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 recall some of the saddest Montreal restaurant closures of the year.
JP Karwacki, editor, Time Out Montreal: Still trying to get over the spots we lost in 2020, and now Le Bremner and Radis will be missed as well. And while it’s not a restaurant closure, I also want to go on record to say that I’m going to miss grabbing a couple cold quilles at La Petite Idée Fixe. Nice to see Bar à Flot keep their address alive, though.
Alison Slattery, principal photographer, Two Food Photographers: For me, it has to be Le Bremner — I had an amazing date night there once upon a time.
Erik Leijon, freelance writer, Montreal Gazette, Cult MTL, and others: I grew up on the West Island, and although it’s not closed yet, hearing the news about new building owners telling Indian institution Sahib to vacate was a blow to an area where bland chains reign. The bustling lunchtime buffet was a rite of passage for anyone who worked along St-Jean Blvd or Hymus (my first job was pumping gas across the street), and the quality was always surprising given how affordable it was. They’ll set up shop in Dorval Village, but it’s a bit far for the office crowd. Another casualty in Pointe-Claire’s condo boom.
Jason Lee, food blogger, Shut Up and Eat: Romados for sure (now reopened). You take places that have become a staple in the takeout rotation for granted. Having gone there for as long as I can remember, I never thought there would be a time where it wouldn’t exist.
Rachel Cheng, photographer and food security and restaurant work activist: It seems improbable to have a Cambodian pop-up inside a pub in the Old Port, but perhaps a surprising setting suits Chanthy Yen’s striking dishes at Touk. Briefly reborn this summer, the flavours were always bright, balanced, and each dish obliged even my most Instagram-reluctant friends to take a picture. Touk wrapped for good this summer, and I will forever regret not having more of Chanthy’s cooking.
Daniel Bromberg, Eater Montreal contributor: Le Bremner, definitely. I must have gone there a dozen times while it was around. Sad to see it go.
Iris Gagnon-Paradis, restaurant reporter and critic, La Presse: Le Petit Mousso. I understand why the team decided to focus only on Le Mousso but this place will be missed.
Ivy Lerner-Frank, Eater Montreal contributor: Manitoba. It’s not quite clear if they’re going to reopen, but it’s a loss in any case. The mission they set out to accomplish, the profound preserving innovations they executed each season, and their commitment to sustainable agriculture and local eating have left a gap in Montreal’s dining scene in general and in my neighbourhood in particular. I miss their lovely terrasse out back and the drinks — especially the briny Fleuve St-Laurent, with local gin and seaweed.
Tommy Dion, food blogger, Le Cuisinomane: Manitoba
Élise Tastet, founder and CEO, Tastet: So many of them... Le Petit Mousso, Le Bremner, and Wellington...
Clay Sandhu, food editor, Cult MTL: Romados, for sure. Although I guess it’s back open, albeit under new ownership. I haven’t been since it reopened. My backup isn’t really a restaurant at all — Idée Fixe. That’s a big loss to anyone who spent any time living in the Mile-End. No disrespect to Bar à Flot but they’ve got some big, grimy, and beloved shoes to fill.