5090 Rue Notre-Dame O, Southwest
A new Saint-Henri restaurant from the owners of Nora Gray (a local favorite in Ville-Marie), Elena specializes in wood-fired thin-crust pizza. But unlike so many pizza spots in town, this one stands out for its edgy design sensibility. There’s a long marble bar flanked by turquoise-topped bar stools, velvet seating that softens an otherwise industrial space, reclaimed wood-plank floors, and modern art pieces that could hang in a modern art gallery. We love the classic margherita pie here, though the non-pizza items (tagliatelle with braised beef ragu and Parmesan, a kale Caesar salad with radicchio and tahini dressing) are just as good.
Atwater Cocktail Club
512 Ave. Atwater, Southwest
Packed to the rafters night after night, Atwater Cocktail Club is relatively new to Montreal’s thriving bar scene, yet locals are already sold on the craft cocktails. Expect drinks infused with Mexican heat and tropical freshness—common flavors include jalapeño, agave, hibiscus, and lavender. Modeled with a speakeasy in mind, the interior is dark and moody. Behind the long emerald marble bar are shelves heaving with every spirit imaginable; the latter half of the room is cozy yet sultry with pink leather booths, glossy dark wood walls, and small gold tables. For those who like a bite with their drink, an added bonus—and serious incentive—is the option to order French brasserie plates from Foiegwa next door (conveniently, the establishments share the same owners).
2491 Rue Notre-Dame O, Southwest
A nineteenth-century eccentric with a heart of gold, Charles “Joe Beef” McKiernan is something of a local legend, so it makes sense that one of the city’s best protein-centric restaurants be named after him. The snug, dimly lit dining rooms border on kitschy (chalkboard menus, the occasional taxidermied bison head), but the wine selection and menu are as serious as it gets: steaks, Cornish hen, or lobster spaghetti if meat isn’t your thing, washed down with a glass of good, biodynamic red. Fair warning: Reservations are hard to come by, so plan ahead.
Arthurs Nosh Bar
4621 Rue Notre-Dame O, Southwest
This family operation is an homage to Jewish deli comfort food, but done in a way that feels entirely fresh. Here, you’ll find all the requisites—organic gravlax, matzo ball soup, schnitzel—in addition to riffs on the classics (latkes smorgasbord, challah grilled cheese) served in a beautiful, brightly lit space and complemented by a bar and on-site herb garden. Not surprisingly, it's good for brunch, but expect a wait, as it doesn’t take reservations.
1638 Rue Notre-Dame O, Southwest
Dylan Solomon and Éric Girard, the principals behind popular the Montreal bakery/café Olive & Gourmando, opened Foxy a couple of years ago to high anticipation—and they did not disappoint. The sleek, dark space hosts a talented team that makes mostly everything in-house, from the yogurt to the bread to the ice cream, with local ingredients. The main star here is the fire pit in the kitchen, on which most of the vegetables, proteins, and pizzas are cooked, lending a rich smokiness to the dishes, including the insane apple pie with burnt caramel ice cream.
2360 Rue Notre-Dame O, Southwest
Lauded pastry chef Patrice Demers has created a minimalist dessert haven at his Southwest patisserie, which showcases his incredible skill for creating classic desserts with a twist. The offerings here are a form of art, with finishing touches on, say, a chocolate alpaco with glazed apricots or a buttery Kouigan Amann that are so perfect, you almost don't want to disrupt them with a spoon. Demers and his team also offer baking workshops as well as a limited lunch menu during the week.