The 25 best restaurants in Montreal right now


Here is a list of the 25 best restaurants in Montreal right now, an evolving collection of places we love to eat. It’s by no means definitive, just a reflection of where we’re at at the moment and where we think you’re guaranteed to have a good meal.

The 25 best restaurants in Montreal right now

1. Air-conditioned room

Montreal’s indisputably coolest restaurant is also in some ways home to the most classic and restrained dishes of the new wave of French cuisine. Held by three Maison Publique alumni, the food is unmistakably simple and lets the solid cooking and exquisite ingredients do the heavy lifting. Think perfectly poached charcuterie with squash, shallot vinaigrette with two sauces, or a lovely brown cabbage ‘milfi’—all impossibly undercooked. (6448 Saint Laurent)

2. A child

The exceptional Argentinian restaurant of the brothers Ari and Pablo Shore in the heart of Verdun. Far from a South American steakhouse, Beba’s menu is representative of the food the brothers grew up with: a fusion of Spanish and Italian cuisine. Uncomplicated, honest cooking blends with a cleverly composed wine list in a small, intimate setting. Easily one of the best tables in town. (3900 Ethel)

3. My rabbit

Marc-Olivier Frappier and Vanja Filippovich’s Little Italy have been one of the city’s most popular restaurants since opening in 2018. Having doubled the size of its dining room in 2020, Mont Lapin is more accessible than ever. The food here is an idyllic fusion of French and Italian cooking crafted in the unmistakable and iconic Frappier style. As the undisputed queen of natural wines, Filipovic’s menu is expertly curated and full of classics and surprising curiosities. (150 Zotic Street E.)

4. Bar Saint Denis

Having taken over the space that was once home to its namesake dive bar, Bar St. Denis is one of the most underrated restaurants in Montreal. Bar St. Denis, which is owned and operated by Au Pied de Cochon alumni Emilie Homsi and David Gauthier, with its amazing rooftop, solid drinks program, and menu of absolutely delicious esoteric dishes. (6966 St. Denis)

5. Pichai

The Thai curry shop in Little Italy, owned and operated by Jesse Mulder, Jesse Masumi and Xavier Cloutier-Guirard, is a seating counterpart to Épicerie Pumpui. The trio opened amid the pandemic, adding a new chef (and third, Jesse) to the mix at Jesse Grasso (formerly of Vin Papillon and Black Hoof in Toronto). Grasso’s menu is a blend of Isaan (Northern Thailand) and country-style take on traditional Thai dishes that blend local produce with imported Thai ingredients. The food is fragrant, unusually spicy and delicious. (5985 St. Hubert)

6. Bag of potatoes

Located on Montreal’s south shore in the far west of Beauharnois is one of the city’s best-kept snack secrets. This family-run snack bar has been open since 1956 and has been serving up perfect hot dogs, burgers, and poutine for over 65 years. While all the staples are excellent, Mallet’s claim to fame is the poutine which features french fries and curd topped with a dark brown gravy administered straight from a stainless steel kettle. (41 Saint-Laurent, Beauernois)

7. Schwartz

It is perhaps the most famous smoked meat joint in the world and a tourist destination in its own right. Permanent lineups, sloppy staff, and cramped seating are all part of its charm. Repeat after me: medium fat, with mustard and half of the sour. (3895 Saint Laurent)

8. Jia

The latest restaurant from behind Elena (and Nora Gray before that). Following the group’s matrilineal naming practice, Gia is a nod to Italian winemaker Giovanna Borsa of Tuscany Pacina. This time, chef Janis Tiefenbach trades pizza for char-grilled arostini – small skewers of lamb, beef or whatever deli cuts are sent from local butcher Phil Viens. Smoky, flavorful and utterly delicious, Gia’s Grill is best enjoyed with a glass of something good from the restaurant’s famous “Wine Island”. (1025 Lenoir)

9. Chalet Bar-BQ

An Alpine-style roast chicken institution in the NDG since 1944. Totally healthy and without an ounce of pretentiousness, this ski chalet-style restaurant is beloved around town for its roasted smoked fowl (sold by the piece or as whole dinners) and Chalet Bar-B-Q charcuterie. Its special, a spiced brown broth like no other. (5456 Sherbrooke W.)

10. I am Feng

Part Chinese grocer, part takeout counter, J’ai Feng is a Chinese staple newly minted by celebrity culinary personality Anita Feng. Feng’s cooking introduced an increasingly open-minded clientele to a new variety of home Chinese cooking. An excellent resource for high-quality and hard-to-find Chinese ingredients, but its biggest draw is whatever is on the lunch menu that day. (43 Boubyan E.)

11. Helicopter

Hélicoptère opened in June 2018 and remains one of the best arguments for a trip to Hochelaga. Run by partners David Ollu, Natacha Lehmann and Youri Boussièrs Fournel, all formerly of Bouillon Bilk, Hélicoptère’s fusion, vegetable-focused menu is always exceptional. Although it is undoubtedly more casual than the ultra-fine Bouillon Bilk, it has the same expert sensibilities and masterful technique, just with less sharpness. (4255 Ontario E.)

12. Little Aleppo

Casual Syrian/Armenian restaurant serving snack sized meals of fattoush salad, muhammara and stuffed grape leaves. If you make the trek, be sure to try the kebbé nayé (beef tartare) and the Aleppo sausage. Feel like a splurge? Aleppo has one of the best (and best priced) wine lists in town. (191 Jean-Talon E.)

13. Boom J

A no-frills Jamaican restaurant serving some of the most popular chicken, banana, rolls and beef patties in town. (2026 Wellington)

14. Bistro La Francette

After a series of highly successful pop-ups, Le Fantôme alumni Louis Deligianis and Renée Deschenes have chosen to open their own version of a classic French bistro. Simple, straightforward dishes are cooked with impeccable precision and Deschenes fills the room with warmth and knowledge. A special point of interest is directed at pastry chef Olive Park whose desserts help put Franquette in a league of his own. (374 Victoria)

15. My Wet Chicken

Ever in an (arguably winning) battle with Romados for the title of Montreal’s beloved Portuguese chicken restaurant, Ma Poule Mouillée serves up some of the best chicken in the city. Their charcoal-glazed fowl, piri piri, approximates the sanctity of Montreal Portuguese. Be sure to try their poutine, which is filled with shredded chicken and thick slices of smoked chouriço. It’s the best of both worlds. (969 Rachel E.)

16. The Willow Inn

After separating from Bremner in 2019, all eyes were on the next move for beloved celebrity chef Danny Smiles. After the pandemic crushed the chef’s Romanian-style restaurant project in St. Henri, Smiles packed his bags and headed 45 minutes out of town to take on the cooking program at Hudson’s historic Willow Inn. I think St. John meets your local pub with unmistakable smiles. Elegant dishes in an old-world dining room overlooking Lake Two Mountains—hard to beat. (208 Maine, Hudson, QC)

17. Express Restaurant

A bistro that needs no introduction. Open since 1980, the Express is perhaps the most beloved restaurant in town. Classic French cuisine such as steak and veal frites are served in the generously lit dining room designed by Luc Laporte. Open 11:30 am to 2 am, Tuesday through Saturday. (3927 St. Denis)

18. Superior quality

Serving a variety of dishes from all over India, this new place is as tasty as it is exquisite. Our unbeatable lunch sets come in convenient, compact tiffin sets. Try a homemade salty lemonade or a medicinal cocktail. (1211 Belanger)

19. Falafel Jack St

Best falafel in Montreal since 2016. Run by an Israeli-Palestinian duo (Israeli owner Ronan Baruch and Palestinian manager Salih Syah) Ville St-Pierre—now home to outposts in Lachine and Ahuntsic—has developed a loyal following thanks to its signature take on the Orient staple Middle. Although the falafel is the main draw, the all-vegetarian menu also has shish tawook and vegetarian shawarma. (345 St-Jacques, 1299 Notre-Dame, Lachine, 323 Chabanel W.)

20. Taco Don Rego

Don’t be fooled by the comically gangster-style Western decor – Pierrefond’s Tacos Don Rigo serves up some of the best Mexican food anywhere on the island. The tacos are brilliantly classic, and the burritos are huge and rich, but the quesaberia (a fried taco filled with shredded stewed beef) is the place for the show. Lineups aren’t uncommon but Don Rigo is well worth the wait and the commute to the West Island. (4740 St-Jean, Pierrefonds)

21. Manu Cornoto

Griffintown’s finest joint. Run by alumni from Bremner, Garde Manger, Foxy and Taverne Monkland, Mano Cornuto is all about simple pleasures. Thin focaccia sandwiches, a couple of handmade pastas, and some hose-laced salads make up the bulk of the menu. On the bar side, think Italian classics: Negroni, amaro spritz, iced peroni. Manu Cornoto is the place to go to watch an Inter Milan game and the place to stroll in front of you as you rush out for a cup of espresso. (988 Ottawa)

22. Fu Tai Ho

A top contender for the best pho in Montreal and easily the biggest competitor to Nguyen Phi. The phở is great but don’t sleep on the rare beef salad. (6414 St. Denis)

23. Osmo x Marusan Café

Since 2021, Notman House’s iconic underground café Osmo has joined forces with Marusan’s fast food Japanese lunch counter and celebrated record store La Rama for an unparalleled brunch experience in the city. Set against a backdrop of live DJs playing hard-to-find funk records, a mix of McGill students and the chic downtown crowd mingle over steaming bowls of Katsu Curry, velvety lattes, and perfectly Instagramable. (51 Sherbrooke f.)

24. Che Tita

A sensationally good new Lebanese cafe in Rachel East. Tita, whose name derives from the Lebanese word for grandmother, is all about two things: coffee and man’oucheh. The fine Lebanese bread is served straight from the oven and can be eaten with a variety of toppings – a special shout out to go to Bianjin meat (minced meat with pepper and tomato). There are a few sauces and salads, but Téta’s other main draws are the perfect third wave of strong Lebanese coffee, as well as the tastefully sumptuous dining room. (227 Rachel E.)

25. Damascus

A true institution in Montreal’s fine dining scene. Run by Chef/Owner Fouad El Narabi, Damas is known for its elaborate and sensationally delicious 10-course tasting menus. Moving beyond simple kebabs and appetizers (although they do exist and are great), Alinarabie’s menu runs the gamut from land and sea and can, at any time, include lamb, octopus or succulent shrimp fragrant with Aleppo pepper, garlic and tahini. The only equal food is the ornate and gorgeous dining room and wine cellar, which holds some of the city’s rare and sought-after bottles. (1201 Van Horn)

To learn more about the Montreal restaurant scene, please visit our Food and Beverage section.


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