specialty stores. It's not too far from the city's namesake small mountain which you can take a casual hike up on a beautiful evening or morning.
Restaurant La Prunelle (reservation recommended) *This was one of the best dinners I've had in a long time, even in NYC.
Le Quartier Général (reservation recommended)
Le Rouge Gorge *awesome wine bar with food that has a blind wine BTG
Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann
Hope this helps and happy dining!
L'express is excellent. No BS execution of classic bistro dishes. Patati Patata is good for poutine.
Joe Beef is an absolute must. The somm curating the wine program when I was there a year or two ago had curated an incredible list. And all their veggies come from their garden out back. Top notch experience. But looks as though their collection took a hit recently: https://www.foodandwine.com/news/joe-beef-wine-cellar
In the old port area of Montreal is a little Champagne bar called La Champagnerie located at 343 Rue Saint-Paul Est. Very nice cocktail menu, sabering is available, food is good and a really fun vibe!
We also had an incredible dinner at Joe Beef's sister restaurant Liverpool House. Outstanding food, great wine list, and laid back atmosphere.
Montreal Plaza. Toqué!. Maison Publique.
By the power of Greyskull I was able to snag a later table at Liverpool House!