MONTREAL — The people behind the Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants ranking have dropped a similar ranking of the best bars in Canada, with six Montreal cocktail haunts making the cut. The list doesn’t focus strictly on cocktail bars, but certainly skews in that direction — the top Montreal spot was St-Henri’s Atwater Cocktail Club (number 5), then the Coldroom (6) and Le Cloakroom (7). Further down was tiny Old Montreal rum spot El Pequeño (11), Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth bar Nacarat (14), and Plateau speakeasy Le Royal (34). Meanwhile, the top spot went to Toronto’s Bar Raval. Is the ranking system perfectly scientific? Probably not, but these are nonetheless a bunch of very good places to drink.
OLD MONTREAL — Six years after opening, high-end champagne bar La Champagnerie has rebranded. It’s now Maison Saint-Paul — it’s had a makeover from La Voûte designer Michel Prete (and will correspondingly be more of a club venue Friday and Saturday nights), and will keep on serving plenty of bubbles and seafood.
DOWNTOWN — Japanese bar Gokudo has some new talent at its in-house fish shack, Ryoshi: chef Hachiro Fujise of excellent Old Montreal spot Marusan is now behind the menu and running the kitchen.
THE INTERNET — Montreal-born spearfisher and entrepreneur Valentine Thomas has a new cookbook that also details her decision to quit her day job as a financial analyst and get into fishing — it’a called À Contre-Courant and is out via Editions Cardinal.
LITTLE ITALY — Hey restaurateurs or café owners, wanna get a foothold in a popular, high-traffic market? There’s a space open at Jean-Talon, and Montreal’s public market authority is accepting candidates to fill it right now.
Appel de candidatures lancé pour un local à louer au marché Jean-Talon. Le local est dédié à un usage de restauration. Date limite pour postuler: 5 juin 2019. https://t.co/ovaPDxrKdQ pic.twitter.com/YZ67v3PYSN— Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet (@nfabieno) May 3, 2019
DOWNTOWN — It looks like sometimes-controversial steakhouse La Queue de Cheval is expanding its premises — city officials have approved a rooftop terrasse, allowing the restaurant to convert its third floor into more dining space.
PETITE-PATRIE — Italian vegan restaurant Vegano has moved off the Plateau — it recently decamped from its location on Mont-Royal near de Lorimier up to Beaubien East and de Lanaudière, taking over the former location of café La Bastringue.
TORONTO — Much-hyped, Instagram-friendly vegan restaurant LOV is expanding outside the Montreal area for the first time — a Toronto location on King Street not far from Bathurst is in the works, and is slated to open sometime later in the year.