1391 Rue Saint-Jacques, Downtown
Some Montrealers swear that Nora Gray is the best Italian restaurant in the city, and you’ll probably be convinced once chef Emma Cardarelli’s seasonal creations arrive at the table. These include a sublime buttered asparagus ravioli with duck heart Bolognese, a lemon farfalle with zucchini flowers and poppy seeds, and simple (and supremely fresh) summer salads with pistachio and Pecorino. The dining room—full of cozy black leather booths—is small-scale and intimate, and the perfect place to enjoy a bottle of red (or two) with a few friends.
1595 St. Laurent Blvd., Downtown
In Ville-Marie, Bouillon Bilk is something of an anomaly in Montreal. The stark, black-and-white interior might feel more Manhattan than Quebecois, and the food is fittingly elegant if a bit austere. Entrées—like the striped bass with almonds, zucchini, mint, lardo, and grapes or the duck with French beans, raspberries, fava beans, and oyster mushrooms—are presented like works of precious art. Luckily, it all tastes as good as it looks.