In a "My Montreal" interview with Urban Expressions, the lifestyle supplement from The Gazette, Nic Urli of Flyjin, Velvet Speakeasy and the soon-to-open Hà, lists the likes of La Binerie, La Sala Rossa, Café Plume, Le Club Chasse et Pêche and l'Auberge Saint-Gabriel as favourites.
One quote from the restaurateur and Rimouski native, however, stands out:
"I'd like to see more restaurateurs be successful. I'd like for it to be easier for restaurateurs. I'd like for Montreal, as a city, to help restaurateurs more. To stop trying to put obstacles in our path in terms of city regulations, taxes, police interventions, that kind of thing. The restaurant and nightlife industry, which I always lump together, is huge in Montreal. And I find that we're lacking support."
The comments echo those of many of his peers of late, who have had to contend with retroactive tax grab proposals, draconian sales-recording modules, antediluvian alcohol permit laws, overzealous language inspectors and paralyzing red tape.
Despite it all, Urli remains optimistic about doing business in Montreal.
"Here, if you have an idea and you stick to it and fight for it, if you want it, you can be successful, and people will root for you along the way. That's crazy and amazing at the same time."