Montreal is home to many culinary institutions. This word has recently been abused by the blogosphere, so let's call them landmarks instead. Like an old but familiar lover, these are iconic restaurants we find ourselves constantly crawling back to, time and time again. Some have even been around for almost a century! No joke.
But when navigating the food scene in Montreal it's important to strike a careful balance between old and new. In other words, don't only run towards the gimmicky Instagram-ready spots that are opening left and right. The packaging might be pretty, but you can't always be sure that the inside lines up with the outside. Nope. However, if you only hit up your tried and true comfort spots, like most things in life - it would get a little stale over time.
In the spirit teetering between old with the new, here is a well-balanced list of old and new "must-try" spots to eat in Montreal.
36. Visit Cuisine Japonaise Cocoro in the Plateau for a warm bowl of savory and delicate Ramen
Visit Cuisine Japonaise Cocoro in Outremont to scratch your itch for delicious and savory Japanese treats. Every dish looks beyond tasty, and is sure to please the palette, check the link for more info!
35. Indulge in juicy and explosive dumplings at one of Qing Huas three locations
Dumplings are quite possibly the most addictive food available in the city, they will stay in your mind for weeks. Qing Hua has three different locations, so it's easy to get your hands on these soft pillows of goodness.
34. Chow down on authentic Eastern European Specialties until you can't move at Euro-Deli Batory
This unassuming Polish grocery store doubles as a casual restaurant serving up some fine tasting traditional Polish and Eastern European specialties such as borscht,perogies, stuffed cabbage rolls and much much more! Check out the link for more details!
33. For modern vegan try Restaurant LOV, a must try for all health-food lovers in the city
Restaurant LOV specializes in modern vegan and vegetarian dishes served up in a contemporary and sleek atmosphere. Visit their Facebook page for a little sneak peak and more info!
32. Japanese classic of Montreal Kazu still has a line up outside almost ever night
This Japanese spot opened just a few years back, and gained instant popularity due to the low-key environment and high-quality authentic food. If you haven't yet tried this one, it's a must. Check out the Facebook below for all the info!
31. Try a different brunch experience and get some Dim Sum date at Maison Kam Fung
I don't know about you, but a true brunch means stuffing myself silly over good conversation, with someone who has an equally ravenous appetite, of course. If you haven't tried it yet, hit up Maison Kam Fung and take nice long walk in China Town afterwards. So cute.
30. For some of the tastiest, inexpensive - Indian food essentials, check out Bombay Mahal Thali
This place will get you full to the brim for under 10 dollars. One of the best deals in town for Indian food and the quality/price ratio is unbeatable. Check out the Facebook for all the info!
29. Arguably the best Pho in the city, try a fragrant bowl at Pho Lien in Cote-Des-Neiges
Pho Lien is a little hole in the wall Pho place located right in the heart of Cote-Des-Neiges. This family-run joint has quickly become the place to go for the best pho in town. Great date night for a cold winter night.
28. For the best modern cocktail at Atwater Cocktail Club in St-Henri
Atwater Cocktail club always seems to have a lineup outside. That means it must be good, right? The atmosphere is romantic and laid-back. Perfect for a first date or night out with friends. Check out the Facebook page below!
27. Check out La Grenade in Plateau east for laid-back drinks and party jams
This east end spot is half indoors, laf outdoors making it an amazing summer drinking location, but it's equally as great in the winter. Serving classic cocktails and always playing good tunes. It's a great spot to start your night. Check out the link below for more info!
26. Visit local watering hole Bar De Courcelle in Saint-Henri for a laid back pint
Bar De Courcelle is the local joint in St-Henri that is the best for laid-back drink nights and zero pretension. Every time i go I end up meeting new people and having great conversation. Check out the Facebook page for all the info!
25. Check out Le Reservoir, a classic Plateau spot that never lets you down
Need a place to go on a date? Or drink alone? Drinks with a couple friends? No matter what the occasion, this Plateau staple always fits the bill. Trendy - but never pretentious. And the perfect combo of laid-back and cool. Check out the Facebook page below!
24. Grab a glass of wine at Bar Henrietta on Laurier Avenue
With an extensive wine list and classic cocktails with a modern twist, this bar is the perfect spot for anyone looking for a place for that intimate rendez-vous. The music funky but never too loud, great for long conversations over a bottle of wine. Check out the Facebook page below.
23. Check out Ping Pong Club in the Mile-End for good music and classic drinks
Ping Pong Club is a great place to start your night or end it with a dance party on the weekend. Serving up all your classic cocktails and also some easy bar food, it's quickly become a staple Mile-End spot. Check out the Facebook page below!
22. Visit tiki-style bar Le Mal Necessaire down in China Town
You can't miss the fluorescent green pineapple on the outside. When this place first opened that pineapple was plastered all over my feed. People have since calmed down on the pineapple, but the bar is just as popular. Check out their Facebook page for more info!
21. Catch a real Cappuccino at Cafe Vito - a corner spot located right in Little Italy
Good things come in small packages. In other words, this tiny coffee spot's size has nothing to with the quality of beverages offered. In fact, I would argue that they serve up one of the best cups in town. Visit their page below for all the details!
20. For a coffee and so much more check out Le Petit Dep in the Old Port
Le petit dep is found onstreet in the heart of the old port. Unless you take a minute to step inside, from the outside, you wouldn't assume they serve coffee. But you are pleasantly surprised once you enter. The coffee and baked goods are delicious.
19. If your taking a break from class stop by Pigeon Espresso Bar for a quick cup
Cafe Pigeon is right in the hear of the Concordia campus, but it's a tiny spot, so walk too fast and you'll miss it. This place is strictly about coffee, so if you're looking for an afternoon fix be sure to check it out!
18. For a hidden coffee spot for coffee aficionados check out one of Dispatch's several locations
This location of Dispatch coffee is truly hidden. You can find their wooden airy open interior on St-Zotique West, deep in the winding streets of Mile-Ex. With an actual menu of different beans and roasts to choose from, this place is sure to satisfy all you espresso-lovers out there.
17. Visit Montreal institution Cafe Italia for a Cappucino and Panino
Landmark coffee spot in the heart of Little Italy, Cafe Italia serves up - coffee of course, but also a small menu of classic and scrumptious sandwiches and italian treats, such as biscotti. Check out the Facebook page for all the info.
16. Pop into Café Névé for a cup and a delicious sweet treat
Café Névé is a great spot for a simple cup of coffee or a full blown brunch. It's also ideal for studying, they have a big table at the back and you can bring your laptop and stay all day. Visit their Facebook page for all the info.
15. Check out September Surf Cafe in Little Burgundy for a unique coffee concept
Stepping into this Cafe kinda makes me feel like I just teleported myself to Venice Beach California. A rustic but modern coffee shop in the front, with a full-view of the surf board workshop tucked in the back. Visit their Facebook page for all the info.
14. Have a Montreal-classic greasy detox brunch or breakfast at La Binerie
Montreal and greasy brunch go hand in hand. There are so many spots to choose from, but this week you should check out the Mont-Royal classic La Binerie. Because when you wake up on Sunday with your head pounding regretting that last shot, you're going to need some extra oily sausage and beans to wash down the vodka and questionable decisions.
13. Enjoy the weekend with a classic deli brunch at Snowdon Deli in Cote-des-Neiges
Snowdon Deli is a Westside institution. I'm a little biased because this is the neighbourhood I grew up in. This Montreal classic serves up some succulent deli items like smoked meat sandwiches, matzo ball, soups and deli meat rolls. It's a must try.
12. Visit Greenspot Restaurant for a greasy and classic deli breakfast
Steamy eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, pancakes - BRING IT ON. This is the best spot for that greasy breakfast that hits the spot. There won't be any color in your plate, just various shades of brown greasy goodness. More info below!
11. Stop by Vieux-St-Laurent in the heart of the Plateau for traditional diner breakfast
Wether you're into sweet or savoury breakfast, there is something tasty and awesome for everyone at VSL. The price is, also - insanely low. The "Welcome" place mats are very charming. Check out the Facbeook page for more!
10. Visit Cosmos Snack Bar in NDG for classic breakfast and "Casse-Croute" delights
This is an NDG staple that's been open since 1967. They make insane portioned breakfast food at great prices. Expect to wait a bit for a table, especially on the weekends. But it's worth it. Check the link below for all the details!
9. Grab a classic breakfast at Plateau East spot Restaurant Chez Claudette
Open 24 hours a day, this resto is a Plateau classic. They make classic eggs, bacon and beans dish that hits the spot every single time. Check out the Facebook page for all the info.
8. Visit the one and only Beautys Luncheonette for classic Montreal breakfast
The interior of this Montreal has not changed much since it opened it doors in 1942. You didn't read that wrong, this place is probably older than your mom. Which means it's a must visit for classic breakfast in Montreal.
7. Go down to Westmount to Chez Nick for a local diner breakfast or lunch
Another Montreal breakfast staple, the doors of this place have been opened for almost a 1oo years! That's pretty wild. I dare you to think of another restaurant that's been open for this long in the city. Difficult, isn't it? Definitely worth the trip down to Westmount.
6. For a casual Persian experience check out Chalet Amu Jan in NDG
Chalet Amujan is your classic hole in the wall that will leave you totally surprised. Completly unassuming from the outside, this little Persian joint will make you feel like you took a trip to Tehran and back. The food is fresh and cooked with love, and is also very reasonably priced. Couldn't ask for more.
5. For a tangy taste of Northern China check out Nouilles De Lan Zhou in China Town
Although Nouilles De Lanzhou is found on a main street in China Town, it's completely unassuming because on the surface it's just a couple tables scattered on top of the entrance of a grocery store. However, once your food comes you will realize this place is so much more. Choose your own noodle size, slurping encouraged.
4. For fresh Vietnamese - that's not just standard Vermicelli in a bowl - check out Restaurant Hoai Huong in Cotes-des-Neiges
Resturant Hoai Huong is a little off the grid, but so worth the trip. Located on Victoria Avenue Right next to Metro Cote Saint Catherine, this spot lives in a true local Montreal neighborhood. After enjoying a flavorful and aromatic bowl of Pho, you can spend the rest of your afternoon exploring a different part of town.
3. Indulge in juicy and explosive dumplings at La Maison De Mademoiselle Dumpling in the Plateau
Dumplings are quite possibly the most addictive food available in the city, they will stay in your mind for weeks. This little spot is tucked away on Plaza St-Hubert and is a must try.
2. Try some tasty Chilean specialities at Barros Luco in the Plateau
This place makes incredible little Chilean sandwiches that just melt in your mouth. It's set up so that you can sit down, or take out food for a quick but satisfying lunch.
1. For Eastern European specialities served up in a cafe concept visit Hof Kelsten in the Plateau
There's no table service here, just walk up to the counter to order and wait patiently for a tray to bring to your table. Cafeteria style. But like, a hipster cafeteria. If you have not yet been to this place, for at least a coffee, you're definitely missing out.