Montreal is home to a vibrant Indian community, which while small in comparison to those in cities like New York or Vancouver, has nevertheless made a big impression on the city’s food scene.
With several of the most popular spots centered around the Indian community’s hub in the northern neighborhood of Parc Extension, excellent and budget-diverse Indian food can now be found in almost every area of this Canadian metropolis. Here are 10 of the best places to tuck in.
One of the most highly regarded places for South Indian cuisine in the city, Thanjai operates out of a spacious, chandelier-lit space in the multi-ethnic neighborhood of Côte-des-Neiges. The restaurant’s specialty is the staple of southern India: the dosa, a large, slightly sour crepe, with flavors including ghee, paneer, chutney and a spiced version, with a cornucopia of fillings available. Also housing a party hall, this is a vibrant, often busy BYOB spot, with a good non-alcoholic drinks menu and quick access via Plamondon metro station.
One of the stand-out eateries in the Indian food hotspot of Parc Extension, Bombay Mahal has built up an enviable reputation for freshness, flavor and excellent presentation. With a well-rounded set of dishes from India’s various regions, expect high-quality curries – including fiery vindaloos. A mom-and-pop operation that has been serving the city for many years, the restaurant is relatively roomy and offers colorful, thematic surroundings. Bowing to increasing demand, the team recently opened a new branch on the Plateau-Mont-Royal.
Pushap is one of the most venerable Indian eateries in the city. A small but popular spot located just north of Namur metro station off Boulevard Decarie, it has been selling authentic Indian food for almost 30 years. Diners should expect busy lunchtimes, a distinct vegetarian focus, tasty thalis, hearty samosas by the bag, a lively take-out trade and a counter full of colorful sweets. Despite always closing by 9pm, the restaurant retains a faithful customer base. Pushap also has a second location in Kirkland, in the West Island suburbs.
Maison Indian Curry is another highly regarded restaurant on Parc Extension’s Indian strip, situated among a cluster of restaurants on Jean-Talon Ouest. In business for almost 25 years, this restaurant distinguishes itself from the local competition with its high-quality dishes combined with price-buster affordability, and generous thali dishes for less than $10. Snack on sweet golgappa (a deep-fried crispy snack filled with fragrant fillings) or sip on juicy lassi before choosing from a good range of entrée dishes that take inspiration from both the north and south of India.
A quintessential Downtown establishment for swift and tasty Indian food, Thali is a highly dependable, no-frills, satisfying spot located in the shadow of Concordia University. As the name suggests, the restaurant focuses on varied, fresh thali options (platters of multiple small dishes), with generous portions that have helped to make it much-loved among locals. With a diverse selection of vegetarian dishes, Thali offers rapid service, a noted selection of tasty tandoori chicken, and a nice version of the sweet, honeyed treat gulab jamun.
This BYOB-friendly spot is located at the heart of the well-known strip of Indian restaurants on Rue Jean-Talon Ouest. Simple decorations and decent prices combine with a focus on Punjabi food, including rich saag dishes and an assorted biryani menu. They also serve a sprinkling of Chinese- and Burmese-influenced recipes. Punjab Palace also offers a nice selection of sweet treats, including creamy kulfi (creamy Indian ice cream). Adventurous diners will find a long list of specialized options on the restaurant’s menu, as well as well-known options like wet and dry curries and kormas.
This small, family-run restaurant at the heart of Verdun has become a neighborhood favorite since opening roughly five years ago. With a focus on traditional foods associated with the Punjab region, Palais d’Ajit transforms from a relaxed lunch spot to a packed dinner location on weekend nights. The house lamb curry and flavor-packed chana dishes come highly recommended. The restaurant serves traditional sweet treats, including malai kulfi ice cream. Affordable thali-style dishes are also available, and prices throughout the menu are still competitive for this steadily gentrifying neighborhood.
A break from the norm, Rasoï offers new twists and fusion options in the trendy neighborhood of St-Henri. Carving out space in this rapidly changing neighborhood since 2013, Rasoï offers the likes of fish pakoras and chips or lamb madras poutine, in addition to classic dishes and curries. Offering a full cocktail bar and a ladies’ night, this is more of a night-time, adventurous and slightly pricier option than your standard family Indian restaurant. Rasoï is a very short metro ride from the city’s Downtown thanks to the nearby Lionel-Groulx station.
Offering a new take on street-food classics with an inventive twist, Le Super Qualité has been racking up strong reviews for several years in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie neighborhood. It has done so well that it now has a Downtown branch. The eatery offers juicy cocktails, snack bar takes on quick-eat classics like pav bhaji (thick vegetable mash with bread rolls), and even has crafted tiffin containers for take-away. The restaurant’s focus on quality and Gujarati styles often has people lining up out of the door.
Operating since 1985, Le Taj remains a popular Downtown option for those seeking a premium dining experience with fine Indian food. The restaurant’s busy location on Rue Stanley features an elegant interior and a substantial wine selection. While offering a broad selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, the restaurant prides itself on its tandoori chicken and naan, cooked in a traditional clay oven visible through a glass wall. During the daytime, diners can take advantage of a regular buffet option.
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