As is tradition at Eater, we close the year by asking a group of food writers, editors, photographers, and others about town to weigh in on the past year in food. Their answers — unedited (except for grammar and translation) and in no particular order — will be revealed in several posts by the time the clock runs out on 2021. Here they share which neighbourhood they were most excited to dine in this year.
Elise Tastet, founder and CEO, Tastet: The Sud-Ouest is definitely the popping neighbourhood these days, but I still like my chill Mile End vibes ;)
Tommy Dion, food blogger, Le Cuisinomane: Villeray and Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie. However, I discovered a side of Old Montreal that I’d never noticed before — and I assure you that side is delicious.
Clay Sandhu, food editor, Cult MTL: Verdun. I think Verdun has sort of been the spot for a while but I’m just slow to catch on. It’s far from where I live but when I think of great places to eat and new spots I’m excited to hit, they’re almost always in Verdun.
Rachel Cheng, photographer and food security and restaurant work activist: l live between Parc Ex and Villeray, and I’m still the most excited about dining out in my own neighbourhood. Standouts include dosas with a rainbow of sides at Dosa Pointe, the samosa chaat at Salateen, the Amritsari kulcha from Punjab Canteen, or changing things up a bit, mafe at Mokili or une soirée bien arrosée at Denise.
Iris Gagnon-Paradis, restaurant reporter and critic, La Presse: I live in Rosemont, so I have to say I’m always excited when a new place opens near my home, with working from home and all. I visited Rose Ross on Masson Street for the first time in years this summer and the chefs are doing a really incredible job. I also went a couple of times to vinvinvin and Le Super Qualité (mostly for takeout).
Alison Slattery, principal photographer, Two Food Photographers: Saint-Henri is pretty happening but Mile End and Little Italy will always have my heart
Erik Leijon, freelance writer, Montreal Gazette, Cult MTL, and others: I live in NDG, and I rarely felt the pull to leave given the plethora of unsung dining options. What it lacks in shiny new shticks (well, we did get Crusty’s), it makes up for in longtime favourites that still hold up and satisfy the neighbourhood. It was fun to pop into spots for the first time after walking by them countless times and not thinking twice. It made me rethink my surroundings and slowed down my innate desire to consume all that’s new.
Daniel Bromberg, Eater Montreal contributor: Villeray, as it has so much to offer. There are some great dining options in the neighbourhood, with more and more entering onto the scene. Even as I’m typing this, my mind immediately flashes back to lunch at Lundis au Soleil followed by coffee and dessert at Saison des Pluies.
I also looked forward to dining at some new and old favourites in Chinatown this year, not only as it was hard hit by the first waves of the pandemic but also because there’s so much to discover. Revisiting some classics like Qing Hua and Nouilles Lan Zhao felt good for the soul, while some (relative) newcomers Poincaré and Fleurs & Cadeaux were fun to try. And who could forget the magical ephemeral Place des Souhaits during the summer months?
JP Karwacki, editor, Time Out Montreal: It’s a tie between Old Montreal and Villeray. Both neighbourhoods saw so many great developments and openings, and really hit their stride despite difficulties.
Ivy Lerner-Frank, Eater Montreal contributor: My neighbourhood, Little Italy: it just keeps getting better and better. I love zipping over to San Gennaro for a piccolo and a slice, picking up a Massaman curry and some pad kanna at Pumpui, or having a special dinner at Vin Mon Lapin; everything I crave is within a five or ten minute walk from home. I don’t ever want to live anywhere else in this city.