A Weekender’s Food Guide in Montreal
Great food and libations are undeniably a way of life in Quebec Canada’s largest city, Montreal. Locals and visitors alike have their favorite must-try Montreal restaurants, bars, and bakeries. From legendary local diners and delis to award-winning restaurants to food stalls at green markets, Montreal offers inimitable experiences for all tastes and budgets.
Following is an abridged list of the top restaurants and bars in Montreal’s food scene. This list is just a teaser of Montreal’s culinary heaven with many other options worthy of their own lists.
Brunch or Breakfast
Au Festin De Babette in business for over 20 years and inspired by the Danish film Le Festin de Babette, this fun café with a vintage feel specializes in gourmet hot chocolates and brunch items including quiches and crêpes, both sweet and savory.
Beauty’s Luncheonette founded in 1942, Beauty’s is one of the go-to breakfast diners in Montreal, serving simple and tasty comfort food. Its namesake dish, Beauty’s Special, consists of a bagel stuffed with salmon, cream cheese, onions, and tomatoes – a must-try.
Bistro Le Passé Composé is a cute corner café serving an array of poached egg dishes and creative finds like the gnocchi with pancetta and the panko French toast.
St-Viateur Bagel is an institution in Montreal, now with eight bakeries across town. The family owned and operated business has been THE place to buy wood-fired Montreal-style bagels for over 60 years.
Lunch, Snacks and Bites
Au Kouign-Amann excels at making the popular Breton pastry it is named after. Kouign amann is reminiscent of a croissant with layers of dough, butter and sugar baked into caramelized crispiness. Other fantastic offerings are croissants, Danishes and pastries, but the kouign amann is a must-order.
Bouillon Bilk is located on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and serves one of the best lunches in Montreal. From soup and salad to mushroom tart and duck ravioli, this place does it flawlessly.
Mamie Clafoutis, which opened in 2008 by two French bakers, offers some of the best pastries, tarts, croissants and more in Montreal. Bonus, there are multiple locations throughout the city.
Resto La Banquise has been a neighborhood favorite since 1968. It started as a creamery and evolved into the fast-casual eatery it is today, serving, as a specialty, poutine. From the classic fries-gravy-cheddar-cheese-curds version to the Galvaude, the classic topped with chicken and peas, La Banquise helped make the popular Quebec dish famous.
Schwartz’s Deli has been open since 1928 and is an iconic Jewish deli in the Plateau neighborhood. Schwartz serves classic deli staples like steaks, turkey, and liver, but the main reason to visit is for the renowned smoked beef brisket. Order brisket with medium-fat for a moist, tender, and perfect creation.
Yokato Yokabai Ramen is a hidden gem in the Plateau neighborhood serving well-made ramen. The place offers classic tonkotsu broth ramen and vegetarian shiitake-kombu broth ramen and just five accompanying dishes, including fried chicken and braised pork belly.
Atwater Cocktail Club is a speakeasy hot spot in the St-Henri neighborhood. This is the place for creative cocktails in a stylish space. Food is available from the trendy, adjacent Foiegwa restaurant by the same owners.
Bar Pamplemousse located on bustling St-Laurent Boulevard, this beer-centric bar offers 20+ Quebec craft brews on tap but also makes unique cocktails and pours interesting wines. Happy hour specials are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Saturdays. Food is also available.
La Distillerie with three locations around the city is one of the best-known bars in Montreal. The cocktails are imaginative and created by top mixologists and there is also a concise beer list.
Impasto is the quintessential Little Italy neighborhood restaurant by renowned chefs Michele Forgione and Stefano Faita. Begin the meal with the delectable focaccia and house-made charcuterie then for the entrée, opt for some of the best pasta this side of Italy.
L’Express is an iconic Parisian-style restaurant located in the Plateau neighborhood that serves classic bistro favorites like roasted marrowbones, steak frites and veal sweetbreads in a welcoming, casual-yet-refined space.
Joe Beef, situated in the heart of Little Burgundy, is one of the most beloved restaurants in Montreal. Acclaimed chefs David McMillan and Frédéric Morin offer an ingenious menu with cult favorites like lobster spaghetti and KFC Double Down – lobes of foie gras as the ‘bread’ served with bacon, cheddar, chicken-skin mayonnaise and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Park’s Restaurant could well be the best sushi in Montreal due to Chef Antonio Park’s creative dishes, flavorful combinations and the use of pristine fish and ingredients. For an all-inclusive experience, diners can opt for the omakase chef’s tasting menu and let the kitchen team expertly-prepare a variety of beautiful and delicious dishes.
Montreal is a melting pot of cultures and the food is reflected by the ethnic diversity of each neighborhood. From handmade pasta in Little Italy to Montreal-style bagels on St-Laurent to lobes of foie gras in Little Burgundy, Montreal is a must-visit city for foodies looking for a savory adventure.