New Brunswick’s second largest city might just be home to one of the best dining scenes in Atlantic Canada. Bold restaurateurs are taking risks with the region’s abundant seafood and produce, while the city’s diverse multicultural community brings influences from countries ranging from Malaysia to France. Here are 10 of Moncton’s best restaurants that you need to check out.
Cinta Ria Malaysian Fusion is an award-winning restaurant with a modest entrance and inside the decor is just as humble with simple tables, tiled floors, and cheerful lime green and orange walls. The restaurant takes its name from a Malaysian expression meaning ‘love and happiness’, and its menu reflects the diverse influences at play in traditional Malaysian cooking. Try the char kuey teow, a popular Malaysian street dish, which features rice noodles with chicken or beef, along with beansprouts, eggs, green onions, and roasted chili oil.
The Pump House Brewery and Restaurant is a low-key microbrewery and pub that offers a menu of wood-oven pizzas, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Metal fermentation tanks and bags of hops decorate the interior of this casual restaurant. Try the beer bread, which is made with grains left over from the brewing process and served with roasted red pepper aioli. Naturally the restaurant’s extensive beer menu is part of the draw, with eight regular drafts on tap as well as seasonal ales, such as pumpkin for Halloween. Go for the Blueberry Ale, which has taken several medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards and comes with floating blueberries in the glass.
Bistro 33 is an upscale restaurant that features changing menus focused on seasonal flavors. Expect dishes with a variety of international influences, such as vegetarian moussaka with a parmesan herb crust and Thai salmon served on a crispy nori vegetable rice cake. Owner and operator Chef Marc Surette has cooked for everyone from the Queen of England to Wayne Gretzky. A regular line-up of events enhances the restaurant’s exceptional food and inviting ambiance. The restaurant hosts live jazz nights every Tuesday and Thursday as well as ‘festivals’ with menus based on a specific theme.
Windjammer has been awarded the CAA Four Diamond Award for excellence in dining every year since 1992. Named for a type of 19th-century merchant ship built in Moncton, the Windjammer’s interior features plush upholstered booths, dark wood paneling, and nods to the city’s shipping industry. The menu combines Chef Stefan Mueller’s European training with fresh, Atlantic cuisine. Summers focus on the 100-Mile Menu, which features products sourced from within 100 miles of Moncton, including the hotel’s own rooftop beehive and garden. The winter months highlight classic comfort foods like Chateaubriand and osso bucco provençal.
As its name suggests, Catch 22 Lobster Bar focuses on lobster, prepared 22 different ways. Specialities include lobster thermidor, which features lobster and mushrooms in a white wine, tomato-based sauce, topped with Swiss cheese and served in the shell; as well as lobster served by the pound alongside mixed veggies and a choice of potatoes, fries, or rice. Featured on Food Network Canada’s You Gotta Eat Here! the restaurant serves up other classic seafood dishes as well as salads, steaks, and pastas.
Red Satay Grill is a small, down-to-earth restaurant specializing in Vietnamese food. The menu includes pho soup and stir-fried vermicelli noodles in addition to less traditional dishes like fusilli pasta with beef slices, stir-fried with garlic, snow peas, and peppers. The restaurant’s ‘Jenny Special’ is a local favorite, offering a little of everything. The massive bowl consists of grilled beef, pork, chicken, and shrimp, along with broccoli, carrots, bean sprouts, a spring roll, and peanuts served with vermicelli noodles or steamed rice. The restaurant also offers a selection of more than 100 loose leaf teas, which can be enjoyed with your meal or taken home after.
Les Brume du Coude is located in the Aberdeen Cultural Centre, an important hub for the city’s French-speaking Acadian population. With Chef Michel Savoie creating innovative dishes influenced by French cuisine, Les Brume du Coude offers an immersive French bistro experience. The restaurant’s interior exudes all the intimacy and charm of a classic bistro, with its exposed brick, chalkboard menus, and bold yellow accent wall. The menu changes every day, creating a continuous surprise for adventurous foodies. Specials are written in French, but the restaurant staff are bilingual and happy to explain to English speakers.
Tide and Boar serves sophisticated pub fare in a relaxed yet chic setting. With an emphasis on ingredients sourced from local farms, the restaurant makes everything in-house, even condiments like ketchup. Its best-known menu item is easily the boar poutine, which features hand-cut fries topped with braised boar, caramelized onions, cheese curds, chicken gravy, and ketchup. The menu is rounded out by an excellent selection of craft beers and cocktails. The restaurant often hosts live music events, and portraits of classic music icons decorate the walls inside.
Calactus offers a healthy menu of vegan and vegetarian food influenced by cuisine from around the world. Menu items range from the Indian Taj Mahal thali to Mexican enchiladas. Portions are generous and prices are reasonable. Not all the menu items are vegan, but all can be prepared vegan upon request. The restaurant’s interior is quirky and homey, with wooden tables, bright colors, and plenty of plants. Calactus also offers a wonderful selection of fair-trade espresso coffees, organic wines, and local beers.
Little Louis’ is set in an unassuming location on the second floor of a strip mall, along a relatively industrial street. Despite its lackluster exterior, the restaurant’s interior is intimate and inviting with crisp white tablecloths and low lighting. Begin with raw local oysters on the half shell, served with Louis’ signature cocktail sauce or mignonette, before moving on to one of the other outstanding dishes on Chef Pierre Richard’s modern French menu. The restaurant’s wonderful wine list has been awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence among other accolades. Daily tastings menus with or without wine pairings are available.