Montreal by Lea Messier
Lea Messier reveals her own personal Montreal in every sip, every bite, and every detail.
THE MONTREAL YOU
WON’T FIND IN THE GUIDES
Canadian Brand Ambassador for Torres Brandy Lea Messier reveals all: what to do, what to drink, and what to eat in Montreal. Inspiring ideas chosen with care, with recommendations from the locals. Discover a cosmopolitan city with a buzzing nightlife that’s always a surprise for the first time visitor… and live it up!
If you’re already thinking of packing those bags, remember that the time to enjoy the city at its best is in spring or summer. That’s when it flexes its muscles and emerges from the long, cold months of winter with a cultural menu that includes music festivals like the International Jazz Festival and Lea Messier’s own favourite event, the Montreal’s MURAL Festival, where art, music and urban art murals fill the city with a blaze of colour.
Don’t miss the huge mural in honour of the great Leonard Cohen in Crescent Street, created by muralists El Mac, Gene Pendon and 13 assistant artists. And here’s a tip for you: Lea recommends admiring this impressive larger-than-life mural from the Le Marcus en el Four Seasons Hotel. Just imagine sitting in the restaurant’s indoor patio, cocktail in hand, taking in the stunning views of the city and the Leonard Cohen mural. Let’s keep the secret to ourselves!
If you’re a digital nomad, or are merely curious to find out what a Canadian work environment might be like, stop by Crew Collective & Café in Vieux Montréal. It’s a co-working café located in the old Royal Bank of Canada building, and the interior architecture alone makes it well worth a visit. So choose your table and enjoy your coffee.
No doubt you’ll be feeling peckish after all that culture and urban art, and Montreal is renowned for being a great foodie destination; here you’ll find everything from haute cuisine to forward-thinking modernist cookery, and fusion cuisine, such as Nikkei.
Grab an Uber, and head for Le Flamant in the Hochelga district. The restaurant’s three chefs have an innate creative flair that will ensure you have an unrivalled gastronomic experience. Inspired by French, Asian, Italian and Indian cuisines and bags of imagination, the menu is constantly changing. A celebration of flavours that begins with careful preparation, and innovative presentation. Lea Messier recommends a pairing you’ll love: Galician lobster with ajo blanco and a potato soufflé, accompanied by a delicate cocktail created with Torres 15.
Once you’ve tried the sushi here, the rest will all pale into insignificance. It’s a warm friendly restaurant with a cool vibe that will transport you from Montreal all the way to Japan. Delicious, unpretentious dishes created with passion. Lea recommends the Westmount location, where you can enjoy a tasting menu paired with a selection of wines, sake and exquisite cocktails. Cheers!
Once you’ve tried their sushi, the rest will all pale into insignificance. A lively restaurant with a cool friendly vibe and dishes that any self-respecting foodie should try at least once in their lives. Chef Marcel Larrea’s Nikkei restaurant is located right in the city centre. Be sure to add it to your list.
The atmosphere in this brasserie is laid back, and there are no tables – you sit at a long, winding bar that allows you to watch the chefs at work. Don’t forget to order the ceviche!
Enjoying a Nikkei restaurant without a cocktail in your hand is like a summer with no sunshine. Every self-respecting Nikkei offers a selection of cocktails that pair with the dishes, and Tiradito is no exception!
Avoiding the city’s crowded, touristy places will lead to discover cocktail bars and pubs that will blow you away and revitalise your senses.
TOP COCKTAIL BARS
On the floor above trendy pizza joint Fugazzi Pizza in the Pointe Saint-Charles district, you’ll find the Milky Way Cocktail Bar. It was nominated the best ‘new’ bar in Canada by the prestigious 50 Best Discovery. The glass ceiling, the eclectic cocktails and the relaxed, friendly atmosphere will mesmerise you.
Fancy a cocktail? Allow Kate Boushel to advise – she’s the one who wowed us with a Gall Maker, a Torres 15 based cocktail that pairs brilliantly with a Wu-Tang Killa Bees pizza. Delicious!
We jump in an Uber and head for the Plateau-Mont-Royal district and the Le Royal Bar, voted one of the 50 best bars in the world two years running by the prestigious @50BestBars. The extensive cocktail list has a delicious concoction to suit everyone. A classic cocktail bar that’s we guaranteed to impress.
Lea Messier recommends starting off with a cocktail that combines Torres 15 with Marsala wine, cherry liqueur, and just a hint of bitter cardamom and spicy black pepper. It pairs to perfection with a salad of curly endive, pears flambéed with Torres 10, fresh goat’s cheese and toasted seeds, served with a raspberry vinaigrette. And at La Royal there are cocktails that pair with their mouth-watering dishes.
If you’re a night animal, then Le Royal is the place for you. Late in the evening the tables are removed, and you can dance the night away.
Are you ready to enjoy buzzing, vibrant Montreal?