Shaugnessy is a paradise for those who love cuisines from around the world. The endless supply of restaurants represent almost every corner of the globe and fit all budgets, and of course, there are the pastry shops!
Among them are two shops that have been around for several years and offer sweets from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Be careful or you’ll get hooked on pastries from Patisserie Wawel and Al-Baghdadi like we did.
Pâtisserie Wawel: The Best ponkis in Montreal
The Wawel pastry shop and bakery is a true Polish institution. The air is filled with so many sweet scents that you can feel just how much they love what they do and want to share their delicacies with the world.
Peter Sowa, whose family owns two bakeries in Poland, has pastries running through his veins. In 1984, Sowa, then 24, founded Wawel and has been growing it ever since. There are now several branches in Montreal, one on Ontario Street, one at the Jean-Talon Market and one on Saint-Marc Street, which we visited.
We had the opportunity to discover several Polish specialties, but if you were to try only one, definitely go for the ponkis, delicious fried donuts stuffed with pastry cream, apricots or plum. We particularly liked their light, soft dough and homemade jam flavors!
For a complete gourmet tour, taste their cherry turnovers. So tasty! Not surprising though when you learn that all brioches, pastries and cakes at Wawel are made fresh everyday!
A Thousand and One Delights from Al-Baghdadi
This time we head to the Middle East to Al-Baghdadi. Open since 2011, this middle-eastern bakery, which also serves full meals, offers a nice range of Iraqi, Palestinian, and Tunisian desserts and pastries.
This family shop was named after Al-Baghdadi, author of the famous "Book of dishes" cookbook and a notorious historian of Muslim cuisine.
Whether its baklavas, kol w shkor (pastries made of puff pastry stuffed with pistachios or cashews and topped with syrup) or kanefe, made with pistachios and cheese, you are assured to make at least a few wonderful and delicious discoveries.
It may seem like baklavas are everywhere nowadays in Montreal but trust us when we say these ones really stood out for their freshness and perfectly cooked puff pastry! Quick bites full of flavor!
Al-Baghdadi also serves lunch and dinner, with specialties straight out of their brick oven such as mannakeesh (Armenian pizzas) as well as several traditional entrees such as salad, fattouche, labneh or hummus.
You can also buy nicely packaged cookies, biscuits, pastries and snacks. You’ll be a hit at dinnertime with these great desserts.
A visit to Al-Baghdadi is definitely a worthwhile trip for your taste buds.
1413 St. Marc Street
Montreal, QC, H3H 2G4
1624 Lincoln Avenue
Montreal, QC, H3H 1G9