Scoured Trip Advisor for weeks before our trip looking for advice on things to do and places to eat while in Toronto and Montreal. Thought I'd share our itinerary!Thanks to all who shared their insights. It made for a memorable vacation.
Saturday, July 18:
Breakfast: St. Lawrence Market, Toronto. The wife and I got up early and walked to the market. Only did the Farmer’s market side, but what a great experience. We bought some fresh fruit, some baked goods, and some interesting cheeses. Took it back to the hotel and fed the jet lagged kids (12, 14, and 17).
Lunch: 360 Restaurant, CN Tower, Toronto. WAY expensive, but it can be rationalized. The meal ($250 CAD for the 5 of us – OUCH) included the trip up the tower (worth about $100), no waiting in elevator lines (a BIG plus), great views, and the 2nd BEST macaroni and cheese ever (after Maestro’s in Newport Beach, CA). The rest of the food was also very good. It cost LOTS of $, but a good way to kick off the vacation.
Dinner: Korean Grill House (Korean BBQ). Yonge and Bloor, Toronto. We stumbled on this place by accident when we got caught in the rain without an umbrella. It appears to be a local hangout (lots of young people that didn’t look like tourists). Not much on atmosphere, but good food (the marinades were great). Plus, it’s fun to cook food together. The kids loved it.
Sunday, July 19:
Brunch: Le Petit Dejeuener. The “Eggs Benny” were FANTASTIC. My 14 year old talked about the waffles for the rest of the trip. Small and eclectic restaurant, but it was really good.
Afternoon snack. Pizza Pizza on Centre Island. OK, this wasn’t good AT ALL. But, we were hungry and it was convenient.
Dinner: Spring Rolls. 85 Front St. East. WOW! We have lots of good Vietnamese and Thai restaurants in Orange County, but I had the BEST “Tom Yum Goong Soup” EVER. The Dim Sum was also as good as anything I’d had in “Little Saigon” (Westminster, CA). There were 5 of us, so we all got different entrees. Everything was great except the Chow Mein, which was just good!
Monday, July 20:
Breakfast: The Bagel House. 1548 Bayview Avenue, Toronto. This is WAY off the beaten path. We were leaving Toronto on our way to Montreal (via Kingston) and I had to try the “best bagel” in Toronto. The Bagel House bagels are made in the “Montreal style” which basically means smaller, denser and sweeter. It was good, but I guess I like the “New York” style better…
Lunch: Pan Chancho. 44 Princess Street, Kingston. This was a nice way to break up the trip. Heard great things about this small bakery/café. It didn’t disappoint. Got a nice sandwich, a salad, a few dessert treats, and a loaf of bread to munch on on the way to Montreal. The menu didn’t impress the kids, so they got burgers and Root Beer floats at the A&W near the freeway on-ramp. Everyone was happy!
Dinner: Pizzeria Napoletana. 189 Dante Street (in little Italy), Montreal. The concierge at the hotel suggested this. Great recommendation. We were taken aback when everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) that was waiting in line outside the restaurant was holding a bottle of wine. It’s a BYOW place. Great concept. Great pizza. Even better Ravioli Pasticciati (basically meat and cheese).
Tuesday, July 21
Breakfast – OK. We stayed at the Embassy Suites hotel, so we ate all our breakfasts here. What a shame… So many good breakfast places in Montreal. But, when traveling with 3 kids, you have to give them some American comforts from time to time (e.g., Fruit Loops, bacon, and omelets).
Lunch – La Banquise. 994 Rachel East, Montreal. Tried to eat at Patati Patata but it was closed when we arrived (around 2pm). Asked the person inside who was cleaning where the next best place was to get poutine. He suggested La Banquise. We went. We tried 3 different kinds. It was good, but I don’t get what the fuss is all about. It’s French fries with gravy and other stuff! We enjoyed it, but it wasn’t anything spectacular.
Dinner – Le Bourlingueur. 34 St. Francis Xavier, Montreal. It’s a little more expensive than Fodor’s leads you to believe, but it was really good. Cute restaurant. Great food. Nothing qualified as the ‘best’ we’d ever had, but everything was better than most places we’ve eaten. Good choice.
Wednesday, July 22
Lunch – Eaton Centre Food Court. No kidding! We were hungry. It was convenient. And, everyone wanted something different. Everything was a little better than food court’s in California. LOTS of variety We sampled: Japanese, French, Italian, Lebanese and Chinese. It was fun sharing, but outside of the convenience (again… traveling with kids means giving them the freedom to choose every once in a while) I wouldn’t go out of your way to get here!
Snack – Le Bilboquet. 1311 avenue Bernard, Montreal. Voted the “best” ice cream in Montreal, it didn’t disappoint. Lots of good choices. Cute shop. Nice neighborhood. It was worth the diversion.
Dinner – Jean Talon Market. 7075 avenue Casgrain, Montreal. We actually went shopping at the market earlier in the day and then brought it all home to the hotel (kids were tired of eating in restaurants). We bought a pre-made quiche. LOTS of fresh fruit. Some bread and a few beverages, and voila! An instant meal. It didn’t save us much in the way of money, but the kids had a great time walking through the market and buying/sampling things. High on the list were the “fresh” grapes from California!! They almost tasted as good as the ones we get back home!
Thursday, July 23
Snack - Restaurant Orange Julep, 7700 Boulevard Décarie, Montreal. Some travel guide said this was the BEST drink (non-alcoholic) in Montreal. It was freeway close (we were driving to Ottawa for a side trip). We stopped. I purchased one, just to make sure. We only purchased one! I actually started to like the taste after the 5th or 6th sip, but that’s an awful lot of work for a drink that’s supposed to be ‘the best’.
Lunch – The Fish Market, 54 York Street, Ottawa. Got caught in the rain again without an umbrella. First restaurant that we found where we could get a bowl of soup. Got the clam chowder and split an order of Fish & Chips. It was just OK.
Dinner – Chez Piggy, 68R Princess St, Kingston. YUM! Same owner as Pan Chancho. Delicious food. I had the special (seafood linguini – yum!), but the BEST item was the “pasta du jour” we ordered for one of the kids. Fusilli noodles in a rosemary cream sauce with chicken (extra). We all fought over that item!
Friday, July 24
Breakfast – Pan Chancho (see above). OK, we’re creatures of habit. We enjoyed the bread and dessert so much (and the dinner, the night before) that we thought we’d try to breakfast. The highlights were the “Breakfast Wrapped Up” (truly a gourmet breakfast burrito) and a cinnamon roll with a lemon icing.
Lunch – White Castle, Chicago. We had a 3 hour layover in Chicago and the kids REALLY wanted to try White Castle. We jumped on the Blue Line (El) at O’Hare and got off at Addison (about 25 minutes), then walked about a half mile to get the burgers. We ordered a bunch of burgers (with and without cheese) then hustled back to catch the Blue Line back to O’Hare. We ate the burgers on the train (we hadn’t eaten in 6 hours so we were starving!). It was good, but I’ll take my ‘In-n-Out’ burger in CA any day over White Castle.