The relatively residential northern neighbourhood of Villeray, with its charmingly leafy streets, has seen a big boost in the last 15 years or so. An array of cafés, bakeries, and neighbourhood haunts have settled in, from Italian coffee shop Vito to boulangerie Le Pain Dans Les Voiles — but for all the cool young things, there are still longtime favourites such as Alep or Daou. Here are some of the best of both worlds.Read More
Where To Eat and Drink in Villeray
From tapas to tacos
1. Bar Le Record
Take a trip back in time at this relative newcomer on Saint-Hubert, spinning classic vinyl records in a space replete with Mad Man-era vibes. With a half-moon shaped bar at the back of the room, this establishment advertises itself as a “vinyl bar” (it spins plenty of vintage tunes). Wines are offered by the glass and the cocktail menu is heavily gin and bourbon based. A great place for a date.
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2. Sol y Mar
Montreal isn’t exactly known for Peruvian cuisine, but Sol y Mar bucks that idea. This spot serves up classics such as seafood ceviche, chicharrón, rice dishes and charcoal-grilled meats. A sign in the window suggests wine is sold at SAQ prices. Breakfast and free wifi also available.
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Tandem isn’t just a fantastic Villeray restaurant or a go-to BYOB — it’s a great restaurant, period. Chef-owner Pascale Turgeon puts on a menu replete with French classics from boudin to meaty mains laden with mushrooms or buttery sauces. —Tim Forster
4. Mr. Azteca
Priding itself as “the true taste of Mexico” in Montreal, this taqueria offers daily specials, including most notably, dollar tacos on Wednesdays, leaning into classics like al pastor, carnitas, and lengua. Diners can choose between flour or corn tortillas, and there are plenty of vegetarian options to boot.
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On the scene since 2004, the focus of this 100-seater Spanish restaurant is strictly tapas. Diners can choose from a wide range of dishes — all meant to be shared — which include must-haves such as the fried calamari, tuna albacore, and grilled shrimp. The paella is a notable highlight. Dishes are seasonal and almost entirely under $20; the wine list is strictly Spanish. Valet parking available.
With a second, arguably more upscale location in Ville Saint-Laurent, this old-school eatery (opened in 1975) was one of the first places to offer Lebanese classics like fattoush salad, shish taouk, and pita-scooped dips such as hummus and baba ghanoush. While everything is full of flavour, some dishes can be a touch pricy. Oh, and it’s reportedly a favourite of Céline Dion.
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7. Huis Clos
This bar exploded onto the scene a few years ago, when few people would think of heading to Villeray as a drinking destination. Talented bartenders can serve up just about anything the heart desires on the cocktail front, and upscale bar fare centred around seafood and tartares seals the deal. Huis Clos is also a favourite for avid sports fans, routinely showing big events.
8. Avanaa Chocolat
This artisanal producer traveled around the world to source organic cacao beans from Central and South American co-ops to help farmers through direct trade. Stop in to their workshop to meet with the owner for a comprehensive walkthrough on all things chocolate, including a tasting.
When the owners of Tapéo decided to expand, they focused on a more traditional-style restaurant with the opening of Méson in 2014. Slightly smaller in size, this modern bistro, headed up by chef Marie-Fleur St-Pierre features more main courses (not tapas) with meaty steaks and grilled seafood dishes, as well as weekend brunch and a comfortable wine bar. Profits from both restaurants fund community projects, creating a nearby public square which they hope to expand in the coming years.
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Far from new and trendy, this Portuguese tapas restaurant has been on their game for years. With classic seafood dishes – think garlic shrimp, grilled octopus, mussels and, of course, sardines – to grilled chicken, it’s tough to leave hungry.
11. Oui Mais Non
Diverging slightly from other cafés in the neighbourhood, Oui Mais Non offers beer, wine, vegetarian chili and a very solid guacamole and chips platter alongside coffee, with a colourful space and a small boutique on site too.
12. Café Ferlucci
Set on the ground floor of a converted duplex, this café pulls a mean Italian-style espresso. Having recently celebrated its three-year anniversary, Ferlucci also serves traditional pastries, panini, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Peep the large collection of VHS tapes, too — classic films are always on display in the main salon.
13. Miss Villeray
What’s not to love about the vintage sign affixed high above this neighbourly tavern? Sign aside, the bar’s appearance from the outside is nothing to write home about, but things are quick to surprise upon entering this neighbourhood haunt, with a sprawling terrasse in summer. Tip: great choice for a hockey game.
14. Boulangerie Le Marquis
While it’s located right next to Pain Dans Les Voiles, Le Marquis differentiates itself by whipping up entirely gluten-free goods using organic non-wheat flours and predominantly bio ingredients in its recipes. Try one of the unbelievably tasty quiches or pies — you’ll never even know they’re GF.
15. Le Pain Dans Les Voiles
A happening bakery with European bistro-style outdoor seating, this shop pumps out a variety of breads, pastries, sandwiches and coffee on an all-day basis. You can’t go wrong with the baguettes (which have drawn big accolades): take one to go.
16. Café Vito
This Italian coffee shop, founded by a barista from Mile end favourite Olimpico, has a great community hub vibe, alongside great espresso, cannoli, and panini. Plenty of outdoor seating is available in summer, but with limited indoor seating, it’s a great place to grab a coffee to-go. Guaranteed to have a soccer game playing in the background.
17. Café Larue & Fils
A neighbourhood favourite, this light, airy coffee shop serves up a great iced latté (and more) on a lovely corner facing Église Sainte-Cécile. Somewhat of a “neighbourhood headquarters”, there’s plenty of seating available either indoors or on the spacious outdoor patio. Beans and t-shirts for sale, too.
18. Alep/Le Petit Alep
An anchor in the neighbourhood, Alep shines as a premier destination for Syrian and Armenian flavours from mezze to kebabs and juicy marinated meats, in a tableclothed dining room with a large selection of wines (and air-conditioning!) available. Next door, laid-back bistro Le Petit Alep shares a kitchen and offers lunch service with the same full, comprehensive wine list. Think more casual items, like sandwiches.