Food & Drink

The quintessential guide to Montreal’s best diners

Published On 10/16/2013 Published On 10/16/2013
A. A. Restaurant Montreal
Katherine Sehl

If there's one thing the French Canadians hate worse than the cursed Americans, it's the fact that they love American food so damn much -- so while they may call them "casse-croûtes", they're not fooling anyone. These are US-style diners, through-and-through, and Montreal is loaded with them. Here are the best in the city...

Katherine Sehl

1. Wilensky’s
Going to Wilensky’s is like stepping back in time. Hardly anything has changed since they opened back in 1932 and in this case, that’s a damn good thing. There’s no sense in ordering anything here but the Wilensky special; a fried bologna sandwich so good it has its own Wikipedia entry.

Katherine Sehl

2. A.A. Restaurant
If you’re looking for an expectedly rude, yet somehow awesome, and downright greasy diner experience, then this is it. The no-nonsense counter-chefs who wear their grease burns like badges, and will make you one of the finest hot dogs in the city.

Katherine Sehl

3. The Green Spot
The chatty wait staff’ll make you feel like you’ve been dining here since before you were even born, and the jovial old-timey atmosphere will make you feel so damn fuzzy inside that it doesn’t even matter how the food tastes -- but we don’t have to tell ya -- you know it’s good. Especially recommended: the onion-ring & pogo stick poutine. It don’t get greasier than that.

Katherine Sehl

4. Decarie Hot Dog
A cozy little joint tucked away at the end of the metro line -- Decarie Hot Dog’s a little out of the way for most people, but it’s totally worth the trip. Not only do they make a mean steamy, but they’ve also got what locals consider the best fries in town.

Katherine Sehl

5. Salonica
Taking the classic diner booth/counter format, Salonica adds a little flair thanks to the extensive pizza menu, and its Greek-style gyros, souvlakis, and pitas, their Chinese-style won-tons, and a scallop poutine. But don't worry, you can still get a burger.

Katherine Sehl

6. Moe’s Diner
This humble little hideaway's got all the classic fixings. Game shows on the TV by day and sports on the TV by night. Tiffany lamp-lit booths, and autographed portraits of hockey players hanging on dingy walls -- and not ironically either. Most of it's '58 original. Plus, they’ll serve you breakfast at 4a with your toast all buttered up for you.

Katherine Sehl

7. Beaubien Nouveau Système
They may as well have put nostalgia on the menu in this joint. They’re so no-nonsense here that they don’t even bother with an order pad. They’ll ask you what you want, call it out, and somehow, despite any acknowledgement from the cooks, it’ll appear on the counter a few minutes later. Recommended? The bacon-loaded poutine.

Katherine Sehl

8. Fameux Viande Fumée et Charcuterie
Bang-for-your-buck quality meals, excellent service, and nothing less -- they're known for their smoked meat (and rightly so), though worth taking a pass at is their poutine served gratiné-style, wherein they throw the dish into the oven just before serving, to make the cheese curds crisp up.

Katherine Sehl

9. Paul’s Patates
Seeing as this place is called “Paul’s Potatoes”, you should probably sit yourself down on a counter stool, order potatoes in some form (poutine if you know what’s good for you), and wash it down with one of their homebrew spruce beers, which is like root beer, except made from pine needles. Yep.

Katherine Sehl

10. Beauty’s Diner
Beauty’s have built up such a reputation that on most days, you’ll have to wait in line to get in, but when you finally do, you can get your hands on their signature mish-mash (it's an omelette loaded w/ hot dog, salami, green pepper & fried onions) or the lox & bagel Beauty’s special, and it'll all seem worth it...

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1. Wilensky's 34 Ave Fairmount Ouest, Montréal, H2T 2M1 (Plateau)

Think old-school -- like, ring-up cash register and old-fashioned soda fountain old-school. Wilensky's opened in 1932, and their "Wilensky's Special" -- a deliciously simple grilled sandwich with all-beef salami, all-beef baloney, and a hint of mustard -- has been a solid local favorite ever since.

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2. A.A. Restaurant 3702 Notre-Dame O., Montréal, H4C 1P7

If you just NEED an old-fashioned greasy spoon diner experience, then A.A. is one of the best places in Montreal to start.

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3. Green Spot 3041 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, H4C 1N9‎

This local diner is styled to resemble a mid-century greasy spoon-style establishment, and the 27 different poutine options on the menu give you plenty of greasy goodness to revel in. There's also more traditional diner-type grub, and Green Spot serves up some breakfast specials that are not to be missed either.

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4. Decarie Hot Dog 953 Decarie Boul , Saint-Laurent, H4L 3M3

This hole-in-the-wall hot dog joint serves up some of the best dogs, French fries, and poutine in Montreal. Just don't expect to sit down... as there isn't much room.

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5. Salonica 5261 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, H2J 2M1 (Plateau)

This diner and pizza place dishes out everything you could want from wings, to poutine, to subs & more.

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6. Moe's Diner 1455 rue Lambert-Closse, Montreal, H3H

With a name like Moe's Diner, you know it's gonna be serving up classic eats, but unlike most classic diners, you can also hang out in the evenings to watch sports.

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7. Beaubien Nouveau Système 323, rue Beaubien E, Montréal, H2S 1R9 (Rosemont)

Here you'll find some tasty sammies and other standard (but delicious) diner food.

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8. Fameux Viande Fumée et Charcuterie 4500 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, H2J 2L3

This place is simple, but tasty, and you won't find better burgers or pizza for the price around town.

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9. Paul Patates 2606 Rue de Coleraine, Montréal, H3K 2Y2

Since it has potatoes in its name, your best bet is to order some diner food consisting of spuds and enjoying the simple and pleasant atmosphere.

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10. Beauty's 93 Ave du Mont-Royal Ouest, Montréal, H2T 2S5 (Plateau)

This is the perfect diner to stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, offering daily specials and classics that have earned them quite the acclaim.

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