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Critics Started Dropping Their Best of 2017 Lists This Week

And a warm write-up for Cité-du-Multimédia’s newest day and night spot

Tomahawk at Hopkins, one of Lesley Chesterman’s favourite restaurants of 2017
Hopkins

It’s December 22, a perfectly acceptable time for media outlets to start diving into their “looking back on 2017” content, and two newspapers are doing just that this week. First up is Lesley Chesterman at the Montreal Gazette — noting that she didn’t give out any perfect four-star reviews this year (the last was L’Express in 2016), Chesterman observes that the “tablecloth-friendly, gastronomic temple genre” of restaurants a little out at present. Hence, she divides her look back at the 2017 into a few categories. Perhaps most notable are her best chef-driven restaurants, where Petite-Patrie’s Bistro Rosie (“flavours so vibrant”), NDG’s Hopkins (“I have no doubt [Liam] Hopkins is one talented cook”), and Daniel Vézina’s Laurie Raphaël (“I can think of few Montreal restaurants that can deliver the goods as confidently”) all earn props. Elsewhere, shout-outs go to high-performing newcomers like Tiradito and wine bar Oregon, but a couple of older haunts earn a place: NDG Thai restaurant Pick (under Best Asian), and Plateau staple Café Cherrier (under Best Comfort Food), which was one of Chesterman’s loveliest reviews of the year — a popular, but critically-ignored spot that she declared to be utterly charming. [Montreal Gazette]

Chez Boulay

Over at Le Devoir, Quebec City correspondent Catherine Ferland also has her 12 favourites in print (it appears the Montreal list is coming next week). Québécois-style, bistro-leaning spots like Là Là (“the place to get real tourtière”), Chez Boulay (“putting the boreal forest onto your plate” — it earned five stars from Ferland), and Hobbit (“for those with a bistronomie fetish”) all get nods. But Italian and French cuisines earn top of the list honours — Quebec City classic Le Continental is Ferland’s “champion” of the year for its crêpes Suzette and more, and Ferland also notes her crush on the team at Italian spot Trattoria La Scala. [Le Devoir]

Restaurant Mélisse

Over at Le Journal de Montréal, critic Thierry Daraize is still reviewing, this week at bright William Street day-and-night spot Mélisse. He admires the interior, and for the most part, the food too. A scallop and mortadella skewer with a white bean-garlic purée is “magnificent”, showing mastery on the part of chef Bertrand Giguère, and secondary props go to a smooth watercress-fried oyster soup. Most other dishes get Daraize’s approval but still need smaller tweaks — a calamari salad is light on seasoning, and a vegetable gratin is “comforting” but needs to be served warmer to allow the cheese to shine. Desserts like panna cotta with tonka beans fare well, too, earning three and a half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

There’s no review for La Presse this week, but we accidentally skipped over a La Presse review recently — a couple of weeks back, Marie-Claude Lortie visited the Canadiens’ new mega restaurant by the Bell Centre, 1909 Taverne Moderne. Unlike an earlier visit from Cult MTL, it fares reasonably well — it’s comfort food for sure, but Lortie approved of most dishes (relatively disastrous desserts excluded).

Laurie Raphaël

2050 Rue Mansfield, Ville-Marie, QC H3A 1Y9 (514) 985-6072 Visit Website

Chez Boulay

1110 Rue Saint-Jean, Quebec City, QC G1R 1S4 (418) 380-8166 Visit Website

Café Cherrier

3635 Rue Saint-Denis, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2X 3L6 (514) 843-4308 Visit Website

Pickthai

5221 boulevard de Maisonneuve west, Montréal, QC H4A 0A4 (514) 316-9696 Visit Website

1909 Taverne Moderne

1288 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal, Montréal, QC H3B Visit Website

Hopkins

5626 Avenue de Monkland, Côte-Des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC H4A 1E3 (514) 379-1275 Visit Website

Bistro Rosie

1498 Rue Bélanger, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC H2G 1A7 (514) 303-2010 Visit Website

Restaurant Mélisse

719 Rue William, Ville-Marie, QC H3C 1N9 (514) 379-3794 Visit Website

Tiradito

1076 Rue de Bleury, Ville-Marie, QC H2Z 1N2 (514) 866-6776 Visit Website

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