Best Restaurants in Montréal

Montreal's Favorite Restaurants: Dine Out with Montrealers




Choosing restaurants in Montreal is a breeze. The most obvious method is to drop in to those that appear to cater to a local crowd and not just tourists! An easier method to choose your perfect dining spot is to follow my suggestions so you can reserve ahead, especially on weekends. Standards are generally quite high in Montreal restaurants and prices reasonable. Like most places, lunch is often the better deal.

Don't overlook local hotel restaurants especially if you hear a lot of French - because who knows food better? Consider restaurants a bit off the beaten tourist track too like those in East Montreal, The Village or newer hotspots like Griffentown and the Pointe St. Charles neighborhoods on the western edge of the city.

Quality restaurants with multiple locations like Premiere Moisson and L'Academie are not really chains and should not be regarded as such. Some of the fussiest palates on the planet live in Montreal making it almost impossible to get a bad meal here as Quebec in general and Montreal in particular limit large, international chain restaurants. Dining in Montreal is all about authenticity, quality and enjoying the dining experience. Montreal restaurants therefore become a tourist attraction in themselves. 


Arguably Montreal's best Lebanese, Aux Lilas, which opened in 1980, has earned a solid contingency of loyal regulars. You can come with a date or a small group and order nothing but mezzes (appetizers), or you can opt for the prix fixe menu. Either way, you will eat well. Be sure to try the tabouli, falafel and hummus, all of which are perfect renditions of the popular favorites. Qebbeh, sfiha and mouhammara are excellent as well. Soft lighting, delicate, antique tableware and flowing drapery create a romantic ambiance in a well-established eatery that offers dishes that are perfect for two to share.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A hip yet relaxed plateau neighborhood favorite serving high quality Lebanese food and drinks in an attractive space.

Sherel's expert tip: Sample as many of the smaller plates as possible for two people.

Read more about Aux Lilas →

The historic hole in the wall fixture on St. Laurent (The Main) offers only one real choice: the perfectly smoked meat brisket sandwich served with fries and a pickle best washed down with a cherry coke. It's cramped, noisy and the garish lighting encourages a fast turnover which is just as well as the line moves faster so more regulars can get their fix of this sweet and meaty deli treat. As might be expected, reservations are not an option but they're open seven days a week. The sandwiches are quite filling so sharing one is an option for those who favor lighter meals.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A Montreal institution serving the best smoked meat sandwiches since 1928.

Sherel's expert tip: Be ready with cash in hand at the checkout to accommodate those clamouring to get in.

Read more about Chez Schwartz Charcuterie →

Parlez-vous Francais? You will have a better time at this hip French Bistro if you do. Young, upwardly mobile Francophones flock to L'Express to see and be seen and to eat the best steak tartare et pomme frites on the planet or the tantalizing duck and foie gras. Calf liver, salmon and ravioli top the favorites list of this Plateau neighborhood haunt. All is washed down with a wide assortment of wine, including some good French vintages best purchased by the half bottle. A dessert of rich creme caramel tops off the perfect French meal.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: L'Express is a true French bistro offering solid value in carefully prepared food.

Sherel's expert tip: You may have to ask for directions as it can be tricky to find

Read more about L'Express →


Three different rooms - the largest for 70 diners, are equally created in terms of sophisticated decor. These spaces are enhanced by the addition of warm lighting and exposed brick. The historic walls, alcoves and skylights help showcase the finest epicurean delights of French cuisine which are presented on white china set on snowy linens. Snuggle into an intimate banquette for a romantic dinner of paired tastings or the table d'hote. Fine seafoods including succulent servings of lobster and shrimp set in a delicate cream sauce or delicate pastries are best enjoyed with a selection from an extensive wine list that features a range of international labels. C'est magnifique!

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: It's the perfect setting with great food and wine for a romantic night out.

Sherel's expert tip: Book early for the best choice of seating as the rooms are fairly small.

Read more about Bonaparte →

L'Academie focuses on great mussels (moules) with creative sauces. "Moules et frites" offers diners a large serving of steamed mussels in a variety of cream or tomato-based sauces.The best tomato - based sauce, a savory marinara, tops the "Moules Italien". "Moules Roquefort" caters to those looking for a rich, roquefort cheese sauce. With any dish, order an extra plate of the fresh french bread to soak up the extra sauce. Three floors filled with chatty patrons and waiters rushing by with generous platters make for a lively setting. Thursday night seems to be the most popular when service can get a bit slow. Reservations are recommended but the lines seem to move well should you show up without booking.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: L'Academie Restaurant Montreal is a great introduction to classic French bistro cuisine - at very reasonable prices.

Sherel's expert tip: "Apportez Votre Vin" or bring your own wine available at the liquor store next door.

Read more about Restaurant L'Académie-Montreal →

Mile End

At Milos, traditional Greek architecture meets raw industrial space that produces a casual taverna atmosphere. The understated elegance appeals to sophisticated diners thanks to the formal white tablecloths and well-designed lighting. Patrons can see the fresh fish resting on large ice beds and watch their food being cooked from the open concept kitchen. Tempura - like vegetables and saganaki cheese are fried just right to match the tender crispiness of fish selections lightly dusted with oregano and other spices. Portions of the "fish of the day " platters - sold by the pound - are large enough to share. The taramosalata, Greek sardines with lemon, oregano and olive oil, lamb chops, and avgolemono soup are all good too. The yogurt is made from local goats milk, and much of the produce and herbs are organically grown on regional farms.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Milos serves large portions of the best selection of fresh fish and seafood from around the world.

Sherel's expert tip: All inclusive lunch is 38.00 per person, dinner is 85.00.

Read more about Milos →

This popular spot for Qu–becoise cuisine caters to serious carnivores, especially pork lovers, for which the restaurant is famous. Chef Picard, an avid game hunter, has little patience for vegetarians. Ten choices of foie gras include a favorite atop a mound of poutine. "Duck in a Can" is stuffed with thyme sprigs, foie gras, carrots and celery delivered with a can opener. In keeping with the Qu–becoise theme, finish the meal with a slice of sugar pie. The noisy, convivial atmosphere is better suited to a night out with old friends than a first date. The later the evening, the livelier it gets. Reservations are highly recommended.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Au Pied de Cochon (Pigs Feet)is THE place to sample the best of Quebec meats and game.

Sherel's expert tip: To balance out the heavy meat and game menu try the melt- in-your-mouth tomato tart side dish served in an impossibly light and flakey pastry.

Read more about Au Pied de Cochon →

West Island

Mouthwatering dosas, made from lentil flour and stuffed with spicy potatoes, the crispiest this side of the world, are just one of the features of Bombay Choupati's predominantly South Indian menu. You'll also find samosas and pakoras, idli smothered in spicy sambal, and creamy rich butter chicken. Definitely off the beaten Montreal paths though, as it can be found on the west island, but certainly worth seeking out for lovers of all south Indian cuisine. Don't let the neighborhood or the physical appearance of the venue deter you from enjoying some seriously good Indian cuisine. Make sure to start with some Bombay bhel.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: It's a Montreal staple for the best in South Indian cuisine.

Sherel's expert tip: Don't let the neighborhood or the physical appearance of the venue deter you from some good Indian cuisine.

Read more about Bombay Choupati →

Boulangerie Première Moisson
Photo courtesy of Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose

With 24 locations throughout Quebec and Ontario, Montreal natives and visitors alike can always find a reliable outlet for breakfast and lunch at reasonable prices. Premiere Moisson (First Harvest) Bakeries can are found on trendy Montreal streets such as Sherbrooke, Mont Royal and Bernard. Attractive display cases crammed with pork and brie sandwiches crowd the olive sourdough rolls stuffed with sliced tomato, basil and bocconcini. Homemade cabbage rolls and lasagna served with soups are popular lunch and take out items too. The fussy Quebecoise palate demands quality, value-added ingredients like flaxseeds, oats and soy. True to its home-style roots, Premiere Moisson follows age-old baking techniques allowing bread to rise atop burlap in drawers without artificial heat or steam. Flavors develop naturally as does preservation qualities. The bread bakes on stone decks in non-polluting natural gas ovens that prevent the bread from drying out.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The 40+ breads contain unbleached flour, sugar cane, sea salt and filtered water with no fats or preservatives. Deli meats are naturally cured without chemicals.

Sherel's expert tip: For lunch try the thick slabs of toasted soy and oatmeal bread dripping with melted Quebec cheese. Follow with the maple pecan cream pastries or homemade chocolates for dessert.

Read more about Boulangerie Première Moisson →

For a great night out head to Le Boulevardier in Le Germain Hotel where excellent French brasserie-inspired dishes are skillfully prepared and paired with a good selection of wines compliments of an entertaining, fun and very knowledgeable sommelier. Some of our favorite foods here include the Joue et filet de morue or another cod dish --pan seared with honeynut squash and a shellfish emulsion. While seafood is a big draw here with scallop dishes and a linguine served with a cream of sea urchin and nori seaweed, imaginative vegetarian and meat dishes are also popular. The oyster and bubbly starter for two is a great way to ease into the intriging menu.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: This is French brasserie food at its finest made with top ingredients combined to produce interesting flavors at reasonable prices.

Sherel's expert tip: Book early for best choice of sittings.

Read more about Le Boulevardier Restaurant →


Meet Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a travel writer who specializes in golf, Montreal and Quebec, contemporary art, cycling and food and wine. Her articles appear on USA Today's 10Best,, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel