I had rigged my flights back to Canada for a quick stopover in Montreal to visit my sister. She had just given birth to my niece two days earlier, and so instead of flying back from Europe through Toronto, I stopped in Montreal.
When it came time for lunch, my father and I walked the two blocks to grab a bag of bagels from St-Viateur Bagel – the one on the north side of the street. Like Starbucks, St-Viateur Bagel has two locations in the hip Mile End neighborhood, virtually across the street from each other.
That should have been a clue that I was about to have something special, a local legend along the lines of Schwartz’s Deli. But I was clueless. I wanted a Montreal bagel, I grabbed a bag, and I dug in to the doughy deliciousness with some charcuterie back at the apartment.
It’s only now, years later, that I realize I was having, arguably, the best bagel in Montreal.
St-Viateur Bagel was established in 1957 by Myer Lewkowicz. That cements its status as a neighbourhood legend. It pumps out the hand rolled hoops 24/7, serving over 12 000 bagels every single day.
The other bagel shop fighting for the allegiance of Montreal’s Mile Enders is Fairmount Bagel. The small shop has no seats, serves up nearly 20 types of bagels and often has a line out the door.
Which is the best? Does it matter? They’re both in the same neighborhood, blocks apart. Go and have your own test, bring a smile to your face and know that which you prefer, you’re having the best bagel in Montreal when you visit Mile End.