Friends, it's finally time. The moment we've all been waiting for. The end of 2015.
No matter how you feel about this year coming to an end, one thing's for sure: 2016 is going to be full of new adventures. And, sure, adventures might mean new relationships, or new life stages, or even new resolutions that you swear to keep but break after, like, three seconds. But for me, new adventures mean new places to go, new people to meet, and yes, new restaurants to try.
It's kind of bittersweet to look back and think of all the awesome restaurants 2015 had to offer this beautiful city of ours, though. If you're not like me and you don't think in food, it might be a little hard to keep track of all the awesome places Montrealers have had the privilege of knowing. But don't worry, friends. That's what I'm here for. Read on for the Best Montreal Restaurants In 2015.
Alright, I have a riddle for you. What do you get when fresh ingredients meet innovative dishes, a contemporary atmosphere, and just a dash of pure, concentrated happiness? Well, friends, you get Salmigondis. A Little Italy eatery boasting delicious dishes that pretty much explode with flavour, Salmigondis' brunch is a thing of straight up beauty. But then again, so is their dinner. Actually, everything - from their great service, intimate interior, and delectable dishes - can be summed up in one word: amazing. Also, protip: their gnocchi? Just might have turned me into the actual heart eyes emoji.
Photo cred - tanjayokum
2. Bouillon Bilk
Friends, has a restaurant ever made you weep tears of pure, unabashed glee? Actually, if you haven't tried Bouillon Bilk, then the answer to that question is probably a resounding "nope." Bouillon Bilk's menu boasts unique dishes that will literally (figuratively) blow your mind - and with fresh, top notch ingredients, unique combinations, and flavours and textures that meld together perfectly, it won't be hard to see that your meal Bouillon Bilk isn't just a meal. It's an experience. And it's an awesome one, friends. It's an awesome one.
Let's just get this out of the way right now: Jatoba is freaking gorgeous. The interior is the perfect combination of rustic, modern, and flat out beautiful; plus, with an intimate-yet-open atmosphere, the vibe lends itself extremely well for basically any sort of gathering. But let's talk about the star of the show: the food. Jatoba's menu features contemporary Japanese dishes with vibrant flavours, fresh ingredients, and beautiful presentations. Also, it's my personal opinion that their Ginger Lobster dish is among the most interesting and delicious things I've tried in the city so far; but if lobster isn't your thing, their menu is chalk full of innovative twists on classic dishes. So, you know. Get there ASAP, my friends.
Has anyone else ever wished for a restaurant with amazing food, amazing portions, and amazing prices? Come on. Admit it. It's alright, because all of these wishes (and more) are a reality at Sumac. Now, I'm pretty sure Sumac is on every Montrealer's radar at this point - and if it's not, then it definitely should be - and honestly, one visit to this Sud-Ouestaurant (come on? Anyone?) will tell you very clearly why. In short: it is amazing. Offering a bit more options than your typical Middle-Eastern restaurant, Sumac's dishes are fresh, tasty, and always bursting with flavour. Protip: their falafels are unlike any other, but if you're in the mood to try something new, go for their Garlic Labneh. So much yum.
5. Sel Gras
Okay, can we just talk about the vibe at Sel Gras for a minute? Chic, welcoming and friendly, Sel Gras kind of feels like you're going to eat at your best friend's contemporary new condo in, like, the heart of the Plateau. Except the food is way better than anything your hypothetical best friend could cook up (sorry, hypothetical best friends - but it's the truth). Seriously, though, the food at Sel Gras? Extraordinary. The menu boasts classic dishes with modern twists, such as a butternut squash frittata and grilled swordfish with dill salsa - which, spoiler alert, is probably what heaven actually tastes like. Sidenote: don't worry too much when you start craving Sel Gras for every meal, since it's open for brunch, lunch, and dinner - meaning you can get your fix whenever you want to. Yassss.
6. Le Robin Square
Not going to lie, guys, the food at Robin Square is straight up amazing. Their menu boasts some seriously legit dishes, all courtesy of their simple and high-quality ingredients; and although you could pretty much point to anything on the menu and end the meal convinced that what you just had was the most delicious thing on the planet, I think their Mac and Cheese deserves a special shoutout. Seriously. It's got two different types of cheese and black truffle oil - among other heavenly ingredients - and is definitely one of the best Mac and Cheese dishes I've had so far. Also, I just want to mention the fact that Robin Square is totally family run. That's right. This cozy and vibrant restaurant is a family operation, friends, so you know whatever you're getting is made with love.
Photo cred - foodiedatenight
7. Nora Gray
Okay. Intimate and trendy atmosphere? Check. Fresh and high quality ingredients? Check. A unique menu that showcases mouthwatering dishes, creativity, and pure culinary talent? Check. Alright, I think it's pretty much safe to say that Nora Gray has everything you could possibly want in a restaurant - and more. And, hey, if you want a testament to how amazing Nora Gray truly is, just remember that their menu changes constantly, but their food is literally always amazing.
I don't know if I've ever said this before, but one of my (very many) life philosophies is this: if your tartar is on point, then your life is on point. And luckily, Leméac serves up some of the best beef tartar out there. It's literally life changing. But, you know, Leméac isn't just straight up amazing because of its tartar. Their delectable and exemplary dishes all feature fresh ingredients, brought together to create complex and tasty dishes. (Come at me, Panko crusted goat cheese salad.)
9. Saint Sushi Bar
When I say sushi, what comes to mind? Delicious? Fresh? Beautiful? If this is your criteria for awesome sushi, then you're in luck. Saint Sushi Bar pretty much goes above and beyond fitting the mould for amazing, to-die-for sushi. But do you know what else the sushi at Saint is? Friends, it's unique A.F. First of all, the majority of their sushi rolls are named after pop culture icons, which right there scores some major bonus points - but once you add that in with the fact that these morsels of awesome also feature some unique twist (here's to you, delicious yogurt sauce), you get a winning combination right there.
10. Joe Beef
Honestly, you can't talk about the food scene in Montreal without mentioning Joe Beef. Of course, this might have a little something to do with the fact that the food is literal perfection placed neatly onto a plate. The menu at Joe Beef changes constantly, but rest assured that no matter what you get, it'll pretty much be one of the best meals of your whole entire life. But don't take my word for it, friends: get yourself there ASAP and experience this food euphoria for yourself. Protip, though? Make sure to reserve well in advance.
11. Lola Rosa Parc
Real talk: those of us who live a vegetarian lifestyle are kind of really lucky to be in this city, because Montreal can proudly boast a whole plethora of delicious veg places to go and eat. One such delicious vegetarian eatery? Lola Rosa. Not only is the food fresh and innovative, but every single dish is consistently flavourful and delicious. Of course, shoutout to their ever popular nachos, which feature crisp corn chips piled high with melty cheese, creamy avocado, and tons of other tasty toppings. I don't know where I'd be in life without those nachos, TBH.
Photo cred - Miranda Cipolla
12. Yia Sou!
Okay, real talk, I could write a whole symphony about the food at Yia Sou. Seriously, everything at this Greek eatery is scrumptious, cooked to perfection, and oh-so fresh. Although their standard Greek fare is amazing (shoutout to the moist and flavourful lamb souvlaki that completely changed my life), Yia Sou also serves up some delectable dishes that generally aren't as widely served. Oh, and their calamari deserve a special mention. Moist, perfectly fried, and seasoned to perfection, these calamari take the crown.
13. Lattuca BBQ
Straight up, Lattuca is what barbecue dreams are made of. First of all, the service is super friendly, and the atmosphere? Casual, welcoming, and overall awesome. And, friends, the food is amazing. It doesn't matter what barbecued delight you decide on, because everything is super juicy, moist, and flavorful. But, protip? The brisket is out of this world amazing. Juicy, tender, and dripping with flavour, this brisket is among the best I've ever tried in (and out of) the city so far.
Okay, confession: sashimi is my weakness. So imagine my complete delight when I discovered that GaNaDaRa has a whole dish full of salmon sashimi; friends, no lie, I was over the moon ecstatic. The only thing that made me happier than this discovery? The taste. Fresh, a little lemony, and smothered in my other fave: fresh arugula leaves. The good news is that fresh salmon isn't the only thing they do awesome. Pretty much the whole menu is a testament to fresh flavours, innovative dishes, and awesome presentations. GaNaDaRa, keep doing you. You're killing it.
15. Hof Kelsten
First and foremost: Hof Kelsten is an amazing bakery. Seriously. Their breads will absolutely leave you flabbergasted, and if you're like me who tried challah bread for the first time at Hof - believe me, don't try it anywhere else, you'll just be slightly disappointed. With that being said, though, not only is Hof Kelsten one amazing bakery, but it's also one amazing restaurant. Specializing in brunch fare, their menu features fresh, delectable dishes - such as their out of this world french toast, made with generous slices of their equally amazing challah bread.
16. Maison Boulud
Have you ever tasted something and just known that someone put all of their effort into making sure that what you just had was perfect? At Maison Boulud, that's the kind of feeling you get all the time. First of all, the atmosphere strikes a perfect balance between upscale and friendly, making this an ideal place for a date. Or a get-together. Or a business lunch. Or a solo dinner, which is also totally fine - and which you'll be doing more of once you taste the food. Their ingredients are high quality and super fresh, and come together to make some of the most impeccable meals you'll ever taste (looking at you, Egg Yolk Raviolo).
17. Dinette Triple Crown
If you've been in Montreal for a little while, the chances are very high that you know about Dinette Triple Crown. Its popularity is well-earned, my friends, because honestly, this restaurant is amazing. I could write novels about how good their fried chicken is: moist, crisp, bursting with flavour (and just the right amount of spice), and graciously lacking the copious amounts of grease that make us all instantly regret downing all that fried chicken. Luckily for you guys, though, I'll spare you all the novel and offer up an abridged version: get there ASAP. Eat all the fried chicken you possibly can. Regret nothing.
Soubois. So hot right now. Sorry friends, I couldn't resist - but terrible SNL references aside, Soubois actually is one of the hottest places in Montreal at the moment, and for a few very, very good reasons. The atmosphere and energy make Soubois a perfect place to grab drinks and spend the night out in Montreal's downtown core; plus the decor is absolutely gorgeous and unique. But, guys, let's be honest - I think the food is what really makes Soubois stand out. Fresh, quality ingredients come together to form some of the most unique and tasty dishes out there (duck tartar? Outstanding), making Soubois a truly amazing dining experience.
19. Qing Hua
I've written about Qing Hua before, and after (yet another) recent visit, I realized just how strongly they need to be on this list. The dumplings there are top notch: piping hot and soupy, with skins steamed to perfection and giving way to flavourful and delicious fillings. I've tried almost every type of dumpling on the menu, and everything's been pretty much a hit - but, protip? The beef curry is completely out of this world.
Okay, straight up, Boustan is amazing. Their chicken shawarma will change your life for sure, but its best not-so-hidden secret? Definitely their amazing "creation" sandwich. One bite, and you'll understand very clearly why Boustan is among the top places to get rid of your craving for Middle-Eastern food in Montreal. Or, you know, just to get your food fix in general.
If Brunch Heaven was a place, Lawrence would be sitting on its own throne of fluffy french toast and thick, tasty bacon. Sadly, I made up Brunch Heaven. But thankfully, Lawrence is a real place - so in a way, Brunch Heaven really does exist. Don't let their amazing brunch options stop you from venturing into Lawrence for dinner, though. Their menus are inspired by traditional English dishes, and with fresh ingredients and mouthwatering offerings (like aged sirloin and braised lamb), there is really no way you can go wrong at this fine establishment.
Photo cred - montrealmaven
22. Le Red Tiger
Oh man. Okay. It's not very often that a restaurant hits the great atmosphere/great food/great drinks trifecta so perfectly, but Red Tiger? Yeah. It's got it going on. First of all, their menu boasts a solid selection of Vietnamese street food style delicacies; this includes things like balut, which is not a dish for the faint of heart (but is pretty good if you're down to give it a try). Don't worry if you're not into that, though, because other mouthwatering options at this comfortable, trendy eatery include things like Vietnamese style beef carpaccio, vegetarian imperial rolls, and mini vietnamese crepes. And if you're interested in washing it down with some alcohol? Their drink menu features yummy creations with a Vietnamese twist. All the yums? All the yums.
Okay, three words: pancakes and bacon. If that didn't get your stomach grumbling, I don't even know what to tell you. But if you are a reasonable person and that did get you just a tad hungry, then I've got some great news for you: Lili.Co's bacon/dulce de leche/pancake creation is out of this world. Of course, you know a place that serves up such a legit dish is going to be amazing in every other way, too, and Lili.Co is a very solid testament to that notion. Boasting a creative menu, a contemporary and welcoming atmosphere (with a bar!), and some very fair prices, I think it's safe to say that Lili.Co hits all the marks of an amazing place to eat.
OMG. Just straight up, OMG. First of all, I need to get this out of the way, so you guys know where I'm coming from: sashimi is my addiction. I know, it's kind of a weird thing to obsess over - but what can I say. It's who I am. And Park's fresh, melt-in-your-mouth sashimi? Believe me when I say it'll be among the best you've ever tried; but then again, this can be applied to pretty much anything else on the menu. Park's part Japanese, part Korean options are consistently fresh and delicious - and they get major bonus points for being presented beautifully, too. Get yourself there now, friends, and thank me later.
25. El Rey Del Taco
Friends, I'll be honest. Sometimes, when I eat a meal that's so delicious that I have to pause to mourn the fact that it'll be gone in about ten minutes, words fail me. My brain turns to mush. All I can focus on is the meal in front of me - and, confession time, this has happened to me more than once at El Rey. Their menu is huge and varied, boasting flavourful, fresh ingredients and traditional Mexican dishes. Although their tacos are extremely delicious - soft, fresh shells give way to the moist and flavourful ingredients inside - my personal favourite is their tamale dish. Too good to be true, friends. Too good to be true.
In all honesty, I think Toqué! is pretty much synonymous with the fine dining experience in Montreal. And for one very good reason: their food is amazing. Just amazing. Besides boasting a broad menu of unique dishes (scallops with apple water and gin? Um, yes please!), their food is consistently fresh, delicious, and downright impressive. Plus, their atmosphere? Friendly and warm meets upscale and trendy AF. Toqué!, straight up, you're winning.
Photo cred - zozoune
How could Beautys Luncheonette not make it on a list of Best Montreal Restaurants? Putting aside the fact that it's been around forever, and that it's been amazing for pretty much that very same amount of time, Beautys serves up an awesome brunch, an even better cream cheese and lox bagel, and a smoothie that's just straight up awesome. My favourite part about it, though? Definitely the atmosphere. It feels like Montreal's version of Monk's from Seinfeld - and that's a beautiful thing, friends.
Quick question: what do you get when you mix quality, freshness, and vibrant flavours? Lavanderia, friends. The answer is Lavanderia. This Latin American food haven is another delicious venture from esteemed chef Antonio Park, and everything - from the trendy, inviting atmosphere, to the perfectly charred chorizo sausages - is extremely on point. Run there, friends. Run there now.
29. Chez Tousignant
Alright, honesty time. There are many delicious casse-croûtes in the city, but when you think of things like poutine and hot dogs... well, the term "fine dining" doesn't exactly spring to mind, does it? At Chez Tousignant, though, it totally does. High quality, homemade ingredients meet your favourite comfort foods (think in-house made hot dogs with ingredients like cheese curds and meat sauce slapped on top) at this Little Italy eatery, making it one of the top places to grab a bite in the city.
30. La Banquise
Ah, La Banquise. You'd think after being in the poutine game for so long that they'd kind of lose their edge, right? Well, no. Not only does this Montreal institution consistently serve up an amazing poutine, but they also constantly create new poutine combinations. Add that in with an already huge poutine menu, and you have the recipe for one of the best poutine joints in Montreal.