We all know the summer solstice ends sometime this month, yet this doesn't mean the city will get hit by a blizzard the following day and that we shall start singing Christmas carols as soon as a dead leaf appears on the sidewalk. In the spirit, let's enjoy the last warm summer rays by getting your PSL fix from Starbucks and enjoy the simple pleasures Montreal has to offer right in the wonderful neighborhood that is Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.
Start your day with a great cup of coffee at Café Orr
Located on Papineau Avenue, this cinéma café is inviting to anyone who wishes to unwind and get ready to start the day on a great note by sipping on a much-needed cup of cappuccino. Simply sit back in the living room area and enjoy yourself. If you're looking to work or simply read a book, Café Orr has a great deal of seating area and even has a mezzanine if you can't find a seat on the ground floor.
5368 Papineau Avenue
Take a walk on Mont-Royal Avenue
We shall say summer in Le Plateau has been nothing but uneventful. Indeed, the mayor has decided to shut down many streets to traffic and transform them into pedestrian pathways. Mont-Royal Avenue became a river of art installations with mosaics drawn on what used to be a busy street and contains over a dozen of relaxing areas placed along the avenue. This controversial plan proved to be beneficial to businesses as Mont-Royal avenue is still buzzing even without cars. Plus if you wish to sit on a terrace, the simple fact that there's no motor sounds everything 2 seconds is VERY soothing. But hurry up, the street will be open to traffic once again at the end of this month.
Enjoy this year's Mural Festival on Saint-Laurant Boulevard
It might be a tad different from the previous years, but the art festival phenomenon still arose amidst the pandemic. Instead of having a multitude of shows and art exhibitions as the previous editions did, the movement is still taking place and you can be part of it. Head on Saint-Laurent (just south of Prince-Arthur) and enjoy the “TOGETHER APART WITH STREET ART” art terrace. The latter is a 140-foot long terrace presented by Stella Artois and designed and painted by Montreal native Francorama (aka Franco Égalité) where one can share a cold pint and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Plus there are guided tours offered so that you can admire the countless murals draping Montreal's scenery. One could say this activity translates into going on an art hunt. Yet, if you wish to stay put and relax by sipping on a delicious Bloody Ceaser, my pick would be to head to Suwu as the latter operates a section of the art terrace.
Together Apart With Street Art
Saint-Laurent Boulevard, corner Prince-Arthur
Have lunch at Stella Pizzeria
I don't think there are enough words to describe the joy of seeing this restaurant thrive once again after the aftermath of the god-forsaken COVID-19 crisis the city has endured last spring. But Stella Pizzeria IS BACK! And I'm here for it! Located right in the heart of Little Laurier, this local pizzeria combines love and tradition by offering delicious pizzas and an extensive wine list. You can wether enjoy your meal indoors or on their terrace if the weather is behaving (might as well opt for the latter as we shall be hit with a year-long dreadful winter in the upcoming months), but the pizzeria is within earshot of Laurier Park if a picnic calls for the occasion. Your choice! (Both of them are equally as good if you ask me).
1327 Laurier Avenue East
Talking about picnics...
What I love about Le Plateau is its location. There are parks EVERYWHERE. If you find yourself by Lafontaine Park, I would suggest you stop by Le Petit Coin Dumpling. Only god knows how many times this restaurant came to my rescue during the isolation months as I've ordered from them through UberEats pretty much every week. My love handles are forever grateful to this place. Even if restaurants and bars are now open, Le Petit Coin du Dumpling still opted for a takeout and delivery options. But since you're right in front of the park, why not have a picnic with delicious dumplings made with love? If you ask, I'd go with the pork and coriander one: a classic that NEVER disappoints.
1201 Rachel Street East
Another park with a picnic option would be Baldwin park which is located in the east end of Le Plateau. The latter is rather small compared to the massive Lafontaine Park but I find the former rather quaint and neighborhood-homie. Plus if dumplings aren't your cup of noodles, head on over to Poké.Bol right on Mont-Royal Avenue (corner Fullum). Their salmon bowl is sunshine incarnated -- a must!
2294 Mont-Royal Avenue East
Burn off those calories by walking up the mountain
How about nice sunset views to admire Montreal in all its glory? To make it longer, head over to Beaver Lake, or if you feel like you need a workout, tackle the stairs of death. It is more exhausting perhaps, but you'll be by the Belvedere in no time.
Photo courtesy of Matthias Mullie
Craving tacos for dinner?
After major success in the Old Port, La Catrina is now officially open in the Mile-End district. Indeed, the masterminds behind the authentic Mexican taqueria wanted to offer a more familiar approach to its clientele by connecting with families in the area. Since the first location thrives with tourists, the time had come to plant its roots in a more residential area. Now residing in the former Café Le Cagibi on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, La Catrina is equally as charming as its first restaurant and offers dishes we all came to love since their opening in the spring of 2019. You won't find better mezcal and tacos than at La Catrina, I swear!
5490 Saint-Laurent Boulevard
Have late-night drinks on Laurier Avenue
I've always had a soft spot for Bar Henrietta since it is the sister bistro of my all-time faves Dominion Square Tavern and Italian bistro Balsam Inn (may it rest in peace). Bar Henrietta is a charming wine bar located on Laurier Avenue that serves yummy Piri Piri popcorn (is it honestly as good as it sounds) and a grilled 3 cheese sandwich among many other tasty dishes. If the weather cooperates, I'd suggest you heading on the terrace to enjoy a great glass of wine from their extensive wine selection or simply try one of their signature cocktails. My pick would be Belle Jaune (Bar Henrietta's version of a Gin Tonic). Cheers.
115 Laurier Avenue West