Dine the French Way in Montreal for Plenty of Good Choices



Do you love French food? We do too, and that's why we dedicate ourselves to finding the best places to enjoy French cuisine in Montréal. We've diligently scouted out the top eateries, and we've listened to our readers and their reviews of Montréal restaurants. We share the places that get great buzz, like Bonaparte, and we showcase the ones that have proven themselves over time, like Laloux. We also point out good neighborhoods for French restaurants in Montréal. When the craving hits, we'll make sure you get your fix.

French food lovers are well-served in Montreal. We've discovered the top eateries in this catergory and are happy to share them with our readers. Here you'll find those places that everyone is talking about and those that have stood the test of time. From top bakeries to fine dining, you'll find some great dining suggestions here. We also point out the best neighborhoods for French restaurants in Montreal. From small intimate bistros to large chic industrial spaces and everything else in between, you can have your French food in a variety of interesting venues all over the city. And as to be expected, each of these restaurants have impressive wine lists - predominantly French - that include award-winning cellars.



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Les 400 Coups offers a wildly creative menu from an A-list team of chefs. Chef Marc-Andre Jette, pastry chef Patrice Demers and sommeliere Marie-Josee Beaudoin work closely to offer food found nowhere else in the city. The white beet soup with oysters, fennel and buttermilk will makes for a rich appetizer. The fish is outstanding. Past inventions include an Arctic char in a Peking duck bouillon or the Atlantic cod with honey mushrooms and cippolini onions. If you can't make up your mind, then try the 5-course tasting menu. The decor is reminiscent of Paris with its dramatic black walls, pressed tinned ceilings and white marble bar. It's the place to soak up the sophisticated ambience of Vieux Montreal. Note: you'll be dining with Montreal's beautiful people.


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Le Locale

 

Located in the heart of Old Montreal, Le Locale turns heads with its industrial chic design incorporating a steel and orange color scheme, terrace dining and variety of bistro-style cuisine. An architectural piece of sheer brilliance, the building makes use of steel, concrete and brick in the large dining room. On a warm summer evening, try out the beautiful terrace seating, which is a perfect perch for people watching. An array of succulent meats and fish highlight the menu, including beef tartar and Atlantic halibut with grilled asparagus. If you crave something lighter, just order from the bar menu.


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Among Decca 77's laurels is a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence, a nod earned by maintaining multiple wine cellars with an inventory of over 4000 bottles. Other unique assets include a cheese cellar and a stylish bar/lounge that's a hit with both the after-work crowd and the post-show contingent. The food is delightful, featuring fresh regional ingredients in modern French preparations. Dishes to try include pressed the foie gras with melon, skatefish terrine, veal osso buco, and seared salmon with celeriac puree. The good menu icludes À la carte and prix fixe options and a tasting menu also available.


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Leméac

 

To make an impact in this city of bistros, a newcomer must make itself stand out in some novel way. Leméac does so subtly â€" traditional dishes are given slight modernizations but nothing too brash. Their wine list is exemplary, and the service is friendly and adept. So, what's good? Try escargot with portabello mushroom-tomato ragout and basil butter sauce; or perhaps a boudin with celery root purée. Cornish hen with black olive polenta fries or venison with walnut-porcini crust and liquorice sauce make excellent main courses. Best bets for dessert include a dreamy Manjari chocolate tart with ginger ice cream.


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Alexandre & fils

 

Best suited to a business lunch - especially for those who prefer to end their meal with a fine cigar and a good quality whiskey. With more than two decades of experience behind it, this French brasserie is a Montreal favorite. Its relaxed but sophisticated ambiance includes a central bar and a variety of decorative mirrors. The menu features traditional bistro fare, such as steak and frites, cassoulet, sausages and sauerkraut, and a selection of seafood dishes. When the weather's warm, the terrace invites guests outside to dine on wicker chairs and bask in the sunlight. In the evenings, the restaurant's second floor becomes a pub, serving draft and imported beers. Great for casual get-togethers.


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This restaurant introduced the world to the often-overlooked Québecoise cuisine and received beaucoup kudos. Chef Martin Picard has created some cheeky signature dishes centered on foie gras. There are 10 choices in including the much in demand poutine topped with foie gras. Another amusing dish is the Duck in a Can, half a duck breast stuffed with thyme sprigs, a large piece of foie gras, carrots, celery that is, well, served in a can. The staff will bring you a can opened free of charge. If your arteries aren't too clogged, go for one of the delicious pies: either apple or the sinfully decadent sugar pie. You'll have to go for a walk after your meal.


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Boulangerie Premiére Moisson

 

All 17 locations offer an impressive array of up to 40 artisan breads from which to choose for your lunch of pork and brie and other mouth-watering sandwiches. An eye-popping array of gorgeous pastries served up with a strong coffee insures this boulangerie - bakery is as much a delight for the nose as it is for the stomach. Other good light lunch options include soup, quiche and salads, leaving plenty of room for the hand crafted chocolates. Try the sea salt caramels or the Valrohna for the ultimate decadence. A wide selection of pies complete the mid day meal.


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The younger sister of Toque, this bustling eatery sits squarely on the site of the Jazz Festival and just about every other major Montreal happening which is reflected in the constant stream of diners. The food is good, the service quick and the buzz of conversation presents a real party atmosphere. The free spirit of Executive Chef André Sterling shows up in the otherwise standard French menu items that have garnered the restaurant a Diner's Choice award from Open Table for such dishes as a Shrimp guedille, the Montreal sausage and quinoa salad and a confit salmon served with fennel.Seasonally fresh products, homemade charcuteries and tartars are a trademark of this eatery.


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This fabulous French bistro can be hard to ferret out, but locals provide good directions, and the end result is definitely worth the effort. The place is as devoted to its locals as they are to it, and a familiar ambience pervades the space. The cuisine is well-crafted, based on rich flavors and simple ingredients. Steak tartare with pommes frites is a classic, and you'll also find calf's liver in tarragon sauce, salmon, well-filled ravioli, and duck foie gras. A good selection of wines, including a number of French vintages, complement the menu, and desserts add a sweet note of completion.


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Laloux
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ranger

 

Despite some ups and downs over the past few years, Laloux has survived and is now helmed by wunderkind Danny St. Pierre and pastry chef extraordinaire Patrice Demers.The traditional French cuisine of yesterday has given way to a more modern taste. You might start with scallop carpaccio served with a lime and avocado vinaigrette, or a boudin tart. Main courses range from saddle of rabbit with carrots and Savoy cabbage to roasted guinea-fowl with chanterelles and white asparagus. Desserts deserve just as much attention here. From light and fruity to dense and chocolaty, standouts include pineapple sorbet with passion fruit foam, and chocolate pot-de-créme with caramel and salt.


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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, About.com, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel

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