Montréal picnic and park pairing

Mayssam Samaha

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.

We herby declare this summer the summer of picnics! After being cooped up for many long months, we are now ready to venture out and (re)discover Montréal’s best green spaces. Take the time to smell the flowers, and to enjoy many of the parks features, from ball courts to play fountains. The best part is you won’t have to pack a picnic to delight in a fancy spread, we’re giving you all the scoop you need to score a lavish meal or an irresistible treat on-the-go close to your favourite playgrounds.

Canal Lachine - Marché Atwater, Marché Richmond, September Surf, Lili et Oli, Satay Brothers, Patrice Pâtissier.

The Lachine Canal stretches over a few kilometres and is a great place to bike or take a lovely walk. Depending on which stretch of the canal you’ve reached, there are several food options for you to choose from. Of course, the first one that comes to mind is Marché Atwater where you can put together your ideal picnic basket or get a ready-to-eat meal from their Pôle des Saveurs, where the Satay Brothers’ stand is highly recommended. If you’re heading west of the market, some great options include the best pastries in town from Patrice Pâtissier, coffee from September Surf or Lili & Oli and great Italian specialties from Marché Richmond.

Square Sir-George-Etienne-Cartier - Tran Cantine Vietnamienne, Rustique, Arthurs Nosh Bar, Crèmerie Dalla Rose, Lloydie's, Adamo, BarBara, Campanelli

If you keep heading east along the Lachine Canal, you will reach beautiful Sir-George-Etienne-Cartier Square where you can stop for a picnic surrounded by tall trees. This square is close to the popular gourmet stretch of Notre-Dame Street where you will find great Vietnamese specialties at Tran Cantine Vietnamienne, some of the best ice cream in town at Crèmerie Dalla Rose, Caribbean food at Llyodie’s, Italian eats and pastries at BarBara, New York style pizza at Adamo, deli specials at Arthurs Nosh Bar and great coffee at Campanelli.

Parc Lafontaine – La Banquise, Les Glaceurs, Bagel St-Viateur, Chez Victoire, Épicerie Sue

There’s nothing better than enjoying an iconic dish such as a St-Viateur Bagel or a La Banquise poutine al fresco, especially when the “fresco” part is at Parc La Fontaine, one of Montréal’s most iconic parks. With a spectacular pond and so many amenities, it’s no wonder La Fontaine is one of the most popular among montrealers. Nearby Épicerie Sue dishes out heavenly oversized sandwiches while Les Glaceurs are the perfect spot to pick up a sweet treat. If you’re looking for a full meal, Chez Victoire is the place to go for a bistro-style picnic inspired by local ingredients.

Parc Jarry - Marché Jean-Talon, Pâtisserie Affoditi, Café St-Henri, Dépanneur le Pick-Up

Best known for the tennis championship, Parc Jarry also counts many sports fields, a dog park, an outdoor swimming pool, a children area and a lovely, tranquil pond among its attractions. It’s surrounded by a vast array of food and beverage options from the Mile Ex, Villeray and Park Ex. You can have your pick of great burgers and sandwiches from Dépanneur Le Pick-Up, coffee from Café Saint-Henri, pizza from Vesta or pastries from Pâtisserie Afroditi. You can also head to Montréal’s biggest farmers market, Marché Jean-Talon and assemble a custom picnic basket from the many stalls and food shops found on site, from local cheeses to whole cooked lobsters.

Parc de la Petite-Italie - Dinette Triple Crown, Café San Gennaro, Épicerie Pumpui, Pizzeria Gema, Caffè Italia, Caffè San Simeon, Lou

Parc de la Petite-Italie defines the start of the charming Little Italy neighbourhood, with its tricolour flags flying proudly and its whiffs of pizza and espresso. The park’s gazebo is often the stage for some outdoor shows and its mature tree canopy is breathtaking any time of year. It’s dotted with picnic tables waiting to welcome diners and it’s surrounded by great dining options from a southern-inspired meal from Dinette Triple Crown to Rome-style pizza from San Gennaro. For something spicier, head to Pumpui for some Thai curries or grab an ancho burger from Lou. The espresso options here are endless but Caffè Italia and Caffè San Simeon are always a good bet and Pizzeria Gema is where you want to go for a Neapolitan-style pie or a frozen custard.

Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier – Pâtisserie Rhubarbe, Lapin Pressé, Le Fromentier, Stella Pizzeria, Byblos le Petit Café

The part of Laurier Street that’s located on the east side of the Plateau has become a great food destination. It’s also one of the prettiest neighbourhoods with mature trees and beautiful row houses lining the narrow streets. Your best food choices here are as varied as they come, from Byblos le Petit Café’s Persian specialties, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe’s delightful desserts, and Le Fromentier’s breads to Stella Pizzeria’s pies and Lapin Pressé’s grilled cheeses. Make your choice and head to Laurier Park to eat with a view of the outdoor pool.

Parc Saint-Henri - Venice MTL, Sumac, Bucky Rooster's, Piklìz Comptoir Caribbéen

Classic Parc Saint-Henri is designed around a central fountain and is a great green space for neighbours to enjoy. It’s also a beautiful picnic area with many restaurants to pick up from all around. Try the Caribbean specialties at Piklìz Comptoir Caribbéen, the fried chicken at Bucky Rooster’s or the poke bowls at Venice MTL. If you’d like to venture a few blocks further, Sumac offers some of the best Middle Eastern specialties in the city.

Parc Jeanne-Mance - Café Santropol, Noren, Patati Patata, HÀ Mont-Royal, Café Paquebot, Omnivore

Montréal’s Mile End neighbourhood is arguably one of the hippest and most delicious with many eateries choosing to open their restaurant here. It’s also very close to Parc Jeanne-Mance and its inviting expanses of lawn. Your picnics in this neighbourhood can be as varied as they come. You may choose to indulge in the Japanese specialties at Noren, the Vietnamese ones at  or the Lebanese ones at Omnivore. For a more local taste, Patati Patata makes one of the best poutines in Montréal. And of course, Café Santropol is a nearby classic institution with delicious sandwiches. For a caffeinated stop, try Café Paquebot on Mont-Royal.

Carré Saint-Louis – Mamie Clafoutis, Sushi Momo, Harbin Dumplings, Uniburger

No one can deny the charm of Carré Saint-Louis. Surrounded by colourful traditional Montréal row houses, it’s one of the most photographed squares in the city. It’s also the perfect place for a picnic if you’re in the area. You can grab a sandwich and a pastry from Mamie Clafoutis, some dumplings from Harbin Dumplings or vegetarian sushi from Momo Sushi. For more food choices, venture down the hill and get a burger and fries from Uniburger.

Parc des Açores - Café Chez Téta, CaLem, SWIRL, Café Névé

Parc des Açores in the heart of the Plateau may not be one of the city’s biggest green space but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in neighbourhood charm. It’s also in close proximity to some very delectable places, such as Café Chez Téta, where you can purchase a manouché, the ultimate Lebanese street food, which consists of a flat bread topped with zaatar and olive oil. The park is also the ideal place to enjoy an ice cream from CaLEM or SWIRL (vegan), or a great latte from Café Névé.

Parc du Père Marquette – La Belle Tonki, Automne, Café dei Campi, Mitch Deli

If you happen to be in Rosemont, grab a vegan pastry and a great cup of coffee from Café Dei Campi, a Pan-Asian meal from La Belle Tonki, some delicious bread and light lunch fare from Boulangerie Automne or one of the best (and biggest!) fried chicken sandwiches in town from Mitch Deli and head to Parc du Père-Marquette. This is one of the largest parks in Montréal and where you’ll find a children play area, volleyball and basketball courts, a skate park, a dog park, play fountains, a community garden and many great picnic spots. It’s the perfect place to spend a sunny day with the entire family.

Mayssam Samaha

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.

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