Although food in Canada grocery stores and restaurant menus contain almost all the same items as their American counterparts, each Canadian region serves up its own unique regional specialties to visitors. Québec’s best known signature dishes are tourtière meat pies and poutine, French fries topped with gravy and cheese curd. Lobster, seafood, and curled fern heads called fiddleheads are most likely to be found on Atlantic Canadian restaurant menus, while pirogies are now a western Canadian food staple thanks to the region’s sizable Ukrainian immigrant population. All Canadian cities and towns have their own recommended watering holes, but Vancouver and Montréal are two of the country’s liveliest cities in terms of nightlife.
Bars and Pubbing in Canada
Many of Canada’s best bars are situated in Montréal, the largest city in Québec. The legal drinking age is 18 and watering holes stop serving alcohol at 3:00 a.m.. One of Montréal’s most notorious nightspots is Les Foufounes Electriques (87 Ste Catherine Street East, Montréal), which serves cheap beer on Tuesday. Dieu du Ciel (29 Laurier Avenue West, Montréal) is a more sedate Montréal brewpub near the city’s trendy Mile End district.
The largest club in Canada’s largest city, Guvernment (132 Queens Quay East, Toronto), stands east of Canada’s longest street, Yonge Street, on Toronto Harbour. Another mammoth Toronto venue, Muzik Nightclub (15 Saskatchewan Road, Toronto), is situated near Exhibition Place. However, most Toronto nightclubs are found in Queen Street West’s fashion district and the aptly named Clubland area.
No North American street boasts more bars per square foot than George Street in St John’s, Newfoundland, a thoroughfare which is frequently closed to vehicle traffic during lively warm nights. Although many George Street bars appear to merge together into one gigantic party spot, Lottie’s Place (3 George Street, St. John’s) stands out among the best for its famous white Russian cocktails.
Dining and Cuisine in Canada
Although diners can find virtually any type of cuisine on restaurant menus in most large cities, those searching for uniquely Canadian dishes will find them at the Bannock (401 Bay Street, Toronto), the restaurant inside Toronto’s flagship HBC department store. Another renowned Toronto restaurant, Keriwa Café (1690 Queen Street West, Toronto), specializes in food originating from Canada’s First Nations communities.
Québec City’s Aux Anciens Canadiens (34 St Louis Street, Québec City) serves up centuries of Canadian history alongside its traditional pheasant, bison, and maple sugar pies inside one of this 400-year old city’s oldest buildings. Similar hearty Québecois fare is found on the Au Pied de Cochon (536 Duluth Avenue East, Montréal) menu, where adventurous offerings include duck in a can and pigs’ feet stuffed with foie gras.
Vancouver’s Oakwood Canadian Bistro (2741 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver) serves up smoked brisket poutine and ocean-friendly seafood certified by the Vancouver Aquarium, while Bacalao (65 Lemarchant Road, St. John’s) adds a modern twist to traditional Newfoundland dishes such as lobster, salt cod, and Jiggs dinner.
However, one Canadian dining experience found on seemingly every street corner is a good and greasy coffee and donut chain called Tim Horton’s, which has expanded into the United States and even the Canadian military base of Kandahar in Afghanistan. Other Canadian restaurant chains frequently situated alongside their American counterparts include chicken and ribs franchise Swiss Chalet and Cora’s, which specializes in hearty breakfast and brunch meals.