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19 Great Bets For French Dining in Montreal

From terrific tartare to delicious duck à l’orange

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La Belle Province may have its own distinct identity and fare, but it still hasn’t forgotten the last few centuries of French influence. Colonization means there’s a major French presence, and lots of options for those who want more than tourist trap crêpes and croissants.

Times (and tastes) have changed from the days of silverware, white-gloved waiters and maître-d’hôtels with pencil moustaches. While many options here lean into French classicism, there are also plenty of bistros touting nouvelle cuisine-ish menus. Despite this, some still sport dress codes, so check in before showing up in jeans and ripped tees.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but focuses strictly on restaurants offering French fare, not just those who use French techniques to produce something distinctly Québécois (Toqué is one such example). French cuisine is also well-represented in Montreal’s BYOB restaurants — see some further restaurant suggestions over here.

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Le Valois

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Located in an art deco space in Hochelaga, La Valois’ menu offers options both traditional and inspired, from surf to turf. One of the more family-friendly locations on this list, there’s no shortage of dining space (its terrasse alone has 120 seats).

Egg croquette with smoked salmon
Le Valois/Facebook

One of Montreal’s premier bring-your-own-wine French restaurants has earned no shortage of praise from the city’s critics. The meat-heavy offerings (there’s a separate vegan menu available) include veal filet mignon and guinea fowl supreme.

Le Pégase

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Cozy Plateau restaurant Le Pégase does simple French fare, with a relatively small menu and an emphasis on meaty dishes like rack of lamb, flank steak, and stuffed rabbit. Enjoy your dish with a bottle of your own wine, as Le Pégase is one of the area’s beloved BYOBs.

Au Petit Extra

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With an ever-changing menu of specials (scrawled daily on a large chalkboard), the often-bustling Au Petit Extra offers a warm, neighbourhood vibe. Menu standbys include fish soup with rouille, duck confit, and foie gras torchon, with classic options like crème brûlée and Paris-Brest for dessert.

Plein Sud

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For those looking for more regional French specialties, Plein Sud is a unique choice, with a Corsican approach that brings in influences ranging from Italy to Provence. Rich meat dishes figure heavily on the menu, but lighter options such as beet mille-feuille and ratatouille with poached egg are also available.

Le P'tit Plateau

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Tucked on a Plateau side street, this neighbourhood bistro focuses more on southwestern France, with a hearty menu laden with meet — duck confit, lamb shanks, grilled venison. It’s also BYOB. —Tim Forster

La Chronique

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Chef Marc de Canck is, by all means, a highly classically-trained chef in the French realm. Combine that with the analytical eye and taste of Olivier de Montigny, and the result is an impeccably-plated menu with a substantial list of fine wines in a spotless atmosphere.

L'Express

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An institution for more than 30 years, L’Express hits all the right notes, both for its French cuisine, and its Parisian bistro styling. Open from breakfast until late-night, the kitchen serves up selections such as their own Toulouse sausage, poached salmon with chervil, duck foie gras, and tarragon calf liver.

Le Margaux

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Chef-owner of this Mile End BYOB Jérôme Chatenet has a way with foie gras; in fact, he has a knack with all sorts of extremely French staples: escargot, soupe à l’oignon, duck confit, and profiteroles, to name but a few. —Tim Forster

Chez Lévêque

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Proudly self-described as a Parisian brasserie that hasn’t changed its menu in 40 years, Chez Lévêque serves à la carte items as well as range of fixed menus. While priding itself on a relaxed atmosphere, the staff and food holds elegance in high regard, having imported both recipes and wines from the motherland. 

Leméac

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No list of Montreal French restaurants would be complete without Richard Bastien’s Outremont locale, priding itself on the down-to-earth, metropolitan choices like steak frites and crab cakes in addition to escargot ragout. All that, and they offer a particularly affordable late-night menu for guests that arrive after 10 pm.

Wild cod, fennel, and potato
Leméac/Facebook

Café Cherrier

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A long-time favourite for all sorts of public figures in Quebec, and somewhat of a tourist spot due to its leafy terrasse and prime Plateau placement, Café Cherrier doesn’t really go anywhere wildly experimental, sticking with solid classics done right, from rabbit to steak-frites.

Les Deux Gamins

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French bistro staples in a large, classic space, Les Deux Gamins (both inside and, in the summer, in its sprawling terrasse) oozes Parisian charm. It might have a slightly touristy rep, but it’s a good spot to stake out an outdoor table for some people-watching while enjoying duck confit, escargots, or one of the city’s best onion soups.

La Maison du Magret

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A combined bistro-deli, La Maison du Magret is an essential stop for those can’t get enough duck: duck gizzard salad, duck foie gras torchon, duck confit, duck burgers, duck ravioli. It’s topped off with mercifully duck-free desserts like Basque cake and crème brûlée.  

Bonaparte

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Despite never changing its menu, “…I admire the fact that every morsel was delicious and every plate was soigné,” wrote critic Lesley Chesterman in Bonaparte’s 26th year of service, “proving that underneath all the elegance, Bonaparte is a well-oiled machine.” An Old Montreal institution, Bonaparte excels in its ambiance and its refined dishes including Provençal tartlets to French onion soup, mushroom fricassée and gamey terrines.  

Monarque

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A stunning new addition to Old Montreal in 2018 from father-son duo Richard and Jérémie Bastien (see also: Leméac), Monarque offers not one, but two excellent dining experiences: up front is a more classic brasserie with options like steak, tuna niçoise, and bouillabaisse. If you’re looking to spend a bit more, the dining room skews more formal, with a range of delectable meat and seafood dishes — some, like veal sweetbreads, are given a twist with international additions like dukkah, but a strong vein of French flair runs through it all.

A bustling restaurant headed by chef Simon Laplante, Holder has been a long-time friend to locals for its off-the-cuff brasserie vibes and French leanings. While its menu is not wholly restricted to l’hexagone, dishes like the braised beef cheek à la bourguignon and fish soup with rouille and gruyere make this restaurant a must.  

Maison Boulud

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Going the more contemporary route with its French cuisine, the Ritz-Carlton’s luxurious restaurant carries the name of famed French chef Daniel Boulud. One of several eponymous international locations for Boulud, his collaboration with executive chef Riccardo Bertolino amounts to savoury Lyonnais salads and charcuterie, grilled and seared meats, and an elegant pastry selection. 

Jérôme Ferrer par Europea

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While somewhat of a tourist haunt, Jérôme Ferrer’s flagship restaurant may not hit the absurd high notes that some claim, but it still does a solid job. Both the tasting and discovery menus are safe bets, featuring dishes like pan-fried foie gras in passion fruit gremolata and fizzy candy. Diners take note: The restaurant requests that customers dress in “business casual” to eat here, and that’s saying a lot for Montreal.

Le Valois

Located in an art deco space in Hochelaga, La Valois’ menu offers options both traditional and inspired, from surf to turf. One of the more family-friendly locations on this list, there’s no shortage of dining space (its terrasse alone has 120 seats).

Egg croquette with smoked salmon
Le Valois/Facebook

Tandem

One of Montreal’s premier bring-your-own-wine French restaurants has earned no shortage of praise from the city’s critics. The meat-heavy offerings (there’s a separate vegan menu available) include veal filet mignon and guinea fowl supreme.

Le Pégase

Cozy Plateau restaurant Le Pégase does simple French fare, with a relatively small menu and an emphasis on meaty dishes like rack of lamb, flank steak, and stuffed rabbit. Enjoy your dish with a bottle of your own wine, as Le Pégase is one of the area’s beloved BYOBs.

Au Petit Extra

With an ever-changing menu of specials (scrawled daily on a large chalkboard), the often-bustling Au Petit Extra offers a warm, neighbourhood vibe. Menu standbys include fish soup with rouille, duck confit, and foie gras torchon, with classic options like crème brûlée and Paris-Brest for dessert.

Plein Sud

For those looking for more regional French specialties, Plein Sud is a unique choice, with a Corsican approach that brings in influences ranging from Italy to Provence. Rich meat dishes figure heavily on the menu, but lighter options such as beet mille-feuille and ratatouille with poached egg are also available.

Le P'tit Plateau

Tucked on a Plateau side street, this neighbourhood bistro focuses more on southwestern France, with a hearty menu laden with meet — duck confit, lamb shanks, grilled venison. It’s also BYOB. —Tim Forster

La Chronique

Chef Marc de Canck is, by all means, a highly classically-trained chef in the French realm. Combine that with the analytical eye and taste of Olivier de Montigny, and the result is an impeccably-plated menu with a substantial list of fine wines in a spotless atmosphere.

L'Express

An institution for more than 30 years, L’Express hits all the right notes, both for its French cuisine, and its Parisian bistro styling. Open from breakfast until late-night, the kitchen serves up selections such as their own Toulouse sausage, poached salmon with chervil, duck foie gras, and tarragon calf liver.

Le Margaux

Chef-owner of this Mile End BYOB Jérôme Chatenet has a way with foie gras; in fact, he has a knack with all sorts of extremely French staples: escargot, soupe à l’oignon, duck confit, and profiteroles, to name but a few. —Tim Forster

Chez Lévêque

Proudly self-described as a Parisian brasserie that hasn’t changed its menu in 40 years, Chez Lévêque serves à la carte items as well as range of fixed menus. While priding itself on a relaxed atmosphere, the staff and food holds elegance in high regard, having imported both recipes and wines from the motherland. 

Leméac

No list of Montreal French restaurants would be complete without Richard Bastien’s Outremont locale, priding itself on the down-to-earth, metropolitan choices like steak frites and crab cakes in addition to escargot ragout. All that, and they offer a particularly affordable late-night menu for guests that arrive after 10 pm.

Wild cod, fennel, and potato
Leméac/Facebook

Café Cherrier

A long-time favourite for all sorts of public figures in Quebec, and somewhat of a tourist spot due to its leafy terrasse and prime Plateau placement, Café Cherrier doesn’t really go anywhere wildly experimental, sticking with solid classics done right, from rabbit to steak-frites.

Les Deux Gamins

French bistro staples in a large, classic space, Les Deux Gamins (both inside and, in the summer, in its sprawling terrasse) oozes Parisian charm. It might have a slightly touristy rep, but it’s a good spot to stake out an outdoor table for some people-watching while enjoying duck confit, escargots, or one of the city’s best onion soups.

La Maison du Magret

A combined bistro-deli, La Maison du Magret is an essential stop for those can’t get enough duck: duck gizzard salad, duck foie gras torchon, duck confit, duck burgers, duck ravioli. It’s topped off with mercifully duck-free desserts like Basque cake and crème brûlée.  

Bonaparte

Despite never changing its menu, “…I admire the fact that every morsel was delicious and every plate was soigné,” wrote critic Lesley Chesterman in Bonaparte’s 26th year of service, “proving that underneath all the elegance, Bonaparte is a well-oiled machine.” An Old Montreal institution, Bonaparte excels in its ambiance and its refined dishes including Provençal tartlets to French onion soup, mushroom fricassée and gamey terrines.  

Monarque

A stunning new addition to Old Montreal in 2018 from father-son duo Richard and Jérémie Bastien (see also: Leméac), Monarque offers not one, but two excellent dining experiences: up front is a more classic brasserie with options like steak, tuna niçoise, and bouillabaisse. If you’re looking to spend a bit more, the dining room skews more formal, with a range of delectable meat and seafood dishes — some, like veal sweetbreads, are given a twist with international additions like dukkah, but a strong vein of French flair runs through it all.

Holder

A bustling restaurant headed by chef Simon Laplante, Holder has been a long-time friend to locals for its off-the-cuff brasserie vibes and French leanings. While its menu is not wholly restricted to l’hexagone, dishes like the braised beef cheek à la bourguignon and fish soup with rouille and gruyere make this restaurant a must.  

Maison Boulud

Going the more contemporary route with its French cuisine, the Ritz-Carlton’s luxurious restaurant carries the name of famed French chef Daniel Boulud. One of several eponymous international locations for Boulud, his collaboration with executive chef Riccardo Bertolino amounts to savoury Lyonnais salads and charcuterie, grilled and seared meats, and an elegant pastry selection. 

Jérôme Ferrer par Europea

While somewhat of a tourist haunt, Jérôme Ferrer’s flagship restaurant may not hit the absurd high notes that some claim, but it still does a solid job. Both the tasting and discovery menus are safe bets, featuring dishes like pan-fried foie gras in passion fruit gremolata and fizzy candy. Diners take note: The restaurant requests that customers dress in “business casual” to eat here, and that’s saying a lot for Montreal.