We love Montreal Oysterfest, and we keep going back every year, excited to slurp oysters, try new restaurants, and enjoy the end-of-summer weather. This year, Daniel Notkin and his team switched things up a bit, and instead of hosting it at Terrasses Bonsecours, it was at the Peel Basin. A bigger venue with an incredible view of the Farine Five Roses sign? We were in for a treat!
It was a beautiful day with just a few clouds and we were ready for the festivities. But Oysterfest isn’t just about the food (although it was all we could think about)! There are also competitions, musical performances (this time by the one and only Jonas!), and plenty of people watching. The best competitions are the oyster shucking competition, the Bloody Caesar competition, and the plating competition. The energy is high, the crowd is wild, and the competitors are in the zone. It’s definitely a sight to see!
Now for the food. And oh, there was so much food. What’s great about Oysterfest is that you can spend a whole day there, walking around, people watching, and digesting to make room for more food. So really, if you try hard enough, you can sample nearly everything. Sort of.
There was some expertly carved porchetta from 753bt Cucina Romana and insane (in all the right ways) and glutinous hotdogs from Dirty Dogs. Some of our favourites included the general tao calamari from Le Slang (yes, you read that correctly, and yes, it’ll make you appreciate calamari in a whole new light), and the fried chicken on a doughnut from Suite 701.
Oysterfest is all about the seafood, so of course there were succulent lobster rolls on hand from Bocata, filled to bursting with lobster, fresh herbs, and carrots. Toro Toro made a ridiculous paella with fat shrimp, tasty mussels, and delightful calamari.
And then there were the oysters, and so many of them. There were different varieties to choose from with expert shuckers on hand. They looked like they were having a great time and didn’t even break a sweat!
At Oysterfest, anything goes, so there were oyster shooters from Traiteur Phoenix Catering, with gazpacho and kimchi to wash that delicious bivalve down. For dessert, Maison Sociale made some mouthwatering ice cream sandwiches with roasted marshmallows, melting deliciously in the summer sun.
At the end of the day, the sun was still shining on Montreal seafood worshippers, and the energy hadn’t ebbed one bit. Everyone felt a smug sense of satisfaction knowing that not only did they have an amazing time while eating incredible food, they also did some good. This is because Oysterfest benefits the Open Pier Conservatory, which protects the world’s aquatic life and waterways. Who knew doing good could taste so, well, good?
We can’t wait for next year’s edition of Montreal Oysterfest. We’re sure it’ll be bigger and better than ever!
Photos courtesy of Montreall.com’s Dahlia Merlo (@dahllii).