Taste the tropics in Montréal
Montréal is famously known for its four very distinct seasons. But at some spots in the city, it’s endless summer. Think surfing motifs, jungle wallpaper, fresh food, fruity cocktails, tropical fruit, palm trees and more.
With massive wicker lamps and sunshine-yellow stools set against white brick walls decorated with surfboards, a skateboard and a retro bike, walking into Venice is like getting an instant shot of vitamin D. The menu offers many healthy snacks as well as cold-pressed juices, smoothies, tacos and some of the best poke bowls in Montréal. It's like a Californian surf shop right in the heart of Old Montréal. If Florida is more your thing, head to Boho, a bar tucked away on Saint-François-Xavier Street where you can sip a Miami Vice-themed cocktail.
Next stop: Palm Springs. Mandy’s in Old Montréal, created by sisters Mandy and Rebecca Wolfe, serves up a range of healthy gourmet salads. With walls ornately decorated with scenes of jungle foliage and pink flamingos, and large windows that welcome the sun's early afternoon rays, you’ll definitely feel like you've landed down south.
Hit the waves, Hawaii-style
In 2017, the Hawaiian dish known as ‘poke’ exploded in popularity. Many restaurants have jumped on board, offering their own bit of sea, surf and sun to keep you grooving all year long. We highly recommend Kamehameha Snack-Bar in the Gay Village, which takes its inspiration from Oahu’s North Shore surfing culture, as well as Koa Lua in downtown, which serves up bold and delicious dishes against a brilliantly colourful decor that will surely inspire your next vacation. Aloha!
The hip, hybrid decor of Kampai Garden, with its strong jungle accents, recalls the ambiance of the boho-chic hotels of Tulum, Mexico. The restaurant has a large space and a mix of ambiances, and serves up a wide range of fresh, raw and spicy cuisine best enjoyed with a fresh guava and passion fruit cocktail. It may lack views of the endless turquoise sea, but it's a destination unlike any other in Montréal.
Next, look for the fluorescent pineapple beckoning visitors to Le Mal Nécessaire, a tiki bar tucked into a basement in Chinatown. Order the Jungle Bird or the Bahama Mama, which you can enjoy with Cantonese snacks prepared by Fung Shing Restaurant on the ground floor.
Finally, when the warmer weather arrives, enjoy the views of Place Jacques-Cartier from Perché, a true urban oasis perched on the fourth floor of the chic Hôtel William Gray. Take in the atmosphere of the bright and stylish patio while lounging in Acapulco chairs. You’ll love being surrounded by tropical plants and pineapple-themed cushions when you sample a California salad and mahi mahi ceviche.
Enjoy your tropical escape!
Laure Juilliard, blogger
Laure is a writer, community manager and the founder of the blog Une Parisienne à Montréal. She’s also an epicurean globetrotter who’s always on the hunt for innovative concepts and must-try restaurants. In 2016, she co-founded Slow Journeys, a webzine that focuses on ecotourism and design.