The Insta-famous foodie from Montreal @mtlfoodsnob shares the top restaurants she has discovered in Montreal.
Earlier this year, I did a shortlist of my favourite eating spots in Montreal.
My friend J, driven by a selfless desire to help me continually improved, provided the first feedback on the piece. "An, you're turning into a dinosaur. Your list missed 90% of what happened in MTL food scene of 2018". Fine.
I like my spots and I am loyal to those I like. That being said, I can appreciate a constructive feedback so here's my attempt to redemption.
Below you will find a different kind of Best of for 2019: I've gathered for you a compilation of all the restaurants I have yet to try and that have given me some serious FOMO on Instagram lately. These eateries all opened last year and three are actually still under construction. If you get the chance to try them before I do - please send me feedback @mtlfoodsnob.
Alright, ready to drool? Here ya go:
417 Rue Saint Nicolas, Montréal, QC H2Y 2P4
What's this: Think Kill Bill meets your favourite Izakaya. Perfect for an after-work casual bite and drink, Hanzō is from the same owner as Montreal's favourites japanese-inspired tuckaways Biiru and Gokudo. The decor is dim lighted with quirky neon signs.
On the menu: a delicate hamachi sashimi created in collaboration with Nick Liu, the hip Toronto chef from Dailo.
409 McGill St, Montreal, QC H2Y 2G3
What's this: Get ready to travel back in time to Bombay 1970. With vintage Bollywood posters and low-rise leather couches: Le 409 will bring you on a saultry adventure far, far away from the cold Montreal winter.
On the menu: a refined Indian menu concocted by the family behind Atma, Montreal's beloved Indian restaurant. Cockatil side, get your vitamin boost with the "Rabbit & Blaze", a healthy carrot-mezcal mix.
1231 Avenue Lajoie, Outremont, QC H2V 1P2
What's this: An intimate new wine bar with lots of soul and warmth.
On the menu: Catalonia-inspired, the menu showcases playful small bites meant to be shared with your latest lover. How about some elevated patatas bravas with grilled octopus? Pick out all the seafood and test the boundaries of your new beau. After all, you've chosen to come here to experience the Catalonian heat.
3439 St Denis St, Montreal, QC H3X 2L1
What's this: Can you describe how Sri Lankan food taste like? Well me neither, and I'm rather ashamed of it. Thankfully for us, there's a charming new venue up St-Denis. Prepare for lots of spices, coconut and rice. Ambiance wise, the wooden door frames and front ceiling windows give the spot somewhat of a Victorian chic-meets-your-aunty's-homey-feel. We're so excited about discovering this spot.
On the menu: the lamb Kottu Roti, one of Sri Lanka's most famous street food. At Nama, the dish took an impressive twist where a full lamb shank sits on a shredded coconut bread and vedgetables.
1650 rue Sainte-Catherine Est
What's this: It's a new hybrid species that combines the arts and a bright, seasonal menu. To dine at Bistro Pavillon is to be transported in one's own rom-com fantasy of boy-meets-girl (or boy-meets-boy or girl-meets-girl, or girl-meets-boys, you get the idea) in a cute art gallery, where they fall in love over ricotta raviolis.
On the menu: Brunch over freshly fried pears beignets or cold gravlax made of Quebec trout. They often combine their brunches with the launch of a new exihibit, so be on the lookout for those events.
406 St Jacques St, Montreal, QC H2Y 1S1
What's this: Warning: this is a real, swanky, spot! In Lesley Chesterman's words, "Even in a bigger and richer city, Monarque would be a showstopper". A French brasserie with 175 seat capacity, this place is grand, both in food and decor (Banquette someone? How about the large window into the back, with full view into the kitchen?)
What's on the menu: Your favourite French cravings: from deer tartare to grilled veal sweetbreads. To indulge while keeping your wallet safe, try coming for their lunch-time table d'hôte.
124 McGill St, Montreal, QC H2Y 2E5
What's this: While on the topic of fancy, let's not forget the latest darling of Montreal fine dining scene: resto Pastel. The location on McGill Street used to hold a Java U, but it's now home to one of the most impressive open kitchens in town. The latter is literally in the midddle of the restaurant, with every single pan and plating inthe sight of all. You'll walk by it to get to your table in the front, walk by it to go to the washroom, and it'll be right in your face even as you wait at the door. And each time you'll have a peak at what's on the fire, it'll trigger a new craving and you will have to order "one more of what's cooking there".
On the menu: There are options a la carte, but I'd recommend you go for the tasting menu. I mean, go big or go home right? The three course tasting menu runs at a lower price point on Wednesdays-Thursdays and Sundays.
5090 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, QC H4C 1T1
What's this: St-Henri hottest openining of 2018, Elena is from the same brainmasters that created the iconic Nora Gray. Since it's opening, Elena has been the talk of the town and beyond (Air Canada’s EnRoute Best of 2018? Hell yes!). Why? Because Elena offers a no frills, straight-to-the point, value proposition composed of pizza, coffee and wine.
On the menu: pizza, coffee and wine ;). I have my reso for tomorrow evening. Meet you there?
Vin Mon Lapin
150 Rue Saint-Zotique, Montreal, QC H2S 1K9
What's list: Also on Air Canada’s EnRoute list of the best of bestest accross Canada: Vin Mon Lapin. The latest posterchild of the Joe Beef mafia, Vin Mon Lapin has a seasonal menu based on what's naturally growing and offered in the markets of their adopted neighborhood, bustling Little Italy. Note that they have a no reservation policy, so send your butler to stay in line early!
On the menu: Lots of natural wimes and some killer earthy dishes to share.
224 Milton St, Montreal, QC H2X 1V6
What's this: Now, if you don't want to stand in the line in the cold, Mae Sri could be a great option for you. It just opened and displays a long list of comforting Thai broth and noodles. You don't even need to show up at their counter, just call for delivery and let your favourite beef soup do the winter treck to you.
On the menu: All the noodle soups you crave on a cold winter night. Spicy Tom Yum, earthy Kuey-Jab; I could continue copy-pasting this entire menu but won't. Here's the entire menu for your own perusal: MENU
La Cabane d'à Côté
3595 Montée Robillard, St-Benoît de Mirabel
What's this: Say you're not afraid of winter, you actually LOVE it. Then here's a fun sugar shack option for you: La Cabane d'à Côté. An hour ride East of Montreal, you'll find this gem right around the corner of famed Cabane à Sucre Au Pied De Cochon.
On the menu: Less extravagant that its over-the-top neighbour, La Cabane d'à Côté features a solid Québécois menu made of baked beans, tourtières and ragoût.
La Cabane du Coureur
158 Rang des Soixante, St-Marc-sur-Richelieu
What's this: If you mistakenly took a right turn and started heading West, no worries, I got another option for you. La Cabane du Coureur is a more upscale version of your traditional sugar shack. And rightly so because it's related to the restaurant of the same name who received in 2018 the prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award. If you're not familiar with the prize, think the Oscars of the wine world. The Grand Award is given to restaurant who displays an outstanding cellar (or one you'd want to rob and run away with).
On the menu: The Cassoulet royale (blade roast, sausage, lard, beans) or the Maple teriyakiable to choose between a 3-course meal ($39) or a 4-course one ($59).
4043 Ontario Est.
On the menu: The menu features a killer smoked-meat sandwich made of beef heart. Huntsman can take back to the Evil Queen all the lungs and liver he wants, but the hearts will be found at Le Flamant.
244 Saint Jacques, H2Y 1L9
What's this: A bright and shiny breakfast-coffee-lunch-spot where you'll be able to close your next big deal before everybody else's day has even started. Said to be influenced by a touch of Italian inspiration and a taste for modernity, Dandy is the baby of chef Michael Tozzi, formerly at Olive & Gourmand and Le Club Chasse et Pêche.
What's this: A boutique hotel tucked amid the breathtaking landscape of Saint-Adolphe-D'Howard. There's a river outside your window, the smell of fresh coffee coming from the kitchen. Downstairs, Catherine, the owner, greats you with one of the nicest smile you've ever seen. Breakfast is ready, and life couldn't be better.
Sounds fabulous, right?
And that's a wrap for my FOMO list of 2019. Anything I've missed? Anything you disagree with? Hit me up @mtlfoodsnob, would love to hear from you. On this, wishing you all a delicious 2019.