Chef Martin Picard's seven-year-old restaurant deserves all the plaudits it gets, thanks
to his instant classics like stuffed pied de cochon (pig's foot), duck poached in a
can and foie grastopped poutine (the signature Quebecois dish of french fries and
cheese curds smothered in gravy). Recently, Picard has been sourcing his seafood from Eastern
Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes, transforming his place into the city's finest fish
emporium from late spring through early fall.
We loved: Stuffed pied de cochon; duck poached in a can; foie gras-topped poutine; plateaux de coquillage (shellfish plates).
This unassuming newcomer in the residential section of the Plateau Mont-Royal has only 25 seats,
seven of them at a counter overlooking the open kitchen. Co-chefs Jean-François Cormier and
Sebastien Harrison-Cloutier bustle between the single oven and six-burner stove to cook bistro
dishes like roasted Cornish game hen with braised chanterelles and asparagus.
We loved: Scallop carpaccio with micro-cilantro and salmon roe; steak béarnaise for two with sautéed Chioggia beets, carrots, fingerling potatoes and wild mushrooms.
Restaurateur brothers Hugo and Patrick Duchêsnewho are also behind the relaunched La
Montéerecently debuted this charming wine bar in the Mile End area. Chef Julie Rondeau produces remarkable creations like a salad
with maple-syrup-glazed pork ribs and fingerling potatoes. Bouchonné's enthusiastic
staff will serve virtually any wine on the extensive French- and Spanish-focused list by the
We loved: Fennel salad with air-dried skirt steak; deviled quail eggs for 75 cents a pop.
With its young, energetic vibe, reasonably priced wine list and menu of small plates meant for
sharinglike chef Eric Bélanger's superb spicy cod frittersthis wine bar
(along with its neighbor Bouchonné) has made the hip Mile End area the city's newest
We loved: Butternut squash and broccoli rabe risotto; roast chicken (the house specialty), available in quarter, half or whole portions.
The original and still the best Montreal bagelsfresh, chewy and with a hint of
sweetnessare found at Fairmount. But steer clear of any of the concessions to
modernitylike the blueberry-and-flax bageland stick to the classics.
We loved: Sesame-seed and poppy-seed bagels.
Graziella Battista, formerly of the much lauded Il Sole, has quickly established her Old
Montreal restaurant as one of the city's finest modern Italian dining rooms. In a bright,
high-ceilinged space, she serves heavenly Grana Padano gnocchi and an ingenious take on
fonduta (fondue)melted cow's-milk caciocavallo cheese topped with
rum-soaked, practically paper-thin orange slices.
We loved: Duck carpaccio with pear mostarda (a mustard-flavored fruit conserve).
Chef-owners Mathieu Cloutier and Jean-Philippe St. Denis set up their 35-seat operation mere
yards from Jean-Talon, the city's biggest and best food market. With Axel Mevel, they handle
every aspect of running the restaurant, from selecting the wines and waiting tables to cooking
market-inspired French dishes.
We loved: Foie gras à la lave-vaiselle, which is poached in the steamy heat of a running dishwasher until it's incredibly creamy, then served with an aromatic pepper gelée; seared tuna with lardons, roasted salsify and a poached egg; lobster-stuffed ravioli with asparagus.
The latest venture by Samuel Pinard, the chef behind Réservoir, is this bright, spacious
restaurant in Mont-Royal East. A glass meat cooler displays house-made charcuterie and meticulously
sourced cutsthe backbone of the adventurous meat- and game-centric menu. Pinard's foie
gras torchon is quite possibly the city's best, especially when it's served with
homemade raisin-bread toasts, an iced honey sabayon and tiny cubes of honey gelée.
We loved: Venison carpaccio; veal sweetbreads "lacquered" with a sherry reduction and served on a puree of potatoes, parsnip and leeks.
This 20-seater is the newest addition to the mini empire that Fred Morin, David McMillan and
Allison Cunningham have built in the Little Burgundy neighborhood (they started with the much-loved
bistrooyster bar Joe Beef). The feel is luncheonette by day, wine bar by night, with a menu
of house-made charcuterie, affordable oysters and deluxe sandwiches. The best dish at the inspired
Saturdays-only brunch is sautéed shrimp with biscuits, poached eggs and a gravy loaded with
thick chunks of bacon. The original Joe Beefwith its delirious eclecticismseems to
just get better with age.
We loved: At McKiernan, chicken tikka sandwich served with two chutneys; the McKiernan salad with arugula, pickled yellow beets, blanched green beans and asparagus, tomatoes and Parmesan. At Joe Beef, signature lobster spaghetti made with a 2-pound lobster; massive roasted os à la moelle (bone marrow).
Montreal's great contribution to the world of delicatessen meats is smoked brisket, a
Romanian-Jewish concoction with Montreal roots that go back roughly a century, and Schwartz's
is a no-nonsense shrine to the real thing.
We loved: The "Insiders' Combo," a sandwich with full-fat or medium-fat smoked meat, half-sour pickle and hot pickled cherry peppers, served with french fries and a cherry cola.
Insider tip: Lunchtime is usually packed, so come after 2 p.m.