Travel

Canada

Establishment neighborhood
SoSo
1166 Dundas St., Little Italy
Possibly the coolest (and most atypical) Chinese restaurant in Toronto, SoSo Food Club’s dining room is shaded in pale pink and turquoise, with abstract prints on the wall and lit by neon pink lighting once the sun sets. (The result feels like a cross between Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love and Blade Runner.) The food also defies easy categorization, with twists on regional dishes from Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Hong Kong. Our favorite is the XO Lobster Mapo Tofu, a bowl of piping hot soft tofu (and a side of steamed rice), sustainably-sourced Nova Scotia lobster, blue crab, and spicy seafood XO sauce. Book a late reservation and go straight from dinner to dancing, which kicks off at 11pm every night in the dining room.
Mélisse
719 Rue William, Old Montreal
Step into Mélisse and you’ll feel like you’re in LA: light wood; a bright, high-ceilinged space; and lots of plants. (Also LA-like: eating on the patio, weather permitting.) Breakfast and lunch are light and focus on seasonal produce (tartines, salads, satisfying egg dishes), while dinner is full of shareable plates, like grilled veggies and charcuterie, plus more substantial items, like grilled pork shoulder peppered with cherry tomatoes and pistachios. The 100 percent organic wine list is short but brilliant.
Michel Brisson
1074 Ave. Laurier O, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal
This clean, sleek, minimalist space mirrors its wares—lots of Dries Van Noten, Lemaire, and Acne Studios, which draw the city’s creative class (art directors, architects, and the like). There are plenty of pieces for both men and women, and the men’s rack has some pretty fantastic options for women, too. There’s a nice selection of accessories (wallets, backpacks, and totes) from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, a line started by local twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart. There’s a second outpost in Old Montreal.
Maelstrøm
181 Rue Saint-Vallier E, Saint-Roch
By day, Maelstrøm is a gourmet coffee house serving some of the best cold brew in Quebec City. By night, though, it morphs into a cozy, low-key bar that feels like a locals’ hangout. Exposed-brick walls and mismatched vintage furnishings give it a bit of a Brooklyn vibe, and the cocktails (poured by the friendly bartenders) are strong. It’s a great place to meet up for a predinner drink before a meal at one of the cute neighboring restaurants in Saint-Roch.
Épicerie J.A. Moisan
699 Rue Saint-Jean, Saint-Jean-Baptiste
There’s something timeless about this old-fashioned grocery store, where shoppers go as much for an ambiance of nostalgia as for restocking their provisions. Worn wooden counters, wicker baskets, and glass cases hold an eclectic selection of artisanal products, including hand-milled soaps, exotic spices, coffee beans, wedges of regional cheeses, dried and cured charcuterie, and house-made sandwiches and cold salads, which you can consume at the café's marble-topped tables.
Confiturerie Tigidou
5508 Chemin Royal, Saint-Jean-de-l'ile-d'Orleans
Confiturerie Tigidou has one specialty: small-batch jams. And the husband-and-wife team Catherine Trudel and Vincent Paris have honed them to perfection. The duo’s not-so-secret recipe allows the pure, natural flavors of the harvests to shine, unspoiled by preservatives or too much sugar. The season’s offerings are scrawled on a chalkboard; pick up the jars to go or have the fruity spreads smothered over house-made scones in the centuries-old barn with antiques and stacks of firewood.
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