St. Viateur bagels are a Montreal institution. When Montreal was just a gleam in my eye and my plans still vague, a friend who grew up here was already telling me about “the best bagels in the world.” Julia Scott told me I had to go to St. Viateur to sample the wood-oven baked bagels.
When I arrived at 11:30 this morning, a Saturday, there was a line out the door, and people on the sidewalk on Av du Mont-Royal, not the original location, but still equally popular. I pulled out my iPhone to check the address. The bagels sticking out from the building were visible a block away. No need for GPS.
It was hopping! But staff were friendly, bilingual, and fast. I watched as one of the bakers inserted a huge wooden tranche of golden bagels into the wood oven. The smell made my mouth water.
If you love bagels, this is the place. They are perfect little bundles of crunchy crust and soft insides, without being doughy or tough. I ordered the sesame with lox and cream cheese. Yum!
I took this delicious repast to La Fontaine Park, a wonderful neighborhood green space with a man-made lake that becomes an ice skating rink in the winter. I sipped hot coffee and munched as the squirrels eyed me hungrily. I ate every last delicious caper and sesame seed!
The park was as much a feast for the senses as the bagels. Tree-lined, shady, full of inviting benches and picnic tables, as well as a restaurant and a miniature train for the kids. And, of course, the iconic fountain for which it is named.
Well fortified, I had a lovely stroll, and bumped into the train on my way to check out the restaurant.