This is a city obsessed with gastronomy, so it’s no surprise that Montrealers who are not spending Sunday morning at Notre-Dame Basilica can be found instead at the secular cathedrals of food, the city’s public markets.
Chief among them is the now-gentrified 1930s-era Atwater Market, just west of downtown. The outside produce stalls are filled with ruby-red strawberries, electric-orange carrots, juicy tomatoes, and sweet corn trucked in from farms just across the St. Lawrence River. Stalls and boutiques inside the market building offer sausages, fresh fish, baked goods, and little pyramids of young cheeses from the Quebec countryside. Just looking at all this food inevitably stimulates an appetite, and Montrealers approach an impromptu brunch with typical flair.
For a quick meal, they might opt for a grilled peanut butter sandwich and a bowl of café au lait at the coffee roaster Brûlerie Aux Quatre Vents. Those with more time to linger join the cafeteria-style line at Boulangerie Première Moissan to order a baguette split and grilled to smear with a few slices of house pâtés and terrines. For good measure, they throw in a chocolatine still warm from the oven.