The last time we were in Montreal, we didn’t get an opportunity to check out two of the city’s most famous bagel institutions. They were a little out of the way from where we were staying and the weather wasn’t very cooperative so we just never made the trip. I would have to say that it was one of my biggest regrets from that trip so this time around, I knew I’d have to pay a special visit to at least Fairmount or St Viateur to check out their bagels.
We decided to check out St Viateur first.
We arrived just as they were pulling fresh bagels out of the oven and the delicious smell filled up the entire shop. Jenkins and I picked up a bag of sesame bagels and were directed by the lady at the counter to eat our bagels at a coffee shop down the block.
The coffee shop was filled with like-minded people like us and many were enjoying bagels that they must have picked up at either St Viateur or Fairmount (which was just a couple of blocks away as well). I ordered a couple of lattes for Jenkins and I and we opened our bag of bagels.
I had noticed that St Viateur had some Liberté cream cheese in their fridge so we bought a tub to go with our fresh bagels.
It’s hard to beat a freshly made bagel and the sesame bagels at St Viateur were generously coated with toasted sesame seeds on both sides. The outside was lightly crispy and the inside yielded a slightly chewy and warm centre. It may sound a little crazy but Jenkins and I ate two bagels each for breakfast with a generous dollop of cream cheese and scarfed down another bagel en route to our next stop. That’s how good they were!
The next day, Jenkins and I made the trip out to the same neighbourhood again, this time to Faimount Bagel.
We ordered another bag of sesame bagels so we could do a proper comparison with the St Viateur bagels from the day before. To keep things consistent, we also went to the same coffee shop and ordered a couple of lattes to go with our bagels and cream cheese.
I’ve spoken to many Montreal friends who ardently support either Fairmount or St Viateur bagels but in my layperson’s opinion, I thought both bagels tasted quite similar. I thought the St Viateur bagels were a tad chewier, which I liked so if I really had to pick, I would prefer the St Viateur bagels more due to their texture but taste-wise, they were basically the same to me. In any case, I would have nothing to complain about if I had access to freshly made Fairmount or St Viateur bagels in Vancouver, which I think are the best bagels I’ve ever had.
One interesting thing to note is that when I went to Toronto a few days later, we picked up a bag of St Viateur bagels from a local grocery store. Although still tasty, they were not as good as the fresh ones in Montreal so I have a feeling that even if I order some from Montreal to ship to Vancouver (which they actually do), something will be lost during transport. It also didn’t occur to me until I left Montreal, but I think these bagels and cream cheese would have tasted fantastic with some smoked salmon so I will need to remember that the next time I’m in Montreal!
St. Viateur Bagel:
263 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest, Montreal
74 Ave Fairmount Ouest, Montreal
Both places were so similar to me that I rated them pretty much equally.
Food: [rating: 4.5]