The Thrillist Awards: Montreal's Best New Food & Drink of 2015
The past 12 months have been exciting for Montreal. We've seen everything from upscale Filipino food to fancy donuts, and hopefully 2016 will bring us fancy Filipino donuts. Until then, let's honor this year's best and brightest, with a satisfyingly broad range of awards. So without further ado, here's Montreal's best of everything 2015:
Best new line that's worth waiting in
When Campanelli’s announced they would open an old-fashioned, New York-style pizza parlour in St. Henri, Montrealers immediately felt their breath quicken. So when Adamo finally opened in September, after months of anticipation, the lines immediately stretched around the block. Though this joint offers only a limited selection of toppings (mozzarella, basil, and pepperoni), sold by the slice -- at $3.75 for a giant piece, this bargain wasn’t lost on Montrealers -- and the lines continue.
Best food truck turned brick-and-mortar
Tucked away on a quiet part of Papineau, Landry et Filles is one of those gems that once you discover you just can’t get out of your mind. Whether it’s the fried chicken or the lovely, homey atmosphere, Landry et Filles has got us charmed.
You may not think of going all the way to NDG for burgers, but for Notre-Boeuf-de-Grâce, you should. With homemade condiments, beef ground freshly on-site, and an excellent veggie burger (with options for a lettuce bun if you’re so inclined), NBG seems set to please all palates -- and so far, it’s succeeding. One word of advice? Have patience, because apparently, good burgers take some time to prepare.
Best new pizza
Pizzeria Gema is the name on everyone’s lips as they yearn for a perfectly crisp wood-fire-oven-baked Italian pie. Even though the food served here is as traditional as they come, the meticulous level of execution and the incredible energy of the staff and owners creates a buzz that sets Gema Pizzeria apart from most other pizza joints.
Best new brewery
Boswell Brasserie Artisanale demonstrates an adherence to local products that is the envy of hipster market-driven restaurants. Come here for well-loved brewpub classics like fish ’n’ chips, or try one of their more adventures specials like chicken karaage with kimchi; but whatever you do, don’t forget to grab a cold, tall pint of local beer, one of the 20 (!) they have on tap.
Best new Middle Eastern
When Damas reopened this summer, it blew everyone’s minds by offering Syrian food like we’ve never had it before: bigger, better, and bolder. Whether you’re here for the best grillades in town, or if you’re a vegetarian looking for a quick bite, this honest, chef-driven restaurant is the place to be in Montreal.
Best new brunch
Since it re-opened in its Mile End location in the spring, Lili Co. has been garnering accolades like they were stickers. And though we love the dinners and wine selection at this beautiful chef-owned restaurant, it’s Lili Co.’s perfect brunches that get our hearts thumping every week.
Best new nightspot
It doesn’t get much better than Subois for late night fun in Montreal. In the evening, it’s a high-end restaurant with a hidden forest and wilderness motif that offers dishes with touches of herbs, flowers and unusual ingredients like sea asparagus and morels. But once the clock strikes midnight, the enchanted forest goes underground with a darker atmosphere, plenty of beautiful people, and some of the best DJs in North America, and cocktails that sound like they came straight from Wonderland.
Best new poutine
The younger sister of Plateau favourite for the last two decades, Maamm Bolduc has only been open for a couple of months, but its homey fare has already garnered fans throughout the city. The poutine here is excellent and familiar, with a choice of three sauces -- and though none of them feature kimchi or bacon, sometimes, there is no point in messing with a winning recipe.
Best new coffee shop
The first coffee shop in Montreal to offer nitro-brew, this little Rosemont-Petite-Patrie neighbourhood favourite turned out to be more than just a coffee-cocktails-slinging gimmick. Its open-concept, inviting communal space offers a dynamic environment in which to sip your lavender London fog, or plain-old double espresso.
Best new place to camp out with your laptop
A charming little café that serves everything from smoothies to traditional Italian arancini and home-cured gravlax, Café Lucci sprung on the heels of the Griffintown revival of newly opened, hot restaurants, and clubs. The sunlit room and warm, inviting atmosphere make this the perfect place to sit and work -- provided you at least buy some coffee.
Best cocktail bar
With the atmosphere of a tea room for the rich and famous, Mayfair makes an impression within a few short moments of walking through its doors. The opulent room offers plush couches and some of the most comfortable leather armchairs in Montreal. But it’s the cocktails and alcoholized teas that are the stars of the show: served in beautiful glassware, using only premium imported spirits and the best ingredients, the Mayfair brings a touch of old-world elegance to our busy modern lives.
Best new concept
The focus of Provisions is market-driven, and with it comes the commitment that only the best ingredients sourced by the chefs that day will make it onto your plate. Go for the $50 prix-fixe menu and be amazed by the secession of picture-worthy plates that come onto your table.
Best new bar, period
Loïc is one of the most beautiful and straightforward bars in Montreal. No one is reinventing the wheel at this pared-down wine bar, but everything served here is of the highest caliber, from the small, selected bites, to the big, bold wines.
Best new beer garden
Montreal’s first giant beer hall has already made waves with Das Bier. Having made it through its first Oktoberfest with flying colours, Das Bier is now a seasoned veteran at serving currywursts and pretzels with a pint of one of the 20 draft beers it has on offer.
Best new Mexican
This family-owned grocery store and taqueria is as real as it gets: a mom and her two sons, slinging homemade horchata and traditional tacos for $2 from behind a lime-green counter. And yet, the results are flavourful and delicious -- the best among a slew of hipster taco restaurants to open in Montreal in recent years.
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Ksenia Prints is a Montreal-based freelance writer, photographer, and chef. Follow her delicious goings-on At The Immigrant's Table.