Montreal’s Finest: Fairmount Bagels vs St Viateur Face-Off


The History And Popularity Of Montreal Bagels

Montreal bagels are a culinary symbol of the city, known for their unique flavor and distinctive preparation method. These bagels have gained popularity not only in Montreal but also among bagel enthusiasts worldwide. They have become an integral part of the city’s culinary heritage and a must-try item for visitors.

Compared to New York-style bagels, Montreal bagels have a slightly sweeter taste, thanks to the addition of honey or malt syrup in the dough. They are hand-rolled and then boiled in sweetened water before being baked in a wood-burning oven. This method gives them a chewy texture and a slightly crispy exterior.

One of the reasons for their popularity is the use of wood-fired ovens, which add a unique smoky flavor to the bagels. The irregular flames inside the oven create color variations, with some bagels having a golden hue and others being whiter. Montreal bagels also have larger holes compared to their New York counterparts. In this blog, we will compare Fairmount Bagels and St Viateur, the two popular brands in Montreal.

The Rivalry Between Fairmount And St Viateur Bagels

The rivalry between Fairmount Bagel and St-Viateur Bagel is legendary in Montreal. These two bagel shops, located just a few blocks apart, have been competing for decades to claim the title of the best Montreal bagel. The debate over which shop serves the superior bagel has divided locals and sparked passionate discussions.

Fairmount Bagel is considered the original bagel shop, opening its doors in 1919 on St-Viateur Street. The bakery has since relocated to a larger space on Fairmount Avenue. On the other hand, St-Viateur Bagel was opened in 1957 by an Eastern European immigrant, Myer Lewkowicz, and has remained on St-Viateur Street ever since.

Each bagel shop has its loyal following, with customers supporting their favorite based on personal preferences. Some argue that Fairmount Bagel has a slight edge in sweetness, while others claim that St-Viateur Bagel offers a superior flavor. The rivalry is fueled by customers’ loyalty and pride in their chosen bagel shop.

Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagels offer various flavors, but the most popular choice among Montrealers is sesame. These bagels are generously coated in sesame seeds, adding an extra layer of texture and flavor.

Ultimately, the choice between Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagels comes down to personal taste. Both shops have gained recognition for their commitment to tradition and their hand-made bagels. Whether you prefer the slightly sweeter taste of Fairmount or the distinct flavor of St-Viateur, you are guaranteed to experience the true essence of Montreal bagels at either of these iconic establishments.

To learn more about the history and culture of Montreal bagels, you can visit the Montreal-style bagel Wikipedia page.

Montreal's Finest: Fairmount Bagels vs St Viateur Face-Off

Fairmount Bagels

The Story And History Of Fairmount Bagels

Fairmount Bagel is a legendary Montreal institution that has been serving up delicious bagels since 1919. It was founded by Jewish Russian immigrant Isadore Shlafman, who brought his family recipe and technique for hand-rolled, wood-fired bagels to the bustling city. The original location was on St-Viateur Street, but the bakery later moved to a larger space on Fairmount Avenue, giving rise to its name.

Characteristics And Unique Features Of Fairmount Bagels

Fairmount Bagels have become synonymous with the Montreal bagel experience, and for good reason. Here are some of the characteristics and unique features that set them apart:

  1. Hand-Rolled: Fairmount Bagels are still made using traditional methods, with each bagel individually shaped by hand. This ensures that every bagel has its unique shape and character.
  2. Wood-Fired Oven: The bagels are baked in a large, wood-fired oven, which imparts a distinct flavor and texture. The intense heat of the oven creates a crispy exterior while maintaining a soft and chewy interior.
  3. Honey Sweetened: Fairmount Bagels are sweetened with honey, giving them a subtle sweetness that perfectly balances the savory flavors. This distinctive touch sets them apart from New York-style bagels.
  4. Sesame Seed Coating: The most popular flavor of Fairmount Bagels is sesame seed. These bagels are generously coated in sesame seeds, which adds crunch and enhances the overall flavor profile.
  5. Wide Variety of Flavors: While sesame is the classic and most beloved flavor, Fairmount Bagels offers various flavors to suit every taste, including poppy seed, cinnamon-raisin, and whole wheat.
  6. Freshness and Quality: Fairmount Bagels are known for their freshness and quality. They are made throughout the day, ensuring customers can always enjoy a hot and fresh bagel.

Customer Reviews And Opinions

Fairmount Bagels has gained a loyal following over the years and has received rave reviews from both locals and visitors. Here are some customer opinions about Fairmount Bagels:

  • “The best bagels in Montreal! The flavors are incredible, and the aroma of the wood-fired oven is intoxicating—a must-visit for bagel lovers.” – Jessica, Montreal resident.
  • “Nothing beats the taste of a fresh, warm Fairmount Bagel. The sesame coating adds an extra layer of flavor that sets them apart from other bagels.” – Mark, a tourist from New York City.
  • “Fairmount Bagels are a taste of nostalgia for me. I grew up eating them, and every bite brings back fond memories. They truly are the best in the city.” – Sarah, Montreal native.
  • “The experience of watching the bagels being hand-rolled and baked in the wood-fired oven is worth the visit alone. And the taste? Simply unbeatable!” – David, a first-time visitor to Montreal.

Fairmount Bagels continues to be a beloved destination for bagel enthusiasts, offering a taste of tradition and an unforgettable bagel experience.

Montreal's Finest: Fairmount Bagels vs St Viateur Face-Off

St Viateur Bagels

The Story And History Of St Viateur Bagels

St-Viateur Bagel is an iconic Montreal bagel shop that has been serving delicious hand-rolled bagels for over 65 years. The shop, located on St-Viateur Street, was founded in 1957 by Eastern European immigrant Myer Lewkowicz and his partner Jack Shlafman, the son of the owner of Fairmount Bagel at the time. The opening of St-Viateur Bagel sparked a heated rivalry between the two bagel shops that continues to this day.

St-Viateur Bagel has a rich history and is proud to be the longest-running bagel shop in Montreal. The shop has maintained its traditional methods and commitment to quality, making it a beloved institution in the city.

Characteristics And Unique Features Of St Viateur Bagels

St-Viateur Bagels are known for their unique characteristics that set them apart. Here are some key features:

1. Hand-Rolled: St-Viateur Bagels are made using traditional hand-rolling methods, where the dough is stretched, twisted, and shaped into perfect circles. This artisanal process ensures that each bagel has a distinctive texture and chewiness.

2. Wood-Fired Oven: The bagels are baked in a wood-fired oven, which imparts a unique smoky flavor and gives them a slightly crispy exterior. Using a wood-fired oven is a traditional technique that adds to the authenticity and character of the bagels.

3. Sesame Seed Topping: St-Viateur Bagels are known for their generous amount of sesame seeds on top. The seeds are toasted to perfection, enhancing the flavor and adding a delightful crunch to the bagels.

4. Wide Variety of Flavors: St-Viateur Bagel offers various flavors to cater to different preferences. From classic sesame to poppy seed, cinnamon raisin, and even everything bagels, there is something for everyone.

Customer Reviews And Opinions

St-Viateur Bagel has garnered a loyal following of customers who praise the quality and taste of their bagels. Here are some customer reviews and opinions:

“The best bagels in Montreal! The texture and taste are perfect, and the sesame seed topping adds a wonderful flavor. I always stop by St-Viateur Bagel whenever I’m in town.” – Sarah M.

“St-Viateur Bagels are a true Montreal staple. The hand-rolling technique and wood-fired oven make all the difference in taste. I’ve been coming here for years, and the quality has never wavered—simply the best!” – David L.

“I’ve tried bagels from both St-Viateur and Fairmount and for me, St-Viateur takes the crown. The slightly crispy exterior and soft, chewy interior make these bagels irresistible. Worth a visit!” – Emily W.

It’s important to note that the rivalry between St-Viateur and Fairmount Bagels is a significant part of Montreal’s bagel culture. Bagel enthusiasts often have their preferred favorite, but both bagel shops continue to thrive and serve delicious bagels to locals and visitors alike.

For more information about St-Viateur Bagels and its history, you can visit their official website.

Montreal's Finest: Fairmount Bagels vs St Viateur Face-Off

Fairmount Bagels vs St Viateur

Regarding Montreal’s renowned bagels, two establishments stand out – Fairmount Bagel and St-Viateur Bagel. These two bagels have a loyal following and are known for their delicious and unique bagels. Let’s delve into the details and compare the offerings of Fairmount Bagels vs St Viateur.

Freshness And Temperature Of The Bagels

Freshness is a crucial factor when it comes to enjoying a good bagel. Both Fairmount and St-Viateur sell their bagels fresh 24 hours a day. However, it is important to note that the bagels from St-Viateur were not warm at the time of purchase, while the temperature of the bagels from Fairmount was not mentioned.

Texture And Crust Characteristics

The texture of a bagel is one of the key aspects that sets it apart. According to reviews, St-Viateur bagels have a smoother and softer texture when fresh. On the other hand, Fairmount bagels are described as a bit fluffier compared to St-Viateur.

In terms of crust characteristics, both bagels have their unique approach. Fairmount bagels are a bit sweeter, while St-Viateur bagels have more color variation.

Taste And Flavor Profiles

Taste is what ultimately matters when it comes to enjoying a bagel. St-Viateur bagels have a loyal following and are favored by many Montrealers. The most popular flavor of both bagels is sesame, and it is worth noting that sesame bagels make up around 70 percent of the sales. However, there are around 20 flavors available at both bagels, including poppy seed and cinnamon-raisin.

Customer Preferences And Comparisons

When it comes to customer preferences, opinions tend to vary. Some individuals prefer the slightly sweeter taste of Fairmount bagels, while others lean towards the smoother texture and color variation of St-Viateur bagels. It ultimately comes down to personal preference, and there is often a split in opinions.

According to Montreal food blogger Katerine Rollet, there is about a 60-40 split in favor of Fairmount among those who have a preference, but she favors Fairmount.

In terms of history, Fairmount holds the distinction of being the original bagel bakery in Montreal, opening its doors in 1919. St-Viateur, on the other hand, was opened in 1957 by an Eastern European immigrant named Myer Lewkowicz, who partnered with Jack Shlafman, the son of the Fairmount owner at the time.

To truly experience the difference between these two bagels and decide which one you prefer, it is recommended to try the bagels from both establishments and see which one caters to your taste and preferences.

Note: It’s worth mentioning that Montreal bagels have become so popular that people often try to bring them back home as souvenirs or for personal enjoyment. Fairmount and St-Viateur sell their bagels in plastic sleeves, and they can last for several days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer.

Overall, the Fairmount Bagels vs St. Viateur face-off allows bagel enthusiasts to appreciate the unique characteristics and flavors that each bakery brings to the table. Whether you choose Fairmount or St-Viateur, you will surely experience the best of Montreal’s bagel scene.

FAQ: Montreal’s Finest – Fairmount Bagels vs St Viateur Face-Off

Q: What is the difference between Fairmount Bagels and St Viateur Bagels?
A: Fairmount Bagels are known for being slightly larger in size and having a softer texture, while St Viateur Bagels are thinner and denser. St Viateur Bagels also tend to be saltier in taste.

Q: Which bagel shop is more popular?
A: According to Montreal food blogger Katerine Rollet, Fairmount Bagels seem to have a slight edge in popularity, with a ratio of around 60-40 in favor of Fairmount.

Q: Where can I find St Viateur Bagels and Fairmount Bagels?
A: St Viateur Bagels is located at 263 Rue Saint-Viateur Ouest, Montreal, QC H2V 1Y1, Canada. You can reach them at (514)-276-8044. Fairmount Bagels can be found at 74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest, Montreal, QC H2T 2M2, Canada. Their contact number is (514)-272-0667.

Q: Are the bagels served warm?
A: It should be noted that St Viateur Bagels are not served warm when you purchase them. However, the temperature at Fairmount Bagels may differ.

Q: Which bagel shop is considered the original?
A: Fairmount Bagels holds the claim of being the original bagel shop. However, personal preference and taste ultimately determine which one is preferred.

Q: Why do customers tend to choose one bagel shop over the other?
A: The choice between Fairmount Bagels and St Viateur Bagels is often influenced by personal loyalties and preferences. Convenience is usually not a significant factor since both shops are within walking distance of each other in the Mile End area of Montreal.

Q: Can you recommend a bagel shop?
A: While it ultimately depends on your personal taste, Fairmount Bagels is generally regarded as the superior and preferred option by many.

Q: Is there a blog about Montreal’s food scene?
A: Yes, there is a Montreal-based food blog run by Jason, who shares his love for food and discoveries in the city. You can find recommendations and more on his blog.


After analyzing the data and comparing Fairmount Bagels vs St Viateur in Montreal, it is clear that both Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagels offer a unique and delicious bagel experience. However, to determine an overall winner, several factors need to be considered.

Overall Winner Between Fairmount And St Viateur Bagels

Based on customer preferences, taste tests, and historical significance, the overall winner can be determined:

  • Fairmount Bagels: With a slightly sweeter flavor and a longer history in Montreal, Fairmount Bagels has gained a loyal following over the years. The bakery’s original location, established in 1919, gives Fairmount a sense of authenticity and tradition.
  • St-Viateur Bagels: Known for their authentic flavor and commitment to hand-made techniques, St-Viateur Bagels has captured the hearts of many bagel enthusiasts. The smaller size and sesame seed toppings are signature features that set St-Viateur Bagels apart.

Ultimately, the choice between Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagels is a personal preference. Whether you prefer a sweeter taste or a more authentic flavor, both establishments offer high-quality bagels to satisfy your cravings.

Key Factors To Consider When Choosing Between The Two

When deciding between Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagels, consider the following factors:

  1. Taste: Determine which bagel flavor profile appeals more – a slightly sweeter taste (Fairmount) or a more authentic flavor (St-Viateur).
  2. Location and Convenience: Consider the proximity of each bakery to your home or hotel. Both establishments are located in the Mile End area of Montreal, so choose the one that is more easily accessible to you.
  3. Atmosphere: Visit each bakery and soak in the atmosphere. Fairmount Bagels has a longer history and maintains a traditional ambiance, while St-Viateur Bagels offers a more modern and trendy vibe.
  4. Price: Compare the prices of bagels at each establishment and consider your budget.
  5. Personal Recommendation: Seek advice or recommendations from locals or friends who have tried Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagels. They may have valuable insights to help inform your decision.

Personal Recommendations And Suggestions

If you find yourself torn between the two bagel establishments, here are some personal recommendations:

  • Try Both: Why not sample bagels from both Fairmount and St-Viateur and see which one resonates with your taste buds? This way, you can experience the unique flavors and decide which one you prefer.
  • Purchase a Variety: Consider buying a selection of bagels from both establishments to enjoy at home or on the go. This way, you can savor the different flavors and textures each offers.
  • Visit Both Locations: Immerse yourself in the bagel culture of Montreal by visiting both Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagel’s original locations. This allows you to appreciate the history, ambiance, and craftsmanship of each establishment.

Remember, the bagel debate between Fairmount and St-Viateur is a testament to the culinary diversity and passion in Montreal. Regardless of which establishment you choose, you are sure to enjoy a delicious and authentic Montreal bagel experience.

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