It’s been a solid fall of restaurant openings, between big-name arrivals such as Tiradito, Marconi, and Joël Robuchon’s Montreal venture, and plenty of slightly more casual options, from Koa Lua to LOV. But now winter is coming, and the months of sub-zero temperatures and snow will slow down the Montreal dining and drinking scene.
But it’s not a total hibernation — some keen restaurateurs and entrepreneurs are still out there wrangling plywood and planning to get the masses out of the snow and seated at their tables and bars. Here’s a rundown of some of the establishments set to open in coming months.
Who: Richard and Jérémie Bastien, of Outremont French restaurant Leméac
What: It’s been a very long time coming, but the Bastien father-son duo say this winter is Monarque’s time to shine. It’ll be a “Gramercy Tavern-style” restaurant in the Penny Lane condominium-etc development in Old Montreal, with fare both bistro-like and along the lines of Leméac.
When: March (expect more news in January)
Where: 417 Notre-Dame West, in Old Montreal
Le Balmoral (Do-Over)
Who: Groupe CH (Spectra, Evenko), Nicolas Urli and Flore-Anne Ducharme (Flyjin, Jatoba, Hà, École Privée), Sarah Bergeron & Marc Bolay (Auberge St-Gabriel)
What: Details are a little scarce, but one thing is clear: it’s not going to be the Balmoral anymore. This will be a whole new restaurant, billed as a Montreal-style brasserie. It’ll put Quebec products front-and-centre, a nice move for local producers given the tourist-heavy location at the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles. Chef Rémi Brunelle (of Leméac) lends it some culinary cred, too.
Where: 305 Sainte-Catherine West, in Place-des-Arts
Snowbird Tiki Bar
Who: The people behind the Petite Patrie bar empire of Bar Brutus, Nacho Libre and Taverne Cobra
What: Exactly what the name suggests — a tiki bar, in the heart of Little Italy. The people behind Snowbird are committing heartily to a kitschy approach to the space, which is taking over Cafe Internationale, as evidenced by their photos of drinkware and more for the bar. It’s not the city’s first tiki bar, but the vibe seems like it’s going to be more retro, less modern, as compared to Le Mal Nécessaire — but can it match the most thematically-committed tiki bar on the continent?
Where: 6714 Saint-Laurent, in Little Italy
Who: Matty Mckean, Jason Joyal, Jamal Goswami
What: As the city moves in to improve the sad Prince Arthur pedestrian street, perhaps better restaurants are on the way. One principal tells Eater it’s going to be a straight forward taqueria with affordable prices, and a bar doing the staples: tequila, margaritas, and more. Promisingly, one owner has a bar in Monterrey, and another has meat-smoking skills.
When: Very soon.
Where: Prince-Arthur East, in the Plateau
The Former Les Bobards
Who: Richard Holder (Waverly, Majestique)
What: Since iconic music venue Les Bobards closed down in 2015, a sibling to nearby Majestique is set to arrive over the winter. It’ll be along the same lines with small plates on offer, but less wine and more beer and cider will be the focus.
When: Sometime in winter
Where: 4328 Saint-Laurent, in the Plateau
Pizzeria No 900
Who: Dominic Bujold (LOV, M4 Burritos)
What: Bujold has had a knack for franchises in the past, and the Pizzeria No 900 might be his most successful. It started on Bernard Street in Outremont, has received critical praise and rapidly spread around Montreal, into the suburbs and over to Quebec City. Three new locations are set to arrive in coming months.
When: Throughout winter
Where: 324 Victoria in Westmount, 1481 Laurier East (the old Cirkus) in the Plateau, and one in St-Bruno
Who: Toronto-based restaurant group Oliver & Bonacini
What: The Mount Stephen Club on Drummond is being converted into boutique lodgings in the form of Hôtel Mount Stephen — and this will be the restaurant inside. It’s set to be an all-British affair, with “modern takes on British cuisine”, plus cocktails and the like in a chic space. There are grand plans for the design of the hotel, but the execution has been held up by the state of the fragile heritage building, as well as some controversies.
When: Later in the winter
Where: 1440 Drummond Street, downtown
Who: Buonanotte Group
What: The second location for Buonanotte’s Italian street food shop is going to be downtown, in the vicinity of Concordia. Presumably, the original Little Italy location has been a success with its meaty paninis and other snacks like arancini.
When: December or January, most likely
Where: Near Guy and Sherbrooke West, downtown
Other Coming Attractions
- Antonio Park’s two Westmount restaurants will be reopening after a devastating fire in November — Park will be first, in the very near future, however Lavanderia may take a while longer due to its more extensive damage. Park tells Eater it’ll also be re-designed.
- The takeover of Plateau brewpub Réservoir by the owners of Hôtel Herman should be complete by February, including new beers and a menu makeover from Herman chef Marc-Alexandre Mercier.
- New Griffintown fried chicken and champagne restaurant Bird Bar (from Kimberly Lallouz, formerly of Monsieur) will be adding a bar in its basement. It’s set to be called Henden, and it’ll have a ‘70s Playboy mansion theme.
- That downtown Hooters is still on the way — it’ll be the first on the island and fittingly will be on Crescent Street, and should arrive this month.