The annual Canada’s 100 Best restaurants list has dropped for 2019, with 28 Montreal area restaurants making the cut, a jump up from 22 in 2018.
Toronto restaurant Alo took the top spot for the third year in a row, while four Montreal restaurants made the top 10 — Joe Beef and Toqué switched places (taking the number two and three spots, respectively), while chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard is perhaps the biggest winner, with his Village restaurant Le Mousso jumping into the top 10 for the first time. Montréal Plaza came in at eighth place.
Further down the list, a gaggle of newly-opened Montreal restaurants also made the cut — Old Montreal’s ultra-refined Pastel did best, at 38, with Elena, Monarque, Mon Lapin, La Cabane d’à Côté, and Île Flottante appearing further down. Older restaurants La Chronique and Provisions also debuted on the list.
This is the fifth edition of the Canada’s 100 Best list — since its inception in 2015, the list has often been reported upon as the definitive who’s who of finer dining establishments across the country (cheaper, casual establishments have never really made the cut).
And while the list is loaded with excellent places to eat, ranking places in such a precise manner does feel a little arbitrary: one has to wonder what minuscule aspect of the dining experience causes one restaurant to come out at 90th place, and another to be 91st — is it a glass of water left empty for 30 seconds? Fancier toilet paper in the washrooms? Or just a minor difference in scores predicated upon one or more judges’ subjective tastes? The ranking system (administered by accounting firm KPMG) seems rigorous, but ultimately, it’s difficult to translate questions of subjective taste into a rigid numerical system. Plus, some big names are conspicuously absent: ultra-reputable Montreal restaurants such as Park, Nora Gray, and Au Pied de Cochon all dropped off the list completely this year.
Plus, as has been noted before, the whole ranking system is also complicated by a mixed bag of judges: while there’s a bunch of industry experts (from journalists to culinary school instructors), a number of judges have direct or indirect ties to restaurants that appear on the list. Then there’s a number of judges without direct industry connections, from an executive at the Just For Laughs Festival to a Toronto eye doctor.
In short: the list is fine, but definitely not perfect. Now, here’s the full list of Montreal-area restaurants that made the cut for 2019, along with their previous positions.
2. Joe Beef (3)
3. Toqué (2)
6. Le Mousso (31)
8. Montréal Plaza (6)
13. Le Vin Papillon (8)
19. Liverpool House (33)
30. Milos (87)
32. L’Express (37)
36. Maison Publique (13)
38. Pastel (newly opened)
41. Jun I (24)
43. Damas (80)
44. Elena (newly opened)
48. Monarque (newly opened)
50. Vin Mon Lapin (newly opened)
52. Le Club Chasse et Pêche (67)
53. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (47)
55. Bouillon Bilk (53)
66. La Cabane d’à Côté (newly opened)
73. Marconi (71)
74. Maison Boulud (56)
77. Foxy (returned to list)
81. Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon (27)
83. Île Flottante (newly opened, formerly on list as Les Deux Singes de Montarvie)
85. Candide (returned to list)
86. La Chronique (new to list)
90. Impasto (64)
96. Provisions (new to list)
Off the list: Nora Gray (17), Park (62), Au Pied de Cochon (82), Da Emma (89)
Correction: Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants mistakenly omitted Bouillon Bilk from some copies of the list, resulting in it being left out of this article. It is at 55th place on the list.