Montreal's secret gems for discerning tourists

We’re slightly reluctant to spill some of these secrets, especially if it means longer waits or bigger crowds, but these hidden gems are too good to keep to ourselves.

On a good day we think of our brows as naturally Brooke Shields-esque. On a bad day they remind us of Maggie Simpson’s nemesis, the One-Eyebrowed Baby. We wouldn’t go to anyone other than arch-expert Zeina Ghattas at O Coiffure and Spa to keep our “windows to the soul” well-framed. O Coiffure and Spa, 4th floor, 1307 Ste. Catherine St. W., Montreal, 514-287-8996,

It’s not open evenings or weekends, so if you don’t work in Old Montreal you may not have had a chance to try the bright and airy Cluny Artbar in the Darling Foundry. There’s a lunch special that changes daily (lucky you if you’re there for chilli day!), but the customers keep coming back for the scrumptious sandwiches, excellent antipasti platter and decadent desserts. Cluny Artbar, 257 Prince St., Montreal, 514-866-1213,

We’ve heard about secret menu items at McDonalds (google the McGangBang) and Starbucks (order a Crunch Berry Frappuccino), but some Montreal restaurants also keep their best dishes under wraps, including the not-on-the-menu meatballs at the Westmount Square Taverne and a hush-hush wine list at l’Express.

It’s rare for Montrealers to hit hotel bars in their own town, but if you want to sip and snack at the same time, head to Les Voyageurs in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel to get a tower of treats to nibble on while you sip your martini and pretend to be a spy. Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, 900 Rene Levesque Blvd. W., Montreal, 514-861-3511,

We walked by Razberry Boutique and its sister-store, Boutique 1861 for years without going in. When we finally did, we fell in love with the adorable dresses, but it was the piles and piles of memorable statement accessories at very reasonable prices that stole our hearts. We always go there first when looking for blingy baubles. Razberry Boutique, 1841 & 1861 St. Catherine St. W., Montreal, 514-908-1861, —Jennifer Nachshen


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