Air Canada's new restaurant ranking reads like an in-flight menu where Montreal spots have landed in first-class. After a covert food critic crisscrossed the nation, Montreal emerged as a star, with six of its freshest eateries landing in the top 30. As we eagerly await the top ten reveal this fall, Montreal's culinary prowess is clear.
Among the showstoppers is Montreal's first-ever Korean bistro-style restaurant in Saint-Henri and an industrial-chic locale in the Plateau serving eclectic dishes to only a few dozen diners a night. For those looking to dine sky-high, here are some of the best new restaurants in Montreal to touch down:
Where: 3401, rue Notre Dame Ouest
Reason to go: Steps away from Atwater Market, 9 TailFox has set up shop, blending a chic Montreal bistro vibe with Korean cuisine. The restaurant is helmed by chefs Jongwook Lee and WonGoo Joun, who've sharpened their knives at notable city establishments like Big in Japan, Cadet, Maison Boulud, Pastel, and Pullman. Their meals are less about the usual bibimbap and bulgogi, however, and more about innovation — think burrata, paired with kimchi tomato and sourdough bread ($16). There's menbosha on the menu, a fried shrimp toast with mango purée ($19) and bavette steak, complemented with perilla chimichurri ($34). The octopus, prepared with a gochujang romesco and Brussels sprouts, is an instant favourite ($17). Pasta enthusiasts will love the homemade Kalgukso fettuccine with mussels and zucchini ($19). And for the perfect endnote, there are desserts like opera matcha and pecan pie ($12 each). With sleek interiors of black chairs, wooden tables, and hanging plants, dining here is a fully immersive experience.
Where: 271, rue Saint-Zotique Ouest
Reason to go: Reviews consistently highlight Anemone's standout feature: its open kitchen concept. With culinary mastery on full display, it bridges the gap between chef and diner. Despite its top-tier food offerings, the restaurant remains unpretentious, with service that is attentive and warm. The wine list delivers a curated selection of raw wines and the menu is an ensemble of flavourful compositions, including a selection of temakis — from Arctic Char to beef paired with smoked oysters and mixed mushrooms. Dishes span grilled zucchini with tabbouleh and lamb bacon ($17) and tagliatelle featuring lobster and dashi ($32). And for those with a sweet tooth, desserts like white chocolate with buttermilk and herbs ($15), or raspberries paired intriguingly with red peppers and chicken skin ($16), seal the deal.
Where: 4094, rue Saint-Denis
Reason to go: Reviews rave about this restaurant, with many deeming their meal there among the best they've ever had. The atmosphere is intimate and inviting, and the service is attentive without being intrusive. The highlight, of course, is the food. Everything, from sauces to presentation, is crafted with precision. For those seeking recommendations on what to order, the menu starts with the anti-pasti, a curated blend of charcuterie and accompanying sides. If seafood tickles your fancy, the cappellacci with its rich lobster and corn is a must-try. Seafood lovers will also appreciate the striped bass, prepared with a hint of roses and Quebec saffron. Chef Massimo Piedimonte's personal touch is evident, especially if you're seated at the bar, where you can watch him prepare dishes. Most everything is made in-house, down to the butter. Just be prepared for smaller portion sizes, since it's about quality over quantity.
Le Molière par Mousso
Where: 1560, rue St-Denis
Reason to go: This Latin Quarter restaurant is quickly establishing its reputation as a destination for those seeking hearty, skillfully crafted French cuisine. From the consistently praised mashed potatoes to more intricate dishes, every plate showcases a dedication to quality ingredients and authentic preparation. The creamy vichyssoise ($14) is a soothing start, while seafood enthusiasts can indulge in the sumptuous oyster Rockefeller, offering six delectable pieces ($25). Meat aficionados often opt for the beef tartare, paired seamlessly with crispy fries ($32). On the sweeter side, choices range from the classic profiterole ($16) to the colorful millefeuille adorned with fresh fruit ($16). But it's not just the food that leaves an impression. The staff are known for their professionalism and warmth, ensuring that every visitor feels welcomed and well-served. The interior has a refined charm, capturing the spirit of a traditional French brasserie while bringing a touch of modern flair.
Where: 4001, rue Notre-Dame Ouest
Reason to go: Saint-Henri's latest gem, Le Bonheur d'Occasion, seamlessly transitions from a cozy café by day to a vibrant eatery by night. Nestled in a quieter side street, its expansive terrace offers a respite from the city's bustle, allowing patrons to immerse themselves in the allure of al fresco dining without the usual din of traffic. When it comes to food, reviewers rave about the freshness and vigor of the dishes. The shrimp earns particular praise, and the steak, reminiscent of char siu, is a delightful surprise. With an emphasis on local ingredients, the menu boasts generous portions designed for sharing, making it a group favorite. While some feel the portions may not satiate larger appetites, the dishes are impeccably crafted and resonate with flavour. For the wine aficionados, their curated yet affordable selection, both by the bottle and glass, complements the meals perfectly. And as the evening winds down, save room for their desserts, which have garnered a reputation of being simply irresistible.
Where: 586, rue Villeray
Reason to go: This Villeray restaurant champions a blend of French culinary techniques with local ingredients and sustainability. Patrons commend the unparalleled service, pointing out the staff's proactive approach and keen attention to detail. Interesting food combinations ensure a meal here is both a surprise and delight, with each side dish executed to perfection. Noteworthy plates include the veal with tuna and capers ($24), and the gnocchi paired with burrata and pesto rosso ($44). Whether you're in the mood for a tasting menu or prefer to order à la carte, you're in for a treat. And for those who enjoy pairing their meal with a favourite bottle, you can BYOW and there's a convenient SAQ located nearby.
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