Montreal Adventures: Old Montreal

The last leg of the journey is upon us and although we didn't have a concrete itinerary planned out, we managed to get through a lot for the day. We started our morning with breakfast on the patio. Since we had leftovers from our wine night, we put together a fruit board to get us started.

One place we were most curious about was the St Joseph Oratory in Mount Royal. Google Maps indicated there was a heart at the center of the church, so that piqued our interest to check it out. However, the Oratory had an amazing view of the city on its observation deck that made the trip worthwhile. After exploring the observation deck, the bastille and its garden, it was still quite early in the morning, so we headed to Old Montreal.

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We exited off Station Place d'Armes, which was literally a 5 minute walk to the center. We arrived at the Notre Dame with just 20 minutes before the Notre-Dame du Sacré-Coeur hall was closing, so a helpful tip from the staff pointed us in that direction first. Once they ushered everyone out, we headed back into the main chamber to view the stained glass artwork. 

With most of the morning spent exploring the ins and outs of architectural and historical buildings, worked up an appetite. We headed to Le Red Tiger near Quartier Latin off Beaudry station for some Vietnamese food. Popularly known for their tapas style fare, I was curious about their lunch menu. We arrived on location with bustling construction at its entrance, but they were still operating as usual.

We seated ourselves at one of the communal tables and shared a few items - green papaya salad with beef jerky, rice combo plate with chargrilled pork sausage and chargrilled pork spring rolls. To quench our thirst, my friend had the mango juice while I tried their matcha lemonade. The drinks actually arrived a bit later since their ice machine was broken that day, but it wasn't too long of a wait until ice arrived.

After we finished lunch, we were a bit indecisive on where to go next, but the Botanical Garden or Biodome were places of interest. We decided to hit up the garden and spent a good chunk of time there until they were just about to close their doors. Unfortunately, the two gardens we were most excited for were quite underwhelming. The Chinese garden was closed for renovations and the Japanese garden lacked excitement. However, there was still much to see. Here are a few things that I enjoyed:

As we headed back toward our Airbnb, we stopped by Kinoya Izakaya for dinner. I was most intrigued by their interior architecture, but we also arrived just in time for happy hour. It worked out so well, so we started the evening with drinks - Kyoto Cooler & Yuzu Sour (sawa).

Since we arrived just in time for happy hour, here is what we ordered off the menu - Toro Age, Tebasaki, Sake Wasa and Maguro Nudo. For value at happy hour, it was great to share these small plates, but they were not portioned well enough to fill an appetite without spending a couple extra bucks. Our favorite was the tebasaki though. Fried to a crisp golden, the wings were juicy with a light soy glaze. We loved it so much, we ordered another plate.

Since we were still hungry, we also ordered an item on the regular menu - Unagi Aburi. Portion was extremely small with thin slivers of torched freshwater eel topped with sliced almonds and tobiko caviar. I wasn't sure if the yuzu honey sauce on the plate made a difference, but there's a lot of sweetness in the dish itself. 

Overall, Kinoya was a fun place to visit for its novelty, but not a place I would find myself returning to. The food just didn't deliver and the portion to price ratio was a bit pricey for value to satisfaction. However, the happy hour deals are great and worth a visit!

The rest of the time in Montreal was spent packing and making our last rounds through Marche Jean Talon to pick up a few goods before we officially departed. It's been real Montreal, but another adventure awaits. Until next time friends!

Here are a few details on the places I've visited:
St Joseph Oratory
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
Le Red Tiger
Montreal Botanical Garden
Kinoya Izakaya