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The Essential Montreal BYOB Restaurants

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Montreal BYOBs can roughly be grouped into three, loosely defined styles. First, those inexpensive, often garden-variety, restaurants that line Duluth from Saint-Laurent to Saint-Hubert — and their divey cousin, the dirt-cheap, BYO-everything spots. Then there are places with a more soigné bring-your-own-booze vibe with classic tendencies, such as La Colombe. Lastly, you have a newer breed led by operators like Lannes & Pacifique freshening up the options.

Here are 29 apportez votre vin restaurants that deserve consideration. There’s a large number of French-style BYOB spots in Montreal reflected here, but there are other options to note, including Vietnamese, Afghan, and Korean tables.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Le Millen

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One of the newer options from BYOB monarchs Georges Blais and Marc-André Paradis, this Ahuntsic spot is distinctly French-feeling with eyes on the rest of Europe, and is rather upscale. A five-course tasting menu is but one choice from this highly-praised restaurant; the beef carpaccio and the roasted duck also come with high recommendation.

Bagatelle

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Hochelaga seems to have become a newer hub for French-focused BYOB restaurants in this city, and Bagatelle is one of the best bets — and also the most affordable (hello, $29 steak-frites).

État-Major

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BYOW impresario Dominic Laflamme (Le Quartier Général) is the co-owner of this busy Hochelaga bistro. État-Major nails the genre's must-haves: Minimalist décor, open kitchen and a simple blackboard menu that accents crowd-pleaser proteins — like scallops, oysters, Gaspor pork, cerf de Boileau, lamb, and Stanstead rabbit.

Les Canailles

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'Marc-André Paradis brings no-nonsense neighbourhood cuisine to Hochelaga-Maisonneuve with this production. The menu at Les Canailles plays it straightforward, Montreal-style, with items like a foie gras du moment, salmon and beef tartares, risotto, and bavette.

Erika Soleilhac and chef Pascal Turgeon run this tight little operation in Villeray. In a 2011 review in the Gazette, Lesley Chesterman praised Tandem for standing out from the generic BYOW pack. Years later, and critics continue to love it for the skilled craftsmanship that comes out of its kitchen. Think: Fish and game garnished with creative seasonal touches, cooked to perfection

Le Pégase

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Chef-owner Michael Audet-Laparé cut his teeth at other BYOBs around town — including Quarter Général and Grenadine — before setting up this neighbourhood bistro in the heart of the Plateau. The classic French menu features plenty of game (bison, rabbit, doe, you name it.)

El Amigo

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This Mexican-Salvadorean restaurant, replete with plastic covers for tablecloths and reception hall-style seating, has to be one of the most affordable options on this list, and is just as delicious. Pupusas and tall glasses of horchata are an obvious choice, but burrito and chimichanga platters also offer huge bang for your buck.

Lannes & Pacifique

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Here Marc-André Paradis and partner Thierry Dufour turn out soigné French market fare. Expect well-styled plates of bistro food, including beef tartare and snail puff pastry. Vegetarians will be relatively happy here as well: Meat-free meals like mushroom risotto with edamame, vegetable canneloni, and butternut squash soup are all on offer.

Le Quartier Général

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This Plateau restaurant from Vincent Chatelais and Dominic Laflamme, open since 2010, is not just an essential BYOW; it's arguably an essential Montreal restaurant, point. Precise French-slash-Québécois plates and a reasonable table d'hôte help make Le Quartier Général notoriously popular — just try to get a table here on short notice. Also open weekdays for lunch.

La Raclette

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"Cheese" and "BYOB" are both good selling points, and La Raclette puts the two together. The Swiss Plateau restaurant is a three-decade doyen of Montreal's BYOB scene, with fondue and raclette as its main draws, among other hearty plates.

Monsieur B

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Monsieur B had big shoes to fill when it opened in 2009 on the covert corner of Villeneuve and Gilford, with prior tenants including La Montée de Lait and Le Margaux. But the BYOW had an experienced backer in its corner, the ubiquitous Marc-André Paradis, who partnered here with chef Georges Blais. Look for French fine dining, as expected.

Bombay Mahal

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Montreal's near-consensus favourite Indian restaurant is a BYOB. Service is infamously erratic but remarkably generous portions offer top bang for your buck. Take note: Punjab Palace, Bombay Mahal's unofficial Park Ex rival, is also a BYOB.

Relative newcomer Luna adds Korean to the long list of quality BYOB options on the Plateau. With its stylish interior and a menu full of bibimbap and Korean dumplings, Luna is a perfect date night spot for all lovers of Korean cuisine. 

Fenêtre Sur Kaboul

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Khyber Pass isn’t the only Afghan BYOB worth visiting on the Plateau; head to Fenêtre sur Kaboul on Rachel Street for rich, intricate flavours and drool-worthy spice combos. Chicken, lamb, and beef feature heavily, but this is no omnivore-exclusive menu, with dishes like a hearty Afghan vegetable stew and sautéed pumpkin or eggplant with tomato sauce and garlic yogurt rounding things out.

Ever since it first touched down on the Plateau, George Blais’ BYOW restaurant quickly became a player, receiving positive reviews in quick succession for its French-leaning menu that takes liberties with classics, adding Japanese touches like tonkatsu and tempura to the occasional menu. Like many others, the price tag seems to be a little higher to compensate for the restaurant not profiting on booze, but it by no means skimps on quality.

Le P'tit Plateau

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Geneviève Desnoyers and chef husband Alain Loivel ran this southwestern French bistro for decades, and while the torch was passed to new owners a few years back, it has reportedly kept up its quality. Try the cassoulet.

Le Jardin de Panos

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A jaunt to Jardin de Panos is like muscle memory for a lot of Montrealers. Generous plates and a crackling summer courtyard are the hallmarks of this four-decade-old Greek restaurant.

La Khaïma

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Here's your antidote to duck confit and foie gras torchon BYOB culture. Chef Atigh Ould's tajine-driven Mauritanian restaurant, La Khaïma, in Mile End, is utterly sincere, and the decor — an explosion of colour, patterns and fabric — is as unique as the food. Come in a large group and you’ll be placed around a long, low table (an intimate dining experience that’s hard to find elsewhere.)

Khyber Pass

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This Afghan restaurant has drawn Duluth pedestrians in droves since it opened in the 1990s, whether it’s on warm summer weekends for the terrasse or cozy nights in the winter. Ambiance is part of the sell at Khyber Pass, but people return for the stewed, spiced lamb and manti (a genius Central Asian dumpling) in garlic yogurt sauce.

Le Margaux

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This veteran French restaurant went bring-your-own in 2013. On offer are classics like foie gras, beef onglet, and duck confit, an affordable lunch hour table d’hôte, and even some take-home options.

Pho Viet

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Not every Vietnamese soup shop in the city is a BYOB like Pho Viet, but that’s not the only thing that makes this restaurant stand out. A table d’hôte for just over $20 per head scores a full table of soups, going beyond Vietnam’s borders with green curry for the more venturesome diner and General Tao chicken for those less so. Note that Pho Viet is cash-only, so stop by the bank on the way.

One of the most beloved BYOW’s in Montreal, this reliable Village spot is helmed by Marc-André Paradis, Pierre Roy, and Nadine Tessier. There’s some playfulness here: foie gras comes with carrot cake, black apple butter and fermented plums, for example.

Budapest Roma

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It’s not easy to find Hungarian food in Montreal but this tiny restaurant on Duluth has it covered. Goulash and stuffed cabbage are complemented by live music on weekends. It’s cash-only, so come prepared.

Grenadine

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Located where downtown meets the Latin Quarter, this restaurant from Alex Duchastel de Montrouge and Nicolas Beaupré offers Fresh cuisine (with a twist). The chefs “try to be as eco-conscious as possible” and “promote the excellence of Québec’s culinary products” with every dish. Look for hearty plates like duck confit, creamy snail risotto, and beet salad with whipped goat cheese.

Papa Jackie

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This Chinese BYOB is worth the trek to the strip malls of the South Shore for the food alone; in fact, it’s Brossard’s “best-kept secret” according to Cult Montreal critic (and former Eater contributor) JP Karwacki. Look for classic Cantonese, Szechuan, and Chinese-American dishes — and plenty of seafood.

Smoking Vallée

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Another class act in BYOBs from Marc-André Paradis, George Blais, and Thierry Dufour, this French bistro has enjoyed a steady following since it was one of flagship gentrifiers of its neighbourhood. Not everyone was pleased about that at first, but Smoking Vallée since gained a loyal, satisfied clientele.

Mon Ami

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There’s no signage to indicate it, but have faith: this NDG outpost of Montreal’s Korean restaurant mini-chain is a BYOB. Bring beer/wine/soju along while dining on fried chicken, stir-fried rice cakes, or deep-fried shrimp and dumplings.

Wellington

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Restaurateurs Frédéric Leblond, Marc-André Paradis, and Sophie Bergeron in their inimitable way, handpicked strong partners to run this BYOW.  A classic French bistro, Wellington is still going strong after recently re-opening following a fire late last year.

Le Millen

One of the newer options from BYOB monarchs Georges Blais and Marc-André Paradis, this Ahuntsic spot is distinctly French-feeling with eyes on the rest of Europe, and is rather upscale. A five-course tasting menu is but one choice from this highly-praised restaurant; the beef carpaccio and the roasted duck also come with high recommendation.

Bagatelle

Hochelaga seems to have become a newer hub for French-focused BYOB restaurants in this city, and Bagatelle is one of the best bets — and also the most affordable (hello, $29 steak-frites).

État-Major

BYOW impresario Dominic Laflamme (Le Quartier Général) is the co-owner of this busy Hochelaga bistro. État-Major nails the genre's must-haves: Minimalist décor, open kitchen and a simple blackboard menu that accents crowd-pleaser proteins — like scallops, oysters, Gaspor pork, cerf de Boileau, lamb, and Stanstead rabbit.

Les Canailles

'Marc-André Paradis brings no-nonsense neighbourhood cuisine to Hochelaga-Maisonneuve with this production. The menu at Les Canailles plays it straightforward, Montreal-style, with items like a foie gras du moment, salmon and beef tartares, risotto, and bavette.

Tandem

Erika Soleilhac and chef Pascal Turgeon run this tight little operation in Villeray. In a 2011 review in the Gazette, Lesley Chesterman praised Tandem for standing out from the generic BYOW pack. Years later, and critics continue to love it for the skilled craftsmanship that comes out of its kitchen. Think: Fish and game garnished with creative seasonal touches, cooked to perfection