July 17, 2009

Bagels, Canadian-Style

One of the 'must-taste' stops on our trip to Montréal was St. Viateur Bagels. They've been making their own signature bagels for more than 50 years. I'd heard enough about it from Food Network peeps and travel articles to know I had to hit this spot. After the BF & I visited McGill's campus, we took a train ride up to the location on Mont-Royal.

It was a day full of on-and-off downpours, so the location was sadly not at all busy. Which was fine for us; we had no problem getting a seat. It just didn't have the same busy vibe I expected from all the TV and other media coverage I'd seen. But it's really about the food, isn't it?

While I did enjoy all the chances I had to speak French, it was just as easy to find people who speak English, as did our server. I wasn't that hungry at the time, but the BF (thinking wisely, I'd later realize in hindsight) ordered a sliced turkey sandwich with the soup du jour, cream of mushroom.

I ordered a toasted bagel with strawberry cream cheese. We asked for poppy seed (in English & French), but we both got sesame (NOT my favorite by a long shot). I managed to pick a good number off of my bagel (discreetly, bien sur) and decided to go with it. You might notice I have an entire bagel PLUS one half, which I generously shared with the BF. The cream cheese was nothing special--it tasted rather..packaged, I thought. I found out later it's Kraft cream cheese spread! FAIL.

The bagel, however...I guarantee this isn't like any bagel you've had in the US. They are smaller, chewier, and softer. It's a completely different texture than the US bagels (and I've yet to find a bagel anywhere in the US that tops NYC bagels...maybe it's the water).

While I enjoy American bagels, they can often be heavy, dense, and unwieldy, often large enough to stand in for 4-6 servings of bread. These bagels are much more subdued. They have a crunchy exterior and a soft, pillowy interior. As delicious as they were, however, I would still say I prefer American-style. These just come in at an extremely-close second place.
I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty they were, and quite sorry I didn't follow in the BF's foosteps and order the delicious sandwich. Maybe next time. :) If you're in Montréal (which I recommend visiting), definitely stop by and try a bagel.

St. Viateur Bagels
1127 du Mont-Royal Avenue East
Montréal, Québec
H2J 1X9
514 528-6361

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