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A seal dish from Manitoba chef Simon Mathys
SeaDNA/Facebook

Where to Find Seal at Restaurants in Montreal

A staple of Inuit culture is finding its way to Montreal’s plates

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A seal dish from Manitoba chef Simon Mathys
| SeaDNA/Facebook

Looking to try something new? Seal meat is deliciously gamey, rich in iron, and enjoying a resurgence of interest recently. The annual PhoqueFest puts seal in the spotlight, but there are a handful of restaurants in the city where it is typically on the menu year round. Take note: it often shows up on menus under the name loup de mer, or “sea-wolf” in literal terms, rather than the better-known French term phoque.

Some quick clarifications: the service and consumption of seal in these restaurants is very much above board and legal (a few fishmongers around Montreal also sell seal, and this is similarly legitimate). Seal hunting in Atlantic waters is regulated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a federal agency, and there are strict limits on the number of seals that may be caught, and the way in which they are hunted. At present, only Grey and Harp seals are allowed to be hunted, and these species are not endangered or vulnerable.

Eating seal continues to be a contentious issue, but it is something with notable historical precedent: non-Indigenous settlers in isolated places like Quebec’s Magdalen Islands have relied heavily on seals for sustenance and survival in the past. Most importantly, seal hunts have been integral to Inuit culture and survival, as documented in films like the documentary Angry Inuk. This has led some prominent figures such as Inuit singer Tanya Tagaq have pushed back against criticism. Tagaq noted that Indigenous Canadians (particularly Inuit) have a long history of hunting seals for meat, fur, fat, and other products, and that seal hunting is a far more sustainable practice than industrial-scale fishing or slaughter of livestock.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Caribou Gourmand

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5308 Boul St Laurent, Montreal
QC H2T 1S1, Canada
(438) 387-6677
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Seal appears as an appetizer on the menu of this vibrant bistro de terroir. Served as a tataki — thinly sliced and garnished with a marinade — it’s accompanied by beet carpaccio and caribou mousse. Known for serving game meats with local flavours, Caribou Gourmand’s menu also includes emu burger and boar stew among its mouthwatering main dishes. 

2. Delices De La Mer

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7070 Avenue Henri-Julien, Montréal
QC H2S 3S3, Canada
(514) 278-1000
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One of a few shops around town selling seal, this poissonnerie in the Jean-Talon market is a great source for all sorts of seafoods, particularly those sourced from Quebec’s Gaspésie region. While it’s not a restaurant (although it does sell some ready-to-eat options), connoisseurs can find seal meat here for preparation at home, although it’s best to ask for some advice on how to prepare it if you’re unfamiliar.

3. Manitoba

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271 Rue Saint Zotique O, Montréal
QC H2V 1A4, Canada
(514) 270-8000
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Seal with buckwheat, mugwort, and labrador tea is the appetizer of choice here at this high-end, locally sourced restaurant (although the exact format of the seal dish may change seasonally). With a carefully curated menu and several wild game options, Manitoba serves creative, ultra-Canadian combinations of flavours in a woodsy, refined space. Privately imported wines complete the meal. 

4. Carte Blanche

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1159 Rue Ontario E, Montréal
QC H2L 1R3, Canada
(514) 313-8019
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This bring your own wine bistro near Parc Lafontaine puts forward a cheerful atmosphere and attentive service. You’ll find maple-mustard marinated and grilled seal on the main menu; some other hard-to-find meats also make cameos — such as kangaroo.

5. Belon

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1101 Rue de Bleury, Montréal
QC H2Z 1N1, Canada
(514) 866-1101
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An upscale and sleek spot with a varied menu, Belon has been known to serve a seal tartare with guacamole as an appetizer — at the time of writing it wasn’t on the menu, but seal dishes are served on-and-off here. A regular part of PhoqueFest, Belon also has a wide range of other seafood options for those unwilling to indulge in this particular dark meat.

6. Les Îles en Ville

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5335 Rue Wellington, Verdun
QC H4H 1N3, Canada
(514) 544-0854
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This Verdun restaurant has Montreal’s widest variety of seal meat. With terrine de loup marin, rillettes de loup marin, and peperette de loup marin all available, it’s up to you to choose the preparation you prefer. Les Îles en Ville is a bright, cheery spot specializing in seafood (and is one of very few places to put a spotlight on the cuisine of the Magdalen Islands), so, seal or not, you’ll find plenty to satisfy the fishiest of appetites. 

7. Bar à Vin Liège

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465 Rue Notre-Dame suite 108, Repentigny
QC J6A 2T3, Canada
(450) 657-5050
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This great little wine bar out in Repentigny currently has seal on the menu — in the form of seal merguez, served on a fried gnocchi “poutine” with cheese curds.

1. Caribou Gourmand

5308 Boul St Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T 1S1, Canada

Seal appears as an appetizer on the menu of this vibrant bistro de terroir. Served as a tataki — thinly sliced and garnished with a marinade — it’s accompanied by beet carpaccio and caribou mousse. Known for serving game meats with local flavours, Caribou Gourmand’s menu also includes emu burger and boar stew among its mouthwatering main dishes. 

5308 Boul St Laurent, Montreal
QC H2T 1S1, Canada

2. Delices De La Mer

7070 Avenue Henri-Julien, Montréal, QC H2S 3S3, Canada

One of a few shops around town selling seal, this poissonnerie in the Jean-Talon market is a great source for all sorts of seafoods, particularly those sourced from Quebec’s Gaspésie region. While it’s not a restaurant (although it does sell some ready-to-eat options), connoisseurs can find seal meat here for preparation at home, although it’s best to ask for some advice on how to prepare it if you’re unfamiliar.

7070 Avenue Henri-Julien, Montréal
QC H2S 3S3, Canada

3. Manitoba

271 Rue Saint Zotique O, Montréal, QC H2V 1A4, Canada

Seal with buckwheat, mugwort, and labrador tea is the appetizer of choice here at this high-end, locally sourced restaurant (although the exact format of the seal dish may change seasonally). With a carefully curated menu and several wild game options, Manitoba serves creative, ultra-Canadian combinations of flavours in a woodsy, refined space. Privately imported wines complete the meal. 

271 Rue Saint Zotique O, Montréal
QC H2V 1A4, Canada

4. Carte Blanche

1159 Rue Ontario E, Montréal, QC H2L 1R3, Canada

This bring your own wine bistro near Parc Lafontaine puts forward a cheerful atmosphere and attentive service. You’ll find maple-mustard marinated and grilled seal on the main menu; some other hard-to-find meats also make cameos — such as kangaroo.

1159 Rue Ontario E, Montréal
QC H2L 1R3, Canada

5. Belon

1101 Rue de Bleury, Montréal, QC H2Z 1N1, Canada

An upscale and sleek spot with a varied menu, Belon has been known to serve a seal tartare with guacamole as an appetizer — at the time of writing it wasn’t on the menu, but seal dishes are served on-and-off here. A regular part of PhoqueFest, Belon also has a wide range of other seafood options for those unwilling to indulge in this particular dark meat.

1101 Rue de Bleury, Montréal
QC H2Z 1N1, Canada

6. Les Îles en Ville

5335 Rue Wellington, Verdun, QC H4H 1N3, Canada

This Verdun restaurant has Montreal’s widest variety of seal meat. With terrine de loup marin, rillettes de loup marin, and peperette de loup marin all available, it’s up to you to choose the preparation you prefer. Les Îles en Ville is a bright, cheery spot specializing in seafood (and is one of very few places to put a spotlight on the cuisine of the Magdalen Islands), so, seal or not, you’ll find plenty to satisfy the fishiest of appetites. 

5335 Rue Wellington, Verdun
QC H4H 1N3, Canada

7. Bar à Vin Liège

465 Rue Notre-Dame suite 108, Repentigny, QC J6A 2T3, Canada

This great little wine bar out in Repentigny currently has seal on the menu — in the form of seal merguez, served on a fried gnocchi “poutine” with cheese curds.

465 Rue Notre-Dame suite 108, Repentigny
QC J6A 2T3, Canada

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