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Thread: Bagels in Montreal?

  1. #1

    Bagels in Montreal?

    As a come-from-away visiting Montreal fairly regularly, where can I get good bagels, preferably early in the morning 6a.m.-8a.m.


  2. #2


    You can read about our Montreal-Style Bagels here:

    And you got to go where it all began:

    Fairmount Bagel:

    St-Viateur Bagel:

  3. #3
    Thanks, I must have driven right by St. Viateur and missed it.

    Next time, after Jessica and Alexia.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Best MTL Bagel


    I vote for Fairmont Bagel as the Best Bagel in Montreal. St. Viateur is #2 IMHO. Both are great.

    I am fairly addicted to the Fairmont Bagel, and visit at odd hours. To beat the rush, try going at 2:30-3:00 AM just before the bars close. No line-ups. Used to be a big rush after Saturday nite Habs games. They bake 24 hours/day, so bagels are always fresh n warm. Some bagel tips:

    1) NEVER eat a hot bagel right out of the oven; you will be destroyed.
    2) If you can't wait, roll down the window, hold the hot bagel outside and drive x 5 minutes (works best in January!)
    3) Try the special "Matzoh Board" with sesame or onion. A real treat but not always available. Warning: Highly addictive!

  5. #5
    I enjoy St. Viateur bagels. They are open 24 hours with many locations. My favorite is there pobby seed bagel with there tuna spread (or salmon). Just writing about it makes me want to have one.

  6. #6

    Bagel Battle

    Did you read about the Bagel Battle between Montreal and Toronto in The Gazette earlier this month ... naturally, Montreal won.

    Here are the articles:



  7. #7
    Fairmount bagels are definitely the best..and what a variety of choices you'll get there!
    Located on Fairmount St. (between St Laurent & St Urbain)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003

    NYC Bagels

    I thought that there was a more recent thread dedicated to bagels, but a search for the keyword 'bagels' didn't reveal much more than this one.

    Here's an article on the sad state of NY bagels.

    Bagels: An American Tragedy
    Time Magazine on NY Bagels

    H&H Bagels, New York City's most popular bagel shop, shuttered its doors this week, causing a predicable spate of meditations on the iconic bread. There are few foods that are truly unique to New York, and the bagel is one of them. Pizza belongs to America now, but the bagel was always the undisputed property of New York, and now it has been diminished.

    Or has it? I feel bad for the H&H guys, but I hated their bagels and what their bagels represented — and I am fervently hoping that the bagel can return to its roots. The corruption of bagels is a snapshot of a civilization in decline. Maybe we can make this sad event — a big and beloved business going under — a turning point for the bagel to find its way back.

    Bagels, of course, began their existence amid the Jews of Eastern Europe. The name is said to derive from beugal or "bow," owing to its original horseshoe shape. It was never considered a delicacy; on the contrary, it maintained a tough, chewy, peasant's heartiness in a time when soft, finely spun flour breads were considered either the prerogative of the wealthy or a special-occasion treat, like the braided egg breads served on the Sabbath. They were good but they were chewy, and they were practically inedible after a few hours.

    But that was O.K. There are lots of things that don't stay good for very long. Some of the best things, in fact. Barbecued brisket takes 15 hours to cook and is only great for 20 minutes. A fried egg goes from delicious to revolting in the time it takes to watch a YouTube video. Not everything is geared for long life. The bagel, dense and doughy and heavy, was meant to be eaten; it was the staff of life, indescribably good when hot, chewy and slathered with salty butter or cream cheese, and suitable only for throwing at windows afterwards.

    But in America, things are supposed to stay good for as long as you want. And they are supposed to be easy to make. Bagels, old-fashioned ones, are hard to make. You have to poach them carefully and then let them proof for 10 hours on wooden trays. And even then, there's no guarantee that they will be good, because the mix of malt and salt and yeast requires years of practice to get right and acts differently depending on the weather, the water and other variable conditions. So basically, American bakeries looked at the increasing popularity of the bagel in midcentury and said, To hell with that. They came up with the usual shortcuts, cost-cutting measures and innovations. These include "steam baking," where you try to add a little water in the bake rather than boiling the things first and, of course, adding dough conditioners to make sure the bagels never get hard as they sit on the shelf. There are still some good bagels in the U.S., but few are made the old-fashioned way.

    So the bagel became a test case of how you make something commercially viable at the cost of everything that makes it good. A supermarket bagel is basically just a round roll. It worked out fine, because Americans like to eat sandwiches, and a kind of bread that you can't split and make a sandwich out of is lucky to find any shelf space at all. (English muffins are the one exception, but even those now come in sandwich size.) People who hadn't ever encountered a real bagel enjoyed the appearance of something ethnic and exotic without any real difference in taste and texture, and this made the bagel more appealing still.

    And yet it was corrupted. It was a displaced person, a refugee, and it lost its identity in its travels. It was compromised to its core, and what's worse, it advertised itself as a symbol of everything that it no longer was. Bagels are to this day referred to as New York bagels, which means Jewish bagels, though they are neither, denuded of all their tradition and taste. It's the story of the Jew who comes to New York City, builds a community, starts a hardware business, brings Yiddish to the gossip columns, and then his children marry blondes and send their kids to Choate. The bagel is a symbol of assimilation at any cost — which is one reason so many old-timers, like the great New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton, are so passionately critical of them.

    And H&H, rest in peace, was the most insidious force of all in the bagel's degradation. While it was understandable that Illinois moms might want big, puffy bagels to make tuna sandwiches on, no one in the 1960s would have foreseen a day when New Yorkers preferred puffy bagels and even (gasp!) knew no other kind. And yet that is the place we've come to. As part of the complete corruption of the old ways, the bagel has become not only bigger and softer, but sweeter too. The old bagel was a symbol of hardship and scarcity, its distinctive malty, salty taste inseparable from the austerity of its origins. The new bagel is an oafish, candied monstrosity engineered for children and lazy appetites.

    The hamburger of old has come back, thanks to a spate of great new chains. Heritage pigs and heritage vegetables, those coelacanths of the culinary world, have returned. Is it asking too much for someone, somewhere, to bring back the small, dense, perishable bagels in their glorious original form in New York City? Then at least some good would come of the closing of H&H. It wasn't their fault, after all, that the bagel found success only by losing its soul.

    Just to be clear, H&H closed their retail location, not their factory. The owner got into trouble for not paying his employees and taxes correctly.

    For Upper West Siders, an End to H & H’s Steaming Hot Bagels

    NY Times story

    H & H Bagels, the Upper West Side’s most celebrated destination for what is quite possibly the Upper West Side’s most iconic food, is closing its Upper West Side store, employees said Tuesday.

    By afternoon, the signs above the store, on the corner of Broadway and West 80th Street, had been removed, revealing stained plywood sheeting. The distinctive brown-and-white striped awning was gone. The A.T.M.’s (because H & H, of course, was cash-only) had been torn out.

    And while an oven mechanic, who would not give his name, said he thought the store would remain open through Sunday, he also said he was dismantling the shop’s backup oven. It wouldn’t be needed anymore.

    Calls to the company’s telephone numbers were met with ring after ring, with no answer. This was not unusual: during some tax troubles a few years back, the owners were often hard to track down. The employees said H & H’s factory store on West 46th Street would remain open. They declined to be identified for fear that speaking out would hurt their chances of remaining employed.

    But as word of the closing on the Upper West Side spread to the customers who lined up in the famously shabby shop, where you still could not get your bagel toasted, smeared with cream cheese or even sliced, though you could get it hot from the oven, the smell of fresh bagels mingled with an air of despair.

    “That is literally tragic,” said Suzanna Varrichione, 14, an Upper West Sider who started eating her plain bagel, tearing off tiny piece by tiny piece, as soon as she left the store. Suzanna said she often stopped by on her way to La Guardia High School, or on her way to church. “This is so sad,” she said.

    H & H was founded in 1972, according to its Web site. It has been an Upper West Side fixture for decades, all the more charming for retaining its drab interior and limited offerings even as the neighborhood exploded with gleaming condominiums, cavernous pharmacies and dog salons.

    In recent years, the business fell into trouble. Its owner, Helmer Toro, who was also a founder of the business, pleaded guilty in May 2010 to grand larceny charges, admitting in court that he had failed to turn over to the state more than $330,000 in payroll taxes he had withheld from employees.

    In February, the company behind H & H filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to The Wall Street Journal, which also first reported news that the Upper West Side location would close.

    City Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer, who represents the neighborhood, said she was surprised by the development, which she called “terrible.”

    “It’s an institution, almost like a museum,” Ms. Brewer said. “Everybody dreams of their store being a destination, but this one really is a destination. You can literally get a hot bagel at 3 o’clock in the morning, and it literally comes out of the oven in front of you.”

    “I can really smell it right now,” she said. “In a positive way.”

    Robert Frowenfeld, 58, who grew up across the street and gets H & H bagels when he visits his mother, said things just wouldn’t be the same: “Anything else would be different.”

    Michael Levy, 35, a lawyer, briefly considered buying extra bagels to freeze, but reasoned: “They’re not going to be good frozen. That’s the whole point.”

    And Rachel Klotz, 20, said learning the store would close affected her “deeply.”

    When Karanja Muigai, 21, heard, his heart went out to his sister, who lives nearby. “My sister goes to the gym around the corner, and she cheats before boxing with a little bite of bagel,” Mr. Muigai said. “That’s what New York is, these little traditions that you try to uphold.”
    Take me out to the black,
    Tell em I ain't comin' back.
    Burn the land and boil the sea,
    You can't take the sky from me.

    There's no place I can't be,
    Since I found Serenity,
    But you can't take the sky from me.

  9. #9
    H&H still has their location by the Pier in the 40's

    Their Amsterdam Avenue was the location that closed down

    So, there is hope...

    Best Regards

    Savoir Faire Is Everywhere !!!

    Trying one day to be " In the Know "

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by montreal_monk01 View Post
    Fairmount bagels are definitely the best..and what a variety of choices you'll get there!
    Located on Fairmount St. (between St Laurent & St Urbain)
    I'll throw my vote at Fairmount as well.

  11. #11
    Maybe the place is called DAD's Bagel, as Google Map shows--on Sherbrooke O (past Decarie, headed west) by Wilson Ave--but anyways they have the Montreal-style bagels, but they are cooking them practically all the time in front of your eyes so you can get them hot, freshly-cooked, which is in my view the only palatable way to eat Montreal style bagels, which are just very plain and characterless soon after they cool, and can't compare to less sweet, more doughy bagels, whose origins I can't speak on. Haven't been there for a while but they always carried freshly-made tandori chicken to go... Very good!

  12. #12
    St-Viateur bagel is the best no questions about it
    Stay thirsty my friends

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveller05 View Post
    Thanks, I must have driven right by St. Viateur and missed it.

    Next time, after Jessica and Alexia.
    I have not been there in years, itis easy to miss the place. It is a hole in the wall, not very modern.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    The Fairmount and St Viateur's are definately good but are a bit out of the way if you're downtown. A closer option is the bagel place downstairs in the Faubourg Ste Catherine (corner Guy / Ste Catherine). they do make a pretty good bagel as well

  15. #15
    Fun n games til some1...
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Always loved Fairmount bagels... could never get into St-V.

    I've always tasted that subtle honey sweetness in Fairmount bagels that seems to be missing in other popular shops' bagels. Grabbin' a fresh n warm dozen is a MTL tradition... especially late evening on a clear summer night.

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