For most people trying to stay health conscious, the quintessential "cheat" day is one day of the week that you let go of all inhibitions, and dive right into your favourite foods, irrespective of the calories involved. I personally like to call this my treat day instead, because, for one thing it sounds more positive, and second, I think we should all treat ourselves a little more. That's where these restaurants come in. They've got tons of delicious, creamy, salty and sweet creations that veer as far from your diet as humanly possible. And guess what? That's ok - because what is a cheat day for if you can't go all out? Time to indulge, friends.
1. Ma Poule Mouillee
What to get: 1/2 chicken with poutine on the side
Honestly, just the name Ma Poule Mouillee elicits hunger in the stomachs of anyone looking to satisfy their grandest cheat day fantasies. The great thing about it, though, is that if you happen to be with a friend who doesn't want to cheat with you (to which I ask, are they really a friend?), there are some lighter options, such as just the chicken and some salads. Pro tip though, for all those looking to get the full experience here: they won't turn your order of fries into a poutine, so you have to order the poutine separately. But since their poutine is on par with their amazing Portuguese chicken, you definitely have to try it - so just order a small one on the side, along with your 1/2 chicken order.
2. Don Taco
What to get: A burrito
Ok, I know the title of this place has taco in it, and I know this photo depicts the delectable tacos they serve, but you simply must get the burrito here. It may feel like you're going against the grain, but trust me, it'll be worth it. The portions are huge, the ingredients are fresh, and out of the few pickings for authentic burritos in Montreal, Don Taco does them arguably the best. If your cheat day includes Mexican cravings, you won't be disappointed.
3. Burger Royal
What to get: The "Mac Attack" mac n' cheese burger.
Guys, do you see this photo? This is not a drill. This burger is real. This is a real menu item that you can get at the amazing Burger Royal in the Plateau. The best part is, this out-of-this-world mac n' cheese burger is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your cheat day options here. Their burgers are so juicy and perfectly cooked, with a huge range of toppings to satisfy your every craving. Pro tip: if you really want to go all out, order the deep fried pickles as an appetizer. Cheat day done right, if you ask me.
What to get: The General Tao Poutine
Ok, I'll confess, I put Sesame on this list solely for their General Tao Poutine - but honestly, that's reason enough! This dish just screams cheat day. I mean seriously, when are you ever going to have the true will to consume a plate of fries smothered in gravy, cheese curds and the sweet, sour, crunchy awesome taste of general tao chicken? Aside from this dish, Sesame is a great option for the Asian food lovers in general. They've got something for everyone, cheat day or non cheat day.
What to get: Fried chicken tacos
If you want a super relaxed place to pig out, Icehouse is a great choice. It's very casual - as in you order from the chalkboard above the kitchen window rather than a menu - and the tacos run pretty cheap; 2 for about $8 is standard. This place boasts some classic tex-mex items, but the standout for your cheat day is definitely the fried chicken tacos. They showcase the fried chicken that Icehouse does so well, along with the yummy toppings that come with their tacos. Hang out, relax, and order tacos like a boss.
What to get: Fried chicken and challah french toast
Prohibition has so many delicious, cheat day-worthy brunch options, but the necessity here is their twist on the classic Southern chicken and waffles. Instead of waffles, they use maple-infused french toast - drooling already? Me too. If your cheat day lands on a Saturday or Sunday, come to Prohibition to start your day off right; filled with perfectly fried chicken and doughy french toast. Yes. Yep.
7. Diablos BBQ
What to get: Beef brisket
I mean, if BBQ fare and cheat days aren't a match made in heaven, I don't know what is. Trust me when I say Diablos has you covered on this front. Their beef brisket, a dish that's difficult to achieve perfection with, is done so well, smoked for hours and there to wow you into oblivion. Their sides are amazing as well, and they've got some inventive cocktails to go along with your meal. BBQ showing up to the party, am I right?
What to get: Shepherd's pie
You really can't get much closer to cheat day perfection than with Mache, a relaxed bistro on St. Denis that advertises themselves as a comfort food paradise. And they really are just that. To me, Shepherd's pie is the absolute pinnacle of comfort food; warm, full of flavour, and with textures that work so well together. Rest assured, though, that Mache will have other mouth-watering options to keep you coming back again and again.
9. Dirty Dogs
What to get: The Notorious P.I.G
Gourmet hot dogs piled sky high with toppings? Um, yes. Dirty Dogs does hot dogs right, and your new cheat day favourite, The Notorious P.I.G comes with pulled pork, caramelized onions, homemade BBQ sauce, pickles, and mustard. Decadent? Of course. Cheat day worthy? Absolutely.
What to get: Chocolate "bomb" dessert
Have you guys gotten over this photo yet? No? Don't worry, me neither. Here's the thing, this dessert bar serves the Instagram-famous chocolate "bombs", which we investigated in detail. If your cheat day means decadence, chocolate, or all things dessert, then C'ChoColat can fulfill all your dreams and wishes. They have mason jar milkshakes, cakes, gelato, and best of all, they have a super impressive collection of liquors and cocktails. Get chocolate wasted.
What to get: KD bacon balls
This is a bacon bar. A bacon bar. A. Bacon. Bar. I know I don't need to say more. You're probably texting your friend and finding a time to get here and eat all of the things. Everything, including their drinks, is infused in some way with bacon, and these KD bacon balls? They're basically everything your mom didn't let you eat growing up, rolled into one. If any place could be crowned the holy grail site of cheat days, Bar Brutus is it.