Where To Eat & Stay In Montreal guide image


Where To Eat & Stay In Montreal

Our official thoughts on the Montreal bagel debate, a Japanese daytime cafe, a requisite brisket, and more of our favorite spots in Montreal.

Montreal might be a movie stand-in for New York and Paris because of our cobblestone streets and turn-of-the-century architecture, but the food culture here is uniquely our own. From bagels to phở, poutine to foie gras, most Montrealers have a ready opinion about what’s good to eat and aren’t shy to share it. There's really something at every price point, whether you want to try some of the city’s casual classics, have a fancy meal, or enjoy small plates and a bottle of something natural at one of the many wine bars.

We’ve highlighted a range of our favorite places for quiet dates or special occasions, plus some lively spots for enjoying a slice of pizza or some excellent steak frites. Bon appétit, et bon courage.


photo credit: Rashad Bedier

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3900 Rue Éthel, Montreal
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If you want to get a sense of how much they love local ingredients at Beba, you should witness (as we did) the joy that greets the arrival of a crate of oyster mushrooms. Seasonal produce is key to the ever-changing menu, which is inspired by the Spanish and Italian migration to Argentina, and might feature options like chard-wrapped involtini, guinea fowl, golden brown empanadas, or the remarkable silky flan with dulce de leche for dessert. Use this place for a nicer meal with your significant other or a small group, where you can sip from their thoughtful wine list that features both new- and old-world producers.

We love sitting at Mokili’s counter watching the cheery chef up close, sipping a bright ginger juice, and snacking on Ghanaian fried plantains. The seasonal menu at this counter-service spot has a special way with jollof rice, grilled beef suya on a stick, and cornish hen in peanut-laced mafé or stewed with bright preserved lemon in tajine. Come here for lunch, a light afternoon and early evening meal, or for a summertime picnic meal to take to Jarry Park. There are also some African products in the shop to take home, including their own spicy pili-pili sauce, Kenyan herb teas, Nigerian grains, and vegan chocolate.

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Moccione means “brat” in Italian, but there's nothing self-centered about the food and service in the airy space on a quiet strip of northern rue Saint-Denis. The team welcomes you like you’re a long-lost friend, and you can expect seasonal Italian dishes like scallop crudo with rhubarb, homemade gnocchi with morels and arugula, and halibut on a bed of pureed spinach sweetened with local corn. Desserts here are the best part, including the lightest of cannoli topped with pistachio and velvety orange rind and their homemade gelato.

This mostly daytime cafe is run by the same people behind Fleurs et Cadeaux, a sushi and vinyl bar in Chinatown, but the focus here is on Japanese dishes, coffee, and drinks. The semi-basement, quasi-industrial space is the only place in town where you can dig into a curry bowl or happily unwrap a perfectly constructed katsu, karaage, egg, or avocado sando any time of day. You’ll find a crowd full of students and creatives hanging out on the long banquette, especially if you drop in for one of their special DJ nights Thursday through Saturday.

This Thai restaurant from the owners of curry shop Pumpui focuses on foods from the Isaan region, so expect a lot of sour, pungent, and spicy dishes. You’ll be glad to know that they have a great drinks list full of natural wines, local microbrews, and Québec ciders that can stand up to all the chilies, garlic, and shallots. The sleek space has tavern glass carving up nooks for cozy date nights and booths big enough for groups, with a long bar for solo diners and couples. There’s definitely a grill focus, including pork neck and yu choy greens and a whole trout slathered in herbs, but don’t miss any seasonal twist on som tam—their summer version with corn is something we dream about all year. End your meal with Pichai’s delicious Thai tea tiramisu that comes with layers of sponge cake soaked in milky tea and coated in crunchy toasted coconut.


Au Pied de Cochon is the restaurant that gave Montreal its reputation as a city of gluttony and excess, and eating here is a necessary experience. The menu is full of unique dishes like their duck-in-a-can and salt and maple sugar fries, an entire section dedicated to foie gras, and plenty of fresh local seafood. In other words, there's almost no better place in town to indulge in a rich meal. The same people have a sugar shack (traditional Québecois cabins where maple syrup gets made) about 45 minutes north of the city, where you can try the latest crop of syrup and all kinds of maple-adjacent food. Go early in the year for a most decadent maple feast or in the summertime when you can have a fabulous country picnic.

With over-the-top lobster spaghetti, a take on the Canadian Nanaimo bar with foie gras, fiddlehead carbonara, and an expansive wine list, you’ll want to spend an entire evening here to try their take on Québecois classics. Joe Beef is the restaurant a lot of people think of when they think about Montreal, and many people who worked here have gone on to open many of the places on this list. Aim for a table on their garden terrace if the weather’s right, and if you can’t get a reservation on short notice, try their sister restaurants nearby: the cozy Liverpool House and the vegetable-focused Vin Papillon.

Waiting in line for brunch at Beautys, the classic Montreal Jewish diner, is a local rite of passage. While there have been a few tweaks over the years (they've been open since 1942), this sunny spot in Le Plateau still has a warm atmosphere, thanks to the original family still captaining the ship. They’ve been serving the original Beautys’ Mish Mash omelette with salami, hot dogs, and green peppers for 80 years, alongside chopped liver sandwiches and lox and cream cheese on St-Viateur bagels.

Chez Tousignant is one of our favorite versions of a casse-croûte, a traditional Québec snack bar. The retro-styled counter space makes things like burgers and hot dogs on potato buns and all-beef poutine. Grab a burger and a house-made soda, and then check out the nearby Jean-Talon Market (or one of the city’s best Italian pastry shops, Alati Caserta) to make a day of it. Chez Tousignant’s owners have other places in the neighborhood that we love, including relaxed Neapolitan pizza spot Gema and refined Italian bistro Impasto just around the corner, but when you want a quick burger, fries, and a hot dog, this is the place.

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You can’t leave Montreal without having a steamé, Québec’s take on a hot dog in a steamed bun, and you can find one of the best at Orange Julep. OJ has been serving casse-croûte classics since 1932, and since it’s open until 4am every day, head here after a night out and order the namesake drink—an old family recipe with orange juice, milk, and egg. If you also ordered their poutine (which you should), plan on getting horizontal as soon as you’re done.

L’Express, with its iconic black and white tiles spilling into the St. Denis sidewalk, is the ultimate bistro, and the perfectly cooked steak-frites with shallot butter are something everyone in Montreal should eat at least once. There's no sign in front, but there's no mistaking the classic French vibe of L'Express, with its long zinc bar and decades-old photographs of the staff lining the walls. The meal starts off with a complimentary baguette and cornichons, so you should get some rillettes, bone marrow, or chicken liver pâté to go along. Finish off with their lemon tart or some house truffles, and definitely have your server recommend you something off the vast, reasonably-priced wine list.

There’s a lot of smoked, marinated, and steamed beef brisket in Montreal, but the sandwich from Schwartz’s is a standout. It comes on rye with yellow mustard, but this thing is really all about the meat, coated with black pepper and a secret mix of pickling salt and spices. We like the “medium fat” option best, washed down with a cherry coke and a half-sour pickle, just for nostalgia’s sake. Schwartz’s (now owned by a consortium that includes Celine Dion) is one of the last remnants of the Eastern European Jewish influence on St-Laurent Boulevard, otherwise known as “The Main.” This street divides the city from east to west and used to notionally separate the French and English parts of town, but Schwartz’s smoked meat is one sandwich that pretty much everyone, including Celine, agrees on.

Bagels are a point of deep pride and contention in this city. For people who live here, it usually comes down to two places: St-Viateur and Fairmount. We prefer the St-Viateur version, which has a more savory flavor, a softer texture, and just the right amount of salt. If there’s a line spilling out onto the sidewalk, send somebody next door to The Standard for an excellent third-wave coffee, or to Café Olimpico across the street for an old-school Italian espresso to hold you over while you wait.


When you’re traveling, it might be hard to find some Saturday night energy if your vacation is during the week. That’s not the case at buzzy Bar-St-Denis—they’re closed on the weekends, but there are always people celebrating something here Monday through Friday. The food here is a mix of bistro classics like smoked sturgeon and crème fraîche, alongside Egyptian-inspired small plates like razor clams with tabbouleh and homemade labneh with pistachios. There’s a long bar, cozy tables, and high counters to suit any occasion with natural wines, great cocktails, and a stylish Art Deco ceiling. If you’ve never tried boudin, Québecois blood sausage, this is the place to do so.

Sure, Larrys has a great wine list with lots of orange options and oysters to go with them, but they also serve breakfast all day and plenty of small plates and sandwiches in between. Larrys really has something for everybody, at any time of day, whether that’s a solo spread of oysters and a glass of bubbly at 10am, or some grilled cheeses and a bottle of Grüner at night with a crowd.

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A former Joe Beef chef and his sommelier partner opened this Little Italy-adjacent restaurant that’s perfect for special occasions, especially if you love natural wine. The menu changes daily, but you can count on dishes like duck hearts with malted wheat and onions, lobster with grilled cucumbers and ramps, and standbys like their salade rose and buckwheat shard cake. The staff knows exactly what to suggest when it comes to wine, making you feel like they’ve saved the best bottles just for you.

This Little Italy newcomer is both a wine and dessert bar that works great for drinks, a late afternoon snack, or for a nightcap after dinner. The decor has a hint of Art Deco: think rounded banquettes, hidden corners for sweet talk, and long counters around and behind the bar. The menu is always changing, with the recent introduction of a tasting menu that includes vegan options, but we’re still thinking about two dishes: the sweet and salty daisy tart with curry ice cream and prune liqueur and gravlax with tempura shiso, trout eggs, and lime vodka granita. Choose whatever inspires you from late afternoon to late night, mixing and matching starting with savory and ending with sweets (or the other way around).

Grab a seat outside or at one of the cozy booths in this cafe, grocery, and bottle shop during the daytime and you’ll see everybody from high schoolers and large families with kids to long-standing residents going about their business on the leafy street in the Outremont district. The midday menu features bocadillo sandwiches on crusty bread, salads or Spanish conservas with patatas bravas, and carefully selected Spanish and Catalán wines. Tinc Set transforms at night into something more dark and moody, when you can hang with your significant other at the bar or a barrel and revel in the Catalán-style roasted chicken and octopus, with Basque cheesecake or homemade churros for dessert.


Wandering around the Old Port is definitely more fun when your walk ends at Dandy for brunch or a little day drinking. The menu transitions seamlessly from brunch to the afternoon, with ricotta pancakes and maple brown butter, tahini yogurt toast with muhammara, and a super-charged buttermilk fried chicken on brioche. The high ceilings and huge windows flood the space with light, making it an ideal spot for a casual meetup—add on an espresso (or espresso martini) or a Canadian Bloody Caesar and settle in. You’ll probably have to wait for a table on the weekends, so we suggest stopping by on a weekday if you can.

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Swing by this small coffee shop to hang out with the regulars while you snack on some Roman-style pizza al taglio square slices. Come right after they open at 8am and order the signature breakfast pizza, topped with a tiny egg and sun-dried tomato, or later in the day for a caprese option on that same excellent, crunchy crust. Aside from pizza and a rotating focaccia sandwich, you’ll want to save room for the hefty bomboloni filled with pistachio or a lemon cookie. The same people own Bottega next door, a fancier spot for creative Italian dishes and some of the most delicious meatballs in town.

Le Super Qualité’s Maharashtrian and South Indian street food hits the mark every time. We love their peppery Bloody Rasam cocktail, the masala dosas, the dahi batata puri, and the always-changing vegetarian and halal thalis. This is a great dinner spot for solo and small group dining, with counter seating and tiny tables that quickly fill with classic South Asian stainless steel plates and tumblers for beer and wine. There’s also a downtown outpost at the Le Central food court, where the emphasis is on Mumbai-style street food.





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Montreal has sizable Syrian and Armenian communities, so you’ll find some pretty great Middle Eastern food around town. Damas is perfect for a special night out filled with perfectly rolled vine leaves, lemony grilled octopus salad, and whole sea bass stuffed with walnuts and vegetables, and more. For groups, consider going with their meat and fish tasting menus that leave all the decisions to the chef. Just make sure to save room for their homemade baklava and ice cream.

The folks at Elena describe themselves as “Inside/outside/upstairs/downstairs/coffee/ pizza/wine,” and while that’s a confusing way to describe a restaurant, it’s also all true. This colorful spot has a multilevel backyard terrace, a long natural wine list, coffee, wood-fired pizzas, and happens to be one of the most fun restaurants in the entire city. Pizzas such as the Funguy, loaded with all kinds of mushrooms, are great, but their rendition of a kale caesar, piled high with parmesan, and the red wine pasta are excellent choices, too. The same owners run the new grill-focused GiaGiaGia and classic trattoria Nora Gray.

Montrealers are an opinionated bunch: specifically about bagels and phở (also about which hockey players should be playing for the Canadiens, but that’s another story). Phở Tây Hồ is known for their long-simmered chicken broth and special Hanoi-style flavor mix, with just the right amount of cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise in the aromatics. You can find that broth for lunch or dinner at this informal spot, where the bowls are big enough to share. We usually start off with a super-fresh gỏi cuốn rice roll with shrimp and move on to phở or the equally wonderful tomato- and crab-filled bún riêu.


This LGBTQ-friendly boutique hotel contains four original townhouses that have been restored to their original state on Sherbrooke Street West. What the property lacks in elevators (be prepared to walk up four flights of stairs), it makes up for in vintage decor and location: it’s close to bus and metro stops, the new Chinatown that’s started to spring up in the area, and the Musée des Beaux Arts.

If you want to feel like John and Yoko on vacation, stay at the Queen E and reserve the suite where they had their Bed-in for Peace in 1969. The Fairmont is one of the most iconic hotels in the city, not to mention that it’s pretty centrally located: it’s upstairs from the train station, and you’re only a quick walk away from the city’s original Chinatown, the Old Port, and lots of museums and universities. Newly renovated with a sleek white and gold look, it’s all modern now, and there are plenty of spectacular northern views of Mount Royal and the St Lawrence River to the south.

The eco-friendly, locally-owned Le Dauphin has rooms with wooden floors, Scandinavian furniture, and iMacs (yes, they’re in every room). There’s continental breakfast in the lounge downstairs, and it’s located between downtown, the Quartier des Spectacles, and the Old Port. The metro is steps away, so if your Montreal visit includes exploring spots along the efficient subway line, this hotel is a good option.

The Sofitel works great for both general getaways and work trips because of the terrific downtown location near McGill, museums, and the expansive paths on Mount Royal. Rooms are comfy and classic, with sleek white linens, big windows, and dizzying carpet patterns. When it’s not winter, the hotel offers a sailing lesson around Montreal harbor on a 35-foot sailboat for you and all your budding sailor friends.

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