Montreal has restaurants and bars everywhere. It’s that simple; if you’re looking to eat, you’ll never be short of food options as long as you’re in Quebec’s biggest city.
New spots are constantly opening up in Montreal and although the restaurant scene is always evolving, we’re highlighting the 21 best places to eat in Montreal – the ones you cannot miss. Period.
Montreal famous: Schwartz’s Deli
Montreal is known for its smoked meat, and nobody does it better than Schwartz’s Deli. The constantly-crammed spot is a landmark in the city and has been since 1928. It’s been operating with the same menu, at the same location for decades.
Grab a smoked meat sandwich (or just a pound of smoked meat, because YOLO), a cherry soda and revel in what just might be the best smoked meat sandwich in the history of smoked meat sandwiches.
There’s always a line and it’s always worth the wait.
Address: 3895 Boulevard St-Laurent
Neighbourhood: The Plateau
Top quality: Joe Beef
What started as a 30-person restaurant in 2005 has turned into massive food operation. This spot has doubled in size, added a gorgeous bar and patio, spawned two sister restaurants, has its own onsite smokehouse, trout pond, vegetable garden, a retail spice line and a successful cookbook.
Plus, the food is top-notch. Joe Beef is known for their lobster pasta but they rock dishes of rabbit, hen, duck, and truffles. From poached and seared, they do it all.
The restaurant’s decor is a nod to antique shops, and its staff is very knowledgable. You’ll need to make a reservation at this constant hot spot, far in advance.
Post-booze shawarma: Restaurant Boustan
Boustan makes a mean Lebanese shawarma. It’s a grilled pita that’s loaded with either pork, beef or chicken and garnished with beets, lettuce, eggplant, potatoes (yes potatoes), peppers, and tomatoes, and then doused in a sauce of your choice.
Grab an order of garlic potatoes on the side and deal with the garlic breath, it’s totally worth it. Locals order the off-menu “Creation Sandwich” and you probably should too; it’s a combination of their veggie pita and chicken shawarma.
Boustan is a popular post-drinking spot, as it magically sobers you up and/or rids hangovers. The downtown location is the mothership and two more locations have popped up around Montreal in recent years.
Address: 2020 Rue Crescent / 6202 Sherbrooke Ouest / 4912 Rue Wellington
Neighbourhood: Downtown / NDG / Verdun
Phone: +1-514-379-4912 / +1-514-843-3194 / +1-514-379-4912
Greasy Poutine: La Belle Province
La Belle is Montreal’s go-to poutine joint. From the fries to the cheese curds and gravy, they’ve perfected Quebec’s traditional trifecta. Grab a steamy hot dog as an appetizer and then devour the poutine as your meal.
There are 150 of these greasy and tasty dinners around Quebec, some open 24/7 and various open as early at 5 am because these poutines are so good, it’s acceptable to eat for breakfast.
Famous bagels: R.E.A.L. Bagel
From poutines to smoked meat, Montreal is also famous for our bagels and nobody does it better than R.E.A.L. Bagel. They’re the R.E.A.L. deal. … Okay I’m done.
The hand-rolled bagels are baked on-site in a wood-burning oven, cooked to perfection. From sesame to poppy seed and sugar-coated cheese bagels, your mouth will be watering as soon as you catch a whiff. Get an extra dozen to go and toss them in your freezer; you won’t be disappointed, especially once you add the cream cheese.
Address: 4940 Queen Mary / 6647 Boulevard Decarie
Neighbourhood: Monkland Village / Côte-des-Neiges
Phone: +1-514-737-8841 / +1-514-340-1110
Local favourite market food: Monkland Taverne
Taverne is a vibrant neighbourhood fixture with a retro style. The food is a fixed-price market menu that’s constantly changing and is always fresh and tasty. It’s dark, cozy, trendy and their patio is among the best in the city.
Date night: Restaurant Grinder
This urban garden is the ideal date spot. It’s classy, trendy and specializes in seasonal wines. Grinder’s menu includes a variety of tasty items, both raw and cooked: tartares, tatakis, ceviches, carpaccios, seafood, steak and braised meat.
All foodies will find something to their liking, and plus the canopied patio is perfectly located among Griffintown’s constant foot traffic. Perfect for people watching.
Seafood: Lucille’s Oyster Dive
If you’re looking for a quick bite or an evening out, Lucille’s is the perfect choice for both. This maritime-themed spot boasts a decadent seafood menu, surf ‘n’ turf, and tasty cocktails. Open since 2009, Lucille’s goal is to offer its patrons the best selection of oysters from both the east and the west coast.
Pub Grub: Burgundy Lion
If you’re looking for pub grub and a crisp beer, Burgundy Lion is tough to top. Besides boasting one of the most extensive whisky lists in the city (the whisky menu is a literal book), the memorabilia-filled pub specializes in English cuisine.
The Lion is constantly packed at Sunday brunch (Yorkshire pudding, blood sausages, lox and bread) and the lamb shepherd’s pie is exactly the type of comfort food you look for in a pub.
Tasty seasonal menu: Tuck Shop
Tuck Shop is a small, neighbourhood restaurant that offers a simple yet delicious seasonal menu items in a comfy space. The chefs emphasize using quality ingredients to create a wide range of flavourful, market-driven plates.
A classy sandwich: Reuben’s Deli & Steakhouse
If you’re craving a smoked meat sandwich with a bit of class, check out Reuben’s. The upscale deli towers smoked meat into a delicious sandwich, and also offers great steaks and desserts.
If you want the best of both worlds, grab the Chop-Chop Poutine, which is smoked meat sprinkled all over a poutine – the best of Montreal times two.
A lot of steak: Gibby’s
Located in the heart of the city, Gibby’s is housed in a 200-year-old building in Old Montreal. The charming restaurant boasts stone walls, original beamed ceilings, romantic lighting and a cozy fireplace.
But it’s the steaks that’ll keep you coming back. Every steak comes with a salad and a refreshing sorbet, sure, but the best part is that these cuts are so tender, they’re served with a butter knife.
You can’t go wrong with the Gibby’s rib steak, served with Montreal steak spice and a Monte Carlo potato on the side.
Plain and simple: you’ll never forget a night at Gibby’s.
Sleek supper: Nora Gray
Nora Gray is warm, cozy and dark and is one of the most sought-after tables in town. The spot features savvy wine service, tasty cocktails, a gorgeous decor and beautifully-executed seasonal Italian food.
Try the Nettle Gnudi for example; it’s fun to say and even more fun to eat.
Upscale retro diner: Deville Dinerbar
Burgers, meatloaf and rotisserie chicken are reimagined in this whimsical restaurant that oozes pink, neon, marble and hefty portions.
Comfort grub: Liverpool House
Come to the happening sister restaurant of Joe Beef for its oyster bar, lobster spaghetti, halibut, braised rabbit leg, grilled quail and modernized classics.
The restaurant is also known for hosting President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau for supper, not bad.
Pro tip: Anytime you have an excuse to eat in a restaurant that has a deer head and a floating canoe, it’s probably a wise choice. Especially when the wine and food are this tasty.
Über cool: Bar Loïc
Loïc is a wine and cocktail bar located in an old bank. The food is terrific, their wine selection and knowledge are among the best in the city, and the old bank’s vault doors are super cool.
What’s most impressive is how their constantly changing menu always remains so tasty. If you’re there and have a chance to get their cheeseburger or ravioli, don’t hesitate.
After dinner service, Loïc turns into a dance party complete with resident DJs. It’s always packed and always a blast.
Jewish style eats: Arthurs Nosh Bar
Arthurs is relatively new to the restaurant scene in Montreal (est. 2016), but there’s no stopping these guys now. The stylish place is deli-esque but far from traditional. The menu is comprised of Jewish cuisine with a spin. A schnitzel sandwich or cured fish are popular orders, but what really brings in the crowds is their weekend brunch. If brunch is what you’re after, be prepared to wait in line, but trust us, it’s well worth it.
Upscale sushi: Park Restaurant
Renowned chef Antonio Park has a private fish import license and he isn’t afraid to use it. The Chopped Canada judge owns a gorgeous spot in the established Westmount neighbourhood. Park is arguably Montreal’s finest sushi restaurant. It’ll cost you a bit more but the taste is worth it.
Get anything on the omakase menu and you will not be disappointed.
Big, comforting portions: L’Gros Luxe
L’Gros Luxe specializes in comfort food, and lots of it. From grilled cheese to mac & cheese to poutine, this Quebecois chain puts a spin on everything and makes it huge. Likewise with their comically large bloody caesar.
Sit back, enjoy the restaurant’s rustic decor, and dig in; you’re going to be here awhile.
24/7: Joe’s Panini
This snug little sandwich spot grills some of the best sandwiches in the city. Plus, it never closes, so it’s here for you any time of the day or night.
You can’t go wrong with the spicy chicken panini or Philly-cheesesteak, but their salads and breakfasts are pretty top-notch too.
Regardless of which side of 5 am you’re on, this cozy shop’s big screen TV is always playing music videos, proving that time at Joe’s stands still.
Best ‘za in town: Pendeli’s Pizza
If you’ve had enough of travelling the streets of Montreal and you want some good old pizza, give Pendeli’s a call. You may have to deal with a grumpy-sounding phone operator, but that’s all part of the journey.
From the classic all-dressed, pepperoni and cheese to the Montreal-style pizza, Pendeli’s is arguably the best pizza in town.
Address: 5599 Rue Côte Saint Luc
Neighbourhood: Côte Saint Luc
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