This psychedlic groovepit would make Austin Powers salivate. Everything from the red ice cream scoop chairs to the menus written on old vinyl records to the Captain America cocktail makes this place, in the heart of the Main, da bomb.
Come to this West Island tavern for the Cork Chips and Curry and Belfast Chicken Wings; stay for the authentic Irish pub atmosphere, complete with theme rooms that invite guests to dissect Samuel Beckett or just down a pint of the Emerald Isle—without a passport.
A dark-wood-lined gem with generous windows and a funky, tin-lined bar, this Avenue Laurier love letter to the French is a bit dear during the daylight hours. But prices drop after 10 pm when gastronomic procrastinators are rewarded for their patience with a tasty main-course/appetizer combo for $22.
This “diner with a heart” is not a lot of things, including spacious, health conscious or polished. But it’s a bang-on slice of Montreal at its greasy, spirited, yummy best, and a weekend brunch at this new West Island staple will deliver the finest egg-cheese-lettuce-tomato sandwich (the Creation), four-egg omelette (the Mish Mash) and breakfast burger (the Good Morning Burger) you’ll taste.
“Do something excellent,” goes the Tao of Steve, and Buns, with its simple devotion to the art of the hamburger, takes heed. The unvarnished atmosphere of the joint (and, it bears noting, the staff) notwithstanding, the food here is delish. And the extras like the free cheese, absence of tax and pay-when-you’re-done goodwill make it better still.
Not pretty, maybe, but definitely tasty, this cozy Chinese hotspot in Montreal's Chinatown wins with attentive service and consistently good (and generously portioned) food. Try the beef & fried noodle.
Best First Date
La Belle Province
Show your true colours by taking a promising someone to this well-loved and always dependable Montreal staple for a taste of what’s to come. The hot dogs are the real thing, and a person could fall in love over an order of these fries.
Pack high expectations—and your wallet—before visiting this charismatic steakhouse where classic standards like ribeye and tiger shrimp prove the place is still a force to be reckoned with. The wine list is extensive here, but bottles are pricey (give the '82 Petrus a wide berth, unless you’ve got $9,900).
Reservations are essential at this special French bistro, where the menu, handwritten in French cursive, is the first glimpse of the authentic experience that awaits. Adventurous diners give bone marrow a whirl and service always sings.
Generous, flavourful Greek food abounds here, if attentive service somewhat disappoints. Sauces are standouts—like the sour-cream-based tzatziki and drizzled salad dressing—and the souvlaki’s to die for.
Southern India springs to vibrant life in this sparsely adorned BYO Parc Extension find, where loyal patrons come for authentic flavours and munificent portions at a reasonable price. Lots of vegetarian choices, including the excellent dosas—a potato/veggie combo folded inside thin crepes.
Nothing says Italian like a perfect pie, and that’s on perfect offer at this St-Zotique tribute to the Old Country, where the featured player is cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven from which flat, crispy perfection regularly alights. The accompanying appetizers— sausage and rapini is a standout—hold their own admirably.
Turning Japanese at Kaizen is as simple as swallowing a dose of black cod, sea urchin tempura and marinated mackerel from this excellent restaurant, and washing it all down with some of the finest house saki you’ll stumble across.
Live music, food, service and ambiance find sweet harmony here, where international and local musicians strut their impressive stuff across the heads of appreciative supper-savouring crowds
Reconnect with buddies lost earlier in your pub-crawling evening over a heap of poutine, on tap around the clock here. French-speaking college kids graze from almost two dozen varieties of the provincial staple, including T-Rex, Kamikaze and B.O.M (Bacon, onions and merguez sausages).
One of the city’s leading venues for live entertainment, Metropolis Montreal is a hundred-and-a-quarter-year-old standby (it’s survived two fires and a multitude of incarnations) that plays host to a varied string of sizzling talent, including Broken Social Scene, Randy Bachman and Alexisonfire.
The oldest deli in Canada, this Montreal landmark serves up a steady diet of tradition on rye with a smoked meat recipe that dates back to 1928. Belly up to the counter here and feel the ethereal company of such notable past aficionados as Celine Dion, Jean Chretien and Guy Lafleur.
Jello Martini Lounge
Recently the subject of a vibrant reinvention, this retro-chic hothouse serves up the tastiest (and most psychedically hued) martini concoctions in the city. Enjoy the live music under the glorious influence of a signature Jello Martini.
All manner of Mediterranean tastes await your tongue at this popular St-Laurent Blvd eatery, where fresh and quality reign supreme. Along with the de rigueur sea delicacies, take the Black Angus beef and milk-fed lamb for a stroll here.
The Middle East finds happy transplantation in this cheerful, no-frills franchise, where the servings are generous, the service friendly and the flavours authentic. The shish taouk fairly sings. Ask for extra garlic sauce. Amir must be Arabic for love.
Sri Lankan curries and traditional Irish dishes play second fiddle to the miracle that is a plate of nachos at this neighbourhood tavern. Pick the full or half order, depending on your appetite, and be prepared for a kind of conversion.
Best Newly Opened
Outstanding service and exceptional desserts usher in the entrance of this Villeray newcomer, the third in a trio for chef Mario Navarrete (who cut his teeth with Raza and Madre). A heritage made up of equal parts Peruvian, Mexican, Cuban and Argentinian means creative ingredients that come together in unorthodox flavour combinations at this sparse, cozy spot.
Locals know the St-Sulpice is the go-to spot for a cold one or a cheap pitcher of sangrias on a sultry Montreal afternoon. This sprawling, bacchanalian beer garden, embraced by towering trees and ivy-trailed walls and tended to by easygoing servers, is the best the city’s got.
Host a private event extraordinaire at this upscale space where gorgeous party rooms regularly turn into private parties, seminars and corporate meetings. Sumptuous surroundings offer customized facilities, a spectacular ballroom and banquet service for large and small groups alike.
Pick the catch of the day at this Outrement charmer, where fish and seafood from the world over arrive daily. Favourites include Moroccan sole, local char, Nova Scotia lobster and Mediterranean sardines.
This destination watering hole on trendy Crescent St. houses a French rustic gastronomy restaurant, a lively French brasserie, a hoppin’ singles bar and a swingin’ disco. And through it all wander the beautiful people of Montreal.
Best Spanish and Tapas
La Sala Rossa
This indie rock hotspot operated by hipsters who seek to transport you to Spain by the sea offers unrivalled authenticity with ambiance, music and, yes, extraordinary tapas. Fried squid, grilled quail and asparagus omelette rule.
Big fish portions, firm rice and an abundance of freshness makes this traditional sushi stalwart—where the décor is unadorned, the Japanobilia is in abundant supply and the customers are fiercely loyal—a winner.
Pull a chair up to a mismatched table at this earthy Plateau favourite where tasty vegan dishes come close to their carnivorous antecedents. Bring your conscience along: everything about Aux Vivres is locally grown and ethically prepared. Lebanese, Indian and Southeast Asian influences reveal themselves in flavourful sides.