Contributed by: Josh Margo | Last Date of Travel: May 2008
Kosher Info: One of the few cities that really goes above and beyond a great Jewish experience. As there is so much Kosher food available I will just highlight a few spots which are my favorites.
Restaurants: If you are in the mood for Israeli food, don’t go anywhere except for Chez Benny’s. Beside all the great dishes they also have a mean smoke meat sandwich. If you like Chinese, check out Ernie’s, they have a huge menu and great special for lunch. If you like sushi, Yakimoto is the new great spot but be prepared to drop some serious coin to get a filling meal! If you are looking for dairy, there is nothing like Pizza Pita. The first kosher pizza drive through! Tzvi and Chaim are like brothers with an real sense of making their customers satisfied besides the pizza they have some great sandwiches and some of the best make your own salads! If you are downtown, the Hillel House on Stanley street hosts the Dizengoff Café. They serve a great chicken sandwich! Also downtown is El Morocco which is a bit more fancy but serves some great Moroccan delights!
Bakeries: In my opinion you don’t need to go anywhere but Cheskie’s. Besides the name you would even know it was Jewish the food is so good you are going wonder why all other bakeries are even open! But if you like some Morrcan treats check out Adar in Cote St. Luc or Expression on Queen Mary.
Tourist Info: La Belle Ville has so much to offer winter or summer. Winter time has Winterlude which is jam packed with winter sports and festivals and concerts. Not to mention an underground which connects to at least four major shopping malls. The summers are so jam packed it doesn’t matter when you go. Each ethnic community runs their owns festival which includes great music and dancing and always a great meal (too bad not kosher). The main highlights are the Jazz Festival and the Comedy Festival. The Jazz festival has live shows for free for a whole week every night some with multiple concerts a night. check out the listing as there is always a great Israeli band in the mix! The Comedy Festival still brings in the best of the best in comedy. If you go the Old Port they have great stuff for kids and adults alike. Did I mention the Old Port. If you are young and looing for a good time its the place to be during the summer with a Ben and Jerry’s in the center of it all who needs a kosher dinner.
What each tourist needs to experience is the Tam Tam festival. It has been quoted as the largest unorganized festival in the world! Right near downtown on Park Avenue (Avenue Du Parc), every Sunday around lunch time, the mountain erupts in a frenzy of fun for the whole family. At the center of it all if a great jam session with all sorts of musicians and dancers, bring your instruments! I have seen it all there from a full set of drum to guitars, saxophones, violins and everything in between. Did I mention Capoeira circles and sports galore! or maybe just a great place for a picnic!
There are also some great museums and hiking that you can do on the mountain. A great city for biking too! I would also check out the Fireworks Festival!
Jewish Info: There is something for everyone! Every sect or group or denomination is represented in the city. The city has some of the oldest synagogues in the North America. If you are looking for a Carlebach style minyan, look no further than the Ghetto Shul (Makom Rinah) in the heart of downtown (during the University season its a happening place). Now in a new location on Park and Milton there are a few Chabads. I would recommend the one in Westmount. If you like a traditional services, TBDJ or Beth Zion would be great. There is a great Kollel community in Outremount and one of warmest Chasidic communities from Belz to Satmar, and Viznetz.
Kosher can be found all over the place but the major areas are the Van Horne Shopping center, the Queen Mary strip. and the Cavendish Mall.