Five Montreal spots to add to your travel itinerary

A cheerful blend of immigrant cultures and arty hipsters, this dynamic enclave is where fashionistas, chefs and creative types mingle in bakeries and boutiques

Owners of Poeme

Erin Herbert and Sylvie Gosselin, Co-owners of Poème

Jar of spices

Spice Station

Drawn and Quarterly bookstore

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly

Jewelled collar on hanger

Poème

Tantalizing tastes
Step into the apothecary-style decor of Spice Station. Surrender to the aromas as you join other customers huddled around tasting jars. Foodies make regular trips for harissa, a North African sauce, and rare goodies like black-truffle salt, dill pollen and Urfa biber — smoked pepper roasted under the sun in Turkey. 174A Rue Bernard O.

Fall for fashion
Brimming with originality, Poème is a hot new boutique in the upper reaches selling limited edition creations by Montreal designers. Chic basics, like fall coats and the perfect black pants, sit beside handmade hats and playful punches of colour in jewellery by Pupina and Julie Bessette.
5687 Boul. St. Laurent, 514-273-8383.

Retro nosh
You’ll love the late-night menu at Nouveau Palais, with original panelling and vintage booths. Chef Gita Seaton keeps her food simple with “no twists” on classics like mac ‘n’ cheese, eggplant parmigiana and matzo ball soup. Nostalgic desserts include milk and homemade cookies or sweet potato pie. Don’t miss the Saturday Disco Déjeuner! 281 Rue Barnard O.

Culture vultures
Artists of all stripes flock to the high church of graphic novels: the indie Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore. Readers and professors circulate among tables of hot titles, like Julie Morstad’s enchanting Milk Teeth and Kate Beaton’s hilarious Hark! A Vagrant. Next door, fans of vinyl strike gold at Phonopolis, where members of homegrown Arcade Fire routinely drop by to read the blackboard for new releases. 211 Rue Bernard O., 207 Rue Bernard O., 514-270-4442.

Bakery battles
The smell of freshly baked bagels is a signature part of this ‘hood. Weigh in on an impassioned debate: Who makes them best — Fairmont Bagel, established 1919, or the landmark St-Viateur Bagel? While locals and tourists stroll the sidewalks munching, the telltale paper bags reveal their allegiances.
74 Ave. Fairmount O., 263 Rue St-Viateur O.