© Alison Slattery
Plateau-Mont-Royal’s pleasing pâtisseries
The Plateau-Mont-Royal is the neighbourhood with the highest concentration of boulangeries and pâtisseries in Montréal. Considered one of the hippest areas in the city, this predominantly francophone hood counts a lot of French ex-pats as residents. This may be why so many boulangeries have opted to set up shop here, often competing for the title of best croissant in town within a few blocks of each other. Among those are Boulangerie Mr. Pinchot, Bakery Les Co'Pains d’abord (three locations), Fous Desserts and Croissant Croissant, which are all within walking distance so you can go on a croissant crawl and judge for yourself. For some of the best cupcakes in Montréal, head to the adorable Les Glaceurs.
Another contender in the croissant debate is Au Kouign-Amann on Mont-Royal Avenue East. The almond croissant there is great but people flock to this tiny spot specifically for a slice of its famous kouign amann, an addictive layered butter and sugar cake from Brittany. Le Toledo’s display of beautiful pastries, including seasonal fruity ones, is irresistible. It also makes great breads and its exquisite flan has garnered a delicious reputation among pastry lovers. Mamie Clafoutis on Saint-Denis Street is also another great spot for croissants, breads and baked pastries like the near perfect cannelés or the nutty pistachio and almond pavé with cherries. The Plateau also has its share of cupcake stores. Saint Louis Café is a cute and colourful café in the heart of the Plateau where you will find some of the best croissants and flaky pastries in town.
Vegan and allergy-friendly Sophie Sucrée makes everything from cakes and cupcakes to croissants and chocolates. They accommodate several allergies including soy, nut and gluten.
© Crémy Pâtisserie
If it’s macarons you’re looking for, no need to look further than POINT G, the definite winner when it comes to this delicate confection that doesn’t seem to go out of style. Classic flavours like chocolate and lemon share the beautiful store with seasonal sensations such as violet and honey and a Valentine’s Day cherry confit made with local cherries. Crémy Pâtisserie is a well-known and well-loved sweet spot specializing in donuts, brownies and a homemade version of a Joe Louis. Come summertime, look for the Crémy Mobile food truck, which will be delivering its sweet confections all over the city.
Ol’ Sweet Pastry is the first Hungarian Kürtőskalács – or chimney cake – shop in Montréal. The specialty consists of wrapping sugar-laden dough around a funnel that cooks while rotating around a fire. It can then be eaten as is or stuffed with the likes of nutella.
Located on a stretch of Laurier Avenue East that is becoming more and more trendy, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe is a local favourite. The desserts here are elegant, dainty and although based on French classics, always created with a slight twist that makes them extra special. The tarte au citron is especially delicious, so are the éclairs that are adapted to each season. Just around the corner is Le Fromentier, a great boulangerie where you can buy great bread as well as cheeses and charcuteries to go for an easy picnic in nearby Laurier Park.
Famous Lille-based pastry shop Aux Merveilleux de Fred has opened its first Québec shop in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood. With 45 stores across the planet, this French institution specializes in the Merveilleux, an airy cake from the north of France made of layers of meringue and whipped cream.
Pastille Chocolat, an artisanal chocolate shop located in the east part of the Plateau, is a great stop to fill up on chocolate bonbons with classic flavours as well as more creative ones.
© Alison Slatter
La dolce vità
The Little Italy neighbourhood of Montréal has its share of traditional Italian pastry shops like Pasticceria Alati-Caserta, where the ricotta-filled cannoli have become famous across the island. They are filled just as you order them to prevent them from going soggy and are just perfect to eat in the little park across the street with a strong Italian espresso from one of the many cafés around. Other pastry shops are also present in this neighbourhood, some with an Italian influence like La Cornetteria and its flaky cornetti (Italian-style croissants) or cronetti (their version of the cronut) and some with a more rustic and traditional feel, like the adorable Mlles Gâteaux, located in the heart of Villeray, just a few blocks north of Little Italy and serving excellent desserts like a decadent carrot cake with pineapple and carrot confit.
Further south in La Petite-Patrie, Trou de Beigne is one of the best artisanal doughnut providers in Montréal. It's located in a fun and colourful space with nine doughnut flavours on display at all times, including some of its classics as well as seasonal ones. Mille-feuilles, choux à la crème, babas au rhum and other French classics vie for attention at Pâtisserie Madeleine on Beaubien Street East.
© Alison Slattery
The area also has a lion’s share of critically-acclaimed bakeries, including Le pain dans les voiles and its award-winning baguette and delicious croissants and pizzas. Joe la croûte, another excellent spot located within the Jean-Talon Market, will surely win you over with the Mythique, a crispy roll containing black olives, sheep’s milk’s cheese, garlic flower and sea salt. If you prefer sweet to savoury, the Troubadour (apricots, hazelnuts, sea salt) is also an excellent choice. Louise is a French-born bakery that has taken up residence on Saint-Laurent Boulevard across the street from famous Italian grocery store Milano. Its promise is fresh and warm bread straight from the oven any time of day. A little further east, Boulangerie de Froment et de Sève offers many breads that you can buy to go or enjoy at the on-site bistro. Give the maple butter croissant a try or enjoy one of the many sandwiches prepared on homemade bread. One of Les Co'Pains d’abord’s three stores is located on Masson Street in Rosemont. This artisanal bakery has been known to make one of Montréal’s best croissants. Not far from there is another one of the Mamie Clafoutis shops and a great stop for flaky wonders. Automne Boulangerie is a La-Petite-Patrie bakery with a Scandinavian flare that makes amazing bread, pizza and pastries (try the ham and cheese croissant). It’s the stunning creation of chef Seth Gabrielse and award-winning bread maker Julien Roy. Fanfare Jarry, a bakery/restaurant located on Jarry Street, makes French-style breads, pastries and great desserts in a bright and luminous space. Boulangerie Jarry, on the corner of Jarry and Saint-Denis Streets, mills its own flour in-house and makes exquisite breads and pastries with it. Boulangerie Jarry also serves light lunch options and diners are invited to sit at the handful of tables in the light-filled space. Candy shop Dinette Nationale makes chocolates, candies, jams and the likes but also a variety of baked goods such as cookies, individual tarts and cakes.
Pâtisserie L’Éclaircie’s second shop is located on Plaza Saint-Hubert and specializes in its namesake, the éclair, of course. Also on Plaza Saint-Hubert is Pâtisserie Rosário, a Portuguese shop that offers the best pasteis de nata (Portuguese egg tart) in Montréal.
If you’re looking for vegan delights and think you must content yourself with mediocre offerings, head straight to Café Dei Campi! The Italian café offers a charming atmosphere in which to consume the delectable cookies, brioches, muffins, pizza and breads created by the pastry chef and co-owner. Everything here is delicious, but the vegan cannoli have got the city talking!
© Susan Moss
Outremont is well known for its many leafy parks, its mansions and its many restaurants along Van Horne and Bernard Streets. It’s also known for the excellent breads and baked goods found at Mamie Clafoutis, famous for its nut and blue cheese baguette or its Mamie Choc, a decadent mile-high chocolate cake. Just a few doors down, take a bite of Le Paltoquet: Pâtisserie’s buttery croissant, which have been declared the best in the city by some. If you're looking for something more traditional, Jewish Boulangerie Cheskies has been celebrating the neighbourhood’s cultural heritage with its excellent chocolate babka and rugelach. Also on the traditional side, Afroditi Bakery 1971 is a family-run bakery and pastry shop that’s been serving Greek (and French-style) specialties since 1971. If you have food allergies and are always on the lookout for a dairy, peanut, gluten, egg, lactose or any-allergen-free dessert, you're in luck with Pâtisserie Petit Lapin, the cutest pastry shop in Outremont.
© Alison Slattery
Babka and baguettes in the Mile End
The Mile End is the trendiest neighbourhood in Montréal these days. It’s no wonder then that some of the city’s sweetest addresses are found in this hip area. Boulangerie Hof Kelsten and its owner, baker extraordinaire Jeffrey Finkelstein have had some of the best restaurants in town on their client list. One bite of the rye and caraway seed bread will have you converted and a slice of the chocolate babka will have you hooked.
Of course two of the most famous bakeries in Montréal are Fairmount Bagel Bakery and St-Viateur Bagels located a couple of blocks apart in the heart of the Mile End. Fairmount has been doling out fresh warm bagels to adoring fans in 15 different flavours, 24/7, for the past 100 years or so while St-Viateur has been at it for about 70 years. There’s nothing quite like the very Montréal experience of biting into a warm-from-the-wood-burning-oven bagel straight out of the bag.
A few blocks north on Bernard Street is Bernie Beigne, an unassuming shop making fresh, old-school classic donuts as well as more seasonal flavours by hand.
Brioche à tête, a small establishment on Fairmount Avenue, serves flaky pastries and delicious desserts. The chocolate brioche is a must and the croissants have been declared among the best in the city.
© Susan Moss
A few doors further on Fairmount Street is Kamenista, a Greek family-run pastry shop and caterer that’s been open since 1967. Kamenista serves homemade specialties and custom-designed cakes.
Boulangerie Guillaume, just a few blocks up the street, has become a staple for its excellent breads and flaky pastries. The array of breads can be dizzying but the cheddar and fig baguette or L’Écolier – a chocolate bread – are always a great choice. At Farine & Vanille, on Parc Avenue, you will find pastries such as pumpkin brioche, fantastic breads, croissants and the delectable Mexican conchas, a sweet bun with a sugar shell topping. Also located on Parc Avenue is Pâtisserie Lawrence V. Known for its custom-made cakes, this is also a great spot to grab a flaky mille-feuilles or a buttery tart. When it comes to cakes, Mile End has one address that tops the cake: Cocoa Locale and its exquisite and dainty artisanal creations with a touch of vintage.
© Olive et Gourmando
Dessert and Old-World charm
You can easily walk from one end of Old Montréal to another while eating your way through its many fantastic pastry shops. On the far west side, Olive et Gourmando has been serving some of the city’s best baked goods for a few years. You can’t really miss it; it’s the spot with the line up outside. The chocolate and banana brioche is a must, as are the cheese croissants, brownies and cookies. If you’re gluten-intolerant, you’re in luck! Cookie Stéfanie, up the street, is the place for you to indulge without worrying. Stunning home decor and fresh bread go hand in hand at Maison Pépin, where a whole side of the beautiful store has been taken over by L’Amour du Pain.
Talented pastry chef Olivier Potier is back in town with Chez Potier, a new shop on Wellington Street. All of his sweet creations, from the flaky pastries to the decadently rich desserts are absolutely exquisite.
La Cave à Manger has gained a viral following after it created its “Roll”, a handsome circular croissant filled with flavoured pastry cream that’s taken Instagram by storm. They make other very good breads and pastries as well.
A couple of blocks down is the adorable cupcake store Les Glaceurs and even further east is Bar à beurre where you will find an array of mini cakes, macarons and homemade breads. Pâtisserie Harmonie in Chinatown offers several pre-packaged options like Hong Kong egg tarts, bao buns, and other specialties.
Hazukido, the famous Taiwanese chain specializing in the meticulous art of making croissants with a variety of intriguing fillings such as truffle crab, salted egg yolk, lemon meringue clouds and more has opened its first location in Chinatown.
© Les Glaceurs
Downtown and Westmount confections
Downtown is not necessarily the first Montréal neighbourhood that comes to mind if you’re trying to locate your next sweet fix but a couple of spots are unique to this area and make it worth the trek. If you’re a cupcake fan, then you’re well served in the downtown core. One of Les Glaceurs’ four locations is in the heart of downtown where they serve some of the best cupcakes in Montréal.
Renowned chefs Antonio Park and Bertrand Bazin have teamed up to open Café Bazin, a 20-seat café-bistro and pastry shop. Don’t miss out on the excellent bistro fare for brunch or lunch and on the exquisite pastries, especially the chocolate and coffee tart. La Meunerie Urbaine, in Monkland Village, grinds its flour on site in its own mill, which produces some of the city’s most excellent breads. Chez Fred, an artisanal bakery and pastry shop making some of the best croissants in town, remains a favourite among a legion of fans and followers.
© Sweet Lee's Rustic Bakery
Sweet spots of the southwest (Little Burgundy/Saint-Henri/Verdun)
The west part of Montréal has been seeing a renaissance of sorts for the past couple of years. This includes the revival of retro desserts like donuts at Léché Desserts, a designer shop with decadent flavours like peanut butter & jam, chocolate mousse or strawberry shortcake when Québec strawberries are in season.
The west part of Montréal has been seeing a renaissance of sorts for the past couple of years. Rustique Pie Kitchen delves in the art of old-school desserts, in this case “a country pie stand in the city”. From blueberry to cherry to banana cream, the flavours change with the season. It is recommended to taste several of the mini-pies and to buy some for the road, you’re going to want one later.
Verdun’s Audacieuse Vanille’s desserts are vegan, gluten-free and soy-free, and made with organic and fair-trade ingredients when possible. The tiny store has but a handful of seats, which you can reserve for lunch or a sweet afternoon tea.
If you find yourself in Verdun, Boulangerie Rustique Sweet Lee’s makes homey desserts like brownies and muffins but their specialty is the stuffed croissants, like the raspberry or lemon blueberry.
Local pastry shop Bernice specializes in layer cakes, cookies and all sorts of baked goods.
Miette is an artisanal and organic bakery located in Little Burgundy specializing in San Francisco-style sourdough breads and using local organic flours.
Mamie Clafoutis also has a shop on this very gourmand stretch of Notre-Dame Street in Little Burgundy.
© Alison Slattery
You'll find La Bête à pain in the heart of Griffintown. The exceptional breads and pastries are baked on site in the state-of-the-art facility and lunch and bunch are also served here. L’Amour du pain also offers an array of breads in Griffintown.
Dreamy has become a destination every weekend forthose in the know. Located inside the Canadian Roasting Society, Dreamy makes hot southern-style biscuits and other buttery baked goods.
Rainbows and sprinkles everything seem to be the smile-inducing concept at Sundaiz, a sweet spot making great cookies and more in a peanut and nut free space near the Atwater Market.
© Alison Slattery
A rainbow of flavours in the Village and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Arte e Farina has mastered the art of Italian pastries. Their pannettone is an absolute must around the holidays but anything you get from here will surely hit the spot, including the delicious pizze. Right down the street you’ll find Pâtisserie L’Éclaircie, a French pastry shop specializing in a classic: the éclair. The cream-filled pastry comes in a dozen or so flavours with the addition of monthly creations.
Further east around the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, you’ll find a bread and pastry baking institution, La Fabrique ArHoMa and its sister store – ArHoMa Boulangerie Fromagerie located even further east. The breads have been proclaimed the best in the city and the pastries, including tarts, mousses and cakes, are just as good. Further east in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Les Gourmandises de Marie-Antoinette offers French-style pastries, chocolates and macarons.
Hélico is a lovely spot opened by three Bouillon Bilk alumni. Croissants, cookies, brioche and kouign amann are all made fresh daily on the premises, along with great lunch fare. The decor is airy and cheerful and makes lingering around this orange-coloured café very easy.
Sachère Desserts specializes in refined desserts and pastries as well as gourmet ice cream made with high quality ingredients and lots of attention to detail.
Farine & Cacao offers elegant desserts inspired by the season from a pastry chef who has honed his skills at some of the best kitchens in the city such as Maison Boulud.
Pâtisserie TM is a pastry shop that blends Japanese flavours and tradition with French knowhow. The beautifully executed pastries include items such as a hojicha Mont-Blanc, a matcha and yuzu tart and a Uji Kintoki ice cream (matcha ice cream, candied red bean and condensed milk).
© Susan Moss
North is where it’s at
Travel north into Ahuntsic where you will find La Bête à pain, one of the best sweet spots in Montréal. All the breads here are exceptionally good, so are the pizzas with their daily toppings. The cannelés – crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside – are truly exceptional. Run by two young pastry makers, Fabrique Caramel is an adorable establishment that makes elegant cakes, chocolates, petits fours and sweet tables. You can also customize your cake by choosing from its different base, icing, toppings and decoration options.
Further east are two delightful shops worth visiting. Sweet Isabelle makes artisanal shortbread cookies and cupcakes, which you can learn how to decorate masterfully on site. On the next block you’ll find yet another one of Mamie Clafoutis’ shops for all your bread and pastry needs.
South African born pastry maker Cindy Wollenschlaeger has created lavish desserts all over the world before bringing her Darling Delights cakes to Montréal. She makes custom desserts using the very best ingredients, as well as a Cake Friday creation every week that you can order via DM on Instagram.
If you’re craving something more exotic, head to Pâtisserie Mahrousé, an absolute destination for Middle Eastern delights. From flaky baklava to pistachio studded booza (stretchy Arabic ice cream) and all the best orange-blossom flavoured pastries, order a thick Arabic coffee and enjoy.
Bomboloni are the fluffiest donuts you can stuffed with heavenly things such as whipped cream, nutella, sweet jams and more. Bomboloni Boss serves up a collection of these treats and even makes sandwiches with donuts in lieu of bread!
Dolci Piu specializes in beautiful custom cakes, cookies and more for all kinds of occasions but you can also just drop by for a sweet treat at any time.
Mayssam Samaha is a food and travel writer and blogger and the founder behind the blog Will Travel for Food. She travels the world in search of the next culinary discovery. From Iceland to South Africa, she’s already visited over 30 countries and there’s nothing she enjoys more than wandering around a farmers’ market in a foreign city. She is also the founder of the SAISONS intimate dinner series highlighting Québec products and chefs.