Last Updated on May 8, 2021 by Pamela
Montréal’s dining scene is an ever-evolving culinary landscape that blends diverse cultural influences with plenty of creative
Vibe: upscale casual, wood-fired grill
Foxy is one of the coziest spots you’ll find for dinner in up-and-coming Griffintown. They’ve got a really well-executed menu of wood-fired and barbecued dishes in a warm, dimly lit space that make you feel like you’re sitting around a campfire. Chef Leigh Roper of Van Papillon fame brings both notoriety and finesse to the final product.
Hanger steak with burnt onion salad shares the spotlight with charcoal grilled sea bass and roast chicken with brown butter. But don’t miss the charred cauliflower and feta maison with smoked eggplant purée to start. Foxy made Air Canada’s Best New Restaurants list in 2016.
Vibe: upscale casual, small plates
Marconi’s inventive, flavourful dishes are meant for sharing, making dinner a fun social experience for couples or small groups. You’ll have a hard time choosing with mouthwatering options like cod fritters with mayonnaise, white beets with crème fraîche and black currant, and whelk and bone marrow toast. Good luck.
This ex-dépanneur has down-to-earth historic charm like a large wine cellar that used to be an old wooden fridge, and distressed white-washed tin tiles on the ceiling and behind the bar. A curtained entranceway makes it feel that much cozier in winter. Marconi made Air Canada’s Best New Restaurants list in 2017.
3. Le Diplomate
Vibe: casual, small plates
Le Diplomate is the epitome of a destination restaurant in Montreal’s emerging Mile-Ex neighbourhood. It’s so unassuming you might walk straight past it even with your GPS directions.
Sit at the chef’s-table-style bar to watch your food being made right in front of you. First, pick from the extensive list of natural wines, including many lesser-known bottles and regions. The orange wines make for great food pairings.
Dishes change depending on seasonal ingredients but you can expect things like turbot with coconut and Makrut, squash with dashi, green tomatoes and sesame, or duck with sauerkraut, shallots and cranberries.
Le Diplomate is a relatively off-the-radar favourite with locals which adds a delightful level of convivial authenticity.
Vibe: casual, vegetarian
Helmed by chef Stéphanie Audet, LOV is one of a few standouts lead by the strong female talent in Montreal’s restaurant industry. They do a delightfully down-to-earth version of healthy (local, organic, vegetarian) eating.
The restaurant’s downtown location is bright and fresh feeling with white painted brick walls, pastel green accents, and fun details like inverted basket lampshades. It’s got a large outdoor patio that’s packed in summer.
LOV is vegetarian eating for carnivores. Dishes like roasted roots with chopped pistachios, kale mac and cheese and the Big LOV Burger are hearty and satisfying. Don’t miss the inventive cocktail list that includes a kombucha mojito!
Vibe: fine dining, contemporary European
Located in a relatively less-touristed neighbourhood in NDG, Hopkins brings a splash of retro elegance to Monkland Village in a bright airy space with buttery leather chairs and brass fixtures.
The artfully-plated dishes here are celebration-worthy. You’ll find sea bream ceviche alongside bone marrow creme brûlée as starters. Mains include confit duck ravioli, seared snapper with beet purée and crispy seaweed, and rabbit saddle chasseur with charred cipollinis. The cocktails are equally impressive.
They even have a late night menu served from 9 pm onwards and a weekend brunch menu so you can dine in style whatever the hour.
6. Le Chien Fumant
Vibe: casual, contemporary French
Le Chien Fumant is a wonderful thing to stumble across in the culinary well-heeled plateau area. The restaurant is ultra-petite which makes dining reminiscent of hole-in-the-wall Paris bistros. The vibe here is refreshingly non-trendy with kitschy branded plates, a stucco ceiling and a quirky bar with bottles dangling from hooks.
The pork belly donair is a must. Whether you choose a pasta, fish or meat dish as your main, ingredient and flavour combinations are unexpected and inventive, like roasted cauliflower, capers and mushroom cavatelli.
7. Bar George
Vibe: upscale, modern English
Bar George is inside one of the most interesting and impressive historic buildings in Montreal. Once a private gentleman’s club that hosted the likes of Pierre Trudeau and Princess Margaret, the building is now open to the public. Clad in wood panelling and sporting hand-painted wallpaper, eating at Bar George is like dining in a museum.
The English-inspired menu fits its impressive surroundings with classics like beef wellington and modernized interpretations like cured fish and crumpet with Earl Grey salmon, kipper butter and rollmops. It’s equally strong on lunch and dinner. Desserts (“puddings”) are a must. I’d go for the George’s mess (a riff on the classic Eton mess) if you’re looking for something lighter. Stick around and explore the details of the building’s meticulously restored interiors.