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.

This article was updated on October 24, 2023.

We hereby 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, Mamie Clafoutis, Miette Boulangerie, Lulu Épicerie

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. In Pointe-Saint-Charles, just in front of the Canal and across Marché Atwater, head over to Krood for some generous poké bowls or tartare. Their natural wine selection will pair perfectly with your food. If you’re heading west of the market, some great options include sweet and savoury pastries from Mamie Clafoutis, the best sourdough bread from Miette Boulangerie, a zaatar or cheese manouché from Lulu Épicerie, 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, Cordova

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 or Cordova.


Parc La Fontaine – La Banquise, Les Glaceurs, Bagel St-Viateur, Épicerie Sue, Pâtisserie Ol’ Sweet, Café Sfouf, Le Moineau Masqué

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 and Pâtisserie Ol’ Sweet 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. If you’re hankering for a coffee, Café Sfouf and Le Moineau Masqué are both great options.


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

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 a great sandwich from Dépanneur Le Pick-Up or Rose, coffee from Café Saint-Henri, Dispatch Coffee, or Café Larue, 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, Umami Ramen, Ratafia, Café Caron & Frères

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 Roman-style pizza from San Gennaro or Neapolitan-style pies from Pizzeria Gema. For something warmer, head to Pumpui for some Thai curries or Umami Restaurant for a (vegan) bowl of ramen. The Italian espresso options here are endless but Caffè Italia and Caffè San Simeon are always a good bet while Café Caron & Frères offers a third-wave coffee options that pairs well with an outstanding dessert from Ratafia.  


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

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 Stella Pizzeria’s pies, Lapin Pressé’s grilled cheeses and Fous Desserts’ buttery pastries. 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, KazaMaza, Schwartz, Beauty’s, Hof Kelsten

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 or KazaMaza. For a more local taste, Schwartz’ smoked meat sandwiches are not too far, and neither is the poutine from Patati Patata. Beauty’s, a Montréal institution, is also in the neighbourhood. You can find some of the best patries such as buttery croissants and decadent chocolate babkas in town at Hof Kelsten. For a caffeinated stop, try Café Paquebot on Mont-Royal.


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

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. Unicone is a great place to grab an ice cream cone or a cookie. For more food choices, venture down the hill and get a burger and fries from Uniburger or a vegetarian/vegan meal from Resto Végo.


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

Parc des Açores in the heart of the Plateau may not be one of the city’s biggest green spaces 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. Some of the best Potuguese chicken in Montréal can be found at nearby Romados. The park is also the ideal place to enjoy an ice cream from CaLEM or SWIRL (vegan). Café Replika has Turkish coffee, sandwiches and pastries. For a third-wave coffee option, try Café Névé.


Parc du Père Marquette – La Belle Tonki, Boulangerie Automne, Café dei Campi, Isle de Garde, Poutineville

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, a poutine from Poutineville or one of the best burgers in town from Isle de Garde 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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