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Excellent food is one of Montréal’s main attractions and the city’s restaurants represent an important part of its cultural fabric. With many great places to pick from, here are Montréal’s 16 best restaurants.
As the biggest city in the province of Québec, Montréal has long been a beacon for traditional French-Canadian food – but that’s not all the city’s restaurants have to offer. Montréal today is diverse and vibrant and that variety is reflected in the local cuisine. Across the city, cultures and culinary heritages come together in delicious ways, from simple bagels and poutine to cutting-edge gastronomy. The following restaurants represent some of the best the city has to offer.
Montréal’s most famous bohemian bistro is headed by chefs David McMillan and Fred Morin, and goes above and beyond its steak-and-seafood billing. In fact, Joe Beef has made a name for itself with just one dish, the infamous Joe Beef foie gras double down. The dish is made with bacon and cheese topped with chicken-skin mayonnaise and sandwiched between two deep-fried slabs of foie gras, then drizzled with maple syrup. Other favorites include a generous lobster spaghetti and a mouthwatering caesar cocktail, a play on the classic bloody mary.
If you’re walking down Saint-Catherine Street in downtown Montréal and notice a queue of people outside a restaurant, there’s a good chance it’s Kazu. The wait is worth it. Known for its authentic Japanese dishes and affordable menu, Kazu has become a regular haunt for locals and a treat for tourists. The printed menu features favorites like the 48-hour pork bowl and the delicious tuna salmon salad rice bowl, while handwritten notes pinned to the restaurant’s walls display more niche and seasonal items. Because the space is modest, Kazu is best for smaller groups.
To Montréal natives, Agrikol is known for three things. First, its delicious Haitian cuisine; second, its lively – and frankly beautiful – summer terrace; and third, its famous owners: Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne and Win Butler. The Caribbean restaurant serves up flavorful Haitian dishes and exquisite rum-based cocktails in a colorful and vibrant setting. In the heat of Montréal summer, the restaurant’s enclosed terrace is a welcome respite from the city’s noise and bustle. After eating, diners are enticed to stay late into the night, drinking and dancing to Haitian music.
Walking off Saint-Denis Street into L’Express feels like stepping into the past. The restaurant, which opened in 1980, is dear to most Montréalers for its magnetic ambiance and classic bistro fare. Conceived by architect Luc Laporte and its owners Colette Brossoit and Pierre Villeneuve, L’Express harkens back to a time of white tablecloths, checkered floors and opulent bars. When the menu arrives, you can’t go wrong with a steak tartare and fries or the luxuriant shrimp risotto. Adding to the L’Express charm is a welcoming jar of pickles on every table.
Just around the corner from the Jean-Talon Market is Alep, an established restaurant specializing in Syrian and Armenian cuisine. Welcoming diners for nearly 40 years, the Middle Eastern restaurant has a plentiful menu filled with authentic meat, fish and seafood dishes. Guests will be transported by a menu filled with regional spices like mint, fennel and sumac and should indulge in the restaurant’s broad wine selection. Alep also offers a reasonable tasting menu to accommodate larger groups. For a more casual but still delicious bite, Alep’s sister restaurant Petit Alep is right next door.
This is an updated version of an article originally created by Stephanie Chang Avila.