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 (latke 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 they don’t take reservations.
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.
1638 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Southwest
Dylan Solomon and Éric Girard, the principals behind popular 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' first restaurant has a supper club vibe: A dimly lit sign leads you into the dark exposed brick interiors where the scene is always packed and a bit loud (a mix of local foodies, devote 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 Ouest, Southwest
A 19th-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, and wash it all down with a glass of good, biodynamic red. Fair warning—reservations are hard to come by, so plan ahead.
994 Rue Rachel E., Plateau-Mont-Royal
Poutine is the official, unofficial dish of Canada, and this color-happy, super casual restaurant does it justice. While the poutine formula (fries + cheese curds + gravy) is simple, here, variations (all 30 of them) run the gamut from The Galvaude (chicken and peas) to The Veganomaniac (vegan cheese and gravy). It’s open twenty-four hours a day so expect the place to get rowdier the later it gets.
5201 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Plateau-Mont-Royal
While this upscale restaurant focuses heavily on meat, there's a handful of vegetable-centric sides and dishes here. It's one of Montreal's most popular restaurants, and for good reason: The tight menu of traditional Canadian food delivers, as does the attentive staff. Plus, they offer one of the best brunches in the city.
Edit 361 Rue Saint-Paul Est, Old Montreal
The hype behind this place is legit (it's owner Chuck Hughes has gained recognition as a TV food personality, as well as chef/owner of Montreal hotspot Garde Manger), as is the seasonal menu of fresh oysters, vegetable sides, and a limited-but-stellar mix of seafood and local meats. The food is hearty and has a French influence (note: the scallops, asparagus, and bérnaise), which goes with the decor—dimly lit and cozy with exposed brick. A great spot for a date night.
Le Club Chasse et Pêche
423 Rue Saint-Claude, Old Montreal
Le Club, as its known among regulars, is one of those places that consistently churns out high marks—making it just as popular with visitors who come to Montreal for the outstanding food scene, as it is with locals who are looking for a special night out. Start with seared scallops with a lemon confit; then try catch of the day, served with smoked yukon potatoes; and finish off with a maple syrup parfait—obviously—which includes a decadent red berry sauce and dark chocolate. The sommelier will gladly help you sift through the considerable wine list. (There's also a gluten-free menu upon request.)
257 Rue Prince, Old Montreal
Housed in a former foundry, and arguably one of the chicest reservations in the city, Le Serpent’s industrial-looking dining room is outfitted with modern art installations, making for a particularly unexpected experience (exactly what you’d expect from the team behind Le Club Chasse et Pêche). In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, the Italian-inflected menu of pasta, fresh catch, and meat-centric dishes is streamlined and unfussy—a testament to Chef Michele Mercuri’s knack for restraint.
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