This is not an exhaustive list of restaurants with up to date reviews. Being in the country most of the time, I have a hard time keeping up with the constant flux in the Montreal restaurant scene. Restaurants themselves can change enormously in a year, and besides, there are enough guides and critics out there who do a good job of that already. That said, I will always have opinions, I love restaurants, and when I love a restaurant, I want to tell people about it. So below you will find a list of those I think are worth mentioning.
Other official Montreal restaurant sites to reference, see http://soupnancy.squarespace.com/montreal-restaurant-guides/:
My Restaurant lists:
From Fancypants to Upscale Neighbourhood bistros
Toqué in Place Riopelle, Old Montreal www.restaurant-toque.com
Top notch for pure, elegant food. Deligently sourced ingredients, the compositions are ingredient driven, innovative without being too precious, always beautiful, precise and tasty. Go for the tasting menu. P.S. dream kitchen!
Club Chasse et Pêche in Old Montreal, 423 Rue St-Claude,514-861-1112
Serious food in a slightly less serious setting, very masculine yet classy, terrific service. The food is tops - inspired, fine-tuned dishes using the best local ingredients. And you can trust your waiter with wine picks. The place for a special occasion meal when you're not in the mood for a tasting menu or too much formality.
Cocagne on St-Denis above Roy (formerly Toqué)
Very classy haute bistro fare with sourced local ingredients and a modern French touch. I highly reccomend this resto for the food. The cuisine is flavourful and hearty, yetsoigné and pointu (refined), creative and pretty, but restrained. I loved the calamari cum pasta entrée and the porcelait in various guises. Bistro orgueilleux indeed, it feels and tastes fancier than a bistro. The wine list is interesting too, but the service uneven.
Graziella 116 McGill,514-876-0116
I love the food here. I was a huge fan of Il Sole, and in this space, her version of modern Italian food seems even more beautiful and refined. She has an artful, clean and elegant style that is also flavour forward with good quality EVO and sea salt everywhere. My kind of menu, delicious - simple, pure tastes and presentations, perfect cuissons - I especially enjoyed the pheasant ravioli, the carpaccio with caramelized endive, and the Fontina studded veal. The wine list is interesting too with a broad cross-section of selections from Italy and France, the room is beautiful with high ceilings, anopen kitchen. On McGill in Old Montreal, this is a good choice for Italian fine dining.
Laloux 250 des Pins E,514-287-9127
An upscale bistro that is classic and classy in look and feel. Ever changing with the chefs, it remains a Montreal institution and sure bet.
Café Ferreira downtown on Peel www.ferreiracafe.com
I love the flavors of Portugese cuisine, and the sunny, Mediterranean feel of this beautiful restaurant. A downtown destination for high-rollers, and anyone wanting to feel like one. The food is varied and flavorful, not always in wow territory, but the classics are especially good bets.
Da Emma in Old Montreal, 777 rue de la Commune O.
Fantastic Italian food in a beautiful, luxurious setting. Pure and sensual, the focus is on Meat, with lots of braises and cuts on the bone. The cooking is very rustic, flavourful and generous. The Italian ingredients are first rate - the freshest Buffalo Mozzarella, silken Proscuitto, Artichokes and Porcini, with primo olive oil drizzled all over, simply prepared, but with loads of personality. The side dishes are less inspired, but you don't care. The service is attentive and charming. This place is unique and special, expensive, but a real treat.
Il Cortile on Sherbrooke O., next to the Musée des Beaux Arts
This place is on my list mainly because of the effect it had on me in the early 90's, it's where I first met Reggiano and Porcini... The cooking was always simple, yet elegant, with pure, clean flavors. And what a beautiful terrasse!
Milos 5357 Parc,514-272-3522 www.milos.ca
For simply done, impeccably fresh fish and classy Greek food, when budget is not an issue.
Le St-Urbain in Ahuntsic, 96 rue Fleury Ouest, 514-504-7700 www.leStUrbain.com
Big thumbs up! Fine tuned food in a casual setting with knowledgable and professional service in a warm bistro room with open kitchen and a great vibe. There are many interesting wines by the glass, and competent wine pairing too. You can go fancy with a tasting menu or keep it relatively simple. I enjoyed the black cod with pork belly, the beef with smoked potato and puntarelle, the churros.. Locals are lucky to have such a great resto in the hood, but this is worth the detour too.
Salle à Manger 1302 Mont-Royal Est, 514-522-0777
Love it! Amazing ambiance with a long bar, lots of wood, church pew booths and hanging carcasses in the cooler window. Super professional, friendly service, and a very appealing menu. Researched wine list with lots of cool things to try at a reasonable price. Definitely haute bistro. While the food wasn't always perfect, it was mostly beautiful and yummy, and my kind of food (oysters, lots fish and game, composed salads and veg options beside the obvious passion for meat). Not into everything being served on cutting boards (especially things with sauce), but no biggie. Adored the carpaccio, the octopus, the blue salad, the pork bun, the fish soup..
Les ConServent 5064 Papineau, 514-523-8999
Excellent neighbourhood bistro. A short menu but everything is delicious from the gnocchi to the simple salad, the bavette-frites and quail. Very interesting wine list (and knowledgable) service.
Bar F 1485 Jeanne Mance, 514-289-4558
Café Ferreira's little sister, this sunny spot is a welcome addition to the downtown dining scene. Lots of fish and seafood, bright flavours, simple but artfully prepared Portueguese inspired food served in casseroles.
Toqué's little brother, a classic bistro using top notch ingredients. Nice buzz. The kind of place that feels right anytime, and never bores. Charcuterie, oysters, chevre salad, sweetbreads, tartare..
Joe Beef 2491 rue Notre Dame O.,514-935-6504
On the high end of the bistro spectrum, the food is up-market comfort food and never dissapoints. A clear expression of Dave and Fred’s personality and generosity, the taste is there above all. Great ingredients and a great wine list, classy but informal, a very likeable place.And bonus - an oyster bar, a beautiful garden! Portions are huge. Reserve early.
Sans Menu on Notre Dame O. in St- Henri on Notre Dame O. in St- Henri
Great little St-Henri mainstay. Cozy atmosphere, attentioned service, very tasty straight-forward classic French cuisine. There is obvious love and integrity behind the offerings here and its very reasonably priced.
L’Express 3927 rue St-Denis,514-845-5333
Who doesn't love L’Express? All the classics, the serious servers. I love the fact that you can spend nothing on a simple confit salad and a glass of wine, or splurge on oysters, champagne and foie gras if you feel like it. It’s always the same, but it’s good, its comforting, and so often magic without any fireworks.
Tapeo 511 Villeray, 514-495-1999 www.restotapeo.com
A terrific little neighborhood spot with straightforward, yet exciting food in the tapas (small plate) style.. Everything is tasty, the wine list is short but well chosen, the service is friendly and professional, this place is a great time.
Tuck Shop 4662 Notre Dame O., 514-439-7432
A new happening spot for upscale comfort food in St-Henri; tasty and generous, nice room and vibe, loud not unlike the Monkland Tavern. With Jon Bloom at the helm, service can't be beat, and with Theo Lirikos in the kitchen, the food is solid. Very busy, reservations necessary.
Lemeac 1045 ave. Laurier O., 514-270-0999
A favourite, very popular bistro that has everything you need. The room and terrasse are nice, the menu varied, and although the food is a little uneven, it is generally good, often very good, and it is open late.
Kitchen Galerie 60 Jean Talon E. (corner Casgrain),514-315-8994
A popular restaurant near Jean Talon market where the focus is on the food and a convivial atmosphere. Run by two chefs who do the cooking as well as the serving from an open kitchen counter. The food is big and bold, rustic French style guy food, although refinedin taste and ingredients. The menu changes constantly but examples include foie gras terrine, pan seared foie gras, oysters on the half shell, escargots with ham, a copius pot au feu, Snapper baked Provencale style.. Very fun concept with exuberant soulful cooking. Reservations are essential.
Their Bistro/Bar Chez Roger (on Beaubien) is another fabulous spot for food and atmosphere. 2300 Beaubien Est, 514- 723-5939.
Casa Tapas on Rachel. E
This is one of my favorite spots for the flavors and the ambiance. A varied menu of Spanish style tapas, the dishes are rustic, and generally very good, the service is great, the wine list Spanish only. Very fun place when dining with a bunch of people.
Pied de Cochon 536 ave. Duluth E.,514-281-1114, www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca
Not easy on the system, but I do love pig, and pigging out. This place is hard not to like if you are not the finnicky type; the vibe is great, and the food is good fun. Now famous as a colorful personality as much as for his foie gras poutine (which is just overkill), Martin has become a local hero of sorts... There is still much more to try, in summer lots of seafood...
Monkland Tavern 5555 Monkland, NDG,515-486-5768, www.monklandtavern.com
A neighborhood favoriite with fun, tasty food; the style is contemporary North American bistro in feel, with a mediterranean soul. Portions are huge. Great ambiance if you like it happening, with unbeatable service.
Tavern on the Square 1 Westmount Square, rue Ste-Catherines O.,514-989-9779
Like the Monkland Tavern for grown ups, ie. more space, less noise, reservations, more expensive. The same taste-forward food à la Steve, but classier, a very popular all occasion place in Westmount.
Pinxto 256 rue Roy E.,514-844-0222
Reliable, tasty Basquaise tapas in an attractive, informal setting. The dishes are real tapas (only a few bites), so order many. Few fireworks, but very satisfying. Very reasonable, very popular and open Mondays!
La Colombe 554 ave. Duluth E.,514-849-8844
One of the best BYOB around. Straightforward French contemporary, there are not too many frills, but tasty and reliable. Good quality fine cooking, and a great deal.
Faros on Fairmount just west of Parc
Greek food, taverna style. Lively and noisy,usuallytasty food-wise, this place is very fun, especially in the dead of winter, when sunny flavors,hilarious waitersand a bustling atmosphere do the trick in lifting the spirits. Crispy veg with tzatiki, saganaki, fried squid, fresh whole fish with lemon and herbs, loads offresh fruit for dessert..
Mythos on Parc
A very reasonable, informal, unpretensious place for Greek food, Taverna style. The ambiance can get rowdy, with the ouzo iflowing and people dancing, and so the food sometimes gets forgotten, but if you're in the mood for a party, and not in a rush, you will find that the food is pretty darn good, and have a great time. Great place to book agroup party.
Gardemanger on François Xavier in Old Montreal
A hot spot for good food in a casual, bar-like atmosphere. The menu is short but appetizing, heavy on the seafood, the inspiration being a Maine crab shack. A great place for fresh or fried oysters, tartare and fish and chipsor you can go all out with an abundant sea food platter. The popular dessert is the deep fried Mars bar. Eat early if you are over 30 or not in the mood to be overwhelmed by the bar scene.
Le Locale 740 rue William,514-397-7737
A gorgeous space with a great vibe and ambiance. The menu is fun to read, but doesn't always deliver, occasionally surprising, but not always in a good way. There is alot going on in some of the dishes. But there are some great salads (many with a poached egg), I enjoyed my entrées every time, and the tartare is solid. Hardly perfection , but this place is very Montreal, and very fun no matter; the wine list is long,a great place for a girl's (or guys') night out with great people watching to boot, just don't be in a rush, the service is very slow.
Bu on St-Laurent
Cool little spot, more of a wine bar, with a limited but good menu featuring simple Italian bites.
Jane 1744 Notre Dame O, 514-759-6498
More fine tuned comfort food albeit with its own special personality; small, comfortable and unassuming; Terrific rustic pizza, and the Jane salad is a must. Perfect for a no frills, impromptu happy get together.