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Best Japanese: Kazu
What you’re getting: 48 hours pork
Kazu is known for its small location and delicious food. One of the best dishes is the 48 hours pork which is extremely tender pork topped with onions and served over rice. But keep in mind that Kazu doesn’t take reservations and the line tends to go out the door, so get there early.
Best Portuguese: Braseiro
What you’re getting: Portuguese grilled chicken
If you find yourself on St-Laurent St and are surrounded by the intoxicating aroma of grilled seafood and meats, you must be near Braseiro. Its Portuguese grilled chicken is by far the best in town. It has that charcoal flavor from the grill and spiciness from its oil-based chili marinade while still remaining moist in the center.
Best Mexican: Maria Bonita
What you’re getting: Mole poblano con pollo
Many Montrealers won’t find themselves on a beach in Mexico this summer. But, if you want to be transported to the streets of Mexico City, head to Maria Bonita where you can have an authentic meal. Definitely try the spicy chicken mole; the mix of chocolate, peanuts, spicy chilies, and chicken is packed with flavor.
Best French: Le Pois Penché
What you’re getting: Le Parisien seafood platter for two
Picking one dish from Le Pois Penché is extremely difficult. From the layered salmon tartare to the pan-seared halibut with clams, the seafood and fish dishes definitely deserves acclaim. But what truly stands out from the menu is the seafood Parisian platter which includes lobster, clams, oysters, mussels, crab, shrimp, and a refreshing scallop ceviche.
Best Southeast Asian: Tuk Tuk
What you’re getting: Larb
Tuk Tuk is a small restaurant which blends Cambodian and Thai flavors to create some innovative and tasty dishes. What exactly is larb? Picture a salad with either beef or chicken that's mixed with lime juice, chilies, shallots, carrots, basil, and mint leaves. Refreshing yet filling.
Best Indian: Darbar
Quartier des Spectacles
What you’re getting: Chicken tikka
Darbar is an Indian restaurant which specializes in Northern Indian cuisine. The Punjab restaurant cooks most of its dishes in a tandoor, a cooking device made of clay. The chicken tikka is one of the dishes cooked using this method. To top it off, smoky chicken is marinated in a spicy yogurt sauce.
Best Chinese: Cuisine AuntDai
What you’re getting: Twice-cooked pork (huí guō ròu)
Along with being voted the best Chinese restaurant around by CTV News Montreal, Cuisine AuntDai is a step above the rest for its transparency. The restaurant's website includes videos on how to make most of its dishes. Try the twice-cooked pork dish and remember when it says spicy, it means spicy.
Best Italian: Inferno
What you’re getting: Braised rabbit with homemade linguine
Any pasta dish on Inferno’s menu is delicious, but the braised rabbit with homemade linguine stands out of the crowd. Dressed with garlic and olive oil, and topped with chanterelle mushrooms and seasonal veggies, it is the perfect accompaniment to the tender rabbit.
Best BBQ joint: Blackstrap BBQ
What you’re getting: Burnt ends poutine
When you walk into Blackstrap BBQ, you’ll salivate instantly, thanks to the smoky and meaty aromas. This is the place to be for brisket, and since it’s Montreal, there’s a dish that marries brisket’s yumminess with a Quebecois favorite. The burnt ends poutine includes a gravy made of brisket drippings topped with the crispy ends of the brisket.
Best Spanish: Casa Galicia
What you’re getting: Any of the paellas
The test of a good Spanish restaurant is a good paella and Casa Galicia knocks it out of the park. With over 10 different types of paella, it’s hard to make a bad choice. Feeling fishy? Try the clam, shrimp, mussel, and squid paella. Looking for something a little more carnivorous? Try the Catalana paella with lamb, chicken, mussels, chorizo, and squid.
Best Middle Eastern: Damas
What you’re getting: Fattet mozat
When you think Middle Eastern cuisine, you automatically think of food with a complex yet cohesive flavor profile. It sends your taste buds on an adventure and Damas always promises one hell of an adventure. Try the Syrian restaurant’s fattet mozat, which is lamb shank coated with yogurt, nuts, rice, and herbs.
Best steakhouse: Moishes
What you’re getting: Any of the dry-aged cuts
Moishes has been dominating the steakhouse game since 1938 and recently received international attention as it was voted one of the top 12 steakhouses in the world by the UK’s Daily Telegraph. Your meal starts with a pickle and ends with a tummy rub and a smile. The dry-aged cuts are not to pass up. You have the choice between USDA Prime beef and local Quebecois beef, all aged at least 45 days.
Best vegetarian/vegan: Invitation V
What you’re getting: Chia seed, berry, and chocolate brownie
Vegan food typically gets a bad rap from those who have never tried it and are completely skeptical about whether or not they’ll leave the restaurant hungry. Invitation V proves that not only will you leave satisfied, but you’ll also be raving about its vegan desserts like the brownie.
Best burger joint: Burger Bar Crescent
What you’re getting: Hangover Burger
Choosing one burger isn’t easy, thanks to Burger Bar Crescent’s AAA beef patties with the most intricate plethora of toppings. Whether you’re feeling fancy like Iggy and want foie gras on your burger or just want to cure your hangover with the Hangover Burger, a 6oz patty topped with poutine and a fried egg, there’s something for everyone.
Best Greek: Marven’s
What you’re getting: Calamari
If you end up at Marven’s and aren’t hungry, turn around and leave because the portion sizes are massive. The old-school restaurant doesn’t take reservations so go early to line up, but stick it out because the calamari is exceptional. It's always perfectly cooked and done the proper Greek way, meaning it’ll make you want to search for the closest Yiayia and kiss her hands.
Best Caribbean: Mango Bay
What you’re getting: Curry goat roti
If you find yourself in downtown Montreal and are craving some Caribbean cuisine, head to Mango Bay. The food will make you feel like your palate has been sent to Jamaica, and no dish brings on that feeling more than the curry goat roti. Its spiciness is balanced with the rice and beans that accompany it. End your meal with the mango ice cream.
Best African: Le Nil Bleu
What you’re getting: Tasting menu
This Ethiopian restaurant is a powerhouse in Montreal’s African cuisine community and the tasting menu will let you see why. Options for the tasting menu include a vegan chickpea puree with garlic and lemon, a filet mignon tartare seasoned with Ethiopian spices, and lentils cooked in a berbere sauce, a dynamic spice mixture which includes chilies, ginger, basil, korarima, and more.
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