Gone are the days when Montrealers could joke about the idea of heading to Laval in search of a great meal. A growing number of first-time restaurant owners and established restaurant groups are moving north of the Island, joining the long-established family-run businesses serving everything from Armenian favourites to regional Vietnamese specialties. Here are the best picks of the bunch, from vegan beet tartare to deer tongue to natural wines and brunch.Read More
The 16 Best Bites in Laval
From heaping Armenian dishes to small plates of seasonal food — there really is something for everyone in Laval
1. Oregon Bar à vin
QC H7L 2Z9, Canada
The hottest Laval opening in 2017 was this wine bar from five restaurateurs who call the suburb home. Located in a strip mall, the restaurant’s menu features local, seasonal small plates courtesy of Chef Paul Couture (formerly of Cabane Au Pied de Cochon), whose deer tartare with chanterelles and sumac and grilled octopus with confit potatoes alone are worth a trip to the end of the metro line. Sommelier Simon Boudreault’s wine list leans just as natural and biodynamic as any downtown spot worth its fleur de sel.
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2. Restaurant Vien Dong
This family-run restaurant — open since 2002 — bills itself as a healthy locale for fresh Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese specialties. Dishes worth leaving Montreal for include the steamed savoury rice cakes with shrimp and the flank steak served on a sizzling platter with sweet potato fries and a sunny-side-up egg. Many of Vien Dong’s dishes are also gluten-free or vegetarian (cooked without the use of fish sauce or meat broth).
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3. Au Biniou
Sometimes all you need is a solid bistro. Au Biniou has been just that in Laval since 1976 — changing hands only twice in that period, most recently in 1986. Lunch and dinner table d’hôtes and evening-only “gastronomique” tasting menus feature classics including boudin noir, lamb shank, and foie gras torchon with homemade brioche. The restaurant is also known for its professional team of career servers and for selling a selection of its wines at SAQ prices, including a Quebec Vidal.
The downtown Mexican restaurant’s first off-island location brings its much-loved al pastor, baja cod and crispy cauliflower tacos to Chomedey. The rest of its fusion menu (think cornbread and Mexican general tao) and large Tequila list also made the jump.
5. Lucille's Laval
This NDG oyster bar and seafood restaurant is now the best bet in Laval for seafood towers, lobster rolls, surf and turf and New England-style chowder. The main difference from the original Monkland location is the addition of a kids’ menu and couple more seats (thanks to a covered seasonal terrasse.) There’s also a separate outdoor ordering and pickup area reminiscent of the company’s catering food truck — perfect for Laval parking lot tailgating.
6. Restaurant Pho Mymy
With three locations across Montreal, it seemed only natural for this Vietnamese pho restaurant to eventually cross into Laval, bringing its extensive menu of beef-based noodle soups with it. In addition to various combinations of rare beef, meatballs, and tripe, the menu also includes a specialty sprimp and vegetable pho and giant bowls of comforting, pork-based bún bò huế.
7. La bête à pain (Laval)
The lauded Ahuntsic bakery from Chef-owner Marc-André Royal (Le St-Urbain) has spread both south and north in recent years, bringing its exceptional bread and pastries first to Griffintown and then to Laval. The expanded space allows for more leisurely lunches, brunches and afternoon snacks served with coffee or natural wine. Items from Le St-Urbain also pop up on the local, seasonal bistro menu, including sustainable albacore tuna niçoise, textbook beef tartare, and braised piglet risotto with black truffle and toasted pine nuts.
8. Bottega Pizzeria
Fabrizio Covone’s Neopolitan pizzeria in Little Italy is credited with starting the 90-second wood-burning pizza oven craze in Montreal when it opened back in 2006. The equivalent upscale-casual Laval outlet is an equally smart business venture, catering to the area’s large Italian community and its many Italophiles. The “supple yet resistant” pizza dough comes topped with Neopolitan-sanctioned toppings, including San Marzano tomatoes and Italian mozzarella for its menu of red and white pies.
This downtown chain brings upscale vegetarian cuisine to the Centropolis with vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, beet tartare, vegan cheese plates, burgers and poke bowls. The restaurant features the same organic wine and beer list, smoothies, cocktails, brunch options and Instagrammable blue lavender lattes with pea flower powder — just with better parking.
10. Café Ricardo Laval
The second location of the St-Lambert daytime-only café brings Quebecois celebrity chef Ricardo Larrivée’s crowd-pleasing recipes to Laval. From muffins and banana bread to quiche, general tao chicken meatballs, avocado toast, veggie chili, and eggplant parmigiana, the café serves up well-styled plates of the latest comfort food trends. The menu is rounded out with double-decker cakes, local beers and ciders, and cocktails mixed with Quebec spirits.
11. Miss Wong
This 14,000-square-foot restaurant from The Lucky Bell Group (Le Blossom, Kamehameha Snack-Bar, Le Golden Dragon, Le Red Tiger) is a throwback to the former elaborate and enormous Chinese and dim sum spots of San Francisco’s Chinatown circa the 1960s. The winner of Eater’s Design of the Year award in 2018, the restaurant’s aesthetic is as much of a draw as its fried chicken dumplings and bao cauliflower with honey mustard and Chinese pikliz.
12. Westwood Bar & Grill
A5 Hospitality, Groupe Midway, and Groupe Harden are behind this California-inspired restaurant in Place Bell. Designed by Zebulon Perrón, Westwood is one of the sleekest spots north of the Prairies River — think potted plants, wood, and leopard print on wave-inspired banquettes. Executive Chef Olivier Vignault’s Asian-French menu includes filet mignon carpaccio with salt-cured egg yolk; tempura shrimp maki; black cod with grilled carrots; and roast pork with star anise-infused sweet soy sauce (as prepared by Chef de Cuisine Jonathan Fournier and Sushi Chef Pinou Thong). There’s indoor valet parking, which is equally important for many in this traffic-crunched area of Laval.
13. Restaurant Rouby
Don’t let the strip mall location fool you: Restaurant Rouby is well-worth a visit. In an already shawarma-heavy area, the menu at this family-owned Lebanese and Armenian restaurant stands out. On offer are classics like hummus, fattoush, and stuffed grape leaves, alongside a not-to-be-missed Armenian Aleppi Mortadella with wine and lean ground beef and a pressed beef basturma.
14. Christina's Cuisine
QC H7W 1T3, Canada
At this old-school Greek counter restaurant, the daily specials are plated and on display when you enter, which makes choosing between deer stifado, moussaka, drunken lamb, or pasticcio more visual. Best to bring friends and order it all — prices are low and servings are generous.
15. Chef Kebab
Chef Kebab is the go-to spot for hard-to-find, traditional Lebanese and Armenian dishes like veal brains or tongue in garlic-lemon sauce and olive oil-sautéed chicken livers with red and green peppers. Best, there are six variations on fried kebbé, with either beef, spinach or pepper paste breaded in rice, potato or cracked wheat.
Joseph and Steve Eliopoulos’ Greek restaurant might not get points for presentation, but you don’t come to Tripolis for the garnishes. You come for giant portions of fried zucchini, grilled octopus, avgolemono lemon and egg soup and lamb chops (which you can order by the kilo and come with just the right amount of char).
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