Food & Drink

The 8 coolest restaurants in Montreal

Published On 06/21/2013 Published On 06/21/2013

If the French do one thing right, it's food, and if the French Canadians do one thing right, it's taking that food and adding gravy to it. Known as one of Canada’s culinary capitals, Montreal boasts a pretty large offering of eateries, so we've taken that offering and handily narrowed it down to this choice selection:

Katherine Sehl

1) Au Pied de Cochon 536 Duluth Est; 514.281.1114
A cult favorite for locals & tourists alike, their artery-clogging foie gras poutine is served in an amazingly unpretentious, casual, and friendly atmosphere. Be prepared to adjust your belt a couple notches after you chase it down with one of their maple syrup shakes; probably the name of the condition you'll develop afterwards, too.

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2) Moishes 3961 Boulevard Saint Laurent; 514.845.3509
Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the top steakhouses in the world, Moishes has been a fixture in Montreal's gastronomic scene for 70+ years, thanks to its unique mix of beef & Jewish deli staples (everything from T-bones to latkes!). They’ve served the likes of everyone from Hulk Hogan to the former Pope John Paul II, and's the perfect place to increase your own mass.

Katherine Sehl

3) L’Express 3927 Rue Saint-Denis; 514.845.5333
This traditional-style French bistro epitomizes Parisian cool w/ its black & white checkered tiles, white linen tables, and devilishly good-looking and well-dressed wait staff. Enjoy classic French cuisine in style and then take in the infamously seductive nightlife of rue Saint-Denis. Also? You get an entire jar of pickles with your meal.

Katherine Sehl

4) Le Boucan 1886 rue Notre Dame Ouest; 514.439.4555
Located just outside of all the hoopla of downtown in the heart of Little Burgundy (congratulations Ron!), this cozy smokehouse boasts a special wood chip smoking technique for melt-off-the-bone ribs & chicken, topped w/ a famed house BBQ-sauce. Follow it all with their bacon brownie -- that's right, there's meat in the desserts too.

Katherine Sehl

5) Labo Culinaire 1201 Boulevard Saint Laurent; 514.844.2033
This aptly named culinary lab is on the top floor of the Société des Arts Technologiques (a hub for digital arts culture); the glass-walled building is surrounded by flashy LED sidewalk lights & topped with a huge white dome known as the Satosphére. Take your experience to the next-level on one of the best rooftop terraces in the city.

Katherine Sehl

6) Kazu 1862 St. Catherine St. Ouest; 514.937.2333
Even in the deep dark depths of Montreal winter, there is always a line outside of this cozy Japanese izakaya. This nationally ranked restaurant is well worth the wait for the best ramen in town or a drool-worthy shrimp burger.

Katherine Sehl

7) Joe Beef 2491 Notre Dame Ouest; 514.935.6504
Named for Charles “Joe Beef” McKiernan (an Irish-born, no-nonsense military man & 19thC Montreal working-class hero), this classic steak & seafood joint takes local Quebecois ingredients and turns them into belly-warming comfort food. When you’re done here, make the inebriated crawl across the road to Burgundy Lion Pub, where keeping your pride may become a challenge.

Katherine Sehl

8) Garde Manger 408 rue Saint-François-Xavier; 514.678.5044
Down an inconspicuous cobblestone street in a nondescript building in Old Montreal, Garde Manger hides behind an unmarked door and black curtain. The restaurant has made its way onto food fanatics’ maps, especially after its celebrity-chef and owner Chuck Hughes roasted Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America with his delicious lobster poutine.

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1. 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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2. Moishes 3961 boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, H2W 1Y4

Moishes Steakhouse was founded in 1938 by Moishe Lighter, a Romanian immigrant. The restaurant-- a hybrid Jewish deli and steak house-- remains a fixture of "The Main" neighborhood of Montreal today with its famous charcoal-broiled bone-in filet mignon, among other meaty offerings.

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3. L'Express 3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, H2W 2M4

Enjoy classic French cuisine-- think pot-au-feu and quiche du jour-- in style at this traditional French bistro complete with black-and-white tiled floors, white linen tablecloths, and an ultra-dapper waitstaff.

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4. Le Boucan 1886 rue Notre-Dame-Ouest, Montréal, H3J 1M6 (Griffintown)

Located in the heart of Little Burgundy, this smokehouse specializes in Southern-style BBQ dishes like melt-in-your-mouth ribs, pulled pork poutine, burgers, and the very meaty, mighty "pit boss platter". If you haven't gotten your meat fix yet, bacon brownies are for dessert.

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5. Labo Culinaire 1201 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montréal , H2X 2S6

Tucked inside Montreal's Société des Arts Technologiques (or SAT, for short), Labo Culinaire is an experimental resto churning out inventive, weekly-changing dishes. After your meal, check out a show or DJ set at the 360-degree Satosphère. The best part about this culinary experiment (besides the awesome rooftop) is the variety of food that it offers. One night, renowned chefs will craft dishes while another night a completely unknown chef will hold a workshop.

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6. 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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7. Joe Beef 2491 rue Notre-Dame O, Montreal, H3J 1N6

An ode to Charles "Joe-Beef" McKiernan, a 19th century innkeeper and Montreal working-class hero, this resto serves up Quebecois classics like sausages, hot smoked salmon, and 18oz steaks (dubbed the "Monsieur's portion" on the menu) in the heart of Little Burgundy.

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8. Garde Manger 408 rue Saint-Francois-Xavier, Montréal, H2Y 2S9

This dimly-lit, Old Montreal resto's blackboard specials change on the regular and include staples like seafood platters, lobster poutine, and braised short ribs.

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