Food & Drink

The 12 Best Dishes in Montreal

Published On 02/11/2015 Published On 02/11/2015
Ksenia Prints/Thrillist

Montreal has a lot of restaurants, and in those restaurants are a lot of menus, and on those menus are a lot of dishes -- so tracking down the finest individual dozen is not exactly an easy task. But we eat not-easy tasks for breakfast... and lunch, and dinner, and came up with this list.

Maria Bonita

Pork tacos

Maria Bonita (address and info)
Mile End
Don’t get us wrong, there is an abundance of good taco places in Montreal (Maïs makes inventive ones with zucchini blossoms and pumpkin seeds; Else’s does a great Venezuelan one, etc.), but for a truly authentic taqueria experience, you would be well advised to head down to Maria Bonita, and order its show-stopper; the traditional marinated pork tacos.

Hof Kelsten

Babka

Hof Kelsten (address and info)
The Plateau
You just can’t go wrong with the chocolate babka at Hof Kelsten. Or the maple one. Or, in a pinch, even just a slice of its challah bread with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar sprinkled on top, folded in on itself -- once you try it, there is no limit to what you will do to recreate the taste of it.

Flickr/Magalie L'Abbé

Poutine au Fois Gras

Au Pied de Cochon (address and info)
The Plateau
In a city that takes its poutine very seriously, Au Pied de Cochon’s Poutine au Fois Gras makes the list for being an in-your-face celebration of riches and excess. It's crisp potatoes fried in duck fat, topped with fresh cheese curds, foie, and a gravy made with more foie, egg yolks, and cream -- you will be sleeping soundly after this baby.

Aux Vivres

Dragon Bowl

Aux Vivres (address and info)
The Main
For a city that is known for its smoked meat and foie gras-laden poutine, Montreal has a surprising amount of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. But no single dish makes as much of an impression on vegan and non-vegan diners alike as the Dragon Bowl at Aux Vivres. Whether you’re in the market for a filling, but healthy meal, or if you’re looking to impress a health-conscious date, go to Aux Vivres, order the Dragon Bowl, and prepare to be impressed.

Ksenia Prints/Thrillist

Falafel

Sumac (address and info)
St. Henri
If you had asked someone a year ago where one could find the best falafel in Montreal, the The Green Panther would have been the immediate answer. But with newcomer Sumac at the scene, the Middle Eastern game in Montreal has been taken to an entirely new level. With crisp falafel balls, perfect turnip pickles, some of the most luscious hummus this side of the Atlantic, and incredible fries (that almost deserve their own entry), there's a new falafel sheriff in town.

Pizzeria Magpie

Prosciutto pizza

Pizzeria Magpie (address and info)
Mile End
With a constantly rotating set of specials and brunch pizzas that will make your heart palpitate, this rustic pizzeria churns out incredible, wood-oven-churned pies that will make Italy proud. But the Prosciutto pizza, with its perfect balance of salty dry-cured ham, sweet cherry tomatoes, creamy bocconcini, and a crown of biting roquette is a definite crowd favourite.

Dinette Triple Crown

Southern fried chicken picnic

Dinette Triple Crown (address and info)
Mile-Ex
With a perfectly crackling outer shell and a taste that was born to be paired up with the house-made gravy, this dish brings a remarkably authentic Southern taste to the frigid Northern reaches of Quebec.

Instagram/chefantoniopark

Maki sushi

Park (address and info)
Westmount
Vaunted as one of the top restaurants in all of Canada, Park restaurant is where Chef Antonio Park comes up with some of the most inventive and beautiful sushi rolls in the city/country. Pairing up Japanese and Argentinian flavours as a homage to his heritage, he is the only one in the country to serve Kaimin Tai fish, or fish killed humanely through the acupuncture method. But most people just come here for the fresh ingredients, beautiful presentation, and cool garnishes.

Flickr/Henry Faber

Smoked meat sandwich

Schwartz’s Deli (address and info)
The Main
Believe us, we wanted to present you with an option other than Schwartz’s. If we had spoken even two months ago, we would have gladly extolled the virtues of the Main, another Jewish-style deli just across the street from Schwartz’s. But then its owners sold, and the place no longer smokes its own meat. And other places just don’t measure up. So, we will be the 10,000th source to tell you: you just gotta taste the smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s. It really is THAT good. Just don’t forget the Cott Black Cherry soda.

Lawrence

Sausage and egg roll

Lawrence (address and info)
The Main
There is a strong disagreement in certain households whether the best item on Lawrence’s brunch menu is the sausage and egg roll, or the ham, cheese, and fried egg on toast. But we are going to go with the classic here and tell you that for the best roll, the perfectly cooked egg, and the most humanely raised and butchered sausage in Montreal, you need to queue up at Lawrence on a weekend morning.

Ksenia Prints/Thrillist

Mixed seafood ceviche

Ceviches (address and info)
The Plateau
Though some people will swear that the best ceviche is Peruvian, the likelihood is that they simply haven’t tried the Venezuelan ceviche at its namesake restaurant. Spiked with lime, lemon, chili and the fruit flavours of your choice, this marinated seafood dish features plump, choice morsels of fish, octopus, and shrimp. And you even get to choose your own toppings!

Flickr/Rob Hyndman

Lunchtime ramen

Kazu (address and info)
Downtown
There is a consistent line outside of Kazu’s doors, and for good reason; this Japanese izakaya does all of the traditional dishes well, while also throwing in a few craftily executed modernized offerings, the standout of which is its perfectly salty lunchtime ramen (though if you miss that, the Japanese bibimbap bowl is also excellent).

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1. Maria Bonita 5269 Ave Casgrain, Montreal, H2S 1J5 (Mile End)

For a truly authentic taqueria experience, you would be well advised to head down to this Mile End Mexican spot. The fried fish tacos are excellent, but the real showstoppers are the traditional marinated pork ones.

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2. Hof Kelsten 4524, Boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal, H2T 1R4 (Plateau)

Whether you’re looking for a sweet ending to your day, a grand dessert to bring to your friend’s party, or just a sinful breakfast, you can’t go wrong with this Plateau bakery.

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3. Au Pied de Cochon 536 Ave Duluth Est, Montréal, H2L 1A9

Dining at “the foot of the pig” ("Au pied de cochon") is a Montréal must, as Chef Martin Picard has created a temple for all things meaty, decadent, and over-the-top (read: poutine topped with foie gras!). While ultra-luxe ingredients like red wine chutney and pig's trotters are a common theme here, their application to low-brow foods is what sets this bustling restaurant apart. The price tag might not match the casual atmosphere, but exaggerated indulgences like pan seared foie gras with goat cheese and raspberries on a brioche will blind you to dollar signs.

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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. Sumac 3618 Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, H4C 1P5 (Saint Henri)

Sumac has quite a following thanks to its family-style plates and easy lunchtime atmosphere. A fresh, Israeli-style falafel is hard to find in North America, and Sumac turns its over quickly enough that they maintain their perfectly soft interior and crispy skin.

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6. Pizzeria Magpie 16 rue Maguire, Montreal, H2T 1B8 (Mile End)

This Mile End pizza palace cooks up perfect pizzas with flaky crusts and luscious toppings using wood ovens to bring the pies to the perfect intersection of crispy and fluffy.

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7. Dinette Triple Crown 6704 rue Clark, Montréal, H2S 3E9

One of the top spots for BBQ in town, DTC does everything from shrimp and grits to red beans & rice to Carolina-style pulled pork sammies.

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8. Park 378 Ave Victoria, Westmount, H3Z 2N4

Park, named after Executive Chef Antonio Park, serves up a fusion of homemade dishes with an Asian-inspired twist. Chef Park has a private fish import license which, as we all know, allows the restaurant to employ freshly caught seafood in its dishes.

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9. Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen 3895 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2W 1X9

Montreal is known for its smoked meats, and Schwartz's Deli has some of the best in the city. Order a sandwich -- literally any sandwich -- and prepare for your taste buds to explode from the deliciousness.

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10. Lawrence 5201 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2T 1S4 (Plateau)

This Montreal resto and cafe does the best breakfast and brunch in town. The reason? Instead of giving you fresh rolls before your meal, they give you fresh DONUT PUFFS. You're welcome.

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11. Ceviches 152 Napoleon, Montreal, H2W 1K8 (Plateau)

Opened by Luis Gil Andrade, the chef/owner behind Venezuelan Arepera, Ceviches is part Peruvian ceviche bar, part South American taco stand, with a variety of marinades going into every dish, which is usually accompanied by crispy plantain chips.

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12. Kazu 1862 rue Ste-Catherine O., Montréal, H3H 1M1

This tiny, traditional Japanese izakaya located in downtown Montreal features specials like a "48 hour pork" rice bowl, BBQ pork necks, and lunchtime special ramen.

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