April 21, 2024

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

Below is a list of the Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now, an evolving selection of places we love to eat at. It’s by no means definitive, it’s just a reflection of what we’re into at the moment and where we think you’re guaranteed to get a good meal.

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

1. Beba

Now well into its third year, Beba (owned by brothers Ari and Pablo Schor) has firmly entrenched itself in the ranks of Montreal’s best restaurants. The kitchen, headed up by Dixon Cone and sous-chef Luc Rogers, is responsible for some of the most thoughtful and precise cooking taking place on or off the island. The menu runs the gamut from exceptional fish flown in from Japan to premium caviar, boiled meats and plump empanadas. Argentinian on paper, the restaurant’s roots are accented with Jewish, Spanish and Italian influences resulting in food that is singular, entirely unpretentious (though often luxurious) and absolutely delicious. (3900 Éthel)

2. Mon Lapin

Marc Olivier Frappier and Vanya Filipovic’s contribution to Little Italy has been one of the most celebrated restaurants in the country since opening back in 2018. Having recently nabbed the #1 spot in the 2023 edition of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, Mon Lapin’s list of accolades is only growing. The food here is a poetic mixture of French and Italian cooking in Frappier’s unmistakable and ingenious style. As the undisputed Queen of natural wine, Filipovic’s list is expertly curated and chock-full of classics and quaffable curiosities. (150 St-Zotique E.)

3. Salle Climatisée

Montreal’s undisputed coolest restaurant is somehow also the home of the most classic and restrained take on new-wave French fare. Co-owner and General Manager, Brendan Lavery’s approach to service is informal yet welcoming and flecked with just the right amount of nonchalance that makes you feel like you’ve dropped by a friend’s house for dinner. The kitchen, for its part, is run by Harrison Shewchuck whose ingredient-driven menu is unequivocally simple and lets the rock-solid cooking and exceptional products do all the heavy lifting. Think perfectly poached char with squash, leeks vinaigrette with two sauces, or a beautifully browned cabbaged “millefeuille” — all cooked impossibly well. (6448 St-Laurent)

4. Foxy

Best known for its exclusively wood-fired kitchen, Foxy, from serial chef-restaurateur Dyan Solomon (Olive + Gourmando, Un Po Di Piu), is delivering one of the most complete and enjoyable restaurant experiences, anywhere. The kitchen is overseen by chef de cuisine Catherine Couvet Desrosiers (formerly of Hotel Herman and Le Mousso) and the dining room is worked with effortless grace by General Manager and legendary sommelière Veronique Dalle. With a menu built for the open flame, expect dishes with global influences prepared with tact and a generous helping of know-how. (1638 Notre-Dame W.)

5. Pichai 

A Thai restaurant without equal and easily one of the city’s best restaurants. Pichai, which translates to “older brother” is the more grown-up counterpart to Pumpui — an excellent Thai curry shop by the same owners. Moving away from silky curries and mango sticky rice, chef Jesse Grasso’s food is diverse, composed, and more reflective of dishes you’d see in northern Thailand. The fried fishballs in a sweet chilli sauce are incredible as is the Laab Ped, a spicy salad of duck and duck hearts, but it’s the specials that keep the crowds coming back. Seasonal specials might include Firefly squid, imported from Japan, served with nam jim talay, a potent dipping sauce made of lime, coriander, and pickled garlic or grilled veal heart with a fragrant lemongrass relish. The food is powerfully flavourful, unapologetically spicy and damn delicious. (5985 St-Hubert)

6. Lawrence

In its 12 years of operation, Lawrence has had many iterations. Having originally started as a pop-up kitchen running out of Sparrow in 2010, the restaurant grew to be known for its hearty English cooking, whole animal butchery and, of course, brunch. Since swapping locations with its sister restaurant Larrys, co-owner and Executive Chef, Marc Cohen’s focus has been on smaller, more composed dishes that marry the best of old Lawrence’s offaly-good cooking with a newfound elegance, sophistication and maturity. Running the kitchen solo, Cohen does dinner service four nights a week and a single lunch service on Fridays. (9 Fairmount E.)

7. Bar-St-Denis

Having taken over the space formerly home to a dive bar of the same name back in 2018, Bar-St-Denis remains one of Montreal’s most underrated restaurants. Owned and operated by Au Pied de Cochon alumni Emily Homsy and David Gauthier, Bar-St-Denis has built a cult reputation for its easygoing atmosphere, genuine hospitality and undeniably excellent food. Often irreverent but always delicious, the menu oscillates from French to Italian to Lebanese with relative fluidity. Backed by a very solid beverage program and sharp restaurant design, this could very well be your new favourite restaurant. (6966 St-Denis)

8. Bistro la Franquette 

Now three years in business, it’s hard to remember the Westmount dining scene without Bistro La Franquette. Chef and co-owner Louie Deglianis is a genuine obsessive and it shows in his food. Vegetables and proteins are cooked with masterful precision, sauces are rich when they ought to be and delicate when not and special attention is always paid to dessert. The menu is dynamic, moving from grilled halloumi with fava beans or a beef tartare ‘club sandwich’ to guinea fowl cacciatore or a perfect steak frites. You’d be remiss to abstain from the bread course (its early reputation was built on its sourdough) or the past which is supplied by the neighbouring fresh pasta purveyor, Paradiso. Co-owner and Front of House manager Renée Deschenes, for her part, provides an exceedingly warm and welcoming brand of hospitality and keeps a well-stocked and well-curated wine cellar. (374 Victoria)

9. Paloma

Named after a family-favourite beach located in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Paloma is a love letter to Nice by father-daughter duo Armand and Rosalie Forcherio. Each having made names for themselves in restaurants abroad and here in Montreal, the Forcherio’s elegant yet understated eatery serves up bits of land and sea cooked in all simplicity: leeks with caviar, seared char with buttermilk and dill, or a hunk of braised pork shoulder with a calvados sauce. The selection of offal here deserves a special mention, as it’s treated with particular reverence, — the same can be said for Rosalie’s thoughtfully curated wine list. (8521 St-Laurent)

10. Le Vin Papillon

While throngs of tourists flock to Joe Beef for a plate of lobster spaghetti, just a few doors down, chef Alan Stewart and co. are cooking some of the most clever and delicious small plates in town. Stewart’s food is French at its core, but it gets a healthy dose of playfulness and levity that makes traditional dishes feel entirely unique. As we enter into the summer season guest can luxuriate in Vin Papillon’s idyllic back garden and enjoy the exquisite seasonal dishes that come off their outdoor grill. (2519 Notre-Dame W.)

11. Parcelles

A revolutionary restaurant on a family farm in Austin, Quebec. Located just southwest of Magog in the Eastern Townships, Parcelles is one of the region’s most celebrated success stories. Run by chef-owner Dominic Labelle (of Hotel Herman and Foxy) the project began as a vegetable farming project with a small pizza oven that quickly snowballed into something more. In its first year, Parcelles became so popular that weekend picnics often came with a three-hour lineup. Since then, Labelle and team have transformed the farmhouse into a fully-fledged restaurant and serve refined tasting menus primarily composed of ingredients grown on premises. (21 Taylor, Austin)

12. Hong Mère

A family-run, home-style Szechuan restaurant in the heart of Verdun. I’m just going to go ahead and say it — Hong Mère is the Szechuan restaurant you’ve been looking for. If the promise of exceptional cooking and a host of delicious dishes rarely seen on menus elsewhere in the city isn’t enough to pique your interest, then I don’t know what will. The crispy pork with cumin is packed with flavour and utterly delicious, the spicy green chilli salad, which mixes julienned cucumber with long green chillis, heaps of coriander, garlic and black vinegar is one of the best dishes in the city and the salt and pepper squid rivals the best anywhere. Hong Mère delivers family recipes cooked with intention and without compromise. Warning: when they say it’s spicy — they mean it. (3795 Wellington)

13. Leméac

The bistro with panache. While l’Express might be the gold standard for bistronomy in this city, Leméac, which opened back in 2001, is an undeniable institution in its own right. Olivier Belzile’s menu is a hair more elaborate than the standard, somewhat utilitarian bistro fare — but it’s all the better for it. Dishes like the Boudin with its sauce au cidre and the infamous pain perdu, sauced with maple syrup and topped with dulce de leche ice cream, have become icons of the Montreal dining scene but the truth is you really can’t go wrong with a good steak frites. Combine that with an excellent wine list and damn good weekend brunch and you’re just about as close as you can get to the ideal neighbourhood bistro. (1045 Laurier W.)

14. Mont Brise

Exceptional Japanese cuisine in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellvue’s. The charming waterfront village on the western end of the island is not known as a culinary destination — save for Cunninham’s pub which earned praise from Halle Berry for its legendary chicken wings — but Mont Brise is making a strong case for it. Part Japanese restaurant, part specialty food importer, Mont Brise prides itself on exclusively importing the highest quality of fish and seafood from Japan. Hokkaido uni, conger eel, Hamachi and exquisite bluefin tuna are prepared with great finesse and technique and are truly transcendent. Fish aside, Mont Brise serves a host of seasonal specials and an unbelievably delicate chawanmushi (egg and dashi custard). To drink, there is also a very fine selection of privately imported sake. (130 Ste-Anne, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue)

15. Double’s

The ideal sports bar by way of Danny Smiles, Zack Macklovitch and Victor-Alex Petrenko (aka Coach Vic). Head down the street-level staircase and into the graffiti-covered storefront and enter Double’s, a sports bar meets restaurant that’s bathed in nostalgia. From the vintage Schlitz sconces to the elbow rests on the bar top, no detail has been overlooked. Beer by the bottle and classic cocktails dominate the drinks menu, and on the food side, the kitchen is putting out one of the city’s best (and least complicated) burgers along with pie by the slice and a goddamn bloomin’ onion. Open 7 days a week, 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. (5171 Parc)

16. Le Super Qualité

Serving up a diverse range of dishes from across the Indian subcontinent, this unassuming spot run by Guillaume Lozeau, Étienne Clément and Jennifer Zachanawich is home to some of the very best Indian food on the island. Unafraid to get regional with the offerings and move beyond the North-Indian status quo, their lunch combos are unbeatable and come served in convenient and compact tiffin sets. While it may seem humble, le Super Qualités Chai is worth making the trip for alone. (1211 Bélanger)

17. Damas

A veritable institution in Montreal’s fine-dining scene. Run by chef/owner Fouad Alnirabie, Damas is known for its elaborate and sensationally delicious 10-course tasting menus. Moving beyond simple kebabs and mezze (although they do have them and they are outstanding) Alinarabie’s menu covers land and sea and can include, at any time, perfectly prepared lamb, charred octopus, or succulent shrimp fragrant with Aleppo pepper, garlic, and tahini. The food’s only equals are the ornate and spectacular dining room and the wine cellar which holds some of the city’s rarest and most coveted bottles. (1201  Van Horne)

18. Bossa

Hoagies, subs, grinders — whatever you call them, Bossa’s are undefeated. The menu at this Italian sandwich shop offers hot and cold options and features some quintessential deli classics in both categories. The meatball and chicken parm sandwiches will do any red-sauce aficionado proud, but if you want to get a real taste for what a Bossa sandwich is all about, I recommend the “Diavolo,” a potent combination of aioli, salami, calabrese, capicollo, fontina, provolone, banana peppers, and an exceptional homemade giardiniera. (4354 Wellington, 3136 Masson)

19. Ho Guom

An off-the-beaten-path Vietnamese restaurant specializing in the cuisine of Ha Noi. If you make the trek out to the eastern recesses of Jean Talon you’ll be rewarded with a selection of exceptional dishes almost exclusively served here. Ho Guom staples include bun cha muc nuoc — a citrusy, tomato-based noodle soup studded whelks and fried fish cakes and Bò Lá Lốt — grilled beef wrapped in betel leaf. There are plenty of options for standard phở but it’s the house specialties that make Ho Guom stand out from the crowd. (2605 Jean-Talon E.)

20. Mano Cornuto

Griffintown’s finest neighbourhood joint. Run by alumni from Le Bremner, Garde Manger, Foxy, and Monkland Taverne, Mano Cornuto is all about simple pleasures. Fluffy focaccia sandwiches, a couple of handmade pastas and some charcuterie-laden salads take up the bulk of the menu. On the bar side, think Italian classics: a negroni, an amaro spritz — an ice-cold Peroni. Mano is the place you go to watch the Inter Milan game and the spot you double-park in front of as you dash in for an espresso. (988 Ottawa)

21. Chez Tousignant

A classic casse-croûte opened by local culinary legends Michele Forgione and Stefano Faita (Impasto, Gema) along with Chef Yann Turcotte. The idea behind Chez Tousignant was to pay tribute to the essential casse-croûte recipes and experience — only do it with better ingredients. Expect cheeseburgers, hot dogs and poutines only everything from the hot dog buns to the richly-hued gravy is made in-house. While the bill might be higher than what you’re used to paying at the road-side stop on the way to the chalet, the quality of the product and the experience of eating in the ’50s-inspired, Zébulon Perron designed dining room is well worth the extra bucks. (6956 Drolet)

22. Fondue Chinois Express

As no-frills as they come — what Fondue Chinois Express (FDE) might lack in ambiance it more than makes up for in flavour. Located in a hallway, up a flight of stairs, in the back of the Faubourg building,  FDE isn’t exactly easy to find. Seek it out, however, and you’ll be in for downtown Montreal’s best-kept secret. Noodles and specifically noodle soup is the big draw here (although I’m told the mapo tofu is quite good) and they come served in massive portions. The spicy beef noodle soup packs a punch, as does the pork neck soup which, while served bone-in is so beautifully tender that it falls to shreds with the gentlest of coaxing from a chopstick. If you’re looking for something spicy, the Dan-dan noodles come highly recommended, just make sure to come hungry. (1610 Ste-Catherine W., #411)

23. Nora Gray

After spending some time eclipsed by its sister restaurants Elena and Gia, Nora Gray is finding its way back into the spotlight. Originally opened in 2011, the restaurant has been known as a destination for fine Italian fare for 12 years. Pasta is often the main draw here but composed vegetable dishes, salumi, and proteins off the grill are all equally delicious. Chef Andrew Korstvedt’s menu runs the gamut of regional Italian cuisine, interviewing local seasonal products and a signature style of restrained creativity. Featuring one of the city’s best-stocked wine cellars it’s no wonder that they found their way back to Canada’s 100 best list this year. (1391 St-Jacques)

24. San Gennaro

The reigning champ of Al Taglio pizza in Montreal courtesy of the Bottega family. Roman by tradition, chef-owner Fabrizio Covone went to the Eternal City to learn pizza-making under Rome’s undisputed king of al taglio, Gabrielle Bonci. Having built a cult following off the backs of the ephemeral breakfast pie and the now iconic potato and caciocavallo pie, San Gennaro’s slices are renowned throughout the city. Pizza aside, they also make a delicious bombolone and a drool-worthy affogato in the summer. To fully get the neighbourhood feel, drop by on Mondays between 3 and 8 p.m. for apperitivo. (69 St-Zotique E.)

25. Bika Farm

Chef Fisun Ercan’s Table Champêtre on a pastoral slice of land in Sait-Jean-sur-Richelieu is a temple to local produce. A working farm, all the produce grown on site is exclusively used in the restaurant and includes rare varieties of heirloom vegetables not grown anywhere else in the province. Ercan’s background in Turkish and the influences are occasionally seen in Bika’s cuisine but generally speaking, the food is driven by the ingredient with influences that range from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. A BYOW joint, Bika is an exceptional venue for escaping the city while still enjoying a refined meal and a lovely bottle of wine. (980 du Grand-Bernier)

For more on the Montreal restaurant scene, please visit the Food & Drink section.