Google “best breakfast in Montreal” and a certain hot spot is bound to show up. Set in the Plateau, an easy walk from Mont-Royal metro, L’Avenue is its name and breakfast is its game. They don’t take reservations but you can get the most important meal of the day between 8:00am and 4:00pm all week long. The trendy décor yet casual atmosphere attracts an upbeat crowd, making it a fun, hip and happening place, but it’s the food that gets all to come around and (most) back again.
Le menu is extensive and only in français. Looking at your peers on your left and right will only make it harder to narrow your choices down – it's all major eye candy. I usually get some sort of Eggs Benedict, which comes with a side of fluffy potatoes and a giant fruit kebab that puts other restaurants to shame. Though one day, when I’m ready, I’ll get the Bon ben moi j'prends toute! – the “everything” plate.
Here’s the Chorizo II ($14.44). The base of each tower features half an English muffin and a handful of delicious roasted potatoes. Sautéed onions, peppers and mild chorizo sausages rest on top, while the oil and flavor seep into the bread. A perfectly poached egg sits higher up and a blanket of buttery hollandaise fleck with ground pepper finishes it off. Pop the eggs and things get messy. The yolks mingle with the rich sauce and coat all the ingredients, making every sloppy bite a hearty, heavy, tasty one. I’m not kidding when I say one stack of eggs benny is enough. Good luck wiping the plate clean.
The same thing goes for the Berceau ($12.66) but instead of chorizo sausages, it’s got spicy, savory pieces of chicken. Yum!
I try to get dishes that include their signature potatoes. For me, breakfast at L’Avenue isn’t complete without them. Housed in a mini red pot, fork tender chunks of potatoes, red skin still on, are tastefully seasoned with garlic and herbs. Wonderful bites, worthy of the spotlight.
Popular doesn’t even begin to describe L’Avenue. It's definitely a be and be seen situation for hip young-ins and the young at heart. The queue during the weekend rush is notoriously long, no matter the state of the weather. 30 minutes is the norm, an hour is more common than you’d think. As for the rest of the week, it’s usually a notch below crazy but still abuzz.
In addition to the lineups from hell, there are other issues. Between the music blaring, and everyone trying to talk over it and each other, the experience is far from a quiet breakfast affair. For the most part, it doesn’t bother me but it’s not for everyone. There’s also a lack of privacy (unless you score a booth in the back). Tables aren’t communal but they might as well be. They’re just too close for (my) comfort.
In the end, I try to work my way around all the bad by showing up early for a weekday breakfast to focus on the good. Just know this, I would never wait an hour to eat at L’Avenue but they really do whip up a wake-up worthy morning meal. Waiters are friendly, quick to serve but slow with the follow up. Prices are above average but each portion is enough for two; it’s a challenge to finish, even for me. If you’ve never been, put it on your list! Luck is forever a factor but work on your timing or patience, otherwise there will be a good chance of I told you so.
P.S. Don't leave without checking out the washroom!
922 avenue du Mont-Royal Est | map