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The 15 Hottest Restaurants in Montreal, July 2014

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The July 2014 installment welcomes a record ten new restaurants. It has been a busy summer indeed. All in all, consider this hodgepodge of hot spots a snapshot of what is a very dynamic restaurant scene.

Enjoy, and remember, this list is in no particular order.

12/05/13: Added: La Bête à Pain, Maïs, Lili Co., Hof Kelsten, Orange Rouge, Racines, Le Richmond
01/02/14: Added: Brasserie Bernard, Moteur, État-Major, Cardinal Tea Room, La Récréation
02/06/14: Added: Sel Gras, Le Shinji, Bethlehem XXX, Anabel, Le Serpent, Café Parvis, Au Pied de Cochon, Barcola
03/06/14: Added: Bishop & Bagg, Mercuri, Patrice Pâtissier, Saka-Ba!
04/03/14: Added: Les Coudes sur la Table, Galt, Taverne F, Biirū
05/01/14: Added: Labarake, Mesón, La Réserve, L'Gros Luxe, Majestique, Cantinho de Lisboa, Bar Mercuri
06/05/14: Added: Gia Ba, Chez Sophie, Le Mal Nécessaire, Ikanos, Sparrow
07/03/14: Added: Cafeden, Callao, Henri Saint-Henri, La Queue de Cheval Burger, Salmigondis, Sa-Fran, Scarlet Exclusive, Le Sieur d'Iberville, Le Slang, T & T Tacos and Tortas

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Labarake / Caserne à Manger

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Labarake has a surefire, first impression advantage in old caserne de pompier digs in the Rosemont Angus Shops. The comfort food menu serves up burgers, ribs, a raw bar and a foie gras "du moment."

Le Sieur d'Iberville

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You have to appreciate the details at this 1950s-era tavern reboot: the salavaged wood bar top, jury chairs, restored vertical beer conveyor and custom growler bottles. Now nosh on some oak-fired rotisserie chicken, the house-ground burger and savour the fact that this part of town now has a proper, honest-to-goodness pub for after work punters and nocturnal carousers.
Can we call Mesón a Spanish bistro? You get the sense this is the vibe owners Sébastien Muniz and Victor Afonso and chef Marie-Fleur St-Pierre, all of Tapeo, want to inculcate. Casual with finesse, once more, rules the day. Plus brunch. [Photo]

Salmigondis

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The newcomer with the most underground buzz includes kitchen talent like Brian Peters (Café Sardine), Robert Kaniak, Élyssa-Ann Tanguay (Arts Café) and Charles-Antoine Malenfant Beaulieu (Chez L'Épicier).

Cafeden

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Finally, a Vietnamese restaurant that deviates from the stock Tonkinoise pushers all over town - and in the vicinity of Little Italy and Mile-Ex, no less. Cafeden freshens up the concept with authentic fare that has won over more than a few area cooks in need of a pre-service pho fix.
Sensing, perhaps, a trending shift away from stodgier, multi-course fine dining, Peruvian chef Mario Navarrete, Jr. halted the once-critically acclaimed Raza at the beginning of the year. The ensuing Callao avoids some of the preciousness of its antecedent with cantina staples like tiraditos, anticuchos, causes, tamales and empanadas. Still, despite the price point drop and lowbrow turn, Navarrete, Jr. isn't scuttling his arty plate presentations anytime soon.

T & T Tacos and Tortas

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Bygone charcoal Portuguese chicken, in the form of Le Roi du Plateau, has made way for substantive tacos, tortas and tequila drinks. It feels like a necessary changing of the guard.

Sa-Fran

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Can a sushi bar cum French bistro lure crowds on ultra-competitive Saint-Denis? Japanese chef Satoshi Matsumoto is a protégé of Junichi Ikematsu - reason enough, perhaps, to give the concept a try.

Le Mal Nécessaire

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Le Mal Nécessaire is a tiki bar, ostensibly, and duly serves a solid lineup of modern riffs on classic cocktails. But the food menu intrigues too, most notably for takes on siu mai, General Tao chicken and shrimp toast.

Scarlet Exclusive

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The name is questionable but the formula of small plates, cocktails and a gorgeous garden terrasse is just what Old Montreal wants, apparently.

La Queue de Cheval Burger

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The steakhouse swagger and swank of La Queue de Cheval is almost upon us, as the House of Peter Morentzos resets in new digs. Until then, enjoy the restaurant's back alley burger bar. Open, ludicrously, until 5:00 a.m. on weekends.

Chez Sophie

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Chef Sophie Tabet and husband Marco Marangi, who serves as manager and sommelier, run this new French bistro in Griffintown. The couple left Lebanon in 2013 for Montreal. The Beirut version of Chez Sophie was a hit, it seems. One blogger called the restaurant Lebanon's only legit Michelin star candidate and wrote, after Tabet's departure: "I almost cried." [Photo: Marc-Olivier Bécotte]

Henri Saint-Henri

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A gaggle of experienced restaurateurs threw their collective weight behind this spiffy overhaul of a derelict space on Saint-Henri's gentrifying restaurant row. Chefs Julien Messier-Cousineau and James Rainville are whipping up nostalgic twists on Eastern Seaboard coastal fare to receptive audiences.

Le Slang

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Le Slang owner Robert Sigler: "The infamous Brynley Leach leads our bar along with some other molecular lunatics." Molecular mixology in N.D.G.? Why the hell not. With food from chef Shawn Dascal, a Moonshine BBQ co-owner, by the way.

Gia Ba

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Andy Su whips up the most authentic - and piquant - Szechuan in Montreal. This is not up for debate. His new restaurant in Monkland Village may put his old employer on Guy out of business.

Labarake / Caserne à Manger

Labarake has a surefire, first impression advantage in old caserne de pompier digs in the Rosemont Angus Shops. The comfort food menu serves up burgers, ribs, a raw bar and a foie gras "du moment."

Le Sieur d'Iberville

You have to appreciate the details at this 1950s-era tavern reboot: the salavaged wood bar top, jury chairs, restored vertical beer conveyor and custom growler bottles. Now nosh on some oak-fired rotisserie chicken, the house-ground burger and savour the fact that this part of town now has a proper, honest-to-goodness pub for after work punters and nocturnal carousers.

Mesón

Can we call Mesón a Spanish bistro? You get the sense this is the vibe owners Sébastien Muniz and Victor Afonso and chef Marie-Fleur St-Pierre, all of Tapeo, want to inculcate. Casual with finesse, once more, rules the day. Plus brunch. [Photo]

Salmigondis

The newcomer with the most underground buzz includes kitchen talent like Brian Peters (Café Sardine), Robert Kaniak, Élyssa-Ann Tanguay (Arts Café) and Charles-Antoine Malenfant Beaulieu (Chez L'Épicier).

Cafeden

Finally, a Vietnamese restaurant that deviates from the stock Tonkinoise pushers all over town - and in the vicinity of Little Italy and Mile-Ex, no less. Cafeden freshens up the concept with authentic fare that has won over more than a few area cooks in need of a pre-service pho fix.

Callao

Sensing, perhaps, a trending shift away from stodgier, multi-course fine dining, Peruvian chef Mario Navarrete, Jr. halted the once-critically acclaimed Raza at the beginning of the year. The ensuing Callao avoids some of the preciousness of its antecedent with cantina staples like tiraditos, anticuchos, causes, tamales and empanadas. Still, despite the price point drop and lowbrow turn, Navarrete, Jr. isn't scuttling his arty plate presentations anytime soon.

T & T Tacos and Tortas

Bygone charcoal Portuguese chicken, in the form of Le Roi du Plateau, has made way for substantive tacos, tortas and tequila drinks. It feels like a necessary changing of the guard.

Sa-Fran

Can a sushi bar cum French bistro lure crowds on ultra-competitive Saint-Denis? Japanese chef Satoshi Matsumoto is a protégé of Junichi Ikematsu - reason enough, perhaps, to give the concept a try.

Le Mal Nécessaire

Le Mal Nécessaire is a tiki bar, ostensibly, and duly serves a solid lineup of modern riffs on classic cocktails. But the food menu intrigues too, most notably for takes on siu mai, General Tao chicken and shrimp toast.

Scarlet Exclusive

The name is questionable but the formula of small plates, cocktails and a gorgeous garden terrasse is just what Old Montreal wants, apparently.

La Queue de Cheval Burger

The steakhouse swagger and swank of La Queue de Cheval is almost upon us, as the House of Peter Morentzos resets in new digs. Until then, enjoy the restaurant's back alley burger bar. Open, ludicrously, until 5:00 a.m. on weekends.

Chez Sophie

Chef Sophie Tabet and husband Marco Marangi, who serves as manager and sommelier, run this new French bistro in Griffintown. The couple left Lebanon in 2013 for Montreal. The Beirut version of Chez Sophie was a hit, it seems. One blogger called the restaurant Lebanon's only legit Michelin star candidate and wrote, after Tabet's departure: "I almost cried." [Photo: Marc-Olivier Bécotte]

Henri Saint-Henri

A gaggle of experienced restaurateurs threw their collective weight behind this spiffy overhaul of a derelict space on Saint-Henri's gentrifying restaurant row. Chefs Julien Messier-Cousineau and James Rainville are whipping up nostalgic twists on Eastern Seaboard coastal fare to receptive audiences.

Le Slang

Le Slang owner Robert Sigler: "The infamous Brynley Leach leads our bar along with some other molecular lunatics." Molecular mixology in N.D.G.? Why the hell not. With food from chef Shawn Dascal, a Moonshine BBQ co-owner, by the way.

Gia Ba

Andy Su whips up the most authentic - and piquant - Szechuan in Montreal. This is not up for debate. His new restaurant in Monkland Village may put his old employer on Guy out of business.

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