1844 Rue Amherst, Gay Village
Win Butler and Regine Chassagne are Montreal natives, though you probably know them better as members of the rock band Arcade Fire. What you probably didn’t know is that they’re also restaurateurs—they opened this Haitian bar and eatery in Ville-Marie in 2016 (Chassagne’s parents are from Haiti). As you might expect of a restaurant named after a type of French-Caribbean rum, the cocktails here are home runs. We’d go for the Kokonut, made with rum, coconut cream, and a mix of tangerine, lime, and passion fruit juices. And if you order only one thing from the food menu, make it the pain patate. It’s a rich, sweet potato cake soaked in sugarcane sauce, baked with nutmeg and cinnamon, and sprinkled with rum-macerated raisins and perfection.
Arthurs Nosh Bar
4621 Rue Notre Dame W., 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.
1595 St Laurent Blvd., Ville Marie
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.
95 Rue Jean-Talon Ouest,
Part craft brewery and part comfort-food tavern, the brick-walled, warmly lit Brasserie Harricana in the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie neighborhood was made for freezing-cold Montreal nights. Aside from more than twenty varieties of beer and cider on tap (including several gluten-free options), the menu offers Quebecois classics, like duck confit croquettes and beer-braised ham bone. Vegetarians also have plenty of options, including the roasted carrots with thyme and honey, pan-seared mushrooms, and a hearty fattoush salad.
551 Rue Saint-Martin, Little Burgundy
What was once a nineteenth-century stone church rectory in Sud-Ouest is now one of Montreal’s buzziest fine-dining restaurants. The farm-to-table concept is familiar, but Candide sets itself apart with a tasting menu of beautifully presented dishes, with the vivid colors of each ingredient on full display. The menu changes monthly, but you’re likely to find a mix of jewel-like edible flowers, tomatoes, and eggplant; electric-orange carrot medallions; snow-white crabmeat; and bowls of ripe blueberries and raspberries among the various small plates. The wine list is one hundred bottles deep, and the sommelier, Emily Campeau, is a trusty guide for pairings.
Dinette Triple Crown
6704 Rue Clark, Mile Ex
Our love for perfect fried chicken knows no bounds, which is why we were instantly taken by this hidden diner in the Villeray-Parc Ex neighborhood: The team serves up some of the best we've had—crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside—with a limited menu of sides including killer mac ’n’ cheese, buttermilk bread, and hushpuppies. (You'd almost think you were in the South.) The food's indulgent, but it's every bit worth it.
5090 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Saint-Henri
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.
1638 Rue Notre-Dame W., 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.
408 Rue Saint-François-Xavier, Old Montreal
Chef Chuck Hughes's first restaurant has a supper club vibe: A dimly lit sign leads you into the dark, exposed-brick interior where the scene is always packed and a bit loud (a mix of local foodies, devoted Hughes fans, and tourists). The food is rich (the lobster poutine is a mainstay) with a heavy French influence. What tops off this popular restaurant is its impressive wine list.
2491 Rue Notre Dame W., 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.
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