May 19, 2024

These Are The Montreal Restaurants Winning Awards & High Praise In 2023

Montreal’s restaurant scene is cooking up a storm and not just locals are being swept away. International experts have taken notice and the city’s culinary gems are scoring big on Yelp’s Top 100 in Canada, shining bright among Forbes’ Star Awards and checking the boxes on La Liste’s definitive worldwide ranking.

Montreal restaurant Vin Mon Lapin even took the top spot in the whole country on Canada’s Best 100 ranking, and Canada’s Best Places To Eat list by Maclean’s.

Whether you’re pinching pennies or ready to shell out clams this year, here are some of the best restaurants in Montreal worth adding to your foodie bucket list:

Beba

Where: 3900, rue Éthel

Why You Need To Go: Tucked away in Verdun, this bistro celebrates the Spanish and Italian heritage that enriches Argentinian cuisine. The restaurant, which clinched the #8 spot on Canada’s Best 100 list, offers generously portioned seafood and meat dishes. The creative menu, crafted by chef Ari Schor and chef de cuisine Dixon Cone, combines traditional favourites like empanadas with adventurous offerings like Iwashi Montadito, or Japanese sardines served Spanish style. Unpretentious and inviting, Beba is a hidden neighbourhood gem worth the detour.

Beba website

Bouillon Bilk

Where: 1595, boul. St-Laurent

Why You Need To Go: This downtown restaurant, known for its blend of traditional French methods with modern ingredients, secured the number 23 spot on Canada’s 100 Best list. It’s pricey — a dozen oysters will set you back $42; the guinea fowl with foie gras, $48 — but the quality of the food, along with the intimate and sophisticated ambiance, makes it a perfect spot for a romantic date.

Bouillon Bilk website

Cabaret L’Enfer

Where: 4094, rue Saint-Denis

Why You Need To Go: This industrial-chic restaurant offers a distinct dining experience with a unique tasting menu-only approach. Ranking #39 on Canada’s Best 100 list, this venue mixes fun and sophistication. Each night, a lucky crowd of 33 diners are treated to a range of gastronomic delights, starting from an in-house charcuterie platter to creative dishes like dehydrated apple with B.C. trumpet mushroom or spaghetti served with razor clams. Their crispy-skinned doré with Quebec saffron is another standout dish.

Cabaret l’Enfer website

Damas

Where: 1201, ave Van Horne

Why You Need To Go: This stunning Syrian restaurant is a feast for your eyes and your taste buds — the colourful decor and authentic dishes will transport you to the Middle East. The meze platters are a must-try starter between the creamy hummus ($18) and smoky baba ghanoush ($29). A standout entrée is the lamb shoulder, slow-cooked to perfection and served with a side of Syrian smoked wheat ($55). Another popular main is the octopus salad, tender and flavourful with a hint of smokiness from the grill ($44). The Mile End destination placed 7th on Maclean’s Best Places To Eat ranking.

Damas website

Elena P.S.

Where: 5090, rue Notre Dame Ouest

Why You Need To Go: Hidden in the backyard of Montreal’s acclaimed Elena, this spontaneous Saint-Henri wine bar and lunch counter is a secret retreat. You can pop in for their noteworthy sourdough pizzas, featuring toppings like house-made stracciatella crafted from Quebec cheddar cheese curds. The ingredients are organic and local, and you can enjoy the festive atmosphere that has stolen the spotlight from its big-sister restaurant.

Elena P.S. website

Falafel St-Jacques

Where: 345, rue St-Jacques

Why You Need To Go: This cozy plant-based eatery serves up Middle Eastern street food from mouth-watering falafel ($9) to vegetarian shwarma/shish taouk ($10). The Lachine counter offers generous portions that are perfect for an affordable picnic by the canal.

Falafel St. Jacques website

Gia Vin & Grill

Where: 1025, rue Lenoir

Why You Need To Go: This Saint-Henri Italian restaurant specializes in Tuscan dishes, serving grilled dishes accompanied by an extensive wine selection. This hidden gem has been recently featured on Time Out’s list of “coolest secret restaurants on the continent,” solidifying its status as a must-visit for food enthusiasts.

Gia website

Janine Café

Where: 3900, rue Wellington

Why You Need To Go: This Verdun gem is the sister restaurant to Régine Café with modern twists on classic brunch options like brioche bread French toast ($22) and cornflake-fried chicken and waffles ($22). The decor is bright and airy, with seating options so elegant you can’t help but feel like you’re spoiling yourself.

Janine Café website

Île Flottante

Where: 176, rue Saint Viateur Ouest

Why You Need To Go: This French restaurant in the Mile End serves culinary creations that double as works of art. You’ll enjoy a blend of classic French and Quebecois flavours prepared with modern techniques as part of the $110 seasonal tasting menu. Current offerings include spiced duck breast with pickled persimmon, roasted beets, fois gras schmaltz and cinnamon raisin St-Viateur bagel croutons.

Île Flottante website

Joe Beef

Where: 2491, rue Notre-Dame Ouest

Why You Need To Go: This tavern in Little Burgundy serves indulgent dishes made with local and seasonal ingredients in a rustic yet refined atmosphere. You might have a hard time picking between the lobster spaghetti and the “Foie Gras Double Down” — two foie gras patties sandwiched between slices of house-cured bacon with a side of maple syrup-infused toast — the good news is you can’t go wrong.

Joe Beef website

L’Express

Where: 3927, rue Saint-Denis

Why You Need To Go: Securing the #56 spot on Canada’s 100 Best list, this French bistro is a cherished institution known for its classic Parisian offerings. The timeless charm of the restaurant is reflected in its iconic black and white tiled floor and wood-panelled interiors. Complement your meal with a selection from their Francophile wine list, which boasts many affordable options.

L’Express website

La Finca

Where: 1067, rue de Bleury

Why You Need To Go: This charming café in the heart of downtown serves specialty coffee, sourced from a small farm in Costa Rica and roasted in Montreal. You can pair your gourmet latté or cappuccino with a comforting croissant sandwich, bagel BLT or made-to-order parfait.

La Finca website

L’Avenue

Where: 922, ave Mont-Royal Est

Why You Need To Go: This iconic brunch go-to in the Plateau serves creative dishes along with funky decor and a lively atmosphere. You can start your meal with a signature drink, like the famous Nutella Latte ($5) or a classic Mimosa ($10). For the main course, you might try the decadent “Masoub Caramelized Bananas” with thick French toast coated in panko and topped with bananas, dates, walnuts and coconut caramel ($19). Or perhaps the “Mac Texan” featuring parmesan and spinach ravioli piled high with Mac & cheese sauce, Texan chili, a sunny-side-up egg, salsa and fried onions ($19). The portions at L’Avenue are famously large, so be prepared to share or take home leftovers.

L’Avenue website

Le Club Chasse et Pêche

Where: 423, rue St-Claude

Why You Need To Go: As the name suggests, this Old Montreal restaurant serves Québécois fish and game dishes. Start your meal with seared scallops, lemon confit and fennel purée ($29) followed by an American wagyu entrée with truffle dauphinoise, porcini and red wine sauce ($63).

Club Chasse et Pêche website

Le Pégase

Where: 1831, rue Gilford

Why You Need To Go: This BYOW restaurant off Papineau serves upscale French fare, from braised pork cheek with hazelnut and raisin ($32/$46) to doe filet with bacon, cabbage and mushroom sauce ($35/$49). Depending on whether you opt for the table d’hôte (soup or salad, main course, coffee) or gourmet meal (soup or salad, entree, main course, dessert, coffee) will impact the listed price of each dish.

Le Pégase website

Le Mousso

Where: 1025, rue Ontario Est

Why You Need To Go: This restaurant in the Village takes guests on a journey through the world of avant-garde cuisine — in some cases putting the “stick” in rustic. The tasting menu is a feast for the senses, showcasing creative and experimental chef techniques. Each dish is beautifully presented and combines unexpected ingredients and flavours. If you’re willing to dish out $250 for the unique experience, you won’t be disappointed.

Le Musso website

Le Pick Up

Where: 3739, rue Ontario Est

Why You Need To Go: The Hochelaga hotspot serves hearty and affordable comfort food, like fried cauliflower ($9), veggie “pulled pork” sandwiches ($13) and fried chicken sandwiches ($14). There’s also a great selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails to complement your meal. If you’re looking for hip, cozy and casual, this spot is a must-try.

Le Pick Up website

Maison Publique

Where: 4720, rue Marquette

Reason to Try: This English-French fusion gastropub in the Plateau creatively uses seasonal ingredients for its distinctive dishes. Favourites include the roast duck with farro, spinach, and pomegranate salsa, as well as the blood pudding with duck egg, porcini, and sage. The old-school pub ambiance is accentuated by a long wooden bar and dark wood panelling, with Québécois decor touches. Its inviting terrasse is especially popular for brunch. Consistently recognized by Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, Maison Publique earned the 70th spot on the ranking this year.

Maison Publique website

Ma Poule Mouillée

Where: 969, rue Rachel Est

Why You Need To Go: This Plateau resto is a must-try for anyone craving juicy Montreal-style rotisserie chicken. Their secret marinade, generous portions and affordable prices make the eatery a local favourite, especially for spicy sandwiches ($10) and poutine ($17).

Ma Poule Mouillée website

Maison Boulud

Where: 1228, rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Why You Need To Go: This fine dining destination in Montreal’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel has no shortage of accolades and has already won a Forbes Star Award this year. You can order exceptionally prepared French dishes like rabbit with foie gras ($58) and scallops with Iberico ham ($65). The service is impeccable and a reliable choice for a luxurious night out.

Maison Boulud website

Mastard

Where: 1879, rue Bélanger

Why You Need To Go: Located in Rosemont, Mastard is a culinary gem run by acclaimed Chef Simon Mathys. This eatery delivers high-cuisine Quebecois flavours in a friendly, budget-friendly format. Savour the ever-changing five-course menu, featuring delights like perfectly cooked Arctic char or high-summer tomatoes dressed in smoked meat fat. To complement the food, there’s an extensive selection of affordable natural wines.

Mastard website

Moccione

Where: 7495, rue Saint-Denis

Why You Need To Go: You can get a fusion of Italian and Québécois dishes at this resto in the heart of Saint-Denis, like perch crudo with bergamot, calamari arrabbiata, and a standout maccheroni al ragù. The Olive Oil Negroni is a delightful start, while the sublime tiramisu makes for a memorable finish.

Moccione website

Monarque

Where: 406, rue Saint-Jacques

Reason to try: Ranked #16 in Canada’s 100 Best, this stylish Old Montreal brasserie offers a delectable array of French dishes with a modern touch. With standout offerings from seafood bouillabaisse to dry-aged beef, artistic vintage cocktails, and exceptional pastries, Monarch delivers a memorable dining experience complete with impeccable service and an extensive, modern wine list.

Monarque website

Vin Mon Lapin

Where: 150, rue Saint-Zotique Est

Reason to try: This Little Italy wine bar, run by the same team behind Joe Beef, didn’t just make it to the top tier of La Liste’s rankings this year, it took first place in Canada’s Best 100 list of restaurants in the whole country. With a charming outdoor terrace, playful bunny decor and creative dishes that complement the extensive wine list, it’s no surprise why.

Vin Mon Lapin website

Montréal Plaza

Where: 6230, rue St-Hubert

Reason to try: This upscale and playful eatery in Plaza St-Hubert, defies convention with its unique culinary presentation. Ranked #21 in Canada’s 100 Best, it turns the idea of a chic Montreal bistro on its head, serving scallop sashimi draped over a toy dinosaur and salads in porcelain pigs. Helmed by co-chefs Charles-Antoine Crête and Cheryl Johnson, Plaza pushes the culinary envelope with French and Japanese-inspired dishes, from sea snails with miso butter to “fruit crispy” desserts.

Montréal Plaza website

Nora Gray

Where: 1391, rue Saint-Jacques

Reason to Try: Known for its hand-rolled pasta such as strozzapreti and cappelletti, this cozy Italian restaurant tucked away in Griffintown also serves hearty dishes featuring beef, duck, and seafood. Ranked #53 by Canada’s Best 100, the menu changes weekly, ensuring a constant rotation of culinary delights. The intimate ambiance of the restaurant, characterized by wood-lined interiors and dim lighting, provides a perfect backdrop for a romantic meal.

Nora Gray website

Salle Climatisée

Where: 6448, boul. St Laurent

Reason to try: This quaint Little Italy bistro offers more than just air conditioning — it’s a hub for the local community. Savour Berkshire pork with fermented rhubarb or asparagus and leeks with sunflower vinaigrette. End on a high note with either a rich or fresh dessert. The minimalist, artistic atmosphere complements the straightforward offerings, including popular natural wines.

Salle Climatisée website

Terrasse Carla

Where: 985, boul. Saint-Laurent, 6th floor

Reason to try: The sixth floor of the new Hampton by Hilton hotel, located at the southern edge of Chinatown, is home to Terrasse Carla. The restaurant offers a fusion of French bistro and modern Vietnamese cuisine and has gained recognition for its unique blend of flavours and charming ambiance, earning a spot at number 16 on Time Out’s list of the “coolest secret restaurants on the continent.”

Terrasse Carla website

O’Thym

Where: 1112, boul. de Maisonneuve Est

Why You Need To Go: This Village restaurant serves seasonal French cuisine with an emphasis on presentation — dishes are plated to showcase the ingredients’ colours and textures. Vegetarian dishes include the $18 gnudi (ricotta-filled gnocchi) with squash and the $18 beetroot tartlet. Meat options include a $24 seal with plum emulsion and $26 scallops with Ontario peach. The rustic, intimate space is BYOW so you can pair your meal with a favourite vintage.

O’Thym website

Paloma

Where: 8521, boul. St-Laurent

Reason to Try: This French-Italian restaurant in Villeray brings Niçoise-inspired cuisine to its guests and ranks #48 on Canada’s 100 Best list. Diners can expect delicacies like fish soup with saffron-laced rouille, squash-stuffed mezzaluna, and calf’s brains in lemon butter. The food served is deeply linked with family history and memories, enhancing the dining experience with a sense of warmth and familiarity.

Paloma website

Pichai

Where: 5985, rue St-Hubert

Reason to Try: This spot near Plaza Saint-Hubert serves vibrant Thai cuisine crafted from local ingredients. Recognized as the 15th best restaurant on Canada’s 100 Best list, Pichai balances uncompromising hot-and-sour dishes with a curated selection of predominantly white and rosé wines. The menu shines with street-food-inspired dishes like fried soft-boiled eggs in sweet-and-sour sauce and lamb with grilled duck hearts. Not to be missed are specials featuring locally grown Thai eggplants and chilis or Lao sausage from award-winning butcher Aliments Viens.

Pichai website

Régine Café

Where: 1840, rue Beaubien Est

Why You Need To Go: This trendy brunch staple near Plaza St-Hubert has an elegant vintage vibe. Expect a bustling atmosphere with bright decor and equally colourful juices. The pastry counter is stacked with appetizing baked goods, which you can sample with the “Un Peu de Tout” ($28). If you’re more in the mood for savoury, the grilled cheese on walnut and pistachio bread with smashed potatoes ($21) is a treat.

Régine Café website

Restaurant Bonaparte

Where: 447, rue Saint Francois Xavier

Why You Need To Go: This gourmet French restaurant is located in a beautifully restored 19th-century building that was once home to the Bank of Montreal. The interior features grandiose chandeliers, opulent draperies and classic architectural details that create a luxurious atmosphere. You can fill up on beef bourguignon ($36) or scallop delight with truffle oil and mushroom fricassee ($48), as well as daily specials that highlight seasonal ingredients. Bonaparte has an extensive wine list, with over 500 labels and wine pairing suggestions for each dish on the menu.

Bonaparte website

Saint Sushi Plateau

Where: 424, ave Duluth Est

Why You Need To Go: This Plateau restaurant raked in rave reviews from Yelp’s annual ranking for its high-quality rolls named after pop culture icons. The menu offers a range of prices, from budget-friendly options like the “Tupac” roll with shrimp and tempura ($17) to more expensive specialty rolls, like the soy-wrapped “Prince” with softshell crab and shrimp and mint ($22).

Saint Sushi website

Sushi Momo

Where: 3609, rue Saint-Denis

Why You Need To Go: This Japanese-inspired vegan restaurant recreates the flavours and textures of traditional sushi with plant-based ingredients. The “Mumbai” futomaki, for instance, features mock shrimp, green onion and avocado ($7.5), while the “Jacque Épicé” is stuffed with fried jackfruit, mango, cucumber and kimchi ($8). Sushi Momo also offers creative desserts, like fried vegan ice cream ($10).

Sushi Momo website

Toqué!

Where: 900, Pl. Jean-Paul-Riopelle

Why You Need To Go: Dining at this downtown destination is an elegant experience recommended by Forbes and La Liste. The restaurant interior is sleek and stylish, with dim lighting that creates an intimate ambiance. The restaurant offers a tasting menu that changes to reflect seasonal ingredients, chef-driven creativity and contemporary French cuisine. The foie gras terrine with blueberry ($35), and Quebec lamb with squash purée ($64) are particularly popular. The restaurant also offers an impressive selection of wines, carefully curated by their sommelier to complement the food.

Toqué! website

Vin Papillon

Where: 2519, rue Notre Dame Ouest

Why You Need To Go: This beloved wine bar in Little Burgundy provides a warm, rustic dining experience in a cottage-like setting. It’s known for tapas-style plates, including seasoned tonnato beans, zucchini with spicy honey, and grilled mackerel with toast, all of which pair well with its selection of wines. A member of the Joe Beef family, Vin Papillon continues to be a neighbourhood favourite due to innovative vegetable-forward small plates and an ever-evolving list of natural wines. Its unique offering has earned it the 68th spot on Canada’s 100 Best list.

Vin Papillon website

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