Owing to recent additions and beloved classics, you'll love dining in Montreal this season
We’ve always eaten well in Montreal, but with construction cranes, slick condos and new businesses pushing into every corner of the city, now it’s possible to eat well everywhere. Here are five areas to explore, and what to eat and do there, on your next trip, for the MTL à Table dining festival until November 11th, perhaps?
Hoogan et BeaufortTo dine at Hoogan et Beaufort, look for the roaring fire: a massive wood-burning grill is the heart of this airy brick room, part of the Technopole Angus complex (a former CPR warehouse, and later a fire station) in residential Rosemont. Brick-shaped loaves of charred focaccia with a schmear of salt-and-peppered butter are essential, with a starter of meaty blanc de gris oyster mushrooms made meltingly smoky under a blanket of Quebec Louis d’Or cheese. Mains like suckling pig, beef short rib and lamb get touched by fire and served with killer sides, like the ricotta-stuffed cappeletti that come with a fit-for-sharing rib steak. This latest hit room from chef Marc-André Jette (formerly of Les 400 Coups) draws weekend brunch crowds, too.
Hoogan et Beaufort, 4095 Molson Street, Montreal
IN THE ’HOOD
Cul-secFrom the Rosemont Metro station, walk a few blocks to Cul-sec (“bottoms up”) Cave et Cantine, a tiny, chic wine bar with cool local microbrews and—the new new thing—Quebec-produced wine, plus the best and quirkiest natural wines from around the world.
Cul-sec, 29 Beaubien Street East, Montreal
2. Gay village
Facebook/Le MoussoIt’s not just for drinking and partying anymore: the Village is now home to fine dining at Le Mousso, where the tasting menu feels like a Michelin-starred dining adventure—without the long flight. On stone-inspired dinnerware that feels both prehistoric and entirely modern, dishes like a kholrabi sunk in a fragrant pond of ham broth and lobster three ways are presented like artworks—no coincidence, since chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard is the grandson of famous Quebec artist Jean-Paul Mousseau (Gramps' vibrant back-lit murals emblazon the dining room). The more casual Le Petit Mousso is adjacent.
Le Mousso, 1023 Ontario Street East, Montreal
IN THE ’HOOD
Tourisme Montreal/Lynn HabelYou should still drink and party a little in the Village. Tucked into a ramshackle little former house, Agrikol is a rum bar stocked with exotic bottles from around the world. Order “Le Setup,” a mix-your-own Ti Punch cocktail with rum, limes, cane juice and syrup for flavouring your drink to taste (and a disco ball in the room next door if you have a taste for dancing).
Agrikol, 1844 Amherst Street, Montreal
3. Little Italy
Kitchen GalerieRight near the city’s top fresh market, Kitchen Galerie serves casual French-inflected neighbourhood cuisine with inspired touches. Octopus gets dressed with a burst of popcorn foam, and the chef’s meaty cut of smoked salmon is touched with maple. Steak, short ribs, boudin and pork shoulder are on the hearty winter menu; get the dense chocolate financier cake with salted caramel for dessert.
Kitchen Galerie, 60 Jean-Talon Street East, Montreal
IN THE ’HOOD
Francis LachaineJean-Talon is a must-visit market: get your tourtière spices at the Épices Cru stall and browse Le Librairie Gourmande cookbook store. Eye-graze condiments, meat, cheese, beer and wine at nearby gourmet food and wine shop Le Marché des Saveurs du Québec for a crash course in the province’s gastronomy.
Jean-Talon Market, 7070 Henri-Julien Avenue, Montreal
4. Parc Jean-Drapeau
Société des Casinos du QuébecGet off the island of Montreal—and onto the tiny Île Norte-Dame—by dining at L'Atelier, the only Canadian restaurant by the late chef Joel Robuchon (located within the Montreal Casino, a stone's throw from Habitat 67 and other vintage Expo and Olympic landmarks). Try not to stuff your face with four types of petite, irresistible house breads—you’ve got up to a dozen courses coming. Don’t miss the egg “mimosa,” a tiny caviar and crab-stuffed gem, or the signature filet of bison tenderloin and foie gras, magically fused together in one delicious slice. For dessert, the Wonderland-like spotted toadstool made of white chocolate and surrounded with a terrarium’s worth of incredible, edible treats is a must.
L'Atelier, 1 Casino Avenue - 5th floor, Montreal
IN THE ’HOOD
Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau/Gilles ProulxThis island and neighbouring Sainte-Hélène are part of Parc Jean-Drapeau, where you can hike, row, rock climb and—in the winter—ice skate. For indoor thrills, catch a show or test your luck at the casino.
5. Old Montreal
Facebook/Restaurant MonarqueIn an area already entrenched as a dining mecca, an insider (that is, Caroline Khangi, whose actual job title is “Insider” at the nearby W Hotel) whispered that the place to be right now is Monarque, an impossibly chic brasserie with its own a dry-aging meat locker and a long, sleek all-day bar. From Niçoise salad to bouillabaisse or roast chicken, all the classics are present, dressed up for the pretty people who party here.
Monarque, 406 St-Jacques Street, Montreal
IN THE ’HOOD
Facebook/Phi CentreEscape reality at Centre Phi in a dozen different ways, at the Virtual Reality Garden. Experiencing the world’s best virtual reality films and experiences (such as the Canadian premiere of Spheres, the three-part production executive produced by Darren Aronofsky and narrated by stars like Jessica Chastain—it merely tackles the creation and destruction of the universe) is a trippy, dippy way to spend an afternoon.
Centre Phi, 315 Rue St-Paul West, Montreal