All too often you hear your friends raving about the latest great restaurant they went to, or read a review giving all the gold stars to some new eatery. And given the amount of places to eat in Montreal, hearing how about the incredible dishes of a new restaurant is nearly a daily occurrence.
Of course, you take all of these claims with a grain of salt, because all too often a restaurant is talked up, but once you eat there it doesn't quite live up to your expectations. It's a sad experience we've all unfortunately had to go through.
That won't happen with any of the restaurants below, because even though every single one is constantly said to be good, they're all actually amazing. Truly, only eating at these restaurants will prove each one is a star of the city's culinary scene, so get ready to get eating.
4675 Saint Laurent
In the two-ish years since Lili.Co opened up at its new location on Saint Laurent, the positive reviews have been nigh endless. From their unique brunches to delectable dinner services, no one seems to have a bad thing to say about Lili.Co. Even the interior, which allows you to see the kitchen staff in action, is highly praised.
But you know what? All that hype is well deserved, because Lili.Co truly delivers. After having the pleasure of dining at Lili.Co a month ago, I was taken aback by their fresh menu which features game meats prepared in ways you would never imagine. And with a seasonal menu that changes depending on what's in season, you're in for a new flavour experience with every visit.
Needless to say, Lili.Co deserves its recognition, and you'll no doubt agree after dining at this Mile End eatery.
Dinette Triple Crown
Ever since word got out that Dinette Triple Crown, an American BBQ joint in Little Italy, served its take out meals in ready-to-picnic baskets (complete with blankets) for you to take to the park across the street, Montrealers fell in love with the novelty. Folks were raving about the adorability of the experience, making sure to mention the food was pretty good too.
Expect Dinette Triple Crown's barbecue isn't just good, it's utterly sublime. Easily my favourite barbecue joint in Montreal (and we have some really great ones, arguably better than what you'd find in the states), DTC churns out the best fried chicken in the city. Don't forget the side dishes, either, because DTC's à côtés (like the hushpuppies and mac'n cheese) are the secret stars of the show.
3721 Notre-Dame W
With humble beginnings as a food stand in the Atwater Market, South Asian eatery Satay Brothers has become one of the most celebrated restaurants in Saint Henri. And while you've probably heard praise for Satay Brothers's laksa soups, steamed buns, and satay sticks, just know that any hyperbolic statement made regarding each dish is 100% accurate.
The laksa truly is the soup of the gods, the steamed buns are succulently fluffy like no other, and the marinated satay sticks are perfection served with peanut sauce. Not that you won't enjoy everything else on the Satay Brothers menu, because you no-doubt will.
4105 Saint Laurent
At times, the drinking element of Majestique, the resto-bar Saint Laurent just above Duluth, is highlighted more than the food, which is a travesty, because the seafood here is some of the best Montreal has to offer. Of course, the cocktails and drinks are great too, but they shouldn't overshadow Majestique's dishes like their exquisite (and rather large) octopus tentacles, seafood platter, and hot dog (yes, this is mainly a seafood spot but trust me, the hot dog is not a simple steamie).
It's not surprise that Majestique usually has a line out the door on a weekend night, but don't let that deter you. All the people waiting for a spot inside aren't just trying to get into a hip bar, they just know Majestique delivers on flavour.
Indian Curry House
996 Jean-Talon W
Parc-Ex is known for housing some of the best Indian restaurants in all of Montreal, and besides from perhaps Bombay Mahal, the Indian Curry House is often heralded as far above the rest. Of course, I was fairly skeptical given the deliciousness of the other nearby Indian eateries, but I can definitely say the Indian Curry House doesn't disappoint.
Interestingly, the Curry House doesn't show off its colours with popularized Indian dishes like butter chicken, but instead is stellar at preparing lesser known (at least to some) delights like the channa samosa, masala dosa, palak paneer (my personal favourite), and any sort of korma or vindaloo. You also can't go wrong with a very affordable thali platter, perfectly paired with a mango lassi.
60 Jean-Talon E
After brief closure to expand the space, Kitchen Galerie reopened its doors a few weeks ago, with plenty of hungry Montrealer clamouring to get in. Now with a kitchen three times the size of the original, Kitchen Galerie can no doubt meet the demand, but was all the waiting worth it?
The simple answer is yes, because Kitchen Galerie is back and better than ever before. Having already won numerous awards in years past, Kitchen Galerie lives up to its reputation, serving comfort food dishes like a pogo (for real) and short ribs to fancier fare such as the foie gras parfait and veal in blue cheese sauce. Kitchen Galerie even boasts classic-and-fancy fusions like the foie gras burger with mushroom confit and old cheddar.
Okay, so admittedly, it's ridiculous to talk about a hyped-up restaurant that I hyped up myself, since I wrote a shiningly positive review of Yokato Yokobai a while ago, naming it the best ramen house in Montreal.
The thing is, even after trying out many other ramen spots around Montreal, hoping to find one that could dethrone Yokato Yokobai, none could compare. Needless to say, this ramen house will deliver on flavour, no matter how good you think it's going to be.
Boasting a broth that is beyond divine, with a milky quality it was cooked for so long, and pieces of pork that quite literally melt in your mouth, a bowl of ramen from YY will warm you to your core. Remember to not overlook the appetizers either, because the chasu don (a pork-rice bowl) and karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken) are tasty enough to be a meal in themselves.
Lucille's Oyster Dive
Easily one of the busiest restaurants in Monkland Village, Lucille's is one of the most widely appreciated eateries in Montreal, not counting its other locations and food truck. Heck, even Dave Chapelle knew to head to Lucille's when he was in Montreal last summer.
That isn't to say all of Lucille's popularity isn't well deserved. Exuding an atmosphere that's both laid-back and slightly fancy, Lucille's menu will surely meet your expectations, whether you order fish or meat. Everyone talks about Lucille's lobster rolls, which live up to the legend, but less spoken of is the resto's fish tacos and ribs, the latter of which are better than what you'll get at a lot of BBQ joints.
Le Vin Papillon
2519 Notre-Dame W
Opened by the folks behind Joe Beef and Liverpool House about three years ago, Le Vin Paillon's reputation preceded itself before anyone even dined at the wine bar. I mean, when you're headed by two of the most well-known restauranteurs in Montreal, you need to live up to expectations. Le Vin Papillon definitely did, and continues to, wowing customers with its fresh dishes and many wines.
You've certainly heard Le Vin Papillon name-dropped several times on "best restaurant" lists, on this site and others, but the restaurant deserves the distinction. Every dish from Le Vin Papillon's ever-changing menu (written on a chalkboard) is brimming with flavour, all of which are served tapas-style and beg to be paired with one of the resto's organic wines. Just remember that Le Vin Papillon takes no reservations, so head there early, because it definitely gets packed quick, especially in the summer when the terrasse is open.
1650 Laurier E
Over the last ten years, chef Tri Du has wowed residents of the Plateau (and Montrealers at-large) with his expertly made and fresh sashimi, gaining him and his restaurant, Tri Express, quite the reputation. But a decade hasn't been long enough to slow down the man behind Tri Express, as the restaurant is still considered one of the best places for sushi and sashimi in the city.
Equally traditional and creative, the dishes served at Tri Express will wow you with every bite. The sheer deliciousness of the menu is made even better with the incredibly prompt service at Tri Express, which will have you mowing down on some high-quality fish in mere minutes. Reservation is required, though, because more than enough people know this restaurant is more than just good.
Six years ago, Kazu introduced Montrealers to its many delectable Japanese delights, cementing the area around Guy-Concordia metro as a new haven for amazing Asian eats (sometimes called Chinatown West). Montrealers are still in love with Kazu, proven by the fact that, should you ask anyone where to find the best Japanese food in the city, Kazu will surely come up. The adoration Montrealers have for Kazu is made even more apparent when you see the lineup for the restaurant that regularly forms on any given night.
The Don Budo, the gyoza, the salmon bowl, the teriyaki burger; order anything on Kazu's menu and you'll understand all the hype after a single bite. Small in size but huge on flavour, Kazu is the perfect example of a Montreal restaurant you think is good but is actually amazing.
4320 Saint Laurent
Pretty much every week, I get into a conversation with friends or coworkers as to where the best places for brunch are, in preparation for a weekend morning (or early afternoon) when in need of some comforting nourishment. And every time, one place comes to mind: Bagel Etc., the popular Plateau brunch spot on Saint Laurent.
The thing is, it's hard to convince people of Bagel Etc.'s quality, given how all brunch dishes kind of look the same. I get it, because yes, a plate of eggs Benedict or pancakes may look good, but how much better can it be at Bagel Etc. than other restaurants?
Plainly put, it's a lot better. There's a reason why Bagel Etc. is a favourite among locals (and even Leonard Cohen!), the brunch dishes are the ideal mix of quality and comforting. Every single eggs Benedict (served on bagels, of course) are pure magic, not to mention the huevos rancheros, my personal favourite on the menu. Plus, the home fries at Bagel Etc. are probably my favourite of all time.
You no doubt have your personal preference when it comes to brunch, and maybe Bagel Etc. won't be better to your taste buds, but I can confidently tell you the meal will be beyond good.