Photo cred - Cathy Danh
Undoubtedly, the Old Port is one of the most beautiful destinations in Montreal. It is the poifect place for people watching, relaxing, shopping, enjoying sunny days by just meandering, and yes you guessed it, dining! Whether you’re from out of town or a Montrealer born and raised, this area is bursting with la crème de la crème of the culinary world. Many of the chefs are local and national celebrities in and outside of the food network. So pick up your forks and knives my friends and dig in to this list of 10 Vieux Port venues!
Restaurant da Emma777 Rue De La Commune W Montréal, QC H3C1Y5
This restaurant is famous for being located in the basement of a building that housed the first women’s prison in Montreal! If a cell block offered such authentic Italian cuisine, I think we’d have more criminals. The setting is intimate, with old stone walls and wooden beams. They feature pictures of stars who have dined there over the years so pay attention to their walls. In the summer, you can enjoy your meal on the terrasse.
Mercuri645 Wellington St Montreal, QC H3C1T2
Any real foodie will know the name of Joe Mercuri. And if they don’t, they should. A graduate of the Pearson cooking school program, he went on to work at Lucca, Mediterraneo and Cube before opening his own restaurant, Brontë, in the fall of 2003. If there is one thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the exquisitely and beautifully plated dishes. He might be the Michelangelo of the kitchen! Oh, and they’re as much appealing to the eye as they are appetizing to the stomach.
Le Bremner361 Rue Saint Paul Est, Montréal, QC H2Y 1H2
Set in a sweet spot on St-Paul street near the Bonsecours Market and identified only by the word “Restaurant”, Le Bremner will turn you on in more ways than one. Danny Smiles, Chuck Hughes’ protégé and former Top Chef Canada finalist, whips up the perfect culinary storm. For those of you who thought Garde Manger was good and were asking about its sister, well here she is ready to treat and satisfy you.
Garde Manger408 Rue Saint François Xavier, Montréal, QC H2Y 2S9
From the dark roadhouse decor to the sleek fully stocked bar, this trailblazing resto lives at the heart of Vieux-Montréal. Food television star owner and chef Chuck Hughes and his staff will give you all their culinary loving for as long as you can last. His generous portions will massage your appetite and have you moaning for more. Signature dish, you may ask? The legendary “lobster poutine” that beat the kitchen G-d known as Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America.
Gibby's298 D'Youville Pl Montreal, QC H2Y2B6
Looking for some history? The 200-year-old building has converted stables, an iron gate, a beautiful courtyard in the summer and stone walls. Inside the darkly lit rooms, the atmosphere is lively and equipped with fireplaces and a cocktail lounge. The menu consists of steaks, seafood and fish, served in, and we stress, generous portions. The famous garlic pickles begin the meal, along with homemade bread with bacon bits and butter.
Le Club Chasse et Pêche423 Rue St-Claude Montréal, QC H2Y3B6
Maitre ‘D Hubert Marsolais and chef Claude Pelletier continue to offer an artful homage to surf n’ turf. This restaurant is French culinary refinement par excellence. Located between rue St-Paul and rue Notre-Dame, it is a true treasure to be discovered in the venerable Vieux Port and the perfect choice for your romantic tête-à-tête. You enter by going down a small flight of stairs into a dimly lit, low ceilinged, intimate atmosphere. Each table is lit by its own halogen lantern. The mix of stone and painted grey walls had me feeling as though I was being transposed into a sexy 1940s film noir.
L’Orignal479 Rue St-Alexis Montreal, QC H2Y2N7
Situated on a small, quiet Old Montreal street, you are first faced by a wooden door adorned with a small, ornate head of a moose. As you go down the stairs, you are welcomed by the fresh smell of cedar and enter a dimly lit restaurant that exudes a cozy lodge feeling. Can we say cabin fever? Portion perfect and there are lots of great game meats, like venison, to try.
Taverne Gaspar89 Rue de la Commune East Montreal, QC H2Y1J1
Set in a building that’s over 150 years old, it’s vibe is more modern than it is historic. Most important thing to mention: great cocktail menu, heavy on the whiskeys and scotches. Thursday is their big night with specials on drinks and oysters ($2 each) so expect a bigger crowd and Wednesday is live music night. Hungry? Beef tartare, BBQ Bourbon Bacon cheeseburger, prosciutto wrapped chicken, anyone?
Le Serpent257 Rue Prince Montreal, QC H3C1T6
People highly anticipated the opening of this restaurant because of the involvement of Le Club Chasse et Pêche and Michele Mercuri, Joe Mercuri’s cousin. High expectations to say the least. It is located in the Darling Foundry visual arts center and it’s off the beaten path location makes any guest feel like they’re in the know. The menu at Le Serpent is divided into raw and cooked appetizers, pastas, risottos, fish and meats. There’s also a section called “à la broche” (rotisserie) that changes daily. Desserts are made by the pastry chef Masami Waki (Club Chasse et Pêche and Le Filet). Don’t you want to be part of the club?
Kitchen Gallerie Poisson399 rue Notre-Dame Ouest Montreal, QC H2Y2H2
Their specialty? You guessed it: les poisons, les poissons. Hehehe, honhonhon! Sebastian and Flounder dance merrily into the pits of your stomach. Now this is a Disney story anyone with a growing appetite can wholeheartedly follow! Crab cakes, lobster ravioli and rainbow trout sound like the perfect combination for a delicious menu, wouldn’t you agree?
Written by Amanda Fulginiti, see more of her work here or here.