Advice on Montreal

I’ll be visiting Montreal for the first time this coming Friday. It’s for a guys’ trip that one of my friends invited me on. I booked very late (thank god for Porter Airlines!) and am staying at a different hotel than the others. They will be at the W and I’m at Zero One. Since there are about 8 guys at one hotel and me at another, I figure that I’ll have to make my way over to them most of the time. Is that a safe walk? Are there any areas of the city that I should avoid walking alone? Is Uber a good option in general? Any advice on cheap transport to and from the airport?

Also, please please tell me the best spot for a Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich. Also poutine. I’m in Toronto 5-6 times per year, so I have tried these items there. But I imagine Montreal’s versions would be better.

Any other advice would be truly appreciated!

Sorry, can a moderator move this to IMHO?

I’m not an expert, but I would start with Schwartz’s as the yardstick for Montreal Smoked Meat and La Banquise for the poutine. I’m sure the locals will argue that these are not necessarily the best (although judging by the crowd at both, seems like many locals do), but I would consider them the starting point and branch out from there. Chef Guru also had a curry poutine that I was quite fond of and a bit different. Also, foodwise, the Portuguese chicken is worth checking out (I went to Romados, but there’s plenty of choices), and also Montreal style bagels (St. Viateur and Fairmount being the big names). Also, Montreal steamie hot dogs are worth a drunken try. I wasn’t impressed with them, but a couple of friends I sent out there really enjoyed them.

I’ve never felt unsafe walking anywhere I’ve wanted to go in Montreal…the bus from the airport is cheap and easy…Schwartz’s is the go-to place for smoked meat.

Honestly, I can’t think of a single Montreal neighborhood where I’d feel afraid. Montreal overall is an extremely safe city - 14th in the world, according to some.

Starting from Zero One, you can catch the northbound 55 bus going up St-Laurent and get out at Bagg street. This will be mere footsteps from Schwartz’s but if there’s a line (and there almost certainly will be) you can cross the street and have smoked meat at The Main. If you want more Montrealish bang for your buck, keep walking on St-Laurent (or get back on the 55) and hop out at Fairmount street. Two blocks to the left is the Fairmount Bagel Factory. Just beyond that is St-Urbain street, where you can catch the southbound 55.

As for transport to and from the airport, look for a bus called the 747. For $10 (which must be in coins, for some reason - get change at the airport), it will take you to the Zero One. Check its map, your hotel is Stop #8. The W hotel is at stop #6.

The mass transit system’s website (in English) is

By the way, I’ve actually stayed at the Hotel Zero One - it’s right next to the couple-block long Chinatown area so there are lots of Asian food options very close by.

Thanks! This is all very helpful. How about Uber as an option? Is it preferable to taxis?

There’s always a line for the sit-down older part of Schwartz’s, but the next door north is their carry-out operation—which has a counter, with stools, in the back.

This is what I did. The line was ridiculous even at 2:30. I told a few people on my way out who also appreciated this advice. Thanks! It was an awesome sandwich!

By the way, Uber’s been in the local news lately in part because of the ongoing legal challenges from the Taxi Commission, so I wouldn’t rely on it.

Uber has actually been great for us. It’s about 60-70% of taxi prices.

I’ve stayed at the W in Montreal and it’s very nice (though – as with all the W properties, tries a bit too hard to be hip.) The only downside is that the bar gets very loud at night; try to get a high floor if you can.

Montreal’s subway system is excellent and easy to navigate, I recommend taking the yellow line to the mainland and exploring the waterfront.