One cannot help but feel a sense of Québécois pride when local establishments make their way onto renowned rankings. The latest: Air Canada and OpenTable's new list of the best restaurants in Canada in 2021 where, of the nine winners, three are from Quebec.
So, if you're wondering where to get some of the best meals in the country right here in la belle province, these are three Quebec restaurants worth looking up.
Tropikàl was ranked the "Best Trailblazer" out of all new Canadian restaurants that opened this year — and it's the only Montreal spot to have made the list! As a restaurant that celebrates Caribbean, Afro-Latin and West African history, the ranking states that you can feel "a carnival-like energy that resonates in chef Jae-Anthony Dougan's cooking." Plus, it's got a stacked cocktail menu, which you can never go wrong with.
Address: 980, ch. du Grand-Bernier, Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu, QC
If you're constantly searching for places that use only the freshest of produce, Bika Farm and Cuisine is your spot. Ranked "Best Farm-to-Table," the dinners made by Chef Fisun Ercan's are inspired by cuisine from the Turkish Aegean coast.
Haitian-Canadian Jean-Philippe Vézina won "Grower of the Year" in Air Canada and OpenTable's best new restaurants ranking. His farm, Les Jardins Lakou, may not exactly be a restaurant, but it offers weekly vegetable baskets that include jicama, sweet potato, giraumon (turban squash), amaranth, okra, collard greens and African spinach, so you can make your own fresh and delicious meals at home.
It's been two days since news broke that Joe Beef founder and acclaimed Chef David McMillan was quitting the restaurant business after 32 years, rocking Montreal foodies to their core. Now, his partner and co-founder Chef Fred Morin has taken to Instagram to respond.
McMillan announced that he had sold his shares of his restaurants in an exclusive interview with the Montreal Gazette, which quoted him as saying "I never want to shave white truffles on to asparagus for someone from Toronto ever again in my life." In the article, McMillan describes himself as "burned out." The article notes that he plans to spend more time on his farm and with his family.
"We all have pandemic stories. After this amazing career, I was racking my head against the wall trying to figure out what I could sell online to pack in an aluminum box to deliver or to have picked up [...] I was trying to figure out a way to make crispy potatoes ride in an Uber. The whole experience was demoralizing," McMillan told the Montreal Gazette's Bill Brownstein.
"I just became angry. Angry at the door, angry at the refrigeration technician, angry at the dishwasher machine, angry at the price of meat, angry at the young chefs, angry at the older chefs."
Morin, who, according to the Montreal Gazette, bought McMillan's shares along with fellow co-founder and co-partner Allison Cunningham, took to Instagram on Saturday morning to respond to McMillan's decision.
"David has decided to retire for reasons that are his own. We chose to continue, to keep shaving those truffles, to move forward one oyster at a time. [...] Our restaurant's success is owed mostly to our staff's personalities, kindness and professionalism, and of course to our customers, from every area code!" he wrote.
"When I look at these wall[s], the only thing I see is a great place for floral wallpaper and a few more hanging copper pot[s]."
Joe Beef is iconic to the Montreal dining scene and was named one of the world's best restaurants in 2015. It's credited with playing a large role in the resurgence — or gentrification, depending on how you see it — of Little Burgundy, the neighbourhood where it opened in 2005.
In addition to Joe Beef, McMillan formerly co-owned Le Vin Papillon, Liverpool House, McKiernan, and Vinette.
The snow has officially fallen and so many of us are already fed up with the cold. Since we all know we're going to have to endure it for months on end, many of us are already planning our escape to warmer climates.
No time to waste — now seems like the perfect time to book a trip because Air Canada's Black Friday sale is on and you can save up to 40% off on vacation packages.
Okay, so you just tried your first — or four-millionth — goat curry dish, and the thought of eating anything other than Caribbean cuisine for the rest of the week simply won't fly. Thanks to Montreal's thriving Caribbean community, this city is full of top-notch Caribbean food spots to try... but where to start?
We enlisted the help of one of Montreal's favourite chefs, Chef Paul Toussaint. Toussaint, formerly the executive chef at Haitian eaterie Agrikol, is now the owner and executive chef of Kamúy, a hot Caribbean restaurant with rave reviews. If anyone knows where to get good Caribbean food and ingredients in this town, it's Chef Paul Toussaint.
You'll also find him at the Eaton Centre's Time Out Market where he "serves up his home country's savory and comforting cuisine, from crackling griot with piquant pikliz and fall-off-the-bone pineapple-and-rum ribs to sides of accra fritters and fried plantains," the website says.
Here are his picks for the best places to get Caribbean food essentials in the Montreal area.
Address: 2287, rue Guenette, Saint-Laurent, QC (but products are available throughout the province)
Why You Need To Go: "There are a few must-haves when prepping a Haitian dish: one of them being djondjon! The edible black mushroom is often found in northern Haiti and used as a delicacy in some Haitian dishes. One of my top djondjon can be found at Red & Blue Distribution Inc., one of our city's most renowned Haitian distributors," Toussaint told MTL Blog.
Address: Five locations in Montreal, including Lasalle, Laval, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Léonard and Dollard-des-Ormeaux
Why You Need To Go: "When cooking with fruits and vegetables, a pro-tip is to always cook with fresh produce for optimal flavours. My favourite place for fruits and veg is Sami Fruit, who always have fresh produce and make sure to deliver them at great prices. My go-to selects — plantains, malangas, yucca, sugar cane, passion fruit and their many varieties of sweet potato," said Toussaint.
Why You Need To Go: "I get many of my meats at Champfleury Butcher Shop, offering local artisanal production, optimal tenderness, and classic French butchery. If you're looking for great meats, every day the Champfleury team prepares fresh, simple and comforting products for you. My meat pick-ups usually include their Quebec farm-raised chicken and eggs, beef from Gaspésie, lamb from the Eastern Townships and all their homemade sausage prepared by Dominic, Alberto and the rest of their amazing team," Toussaint said.
Why You Need To Go: "Seafood is an essential part of Haitian cuisine, often incorporating fish and shellfish in meals. My favourite seafood shop is Casablanca Fish Shop, offering flavourful and fresh produce — perfect for cooking with! I especially like their Lambi, Haitian Conch and spicy Haitian lobster!" said Toussaint.
Why You Need To Go: "Haitian restaurants in Montreal are known for their authentic meals that will make you feel right at home! One of my favourite restaurants is Steve Anna Restaurant, where I can always count on a good authentic Haitian meal to recharge my batteries. I especially love their legumes or griot dishes. Also their fried beef. Everything is amazing there, it's hard to pick a favourite dish!" Toussaint told MTL Blog.
Why You Need To Go: "My go-to spot for the tastiest Guyanese cuisine. The food is fantastic. I would suggest ordering any of their dhal puris or their goat curry. Their mango hot sauce is also to die for," Toussaint said.
The team behind iconic Montreal nightclubs École Privée and Coda have opened a supper club called 212 in the heart of Old Montreal boasting an "immersive dining experience." Not knowing what the heck an "immersive dining experience" entails, I went to check it out — and if you're looking for a meal with a side of flair and pizazz, this is the place to get it.
Naturally, we started with drinks. The first cocktail to catch my eye was the 212 Spicy Margarita. I figured that a drink named after the restaurant means you're in for a treat, and I'm proud to say my theory was correct.
Moving on to apps, we ordered the tuna tartare, ceviche and a cauliflower roti. Have you ever had a plate arrive at your table and leave you in absolute awe? Not only were we so excited for the food, but the presentation was so gorgeous that we were overcome by the literal art that the kitchen had whipped up for us.
Once we were done marvelling at the dishes in front of us (and had obviously snapped some pics), we dug in. The only thing more impressive than how these dishes looked was how they tasted. We paired them with some wine from an impressive wine list, and we were in heaven.
As for the mains, we ordered some plates that really helped us tap into the creativity and luxury of 212. We tried the lobster linguine and duck confit caramelli.
I can honestly say I had to put down my fork after the first bite of each dish out of sheer wonder and excitement. They were that perfect mix of decadent and refined with just enough oomph to let you know you're eating something seriously special — just thinking about the server pouring bisque over my pasta makes my mouth water.
Brooke Walsh, 212 owner and Montreal club scene royalty, told me he wanted to create a supper club where the food was the top priority — something he felt was lacking among supper clubs.
He said he brought in his serious network of club creators and designers (we're talking about people involved in Madonna's Super Bowl Halftime Show and Billie Eilish's last tour) to help with the decor and ambiance, which includes a super trendy mirrored art piece on the ceiling.
From the moment you walk in, you feel like you're part of an exclusive club, but in the friendliest and most inviting way possible.
An immersive experience we were promised and an immersive experience we did get. This is my new favourite spot for drinks, dinner and boozy brunch! Plus, now that dancing is on the horizon for us in Quebec, you can bet I'll be dancing the night away at 212 after dinner and drinks very soon.