What is a Montreal-style bagel? Well, you can't buy them in Seattle, that's for sure!
In contrast to the New York-style bagel, the Montreal bagel is smaller, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole, and is always baked in a wood-fired oven. It contains malt, egg, and no salt and is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked in a wood-fired oven, whose irregular flames give it a dappled light-and-dark surface colour. There are two predominant varieties: black-seed (poppyseed), or white-seed (sesame seed).
If they sit for more than 24 hours, they turn into hockey pucks....but they are delicious and they do freeze well for later toasting and enjoyment!
(Rik points out that a New York Times food critic once said Montreal style bagels beat New York bagels hands down. I couldn't find that quote, but here is a review of St-Viateur's in Montreal that I must agree with.)
Best Bagels: Montréal's bagels are clearly superior to versions produced south of the border, and St-Viateur Bagel & Café, at 1127 av. Mont-Royal est, near rue La Roche (tel. 514/528-6361), is the place to assess that claim.
(My mother-in-law says that this is a cafe, the bagels are baked at 138 Saint-Viateur West.)