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Ceviche with microgreens and sliced radishes on a pattered plate.
Ceviche from Chifa.
Chifa/Facebook

13 Restaurants Worth Trying in Downtown Montreal

Downtown offers diners plenty of options, from classic European fare to Peruvian-Japanese fusion.

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Ceviche from Chifa.
| Chifa/Facebook

Despite being known less for its restaurants than for its mushrooming condo towers, interminable construction projects, and eclectic mix of visitors, students, and office workers, downtown does offer quite a fair number of dining options — if you know where to find them. Here’s a baker’s dozen of the best spots to seek out.

Note: the geographical boundaries of the map are Sherbrooke Ouest to the north, Guy to the west, Saint-Antoine Ouest to the south, and City Councillors/Jeanne-Mance to the east,

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Unique to Peru, the word “chifa” is used to describe a cuisine that mixes Cantonese fundamentals with Peruvian ingredients and traditions; think Chinese food with a Latin American twist. Items on the menu include Peruvian dishes such ceviche, causa, lomo saltado, and anticuchos (grilled skewers), as well as the most famous chifa dish, chaufa – a fried rice worth writing home about. After dinner, head next door to grab a Pisco sour next door at sister restaurant Tiradito or slide down to the basement to visit Club Pelicano, a speakeasy paying homage to the Parisian Molitor swimming pool of the 1940s.

A plate of fried wontons topped with sliced chilies.
Fried wontons in tamarind sauce.
Chifa/Facebook

Restaurant Henri Brasserie Française

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Travel back in time with this classical French bistro inside the recently renovated Birks Hotel. Having preserved several historical and architectural elements owed to the heritage of the building, including the spectacular stained glass, this 19th century-inspired space is as welcoming as it is inviting. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, the menus feature seasonal ingredients from Quebec and across Canada, making it an essential stop for those looking to discover the French side of Montréal.

A salad of mixed beets and a glass of wine.
A beet salad from Henri.
Hotel Birks/Facebook

Nouilles Zhonghua

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This small, skinny noodle bar facing McGill University is a popular choice among students and office workers alike. The noodles here are hand-pulled (often in the front window), dropped into a spicy, oily broth, and served with tender beef and vegetables. It’s a great option if you’re on a budget or short on time.

Chef Olivier Vigneault runs the show at this stunning indoor and outdoor space designed by Amlyne Phillips of La Chambre Design (Mignon Steak, Joséphine, Restaurant Hà). The menu can be defined as high-end Japanese fusion, with everything from sushi and gyoza to miso black cod, bluefin tartare ,and wagyu beef. The cocktail and wine list is equally extensive. Open for lunch and dinner.

Perhaps known more for its cocktails than for its food, this sultry, sexy speakeasy around the corner from Square Phillips is an immersive experience from start to finish. For light fare, Gokudo offers some dishes like onigiri and duck tataki, but these are mere preamble for the real stars of the show.

Americas BBQ (TIME OUT MARKET)

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The latest venture by Haitian chef Paul Touissant was delivered as yet another counter in the Time Out Market, but this time, the focus was purely to showcase his love for barbecue from across the Americas. With everything from Montreal-style smoked meat to Argentinian asado, this is quite simply a meat-lover’s delight.

Foodchain

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With a not-your-average-salad menu complimented by several interesting smoothie options, this McGill College outpost is perfect for those seeking something on the healthier side. The chain is backed by some big names, including Montréal Plaza owners Charles-Antoine Crête and Cheryl Johnson, Hof Kelsten’s Jeffrey Finkelstein, and top interior designer Zébulon Perron.

An array of salads and smoothies.
Colorful salads and smoothies.
Foodchain/Facebook

Open since 1985, this Northern Indian restaurant has become somewhat of a local institution, having survived close to four decades in the heart of downtown. (Le Taj also opened a counter in the Time Out Market in the summer of 2021.) The specialty here is undoubtedly the tandoori – the tandoori oven is visible from the dining room – but other dishes shouldn’t be ignored. One of the most charming features of the interior decor is the wall installation that was part of the Indian Pavilion of Expo 67. Note: the lunch buffet continues to be temporarily suspended until further notice.

Ferreira Café

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A veritable institution on the Montreal dining scene, this Peel street staple has been in the game since 1996 and continues to be one of the front-runners for all Portuguese restaurants across the city. With both lunch and dinner menus available — as well as the availability of a private room — this remains a great choice for business or a special occasions.

Bar George

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Set inside an immaculately restored mansion in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile district, the former residential area of wealthy anglophone industrialists, the focus here is on all things quintessentially British, with menu options ranging from the ubiquitous beef Wellington to others that possess a notable Québécois influence. If the prices seem a bit out of reach, come simply for the environment, grab a cocktail at the bar and people watch or try their weekend brunch option as an alternative.

Sushi Okeya Kyujiro

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Led by chef Takuya Matsuda, this omakase (“chef’s choice”) restaurant is somewhat atypical in a city where diners love to choose their own plates. In this context, it’s all sit-back-and-relax while the chef prepares dishes made from freshly imported fish from all over the world. Reservation only, menu is 250$ per person.

Hang Time Pizza

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Awash in neon colors, this 90s-themed pizzeria dishes out two kinds of pies, Detroit-style, served in squares, or the more common New York style. Each pizza is lovingly named after popular TV sitcoms from the era (think “Boy Meets World”) and sold as whole pies or slices (in-store only). According to its website, a second location is slated to open in Ville-Saint-Laurent in Spring 2022.

pizza being dipped in sauce Hang Time Pizza/Supplied

Tsukuyomi Ramen

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With the original sitting up in Mile End, this downtown location finds itself among stiff competition as numerous East Asian restaurants have sprouted around Concordia’s main campus in recent years. Nevertheless, the tonkotsu broth and various condiments, not to mention its traditional ramen noodles, ensure this place stands out from the crowd. Note: this location is open for dinner only.

Chifa

A plate of fried wontons topped with sliced chilies.
Fried wontons in tamarind sauce.
Chifa/Facebook

Unique to Peru, the word “chifa” is used to describe a cuisine that mixes Cantonese fundamentals with Peruvian ingredients and traditions; think Chinese food with a Latin American twist. Items on the menu include Peruvian dishes such ceviche, causa, lomo saltado, and anticuchos (grilled skewers), as well as the most famous chifa dish, chaufa – a fried rice worth writing home about. After dinner, head next door to grab a Pisco sour next door at sister restaurant Tiradito or slide down to the basement to visit Club Pelicano, a speakeasy paying homage to the Parisian Molitor swimming pool of the 1940s.

A plate of fried wontons topped with sliced chilies.
Fried wontons in tamarind sauce.
Chifa/Facebook

Restaurant Henri Brasserie Française

A salad of mixed beets and a glass of wine.
A beet salad from Henri.
Hotel Birks/Facebook

Travel back in time with this classical French bistro inside the recently renovated Birks Hotel. Having preserved several historical and architectural elements owed to the heritage of the building, including the spectacular stained glass, this 19th century-inspired space is as welcoming as it is inviting. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, the menus feature seasonal ingredients from Quebec and across Canada, making it an essential stop for those looking to discover the French side of Montréal.

A salad of mixed beets and a glass of wine.
A beet salad from Henri.
Hotel Birks/Facebook

Nouilles Zhonghua

This small, skinny noodle bar facing McGill University is a popular choice among students and office workers alike. The noodles here are hand-pulled (often in the front window), dropped into a spicy, oily broth, and served with tender beef and vegetables. It’s a great option if you’re on a budget or short on time.

Jatoba

Chef Olivier Vigneault runs the show at this stunning indoor and outdoor space designed by Amlyne Phillips of La Chambre Design (Mignon Steak, Joséphine, Restaurant Hà). The menu can be defined as high-end Japanese fusion, with everything from sushi and gyoza to miso black cod, bluefin tartare ,and wagyu beef. The cocktail and wine list is equally extensive. Open for lunch and dinner.

Gokudo

Perhaps known more for its cocktails than for its food, this sultry, sexy speakeasy around the corner from Square Phillips is an immersive experience from start to finish. For light fare, Gokudo offers some dishes like onigiri and duck tataki, but these are mere preamble for the real stars of the show.

Americas BBQ (TIME OUT MARKET)

The latest venture by Haitian chef Paul Touissant was delivered as yet another counter in the Time Out Market, but this time, the focus was purely to showcase his love for barbecue from across the Americas. With everything from Montreal-style smoked meat to Argentinian asado, this is quite simply a meat-lover’s delight.

Foodchain

An array of salads and smoothies.
Colorful salads and smoothies.
Foodchain/Facebook

With a not-your-average-salad menu complimented by several interesting smoothie options, this McGill College outpost is perfect for those seeking something on the healthier side. The chain is backed by some big names, including Montréal Plaza owners Charles-Antoine Crête and Cheryl Johnson, Hof Kelsten’s Jeffrey Finkelstein, and top interior designer Zébulon Perron.

An array of salads and smoothies.
Colorful salads and smoothies.
Foodchain/Facebook

Le Taj

Open since 1985, this Northern Indian restaurant has become somewhat of a local institution, having survived close to four decades in the heart of downtown. (Le Taj also opened a counter in the Time Out Market in the summer of 2021.) The specialty here is undoubtedly the tandoori – the tandoori oven is visible from the dining room – but other dishes shouldn’t be ignored. One of the most charming features of the interior decor is the wall installation that was part of the Indian Pavilion of Expo 67. Note: the lunch buffet continues to be temporarily suspended until further notice.

Ferreira Café

A veritable institution on the Montreal dining scene, this Peel street staple has been in the game since 1996 and continues to be one of the front-runners for all Portuguese restaurants across the city. With both lunch and dinner menus available — as well as the availability of a private room — this remains a great choice for business or a special occasions.

Bar George

Set inside an immaculately restored mansion in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile district, the former residential area of wealthy anglophone industrialists, the focus here is on all things quintessentially British, with menu options ranging from the ubiquitous beef Wellington to others that possess a notable Québécois influence. If the prices seem a bit out of reach, come simply for the environment, grab a cocktail at the bar and people watch or try their weekend brunch option as an alternative.

Sushi Okeya Kyujiro

Led by chef Takuya Matsuda, this omakase (“chef’s choice”) restaurant is somewhat atypical in a city where diners love to choose their own plates. In this context, it’s all sit-back-and-relax while the chef prepares dishes made from freshly imported fish from all over the world. Reservation only, menu is 250$ per person.

Hang Time Pizza

pizza being dipped in sauce Hang Time Pizza/Supplied

Awash in neon colors, this 90s-themed pizzeria dishes out two kinds of pies, Detroit-style, served in squares, or the more common New York style. Each pizza is lovingly named after popular TV sitcoms from the era (think “Boy Meets World”) and sold as whole pies or slices (in-store only). According to its website, a second location is slated to open in Ville-Saint-Laurent in Spring 2022.

pizza being dipped in sauce Hang Time Pizza/Supplied

Tsukuyomi Ramen

With the original sitting up in Mile End, this downtown location finds itself among stiff competition as numerous East Asian restaurants have sprouted around Concordia’s main campus in recent years. Nevertheless, the tonkotsu broth and various condiments, not to mention its traditional ramen noodles, ensure this place stands out from the crowd. Note: this location is open for dinner only.

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