So, it turns out the language and unshakeable feelings of superiority aren’t the only things the French brought with them to Montreal. No, they also brought a lot of cheese. From comfort food to upscale cuisine, cheese is a versatile ingredient that makes every dish better, and these are the places that do it best...
Mac & cheese
Le Cheese Casse Croute (address and info) & Le Cheese Truck (info)
Le Cheese is serious about its namesake. With dishes like cheesy tater tots and deep-fried cheesecake, picking one dish to recommend isn’t easy. But, one bite of its rich mac & cheese and you’ll never want to eat anything else. Buy a 2lb portion, top it with peas, bacon, or cauliflower and you’ll take the dish from merely rich to straight-up luxurious.
The Stefano pizza
Pizzeria GEMA (address and info)
Located next to Jean-Talon Market, GEMA finds itself surrounded by fresh and seasonal produce at all times, including cheese. Most of the market’s cheeses can be found on one pizza at GEMA -- thanks to co-owner and television chef, Stefano Faita. Stefano’s namesake pizza includes Taleggio, Gorgonzola, and pecorino cheese along with mozzarella di Bufala cheese from Quebec and is topped with mint.
Insalata di mozzarella di bufala
Industria Brasserie Italienne (address and info)
In a city like Montreal, most cheese dishes can be heavy and food coma-inducing. Industria’s menu, however, includes a light, yet creamy mozzarella di bufala salad. With the mozzarella ball being the star of the show along with a refreshing basil pesto, the only thing missing from this dish is a good glass of vino.
Edwina's Grilled Cheese (address and info)
Edwina’s invented a dessert called the Fronut. How could it be described? Imagine a glazed donut made with cheddar cheese that has been grilled and topped with delicious ingredients from chocolate to raspberry jam. The best part about the Fronut is that no matter what has been piled on top of it, the sharp cheddar always cuts through.
Bacon Grilled Cheese
P.A. & Gargantua (info)
Bacon has finally been upstaged! P.A. & Gargantua’s food truck has blessed Montrealers with a grilled cheese that includes bacon with a shallot confit -- but they are no match for the aged, artisanal cheddar melted on top. Pair it with a clementine and hibiscus juice and you’ll definitely be in need of a belly rub.
Burrata salad with beets and roasted pecans
Le Pois Penché (address and info)
Le Pois Penché is known for its fabulous French dishes, but its burrata salad is not to be passed up. Le Pois Penché highlights the texture and flavour of the cheese by pairing it with peppery arugula, yellow and candy-striped beets, and roasted pecans with a drizzle of walnut oil.
Nut crusted herbed goat cheese balls
Greasy Spoon (address and info)
Nut crusted herbed goat cheese balls. Go ahead and say it out loud. Greasy Spoon’s balls are creamy on the inside and nutty on the outside, and they come with a chili-spiced honey sauce with a little arugula salad on the side.
Banana bread with Stilton blue cheese and pepper white chocolate sauce
Machiavelli (address and info)
Machiavelli is a cozy BYOW restaurant that knows how to demonstrate the complexity of cheese. The market-style resto serves up salty and sweet cheese dishes. Its current sweet cheese dish includes homemade banana bread with a pepper white chocolate sauce and a drizzle of a port raspberry sauce and Stilton blue cheese.
Warm goat cheese on a thin crust
Holder (address and info)
Holder is a brasserie that is known for its meat and fish dishes... but, don't count its goat cheese dish short. Sitting on top of a flaky, thin crust is a warm piece of goat cheese with a basil emulsion and a side of olive spread for a salty kick, and it's delicious.
Apple and caramelized pecan raclette
Boîte à Fromages (info)
If you haven’t hunted down this food truck before, you need to start stalking it now. Boîte à Fromages has many different raclette dishes, most of which are fantastic, and the best of which is its apple, potato, and caramelized pecan dish with fleur de sel.
Philinos (address and info)
For those who are unfamiliar with saganaki, here’s what you need to know: it’s Greek, it’s a firm cheese made of sheep’s milk, and it’s submerged in ouzo and set on fire. Once the flame goes out, you squeeze some lemon juice on top and devour it. Philinos knows how to do saganaki right -- just don’t forget to say "opa."
Poutine Grilled Cheese
L’Gros Luxe (address and info)
The Plateau and Mile End
What would this list be without poutine? Or grilled cheese? Or both?! LGL comes to the rescue with homemade potato fries, a three-cheese mix with cheese curds, and is smothered in gravy between two slices of sourdough bread.
1. Le Cheese Casse Croute5976, Ave de Monkland, Montreal
2. Pizzeria GEMA6827 St-Dominique, Montreal
3. Industria Brasserie Italienne100, rue Peel #112, Montreal
4. Edwina's Grilled Cheese5205 Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal
5. Le Pois Penché1230 boul. de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montréal
6. Greasy Spoon160 Ave. Laurier Ouest, Montreal
7. Machiavelli2601 Rue Du Centre, Montréal
8. Holder407 rue McGill, Montreal
9. Philinos4806 Avenue du Parc, Montreal
10. L'Gros Luxe3807 Saint-André, Montreal
Le Cheese is serious about its cheesy dishes. With options like cheesy tater tots and deep-fried cheesecake, picking one dish isn’t easy, but after one bite of its rich mac & cheese, you’ll never want to eat anything else.
This 50-seater in Little Italy offers pizzas ($13-$18) cooked in an electric deck oven imported from Northern Italy (no fire!), classic Italian starters like fried calamari, meatballs, as well as frozen custard from Laiterie Chagnon for dessert.
This Griffintown Italian resto features a number of delicious options that taste like they came straight from the Boot. Pick from a selection of pizzas, pasta dishes, and more and wash them all down with a large drinks menu full of beer, wine, and cocktails.
Edwina's might have the best grilled cheese sandwiches you've ever had, but there's only one way to be sure. And if you've already had your sandwich quota filled for the day, you can try any number of cheese dishes on the menu, from mac & cheese to its famous "Fronut," which is basically a glazed donut made with cheddar cheese that has been grilled and topped with delicious ingredients from chocolate to raspberry jam.
This Downtown Montreal eatery is best known for its fine array of tasty French dishes and its upscale confines provide a quiet and sophisticated evening to enjoy French comfort food and an extensive list of wines.
Featuring warm and cozy confines for cold weather and a breezy patio for warm weather, this gastropub is an excellent bet for upscale comfort food (like the nut crusted herbed goat cheese balls with spicy honey and baby arugula) and a great vino selection.
Machiavelli is a cozy BYOW restaurant that knows how to demonstrate the complexity of cheese. The market-style restaurant serves up salty and sweet cheese dishes, like its homemade banana bread with a pepper white chocolate sauce and a drizzle of a port raspberry sauce and Stilton blue cheese.
This Old Port resto is a brasserie known for its meat and fish dishes, aside from its drinks. But, do not count its goat cheese dish short. On top of a flaky, thin crust is a warm piece of goat cheese with a basil emulsion. Combine the cheese with the side of olive spread for a salty kick.
“Philinos” for those who aren't well versed in Greek means “friends of wine,” so it only makes sense that this Greek restaurant would have a pretty extensive wine list, with many Greek varieties featured. While the red and white stuff abound at Philinos, one can't forget the food, with the grilled octopus and saganaki being customer favourites.
This bistro, coffee shop, and bar offers up high-quality eats at affordable prices, and with multiple branches, it's easy to satisfy your cravings for breakfasts and main courses that are cheap and come in large portions.