The food scene in any city is a reflection of its population. Because whenever they migrate and settle, humans always bring their culinary footprint along. Simply said, food and culture are forever linked. And thank god for that.
First and second generation Montrealers are all grown up. And the Montreal resto scene is seeing the effects manifest right before their eyes. Propelled by a fleet of young entrepreneurs a new wave of restaurants is cropping up. With food inspired by the flavours and spirit of their roots, and more importantly, by a restless entrepreneurial drive and out-to-change-the-world millennial sensibility. Creating the perfect storm for a culinary revolution, right in our very own city.
Montreal - being the wonderful melting-pot of cultures that it is- is the ideal environment to cultivate the growth of this bold new culinary movement, but only if you actually take the time to visit these gems in person, that is. That said, let's wrap up the year with a bang! Here is our list of all the most important restaurants, bars and cafes of 2017.
For The Most Important Bars/Clubs, Click "NEXT"
Le Blossom Bar
Where: 1101 Maisonneuve East // Downtown
Type: Sake Bar
Why you should go: Le Blossom Bar literally has a tree planted right in the middle of the bar, reason enough to go. Also serving a modern menu of Japanese-style hand rolls and cocktails, perfect for a date.
Where: 5020 Rue Saint-Ambroise // St-Henri
Price: 💸 💸
Why you should go: Riverside St-Henri is a great place to check out if you are into the house/electronic music scene in Montreal. Serious Berlin vibes. Bringing it a lot of local and international talent, this place is the spot dance into the wee hours of the morning.
Les Street Monkey
Where: 3625 Wellington Street // Verdun
Type: Cambodian-style street food
Why you should go: Les Street Monkeys serves up Cambodian-style street food, small plates that are ideal for sharing, with beautiful-looking cocktails all wrapped up in a warm and charming environment.
Where: 436 Saint-Francois Xavier // Old Port
Type: Tiki-style resto/bar
Why you should go: They serve taste-bud exploding cocktails with full home-made popsicles inside. Enough said. Also, if you're feeling hungry, you can grab some healthy and wholesome food from their menu of Poke bowls to home-made flat bread pizzas.
Where: 4005 Notre-Dame Street West // St-Henri
Type: Wine bar
Why you should go: Brought to you by the same people who opened Ludger not to far down the street, Magdalena is a wine bar perfect for a low-key evening of bite-sized eats and wine drinking.
Le Cold Room
Where: Rue Saint-Vincent// Old Port
Type: Speak-easy cocktail bar
Why you should go: Le Cold Room is a little hidden gem, like most speak easy bars should be, tucked away in the heart of the old port. Serving up classic cocktails, of course. The whole experience is worth the trip.
Where: Quai Atwater // Little Burgundy
Type: Cocktail Bar/lounge
Why you should go: This floating cocktail lounge transports you to another place, making you feel like you're not in Montreal for a moment. Very Amsterdam. Unpretentious ambience, grab a spot on the roof in the summer time for a premium experience.
Where: 6388 Rue St-Hubert // Villeray
Type: Rum Bar
Why you should go: This place should make you feel all warm and cozy when it's -20 below outside. Or maybe that's just the spiced drum flowing through the veins. Regardless, this new spot is a must visit for all Rum-lovers out there.
For The Most Important Cafes, Click "NEXT"
Pandan Snack Bar
Where: 3504 Rue Notre Dame // Saint-Henri
Type: Malaysian-style snack bar
Why you should go: So excited to hear that the only place in Montreal that serves rolled ice cream in the summer has transformed into a snack bar for the colder months. Pandan snack bar will be serving delicious sweet and savoury snacks such as carefully and all home-made Popiah hand-rolls, a South East Asian speciality. So yummy.
Yoko Cheese Cake
Where: 1455 Peel Street // Downtown
Type: Japanese/cheese cake
Why you should go: You can tell a lot about the changing demographics of the city by observing what types of restaurant concepts are opening up. These fluffy Japanese cheese cakes are a must-try for all those out there with a sweet tooth.
Pigeon Espresso Bar
Where:1392 Maisonneuve West // Guy-Concordia
Type: Coffee Bar
Why you should go: Claiming to serve "the world's worst coffee" Pigeon espresso bar located in the heart of guy Concordia is a must-try for all the true espresso lovers out there.
Cafe De La Troisieme
Where: 4750 Rue Wellington // Verdun
Type: Cafe / Pastries
Why you should go: Third-wave coffee scene is booming in Montreal, a new place to check out for all the coffee lovers out there is in Verdun. Sharing space with a bookstore and house ware boutique, it's a great way to laze away an afternoon.
Where: 6151 Monkland Avenue // N.D.G
Type: Pastry shop / Cafe
Why you should go: This is a true pastry shop and bakery in the heart of NDG on Monkland avenue. No excess frills or try-hard Instagram decor, just a real and authentic traditional baked goods. For a warm and perfectly toasted baguette or croissant in the West, this is it.
Where: 4328 Saint-Laurent // Plateau
Why you should go: This is a cafe by day and bar by night. Or whenever you like to have drink, it's always noon somewhere, right? The decor is lush, warm and inviting. Kind of feels like your having a drink in a really swanky but retro-inspired Brooklyn apartment.
Where: 1202 Bishop Street // Downtown
Type: Italian cafe / restaurant
Why you should go: Serving classic light Italian fare such as paninis, pasta plates and pizzas by the square, this downtown Italian Cafe is a must-try for the downtown lunch crowd or students in the area.
Where: 2051 Rue De La Montagne // Downtown
Type: Cafe / pastries
Why you should go: The main attraction of this new spot is of course the beautiful, lush, and charming decor. In a sea of ever-growing generic Brooklyn-style wood and steel coffee shops with man-bunned baristas, this bright and airy gem stands right out.
For The Most Important Breakfast/Brunch Spots, Click "NEXT"
Barley Cereal Bar
Where: 2613 Notre Dame West // Little Burgundy
Type: Cereal bar / cafe
Why you should visit: There are too many reasons to list off as to why you should visit this place. To say it's because of the actual food isn't enough. It's the whole concept. From the actual food, to the environment - the whole experience from start to finish. Barley Bar truly brings a new wave of bold concept cafes into Montreal.
Where: 3612 Notre-Dame West // Saint-Henri
Type: Classic brunch
Why you should go: After almost 10-years of running success, the tried and true brunch institution of the Plateau L'Avenue, opens up a second location for Saint-Henri residents. This is a no-fail spot for a well-priced classic no-fuss brunch.
Macbar et Fromage
Where: 1345 Rue Ontario Est // Plateau
Why you should go: Although this isn't a traditional brunch spot per say, you can definitely chow down on some gooey mac n' cheese on a Saturday afternoon. That said, if you're a fan of anything cheese, this is the place for you to visit anytime of the week, not just for brunch.
Where: 5206 Saint Laurent // Mile-end
Why you should go: Relatively new to the Mile-End, Elda's Bistro opened up early in 2017. This is a must-try for modern brunch with locally sourced ingredients served in a contemporary atmosphere. PS. They are also open for dinner, obviously.
Where: 4615 Saint-Laurent // Plateau
Type: Melbourne brunch/lunch/coffee
Why you should go: Inspired by coffee culture of Melbourne, this new Plateau location is a must-try for all the health and whole food lovers out there. They serve brunch all weekend long!
Birona Hummus Bar
Where: 5417 Saint-Laurent // Plateau
Type: Mediterranean resto/cafe
Why you should go: It is said that the Mediterranean diet is supposedly the corner-stone of a healthy and well-rounded diet. Lots of good fats and oil. Well, there is no shortage of that at this mediterranean gem. If you're tired of the old eggs and potatoes for brunch, try something different and visit Birona Hummus bar in the Plateau.
Where: 5380 Saint-Laurent // Mile-End
Type: Cafe boutique
Why you should go: If you're looking for a good spot to laze away a saturday or sunday afternoon, look no further. This Mile-End spot is a cafe that serves up coffee and healthy light-fare, but also doubles as a boutique.
Where: 1486 Saint-Catherine West // Guy-Concordia
Type: Mediterranean-style cafe
Why you should go: Cafe Jouney is the perfect spot if you're looking for a slightly different brunch experience. They serve eggs but with a Mediterranean twist - accompanied by fresh and fluffy Maoushe straight outta the oven and a side of "lebanese cream cheese" Haloumi, it's the perfect combo.
For The Most Important Cheap Eats Spots, Click "NEXT"
Where: 83 Rue Saint-Zotique East // Little Italy
Type: South East Asian
Why you should go: Delicious, warm and comforting South East Asian curries, meats, and stews that hit the spot. The food is the main attraction. Get it at the counter with a bright turquoise tray and enjoy. Simple enough.
Le Neo Resto Meli-Melo
Where: 2466 Rue Belanger // Iberville
Type: Haitian / Antilles
Why you should go: Montreal just wouldn't be Montreal without it's Haitian community. Casual resto and speciality grocery store concept Meli Melo dominates the Haitian food scene in Montreal, and this year, they have expanded to a new location in Iberville. Serving the comforting and meat-loving traditional dishes we all love.
Where: 388 Rue Saint-Zotique // Petite Patrie
Why you should go: If straight-up tacos aren't reason enough to visit this joint in Little Italy, maybe the family-run and unpretentious vibes will convince you. Having opened late summer, the name of this place hits home, nicely wrapping up 2017. All puns intended.
Where: 1212 Mcgill College // Downtown
Type: "fast" health food/lunch
Why you should go: What happens when the fast food experience makes a baby with whole food and wellness lifestyle trend of 2017? Well, you get a concept like Montreal-born "fast food" spot Foodchain. Don't forget to sprinkle it with millennial-pleasing bubbly yet elevated graphics. Oh, and the food is actually really good too.
La Cabana De Danny
Where: 52A De La Gauchetiere West // China Town
Type: Chinese Crepes
Why you should go: If you want a taste of true and genuine Chinese street food, visit this little stand tucked away on De La Gauchetiere in China Town. They serve extreme mouth-watering sweet or savoury crepes, always to go.
Banh Mi Banh Yiu
Where: 255A Saint-Viateur West // Mile-End
Why you should try it: Other then the very cute word-play name - i'm a sucker for a good pun - this place is a must-visit for those Banh Mi fans out there. I don't think I ever met someone who didn't appreciate a good Vietnamese sub, if you've never tried one, then now is your time!
Where: 4609 Notre Dame West // Saint-Henri
Type: Ramen / Japanese (Vegan)
Why you should go: Ramen 9000 serves up a bowl of savoury and fragrant ramen that is - wait for it, 100% vegan. However, all you meat-lovers can have choice of egg or added beef, if that's what floats your boat.
For The Most Important Restaurants, Click "NEXT"
Where: 66 Saint-Viateur // Mile-End
Why you should go: This is a part of a new-wave of Caribbean spots hitting the scene in Mile-End. Lloydies - originally a Jamaican Patty purveyor - has now expanded into the restaurant business.
Where: 75 Shamrock Ave // Little Italy
Why you should go: The multi-layered, textured, and oh so flavourful Poke bowls, of course. You have several base options to choose from such as salmon or tofu, and a whole array of toppings to boot. Thanks to the fine attention to detail, the mouthfeel on theses babies is A M A Z I N G. Super up-close picture included above.
Where: 3279 Rue Saint-Jacques // Saint-Henri
Type: Eastern European/Polish
Why you should go: If you're a fan of transitional polish delights such as sausage and Perogies, then this new Saint-Henri spot should be your next place to try. The atmosphere is sleek and modern, with fine attention to detail at every glance.
Where: 5207 Saint-Laurent // Plateau
Type: Japanese / ramen
Why you should try it: Well, as if savoury and decadent ramen bursting with umami wasn't reason enough to try a restaurant, maybe the warm, woody and inviting atmosphere will convince you. The food is really the main attraction here, though.
Where: 5674 Monkland // N.D.G
Why you should go: Casual and classic hearty Italian eats that always hits the spot. Oh, and brunch. This place started as a sandwich stand in NDG during the summer time and is now a full-time restaurant on Monkland Avenue in the location of former popular brunch-joint Prohibition.
Where: 5626 Avenue Monkland // NDG
Type: Modern bistro
Why you should go: NDG is poppin! Serving a seasonal menu in a laid-back but trendy atmosphere with a dash of elegance, Hopkins is just what Monkland village needed. I might be a little biased, though - this is my neighbourhood.
Where: 305 Saint-Catherine West // Downtown
Type: Wine Bar / bistro
Why you should go: In the heart of Montreal's festival neighbourhood, Le Blumenthal is designed to give that instant jaw-dropping "wow" factor. Seasonal specialities from the kitchen are brought to you by ex-chef from Montreal bistro staple Le Meac. Just another reason to go.
Les Enfants Terribles
Where: 1 Place Ville Marie // Downtown
Type: Bistro / bar
Why you should go: The brand new location of Les Enfants Terribles opened in Place Ville Marie this summer. For all the business lunchers of this massive iconic Montreal series of sky scrapers and those who want to plan an extra-special evening for a group of friends, or a romantic evening for two. This is the spot.