I’ve been spending a lot of time down in Old Montréal–in fact almost all of my free time, I’ve been down there exploring. Much of it is, of course, a tourist trap (because tourists pull in money), but there are quite a number of gems, too. A very popular trend is for the restaurants to have outdoor seating, which makes sense on a number of levels. First off, there is not much room inside each restaurant, so the number of people who can be crammed in is limited. Secondly, it’s gorgeous out, especially in the evenings. Why not sit outside in the light and beauty, rather than settle indoors, where it is dark and a bit cramped? So far, I’ve found two favorites: Bevo and Restaurant Papillon.
We visited Bevo very shortly after our first day in the city. While it is a pizzeria and has very good pizza, we also went ahead and decided to try a pasta, too. We settled on the tortelloni con ricotta e spinaci, which was basically a cheese and spinach stuffed tortellini with a pesto sauce. It. Was. Amazing. The end result was their pesto pasta quickly came out to be everyone’s favorite dish of the evening.
Later, we also visited Restaurant Papillon, which is not far from Bevo. It definitely has a different style of food, more comfort food (in my opinion), and very good soup. We found Papillon to be friendly and a bit slower paced than Bevo, although that might have been due to the days we visited (there will always be more people about on weekends and in the evenings than in the late afternoon on a weekday). My travel companions have gone back to Papillon since, and have been just as impressed.
After both meals, we went down one of the alleys to a little ice cream shop called la Diperie. La Diperie is a different take on essentially soft serve, with ice cream dipped in a large variety of flavored hardshells and rolled in everything from chocolate chips to pretzels to matcha powder. After paying, you can pop out the back door into the covered market, which, while filled with a good number of artisan goods, also has a number of chairs and tables. I learned the first time around that the ice cream will melt if you try to walk around the market and eat it at the same time. Best to eat your snack right away, then explore the market. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something fun.