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speckled plate with meat and potato strips, an egg yolk and gravy pooling in the middle, against black background
Beef tenderloin, potatoes, egg yolk, gravy and horseradish artfully displayed at Île Flottante.
Île Flottante/Facebook

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Montreal

Eater’s guide to some of the city’s most indispensable eats, featuring an array of cuisines, neighbourhoods, and price points 

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Beef tenderloin, potatoes, egg yolk, gravy and horseradish artfully displayed at Île Flottante.
| Île Flottante/Facebook

Behold, Montreal’s Eater 38: Your answer to the age-old question, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” This list is our attempt to render Montreal’s food scene in list form, compiling the city’s unique, sometimes offbeat blend of poutine, Haitian, and Middle Eastern staples, and, of course, fine dining institutions that make this city such a standout place to eat.

This time around, we welcome several restaurants to the list, including Joon, Dinette Triple Crown, Antonietta, Île Flottante, and Hélicoptère. At times, we need to remove a great restaurant from this list to be able to celebrate another one, but that doesn’t mean it has become any less desirable. And who knows? It may very well appear again next time.

Note: Restaurants on this list have to have been open for at least six months. Looking for a guide to some of the city’s newer options? Check here.

Have tips or suggestions for Eater 38? Send them to our tipline.

Health experts consider dining out to be a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated. For updated information and regulations, please visit the official sites of the Quebec government and Montreal’s public health authority (Santé Montréal).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Hélicoptère

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4255 Rue Ontario E, Montréal
QC H1V 1K4, Canada
(514) 543-4255
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With a culinary approach that feels fine dining, but is more casual in setting and price, Hélicoptère has been checking boxes left and right since opening in 2018. Expect a menu of colourful, creative plates spotlighting plenty of seasonal fare from chef David Ollu, and don’t forget to check out sibling coffee shop Hélico Café around the corner — equally worth the visit on any Hochelaga-Maisonneuve pilgrimage.

2. Antonietta

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6672 Av. Papineau, Montréal
QC H2G 2X2, Canada
(514) 729-2633
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Two-year-old Papineau Street Italian eatery Antonietta excels at all manner of pasta and pizza — its takes usually being traditional enough to satisfy the most discerning of nonnas, but creative enough to dazzle the new guard. Its menu changes often, but local veggies, plenty of parmesan and pecorino, and flavour-rich guanciale (cured pork cheek) make frequent appearances.

3. Hoogan & Beaufort

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4095 Rue Molson, Montréal
QC H1Y 3L1, Canada
(514) 903-1233
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Tucked over in the still-developing Technopole Angus, Hoogan & Beaufort brings a distinctly earthy feel to its offering. Under chef-owner Marc-Andre Jetté’s watch, mushrooms (chanterelles and beyond), beets, turnips, and more all make appearances, often helping to showcase catches from the province’s seas and lakes.

4. Kwizinn

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6670 Rue St-Hubert, Montréal
QC H2S 2M3, Canada
(514) 379-6670
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Though among the city’s younger Haitian addresses, Kwizinn has won the hearts of many with its griot (fried pork cubes), tassot cabrit (goat marinated with herbs and spices), and créole lambi (spicy conch meat), in the four years since opening on the St. Hubert Plaza. Last September, partners chef Michael Lafaille and Claudia Fiorilli opened a second, less grab-and-go location in Verdun.

5. Le Petit Alep Bistro

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191 Rue Jean-Talon, Montréal
QC H2R 1S8, Canada
(514) 270-9361
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Garlicky dips and succulent kebabs are the staples at the little sibling to longtime Villeray Syrian-Armenian restaurant Alep. Prepare yourself for flavour bombs from the rich, tangy shanklish salad, pomegranate molasses-infused muhammara, and za’atar-seasoned swordfish.

6. Restaurant Joon

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7130 Boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal
QC H2S 3E2, Canada
(438) 380-5660
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First-time restaurant owner chef Erin Mahoney swung open the doors to Joon last fall, bringing the flavours of Caspian and South Caucasus cuisines to Little Italy. Small, seasonal sharing dishes slathered in herbs and spices characteristic of Georgian, Persian, and Armenian foodways make up most of the menu, with highlights including Joon’s zucchini fritters, braised Cornish hen, and pistachio-dotted, saffron-laced ice cream cup.

7. Restaurant Paulo & Suzanne

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5501 Boul Gouin O, Montréal
QC H4J 1C8, Canada
(514) 336-5561
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Arguably one of the best poutine purveyors in Montreal, this iconic north-end haunt has just over 40 years under its belt. Open 24 hours a day, diners can’t go wrong with the classics, but its “extreme chicken grilled cheese” and popcorn chicken poutine are also known to be worthwhile.

8. Maison Publique

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4720 Rue Marquette, Montréal
QC H2J 3Y6, Canada
(514) 507-0555
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Prominent Montreal chef Derek Dammann is an ardent advocate of a Canada-wide culinary identity — his cookbook, True North, is all about it. Meanwhile, his popular Plateau gastropub is where he’s known to bring it all home, with hearty flesh and root dishes from Canadian terroirs.

9. Gema Pizzeria

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6827 Rue Saint-Dominique, Montréal
QC H2S 3B1, Canada
(514) 419-4448
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It’s just over six years since Little Italy’s most celebrated restaurateurs Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione opened Gema, and yet the pizzeria remains one of the best around town. It’s also the most likely to convert even the most unyielding of Hawaiian pizza skeptics with its winning pairing of smoked maple ham, oven-roasted pineapple, and mozzarella di bufala.

10. Dinette Triple Crown

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6704 Rue Clark, Montréal
QC H2S 3E9, Canada
(514) 272-2617
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Pioneers of “picnic in the park” summer takeout, this well-established, wicker basket-dispensing Mile-Ex haunt is known for its delicious Southern comfort classics. Chef Colin Perry’s crisp fried chicken, satiating macaroni and cheese, and rotation of flaky, buttery dessert pies are not to be missed.

11. Ma Poule Mouillée

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969 Rachel St E, Montreal
QC H2J 2J2, Canada
(514) 522-5175
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A fire at the beginning of 2019 may have made some panic for this rotisserie’s future, but Portuguese grill Ma Poule Mouillée is here to stay, complete with line-ups out the door. The quarter or half chicken plates — doused in a spicy piri-piri sauce, and served with a delicious mountain of fries and token salad — are the standard play, but the poutine, bulked up with chicken, chorizo, and Sao Jorge cheese, has reached icon status.

12. Île Flottante

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176 Saint Viateur West Street, QC 2L3, Rue Saint- Viateur O, Montreal
QC H2T 2L3, Canada
(514) 278-6854
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Chef Sean Murray Smith consistently wows with tasting menus that give seasonal vegetables pride of place — without being strictly vegetarian. Dishes are gorgeous layerings of interesting textures, organic colours, and playful flavour, and they’re all served up in a polished dining space.

13. Damas

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1201 Avenue Van Horne, Outremont
QC H2V 1K4, Canada
(514) 439-5435
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Damas is one of Montreal’s biggest comeback stories: After a fire gutted it in 2015, it was reborn in Outremont and became better than ever. Six years later, and its spread of mezzes to hefty char-grilled mains replete with Syrian flavours of sumac and Aleppo peppers are an almost guaranteed winner for any palate.

14. Au Pied de Cochon

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536 Avenue Duluth E, Montréal
QC H2L 1A9, Canada
(514) 281-1114
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It’s difficult to remember where Montreal’s restaurant scene was before Martin Picard wrote his love letter to Quebec cuisine in the form of Au Pied de Cochon twenty years ago. He’s since been credited with transforming poutine from greasy snack to a Québécois culinary icon with his foie gras-laden take on it, and continues to find ways to innovate at this Duluth Street staple.

15. La Khaïma

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142 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal
QC H2T 2M5, Canada
(514) 948-9993
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Chef-owner Atigh Ould has been serving hearty veggie and meat tagines with coucous at La Khaïma since opening the restaurant on Fairmont over 15 years ago. Expect a tent-like space, with cushion seating, and the Mauritania native at the helm of it all to come around and personally introduce diners to the cuisine.

16. Alma

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1231 Avenue Lajoie, Outremont
QC H2V 1P2, Canada
(514) 543-1363
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This three-year-old Outremont hideaway wields coastal Catalan flavours with such aplomb that diners may momentarily forget where they are. Expect sharing plates dotted with conserves, including an ostensibly simple, yet flavourfully so-sophisticated dish of white anchovies and tomatoes on crusty bread, and a transportive wine list, all from partners (in business and life) Lindsay Brennan and Juan Lopez Luna.

17. L'Express

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3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal
QC H2W 2M4, Canada
(514) 845-5333
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The city’s bellwether bistro has felt even more indispensable since the untimely death of founder Colette Brossoit in 2014. But the oh-so-classic French offerings — think duck confit and pistachio-speckled chicken liver pâté — at this longtime Plateau darling have remained just as good.

18. Sushi Momo Végétalien

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3609 R. Saint-Denis, Montréal
QC H2X 3L6, Canada
(514) 825-6363
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With Casa Kaizen, Nopalito, and the forthcoming Bvrger, chef-owner Christian Manuel Ventura Alattore is on a serious roll, but it’s his first vegan venture, the pioneering Sushi Momo, that remains most at the forefront of Montreal’s dining scene. Its colourful vegan rolls are so beloved by locals that they’re often cited as among the city’s best sushi — despite the notable absence of, well, real fish.

19. Patati Patata Friterie de Luxe

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4177 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal
QC H2W 1Y7, Canada
(514) 844-0216

There’s nothing quite like sitting counter-side at this diminutive corner diner as staff execute the careful choreography needed to attend to its steady stream of diners. Get a poutine — theirs is composed of string fries loaded with cheese curds and piping hot veggie gravy, topped with the requisite olive — and a burger for good measure.

20. Arepera

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73 Rue Prince-Arthur E, Montréal
QC H2X 1B4, Canada
(514) 508-7267
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A Venezuelan eatery specializing in the stuffed corn bread pockets known as arepas. Theirs are filled with your choice from a borderline overwhelming array of fish, veggie, and meat options. Since 2018, a move to a far more capacious locale, has meant much shorter wait times.

21. Mae Sri

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224 Rue Milton, Montréal
QC H2X 1V6, Canada
(514) 543-5711
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Chef Pamika Sukla has been in the Thai restaurant business for a while with her eponymous restaurant Pamika, but at newer, more casual eatery Mae Sri, she really hits the spot. It’s billed as a kuai tiao restaurant, so the rice noodle soup is the obvious choice — it comes in an array of tangy and spicy varieties, adorned with pork belly, shrimp, and more.

22. Restaurant Kamúy

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1485 Rue Jeanne-Mance, Montréal
QC H2X 1Z9, Canada
(514) 447-7481
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Don’t be dissuaded by Kamúy’s placement in the heart of the (historically) tourist-heavy Quartier des Spectacles — it has the makings of an indispensable local favourite. From chef-owner Paul Toussaint (ex-Agrikol) comes a menu stacked with juicy griot, jerk-spiced chicken, pillowy doumbrey (sweet potato dumplings), and a fritay basket served alongside a mayonnaise creatively flavoured with juices from pikliz.

23. Nouilles de Lan Zhou

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1006 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal
QC H2Z 9Y9, Canada
(514) 800-2959
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This Chinatown nook has been luring passersby with chefs skillfully pulling noodles in its front window for years. The Lanzhou-style noodles are the staple, with beef slices in a deeply-flavoured broth, and at $10 for a “medium” bowl, it is almost comically large. Other menu items like the Dandan noodles also fare very well.

24. Dobe & Andy

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1111 Rue Saint-Urbain, Montréal
QC H2Z 1Y6, Canada
(514) 861-9958
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Chinatown’s premier Hong Kong-style barbecue joint is run by second-generation owners Eric, Edmund, and Edward Ku. Since taking over, they’ve experimented with adding fried chicken and homemade chilli sauce by the jar to the menu, but the char sui and roast duck that garnered attention for the first generation of owners are still standout.

25. Olive et Gourmando

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351 Rue Saint-Paul O, Montréal
QC H2Y 2A7, Canada
(514) 350-1083
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There’s a reason why locals keep on coming back to Olive & Gourmando: It’s just that good. A small menu centres around sandwiches (the Cuban is a fave) and other lunch fare like a soba noodle salad, but their simple and tasty breakfast offering is also a good option. There’s really no wrong move here, but if you can’t decide, why not pick up the restaurant’s cookbook and keep feasting at home?

26. Pho Lien

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5703B Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal
QC H3S 1Y7, Canada
(514) 735-6949
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The question of where to get the best pho in town can be a polarizing one, but many have pledged their allegiance to this Côte-des-Neiges mainstay. Giant bowls of rice noodles and raw beef in spiced broth with mounds of basil and bean sprouts are the main draw.

27. Pushap

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5195 Rue Paré, Montréal
QC H4P 2B1, Canada
(514) 737-4527
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What began as a small samosa and sweet shop in 1986 is now one of Montreal’s Indian eateries of choice — even though its vegetarian-only menu omits usual crowd-pleasing options like creamy butter chicken. Pushap’s thalis are cheap and curry packed, and its stuffed pyramids of golden-fried dough are still a shoo-in.

28. Le Petit Vibe

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5536A Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal
QC H3T 1Y9, Canada
(438) 375-6335
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Hawaiian dishes, like shoyu tuna poke and chicken furikake, expertly collide with Filipino ones — lecho kawali (fried pork belly) and calderada osso buco, braised in tomato sauce, for example — at Le Petit Vibe. The relative newcomer to Côte-des-Neiges also serves Birria tacos.

29. Caribbean Curry House

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6892 Avenue Victoria, Montréal
QC H3W 1B8, Canada
(514) 733-0828
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Montreal’s oldest Caribbean restaurant continues to make soft, flaky roti every day at its Côte-des-Neiges location, filling them up with delectable and spicy chickpea, goat, and chicken curries. Simple, cheap, and oh so filling.

30. Nora Gray

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1391 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal
QC H3C 1H2, Canada
(514) 419-6672
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Chef Emma Cardarelli, Lisa McConnell, and Ryan Gray have run one of the most sought-after tables in town since opening on a once-quiet strip below the Bell Centre. The formula? A warm room, easygoing vibe, savvy wine service, and beautifully-executed seasonal Italian food that make it worth all the praise. So does its sister establishment, the quintessentially cool Elena.

31. Kazu

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1844 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal
QC H3H 1M1, Canada
(514) 937-2333
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Expect long lines prompted by a strict no-reservations policy and cramped (though cozy) quarters at this indispensable Japanese spot. From sashimi, tuna belly, and okonomiyaki (a savoury Japanese pancake), to barbecued beef short ribs and 48-hour stewed pork, the menu is long, and totally worth the multiple trips downtown needed to explore it.

32. Snowdon Déli

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5265 Boulevard Décarie, Montréal
QC H3W 3C2, Canada
(514) 488-9129
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Looking for famed Montreal smoked meat that isn’t Schwartz’s? Head to Snowdon instead for a deli that’s been open since 1942 and still within the same family. Snowdon Deli’s status as an iconic Montreal eatery is based on far more than just doing smoked meat on rye with mustard: Grab anything from matzo ball soup to latkes, knishes, or blintzes.

33. Satay Brothers

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3721 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal
QC H4C 1P8, Canada
(514) 933-3507
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One of very few places to offer Malaysian or Singaporean food in the city, Satay Brothers has over the years evolved from a seasonal market stall founded by two brothers and their mom to a bustling, destination-worthy restaurant on the Notre-Dame strip. Stellar peanut-sauced satays, steamed pork belly buns, shrimpy laksa, and coconut-topped rendang have propelled them to icon status on the city’s restaurant scene — with that early-days stand at the Atwater Market still very much in the picture.

34. Park

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378 Avenue Victoria, Westmount
QC H3Z 2N4, Canada
(514) 750-7534
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Affable native of Argentina and Culinary Institute of Japan alum Antonio Park has risen from the ranks to become one of Canada’s most recognizable star chefs. At Park, he created what arguably became Montreal’s first destination sushi restaurant, and though one of the pricier options on this map, it’s well-attended by locals and tourists eager for some high-quality, special occasion-worthy plates.

35. Arthurs Nosh Bar

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4621 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal
QC H4C 1S5, Canada
(514) 757-5190
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From the McArthur schnitzel sandwich to the towering mound of chickpeas, eggplant, and cucumber on challah for the Moroccan toast, it’s pretty much impossible to go wrong when ordering at this St-Henri brunch-and-lunch haunt. The team behind the next-generation Jewish nosh bar is also at the helm of pandemic breakout star and fried chicken purveyor Bucky Roosters.

36. Chalet Bar-B-Q

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5456 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal
QC H4A 1V9, Canada
(514) 489-7235
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With over three-quarters of a century to its name, NDG landmark Chalet Bar-B-Q has won the hearts of multiple generations enamoured with its charcoal-broiled bird and its arguably unmatched gravy.

37. East Africa Restaurant

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5893 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal
QC H4A 1X7, Canada
(514) 419-7165
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This Monkland Village spot is beloved for its array of vegetable and meat wats (the Ethiopian equivalent to stew or curry), served on injera, a thin, but spongy flatbread — ideal for absorbing the dishes’ interlacing flavours of garlic, cumin, ginger, and turmeric. Be warned: wait times can sometimes be long at this family-run establishment.

38. Beba

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3900 Rue Éthel, Verdun
QC H4G 1S4, Canada
(514) 750-7087
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The intermingling of Spanish and Italian culture in Argentina are what brothers Ari and Pablo Schor (both Liverpool House alum) sought to recreate in Verdun with their 2019 opening. With the pandemic, a big part of their menu went to empanadas (fresh or frozen) with fillings like spinach and cheese, chorizo and potato, and beef and olive. Those still somewhat feature now that they’ve reopened, but, their pastas, seasonal salads and seafood, and brilliantly braised meats and veggies are back to stealing the show.

1. Hélicoptère

4255 Rue Ontario E, Montréal, QC H1V 1K4, Canada

With a culinary approach that feels fine dining, but is more casual in setting and price, Hélicoptère has been checking boxes left and right since opening in 2018. Expect a menu of colourful, creative plates spotlighting plenty of seasonal fare from chef David Ollu, and don’t forget to check out sibling coffee shop Hélico Café around the corner — equally worth the visit on any Hochelaga-Maisonneuve pilgrimage.

4255 Rue Ontario E, Montréal
QC H1V 1K4, Canada

2. Antonietta

6672 Av. Papineau, Montréal, QC H2G 2X2, Canada

Two-year-old Papineau Street Italian eatery Antonietta excels at all manner of pasta and pizza — its takes usually being traditional enough to satisfy the most discerning of nonnas, but creative enough to dazzle the new guard. Its menu changes often, but local veggies, plenty of parmesan and pecorino, and flavour-rich guanciale (cured pork cheek) make frequent appearances.

6672 Av. Papineau, Montréal
QC H2G 2X2, Canada

3. Hoogan & Beaufort

4095 Rue Molson, Montréal, QC H1Y 3L1, Canada

Tucked over in the still-developing Technopole Angus, Hoogan & Beaufort brings a distinctly earthy feel to its offering. Under chef-owner Marc-Andre Jetté’s watch, mushrooms (chanterelles and beyond), beets, turnips, and more all make appearances, often helping to showcase catches from the province’s seas and lakes.

4095 Rue Molson, Montréal
QC H1Y 3L1, Canada

4. Kwizinn

6670 Rue St-Hubert, Montréal, QC H2S 2M3, Canada

Though among the city’s younger Haitian addresses, Kwizinn has won the hearts of many with its griot (fried pork cubes), tassot cabrit (goat marinated with herbs and spices), and créole lambi (spicy conch meat), in the four years since opening on the St. Hubert Plaza. Last September, partners chef Michael Lafaille and Claudia Fiorilli opened a second, less grab-and-go location in Verdun.

6670 Rue St-Hubert, Montréal
QC H2S 2M3, Canada

5. Le Petit Alep Bistro

191 Rue Jean-Talon, Montréal, QC H2R 1S8, Canada

Garlicky dips and succulent kebabs are the staples at the little sibling to longtime Villeray Syrian-Armenian restaurant Alep. Prepare yourself for flavour bombs from the rich, tangy shanklish salad, pomegranate molasses-infused muhammara, and za’atar-seasoned swordfish.

191 Rue Jean-Talon, Montréal
QC H2R 1S8, Canada

6. Restaurant Joon

7130 Boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2S 3E2, Canada

First-time restaurant owner chef Erin Mahoney swung open the doors to Joon last fall, bringing the flavours of Caspian and South Caucasus cuisines to Little Italy. Small, seasonal sharing dishes slathered in herbs and spices characteristic of Georgian, Persian, and Armenian foodways make up most of the menu, with highlights including Joon’s zucchini fritters, braised Cornish hen, and pistachio-dotted, saffron-laced ice cream cup.

7130 Boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal
QC H2S 3E2, Canada

7. Restaurant Paulo & Suzanne

5501 Boul Gouin O, Montréal, QC H4J 1C8, Canada

Arguably one of the best poutine purveyors in Montreal, this iconic north-end haunt has just over 40 years under its belt. Open 24 hours a day, diners can’t go wrong with the classics, but its “extreme chicken grilled cheese” and popcorn chicken poutine are also known to be worthwhile.

5501 Boul Gouin O, Montréal
QC H4J 1C8, Canada

8. Maison Publique

4720 Rue Marquette, Montréal, QC H2J 3Y6, Canada

Prominent Montreal chef Derek Dammann is an ardent advocate of a Canada-wide culinary identity — his cookbook, True North, is all about it. Meanwhile, his popular Plateau gastropub is where he’s known to bring it all home, with hearty flesh and root dishes from Canadian terroirs.

4720 Rue Marquette, Montréal
QC H2J 3Y6, Canada

9. Gema Pizzeria

6827 Rue Saint-Dominique, Montréal, QC H2S 3B1, Canada

It’s just over six years since Little Italy’s most celebrated restaurateurs Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione opened Gema, and yet the pizzeria remains one of the best around town. It’s also the most likely to convert even the most unyielding of Hawaiian pizza skeptics with its winning pairing of smoked maple ham, oven-roasted pineapple, and mozzarella di bufala.

6827 Rue Saint-Dominique, Montréal
QC H2S 3B1, Canada

10. Dinette Triple Crown

6704 Rue Clark, Montréal, QC H2S 3E9, Canada

Pioneers of “picnic in the park” summer takeout, this well-established, wicker basket-dispensing Mile-Ex haunt is known for its delicious Southern comfort classics. Chef Colin Perry’s crisp fried chicken, satiating macaroni and cheese, and rotation of flaky, buttery dessert pies are not to be missed.

6704 Rue Clark, Montréal
QC H2S 3E9, Canada

11. Ma Poule Mouillée

969 Rachel St E, Montreal, QC H2J 2J2, Canada

A fire at the beginning of 2019 may have made some panic for this rotisserie’s future, but Portuguese grill Ma Poule Mouillée is here to stay, complete with line-ups out the door. The quarter or half chicken plates — doused in a spicy piri-piri sauce, and served with a delicious mountain of fries and token salad — are the standard play, but the poutine, bulked up with chicken, chorizo, and Sao Jorge cheese, has reached icon status.

969 Rachel St E, Montreal
QC H2J 2J2, Canada

12. Île Flottante

176 Saint Viateur West Street, QC 2L3, Rue Saint- Viateur O, Montreal, QC H2T 2L3, Canada

Chef Sean Murray Smith consistently wows with tasting menus that give seasonal vegetables pride of place — without being strictly vegetarian. Dishes are gorgeous layerings of interesting textures, organic colours, and playful flavour, and they’re all served up in a polished dining space.

176 Saint Viateur West Street, QC 2L3, Rue Saint- Viateur O, Montreal
QC H2T 2L3, Canada

13. Damas

1201 Avenue Van Horne, Outremont, QC H2V 1K4, Canada

Damas is one of Montreal’s biggest comeback stories: After a fire gutted it in 2015, it was reborn in Outremont and became better than ever. Six years later, and its spread of mezzes to hefty char-grilled mains replete with Syrian flavours of sumac and Aleppo peppers are an almost guaranteed winner for any palate.

1201 Avenue Van Horne, Outremont
QC H2V 1K4, Canada

14. Au Pied de Cochon

536 Avenue Duluth E, Montréal, QC H2L 1A9, Canada

It’s difficult to remember where Montreal’s restaurant scene was before Martin Picard wrote his love letter to Quebec cuisine in the form of Au Pied de Cochon twenty years ago. He’s since been credited with transforming poutine from greasy snack to a Québécois culinary icon with his foie gras-laden take on it, and continues to find ways to innovate at this Duluth Street staple.

536 Avenue Duluth E, Montréal
QC H2L 1A9, Canada

15. La Khaïma

142 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal, QC H2T 2M5, Canada

Chef-owner Atigh Ould has been serving hearty veggie and meat tagines with coucous at La Khaïma since opening the restaurant on Fairmont over 15 years ago. Expect a tent-like space, with cushion seating, and the Mauritania native at the helm of it all to come around and personally introduce diners to the cuisine.

142 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal
QC H2T 2M5, Canada

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16. Alma

1231 Avenue Lajoie, Outremont, QC H2V 1P2, Canada

This three-year-old Outremont hideaway wields coastal Catalan flavours with such aplomb that diners may momentarily forget where they are. Expect sharing plates dotted with conserves, including an ostensibly simple, yet flavourfully so-sophisticated dish of white anchovies and tomatoes on crusty bread, and a transportive wine list, all from partners (in business and life) Lindsay Brennan and Juan Lopez Luna.

1231 Avenue Lajoie, Outremont
QC H2V 1P2, Canada

17. L'Express

3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2W 2M4, Canada

The city’s bellwether bistro has felt even more indispensable since the untimely death of founder Colette Brossoit in 2014. But the oh-so-classic French offerings — think duck confit and pistachio-speckled chicken liver pâté — at this longtime Plateau darling have remained just as good.

3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal
QC H2W 2M4, Canada

18. Sushi Momo Végétalien

3609 R. Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3L6, Canada

With Casa Kaizen, Nopalito, and the forthcoming Bvrger, chef-owner Christian Manuel Ventura Alattore is on a serious roll, but it’s his first vegan venture, the pioneering Sushi Momo, that remains most at the forefront of Montreal’s dining scene. Its colourful vegan rolls are so beloved by locals that they’re often cited as among the city’s best sushi — despite the notable absence of, well, real fish.

3609 R. Saint-Denis, Montréal
QC H2X 3L6, Canada

19. Patati Patata Friterie de Luxe

4177 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2W 1Y7, Canada

There’s nothing quite like sitting counter-side at this diminutive corner diner as staff execute the careful choreography needed to attend to its steady stream of diners. Get a poutine — theirs is composed of string fries loaded with cheese curds and piping hot veggie gravy, topped with the requisite olive — and a burger for good measure.

4177 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal
QC H2W 1Y7, Canada

20. Arepera

73 Rue Prince-Arthur E, Montréal, QC H2X 1B4, Canada

A Venezuelan eatery specializing in the stuffed corn bread pockets known as arepas. Theirs are filled with your choice from a borderline overwhelming array of fish, veggie, and meat options. Since 2018, a move to a far more capacious locale, has meant much shorter wait times.

73 Rue Prince-Arthur E, Montréal
QC H2X 1B4, Canada

21. Mae Sri

224 Rue Milton, Montréal, QC H2X 1V6, Canada

Chef Pamika Sukla has been in the Thai restaurant business for a while with her eponymous restaurant Pamika, but at newer, more casual eatery Mae Sri, she really hits the spot. It’s billed as a kuai tiao restaurant, so the rice noodle soup is the obvious choice — it comes in an array of tangy and spicy varieties, adorned with pork belly, shrimp, and more.

224 Rue Milton, Montréal
QC H2X 1V6, Canada

22. Restaurant Kamúy

1485 Rue Jeanne-Mance, Montréal, QC H2X 1Z9, Canada

Don’t be dissuaded by Kamúy’s placement in the heart of the (historically) tourist-heavy Quartier des Spectacles — it has the makings of an indispensable local favourite. From chef-owner Paul Toussaint (ex-Agrikol) comes a menu stacked with juicy griot, jerk-spiced chicken, pillowy doumbrey (sweet potato dumplings), and a fritay basket served alongside a mayonnaise creatively flavoured with juices from pikliz.

1485 Rue Jeanne-Mance, Montréal
QC H2X 1Z9, Canada

23. Nouilles de Lan Zhou

1006 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2Z 9Y9, Canada

This Chinatown nook has been luring passersby with chefs skillfully pulling noodles in its front window for years. The Lanzhou-style noodles are the staple, with beef slices in a deeply-flavoured broth, and at $10 for a “medium” bowl, it is almost comically large. Other menu items like the Dandan noodles also fare very well.

1006 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal
QC H2Z 9Y9, Canada

24. Dobe & Andy

1111 Rue Saint-Urbain, Montréal, QC H2Z 1Y6, Canada

Chinatown’s premier Hong Kong-style barbecue joint is run by second-generation owners Eric, Edmund, and Edward Ku. Since taking over, they’ve experimented with adding fried chicken and homemade chilli sauce by the jar to the menu, but the char sui and roast duck that garnered attention for the first generation of owners are still standout.

1111 Rue Saint-Urbain, Montréal
QC H2Z 1Y6, Canada

25. Olive et Gourmando

351 Rue Saint-Paul O, Montréal, QC H2Y 2A7, Canada

There’s a reason why locals keep on coming back to Olive & Gourmando: It’s just that good. A small menu centres around sandwiches (the Cuban is a fave) and other lunch fare like a soba noodle salad, but their simple and tasty breakfast offering is also a good option. There’s really no wrong move here, but if you can’t decide, why not pick up the restaurant’s cookbook and keep feasting at home?

351 Rue Saint-Paul O, Montréal
QC H2Y 2A7, Canada

26. Pho Lien

5703B Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal, QC H3S 1Y7, Canada

The question of where to get the best pho in town can be a polarizing one, but many have pledged their allegiance to this Côte-des-Neiges mainstay. Giant bowls of rice noodles and raw beef in spiced broth with mounds of basil and bean sprouts are the main draw.

5703B Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal
QC H3S 1Y7, Canada

27. Pushap

5195 Rue Paré, Montréal, QC H4P 2B1, Canada

What began as a small samosa and sweet shop in 1986 is now one of Montreal’s Indian eateries of choice — even though its vegetarian-only menu omits usual crowd-pleasing options like creamy butter chicken. Pushap’s thalis are cheap and curry packed, and its stuffed pyramids of golden-fried dough are still a shoo-in.

5195 Rue Paré, Montréal
QC H4P 2B1, Canada

28. Le Petit Vibe

5536A Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal, QC H3T 1Y9, Canada