Food & Drink

Montreal's most underrated restaurants

Published On 04/09/2014 Published On 04/09/2014

Understatement alert! Montreal has a lot of restaurants. In fact, it has more per capita than any other city in North America, so it’s pretty much inevitable that a few truly great spots are going to get lost in the mix, outshone by the super-large halos that hang over culinary juggernauts like Joe BeefSchwartz’s, etc. Well, we’re here to serve up a little culinary justice -- here are Montreal’s most underrated eateries...

Lester's Deli

Lester’s Deli
Outremont
Lester’s is a Montreal classic, but the restaurant is often dwarfed by Schwartz’s gigantic shadow. Their smoked meat sandwich combos stand up there with the best of ‘em, but they also offer a more extensive menu than Schwartz’s does, with other solid options like the juicy Roast Beef Special.

Katherine Sehl

D.A.D’s Bagel
Notre-Dame-des-Graces
Not only does D.A.D’s make a mean bagel, but they also serve some of the best Indian food in town. Their bagels may not be as top notch as Fairmount or St. Viateur, but unlike the two heavyweights, they’ll slather on the cream cheese for you rather then just sell you the goods.

The Main Deli Steak House

Main Deli Steak House
The Main
Just like Lester’s, The Main often gets overlooked in favour of Schwartz’s in the smoked meat department, but apart from a superb smoked meat, The Main’s got a lot to offer, including a pretty ridiculous burger and poutine menu. Or if you’re a fan of traditional Eastern European fare, they make a mean matzo ball and karnatzel, too.

Aux Vivres

Aux Vivres
Mile End
Aux Vivres often gets overlooked because they offer a completely vegan menu, but even the most militant carnivores have to admit that Aux Vivres’ meat substitutions can frequently taste better than the real thing. Their Dragon Bowl is so good that someone actually tattooed it to their arm.

Tri Express
Plateau
Montreal may not be known for sushi, but this teeny tiny little resto (reservation required) is pretty much single-handedly getting the job done. The fish is logic-defyingly fresh and the plates are somehow simultaneously traditional and creative. Most importantly: everything is crazy delicious.

La Sala Rossa

La Sala Rossa
Mile End
Most people don’t ever realize that apart from being one of the best concert venues in Montreal, La Sala Rossa’s adjacent restaurant offers possibly the best tapas in the city. Their fried goat cheese with honey and caramelized onions is the stuff curdy dreams are made of.

Katherine Sehl

Chef On Call
Delivery/Multiple Locations
So, sure, it's technically not a restaurant, but that doesn’t mean CoC should be forgotten. These guys deliver restaurant-quality food to your door, and've already outlasted several places that couldn't deliver restaurant-quality food in a restaurant. Plus they make a burger with Doritos in it.

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1. Lester’s Deli 1057 rue Bernard, Montreal, H2V (Outremont)

Just because Schwartz's gets most of the smoked meat attention in Montreal doesn't mean that Lester's shouldn't get its fair share. They offer an extensive menu loaded with tasty options beyond just their smoked meat sammy.

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2. D.A.D’s Bagel 5732 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, H4A 1W8 (Notre Dames Des Graces)

In a town that is known for bagels, these guys can still hang with the heavy hitters not only thanks to their terrific bagels, but they also serve some great Indian food, even if it is random.

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3. Main Deli Steak House 3864 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2W 1Y2

Since 1974, Main deli has been smoking meat for hearty sandwiches and cooking up other classic Jewish favorites like matzo ball soup and varenekes.

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4. Aux Vivres 4631 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal, H2T 1R2 (Mile End)

Even the most meaty of meatatarians have to admit that this vegan resto's meat substitutions can taste better than the real thing, and that's why this makes for one of the best-kept secrets in the city.

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5. Tri Express 1650 rue Laurier E, Montreal, H2J 1J2 (Plateau)

The fish here is incredibly fresh and the plates are simultaneously traditional and creative. Most importantly: everything is crazy delicious.

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6. La Sala Rossa 4848 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal, H2T 1R5 (Mile End)

La Sala Rossa might be well known as a concert venue, but what most people don't realize is that their adjacent resto serves some of the best tapas around (especially their fried goat cheese with honey and caramelized onions).

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7. Chef On Call 2055 Bishop St, Montreal, H3G 2E9

One of a handful of Chef On Call locations, this resto slings zesty and inventive sammies and burgers, like a Dorito-topped Big Chipper burger and their Honey Boo Boo: a chicken breast doused in honey Dijon and cheddar.

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