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15 Underrated Restaurants to Try in Montreal

They’re serving delightful dishes from under the radar

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In a city that obsesses over which bagels, poutine, or barbecue chicken reigns supreme, it’s easy to overlook some great spots that might not receive the attention they deserve. Small restaurants eschewing delivery apps for local pickups, neighbourhood favourites with limited hours, mom and pop shops — Montreal is full of these unsung treasures.

Here, for your consideration, are 15 restaurants we’ve deemed underrated. There is no scientific measurement for what makes an underrated restaurant, and it might vary from person to person — one diner’s beloved neighbourhood haunt may be an unknown entity to many others in the city. Overall, two things unite the restaurants below: they’re good, and they deserve more mainstream love.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Restaurant Ho Guom

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2605 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montréal
QC H2A 1V1, Canada
(514) 507-8598
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Villeray favourite Ho Guom’s extensive menu showcases a wide range of pho as well as bún (rice vermicelli) in soups and dry dishes, with copious amounts of herbs on the side. Don’t miss the chả cá lã vọng turmeric fish and their tropical fruit juices. There’s even a special meal for kids on the menu.

2. Rose Ross

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3017 Rue Masson, Montréal
QC H1Y 1X7, Canada
(514) 379-1900
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Rosemont’s Rose Ross aims to comfort, with seasonal, market-fresh fare. Expect fried cauliflower with a parmesan-caper vinaigrette, duck confit fettuccini, braised pork cheek with cheesy mash potatoes, and rice pudding for dessert — all in a compact dining space.

3. Thai Sep

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1900 Rue Jean-Talon, Montréal
QC H2E 1T6, Canada
(514) 303-7767
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At this Rosemont BYOB, familiar Thai starters and curries at the front of the laminated picture menu give way to some unique Lao selections at the back: homemade sausages, spicy Lao-style papaya salad, and nême kao, a crispy rice salad with pork, all of which might just become the dishes of your dreams. In mango season, check out the sticky rice with mango and coconut cream, a perfect ending to the meal.

4. Daou

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519 Rue Faillon E, Montréal
QC H2R 1L6, Canada
(514) 276-8310
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All the Lebanese favourites are here at this family restaurant, starting with tomato salad with sumac and ending with grilled meats, stuffed vine leaves, and molokhia greens. It’s been around for almost fifty years for a reason.

5. Luciano Trattoria

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1212 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montréal
QC H2S 1N5, Canada
(514) 303-1204
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Antipasti, delicate pastas, and a few simple mains are on the menu at Luciano’s, a stalwart trattoria on Saint-Zotique East equipped with firehall windows.

6. Santa Barbara

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6696 Rue de Saint-Vallier, Montréal
QC H2S 2P7, Canada
(514) 273-4555
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Taking a vegetarian yet carnivore-friendly approach (meaty options available), Santa Barbara is a popular neighbourhood spot, with fresh ingredients and international recipes that vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters can all love. Well-liked for its brunch, the menu is extensive, including buckwheat beer crepes, beet burgers, banh-mi and kimchi-laced eggs with daikon pickles alongside a creative granola bowl.

7. Le Virunga

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851 Rue Rachel E, Montréal
QC H2J 2H9, Canada
(514) 504-8642
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Chef Maria de Frias creates some truly unique dishes at this cozy Plateau restaurant, drawing on cuisines from a range of sub-Saharan African cultures. Using quality local meats and seafood, Frias offers both à la carte and table d’hôte options, with or without wine. Gabonese shredded salt cod, rainbow trout with cassava, and mutton osso buco are only a few of the highlights. The foods of the Congo and adjacent countries may not get representation on Montreal’s fine dining scene, but Le Virunga’s innovative menu proves that they should.

8. Maria Bonita

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5163 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal
QC H2T 1R9, Canada
(514) 807-4377
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Mexican cuisine in Montreal can feel like it’s limited to tacos above all else, but that’s not the case at Maria Chavez’s Mile End restaurant. Cazuelitas (small, saucy plates in terracotta dishes) are the specialty — go for spicy, chocolatey mole, pork-stuffed poblano peppers with walnut sauce, or cactus gratin, and a range of margaritas on the side.

9. Barcola

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5607 Av du Parc, Montréal
QC H2V 4H2, Canada
(438) 384-1112
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The wine list at Barcola complements their Menu Aperitivo – a northeastern Italian-inspired three-course meal, typically with an appetizer, pasta, and a main. Dessert is extra, but don’t miss it.

10. Le Nil Bleu

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3706 R. Saint-Denis, Montréal
QC H2X 3L7, Canada
(514) 285-4628
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Vegans and carnivores can be very happy with the range of bright salads, grains, beans, meats and warmly spiced sauces on the Nil Bleu menu. Trouble deciding? There are tasting menus alongside table d’hôte options, all featuring your choice of injera, Israeli couscous, or rice.

11. noren

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77 Rue Rachel O, Montréal
QC H2W 1G2, Canada
(514) 397-1141
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This diminutive spot run by Elyse Garand and her partner Hidenori Tsuda offers a menu of Japanese street food specialties like takoyaki octopus balls and okonomiyaki cabbage pancakes alongside bowls of comforting oden stew and miso soup. The grocery is stocked with cold dishes and ingredients to make your own; don’t miss the Calpico drinks or Elyse’s well-chosen sake collection.

12. Kanbai

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1110 Rue Clark, Montréal
QC H2Z 1K3, Canada
(514) 871-8778
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Chinatown’s Kanbai’s menu showcases dishes from Sichuan and Hunan, home to some of China’s hottest cuisines. If you’re not a Chinese reader, look for translated key words “hot” and “chili,” ideally combined with “garlic” and “sauce” to find your way to options like poached fish filet in hot chili soup or eggplant and minced pork with hot garlic sauce. For the spice-averse, there’s an extensive range of more seasonally focused Cantonese food.

13. Avesta

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2077 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal
QC H3H 1M6, Canada
(514) 937-0156

Handmade manti (tiny beef ravioli served with yogurt) and meaty Anatolian specialties await at Avesta in Shaughnessy Village. Grilled or braised, köfte and kebabs, sandwiches on lavash bread, and homemade desserts featuring pistachios, walnuts, and honey round out the menu.

14. Chez Sophie

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1974 Rue Notre Dame O, Montréal
QC H3J 1M8, Canada
(438) 380-2365
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Paul Bocuse graduate Sophie Tabet shows the Sud-Ouest her stuff in a tidy menu featuring appetizers, seafood, meat, pasta, and dessert. The wine list is curated by her husband Marco Marangi, making this one of the city’s most elevated mom and pop shops.

15. Les Délices de l'Île Maurice

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272 Rue Hickson, Verdun
QC H4G 2J6, Canada
(514) 768-6023
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This Verdun spot is one of Montreal’s very few Mauritian restaurants — expect various Indian and east African touches (Mauritius is, after all, between the two) on a well-spiced menu. The table d’hôte costs around $25 for most options, and features vegetarian, meat or seafood, with your choice of curry, creole, or sweet and sour, honey, or saffron sauce. 

1. Restaurant Ho Guom

2605 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montréal, QC H2A 1V1, Canada

Villeray favourite Ho Guom’s extensive menu showcases a wide range of pho as well as bún (rice vermicelli) in soups and dry dishes, with copious amounts of herbs on the side. Don’t miss the chả cá lã vọng turmeric fish and their tropical fruit juices. There’s even a special meal for kids on the menu.

2605 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montréal
QC H2A 1V1, Canada

2. Rose Ross

3017 Rue Masson, Montréal, QC H1Y 1X7, Canada

Rosemont’s Rose Ross aims to comfort, with seasonal, market-fresh fare. Expect fried cauliflower with a parmesan-caper vinaigrette, duck confit fettuccini, braised pork cheek with cheesy mash potatoes, and rice pudding for dessert — all in a compact dining space.

3017 Rue Masson, Montréal
QC H1Y 1X7, Canada

3. Thai Sep

1900 Rue Jean-Talon, Montréal, QC H2E 1T6, Canada

At this Rosemont BYOB, familiar Thai starters and curries at the front of the laminated picture menu give way to some unique Lao selections at the back: homemade sausages, spicy Lao-style papaya salad, and nême kao, a crispy rice salad with pork, all of which might just become the dishes of your dreams. In mango season, check out the sticky rice with mango and coconut cream, a perfect ending to the meal.

1900 Rue Jean-Talon, Montréal
QC H2E 1T6, Canada

4. Daou

519 Rue Faillon E, Montréal, QC H2R 1L6, Canada

All the Lebanese favourites are here at this family restaurant, starting with tomato salad with sumac and ending with grilled meats, stuffed vine leaves, and molokhia greens. It’s been around for almost fifty years for a reason.

519 Rue Faillon E, Montréal
QC H2R 1L6, Canada

5. Luciano Trattoria

1212 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montréal, QC H2S 1N5, Canada

Antipasti, delicate pastas, and a few simple mains are on the menu at Luciano’s, a stalwart trattoria on Saint-Zotique East equipped with firehall windows.

1212 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montréal
QC H2S 1N5, Canada

6. Santa Barbara

6696 Rue de Saint-Vallier, Montréal, QC H2S 2P7, Canada

Taking a vegetarian yet carnivore-friendly approach (meaty options available), Santa Barbara is a popular neighbourhood spot, with fresh ingredients and international recipes that vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters can all love. Well-liked for its brunch, the menu is extensive, including buckwheat beer crepes, beet burgers, banh-mi and kimchi-laced eggs with daikon pickles alongside a creative granola bowl.

6696 Rue de Saint-Vallier, Montréal
QC H2S 2P7, Canada

7. Le Virunga

851 Rue Rachel E, Montréal, QC H2J 2H9, Canada

Chef Maria de Frias creates some truly unique dishes at this cozy Plateau restaurant, drawing on cuisines from a range of sub-Saharan African cultures. Using quality local meats and seafood, Frias offers both à la carte and table d’hôte options, with or without wine. Gabonese shredded salt cod, rainbow trout with cassava, and mutton osso buco are only a few of the highlights. The foods of the Congo and adjacent countries may not get representation on Montreal’s fine dining scene, but Le Virunga’s innovative menu proves that they should.

851 Rue Rachel E, Montréal
QC H2J 2H9, Canada

8. Maria Bonita

5163 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1R9, Canada

Mexican cuisine in Montreal can feel like it’s limited to tacos above all else, but that’s not the case at Maria Chavez’s Mile End restaurant. Cazuelitas (small, saucy plates in terracotta dishes) are the specialty — go for spicy, chocolatey mole, pork-stuffed poblano peppers with walnut sauce, or cactus gratin, and a range of margaritas on the side.

5163 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal
QC H2T 1R9, Canada

9. Barcola

5607 Av du Parc, Montréal, QC H2V 4H2, Canada

The wine list at Barcola complements their Menu Aperitivo – a northeastern Italian-inspired three-course meal, typically with an appetizer, pasta, and a main. Dessert is extra, but don’t miss it.

5607 Av du Parc, Montréal
QC H2V 4H2, Canada

10. Le Nil Bleu

3706 R. Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3L7, Canada

Vegans and carnivores can be very happy with the range of bright salads, grains, beans, meats and warmly spiced sauces on the Nil Bleu menu. Trouble deciding? There are tasting menus alongside table d’hôte options, all featuring your choice of injera, Israeli couscous, or rice.

3706 R. Saint-Denis, Montréal
QC H2X 3L7, Canada

11. noren

77 Rue Rachel O, Montréal, QC H2W 1G2, Canada

This diminutive spot run by Elyse Garand and her partner Hidenori Tsuda offers a menu of Japanese street food specialties like takoyaki octopus balls and okonomiyaki cabbage pancakes alongside bowls of comforting oden stew and miso soup. The grocery is stocked with cold dishes and ingredients to make your own; don’t miss the Calpico drinks or Elyse’s well-chosen sake collection.

77 Rue Rachel O, Montréal
QC H2W 1G2, Canada

12. Kanbai

1110 Rue Clark, Montréal, QC H2Z 1K3, Canada

Chinatown’s Kanbai’s menu showcases dishes from Sichuan and Hunan, home to some of China’s hottest cuisines. If you’re not a Chinese reader, look for translated key words “hot” and “chili,” ideally combined with “garlic” and “sauce” to find your way to options like poached fish filet in hot chili soup or eggplant and minced pork with hot garlic sauce. For the spice-averse, there’s an extensive range of more seasonally focused Cantonese food.

1110 Rue Clark, Montréal
QC H2Z 1K3, Canada

13. Avesta

2077 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3H 1M6, Canada

Handmade manti (tiny beef ravioli served with yogurt) and meaty Anatolian specialties await at Avesta in Shaughnessy Village. Grilled or braised, köfte and kebabs, sandwiches on lavash bread, and homemade desserts featuring pistachios, walnuts, and honey round out the menu.

2077 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal
QC H3H 1M6, Canada

14. Chez Sophie

1974 Rue Notre Dame O, Montréal, QC H3J 1M8, Canada

Paul Bocuse graduate Sophie Tabet shows the Sud-Ouest her stuff in a tidy menu featuring appetizers, seafood, meat, pasta, and dessert. The wine list is curated by her husband Marco Marangi, making this one of the city’s most elevated mom and pop shops.

1974 Rue Notre Dame O, Montréal
QC H3J 1M8, Canada

15. Les Délices de l'Île Maurice

272 Rue Hickson, Verdun, QC H4G 2J6, Canada

This Verdun spot is one of Montreal’s very few Mauritian restaurants — expect various Indian and east African touches (Mauritius is, after all, between the two) on a well-spiced menu. The table d’hôte costs around $25 for most options, and features vegetarian, meat or seafood, with your choice of curry, creole, or sweet and sour, honey, or saffron sauce. 

272 Rue Hickson, Verdun
QC H4G 2J6, Canada

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