Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
La Binerie Mont-Royal
“Sticky gut-smacking poutine, bines [baked beans] and pudding chomeur [sugar upside-down cake].”—Maria Francesca LoDico, editor, Montreal Zagat Survey. The classic Montreal diner. 367 Avenue du Mont-Royal; tel. +1 514 285 9078.
Olive et Gourmando
“Practice ordering pain au chocolat or brioche in French; smoked trout sandwich worth squishing in line for.”—Sarah Musgrave, author, Montreal Resto à Go-Go: 200 Cheap and Fun Places to Eat and Drink in Montreal, 2007 edition. Old Montreal boulangerie (bakery) beloved by visitors and locals. 351 Rue St. Paul O.; tel. +1 514 350 1083. www.oliveetgourmando.com
Montreal Pool Room
“Order a quintessential Montreal-style ‘all-dressed steamie’—vinegary coleslaw, mustard, onions, and relish, no ketchup.”—David McGimpsey, food and travel writer, The Globe and Mail. Low-rent hot dog purveyor on “the Main” since 1912; unused pool tables, after-bar crowd. 1200 Boulevard St. Laurent; tel. +1 514 396 0460.
Schwartz’s Original Hebrew Deli
Schwartz’s has smoked the meat daily since 1928 for lineups that stretch down the street. Required stop for any visitor to Montreal. Tip: Sandwiches are ordered “fat,” “medium,” or “lean;” hand-sliced meat comes stacked high, accompanied by rye bread slices, a mustard squeeze bottle, and a cherry coke. 3895 Boulevard St. Laurent; tel. +1 514 842 4813. www.schwartzsdeli.com
Tripolis Souvlaki Restaurant
“The best Greek salad in town; daily chef’s lunch specials to die for; like eating at home in Greece in a taverna with my family.”—Theo Diamantis, sommelier and co-founder, Quebec wine website. Simple family-style diner in the heart of Greektown, open very late on weekends; octopus, lamb chops, and skewered sweetbreads perfectly grilled over charcoal. 679 Rue St. Roch; tel. +1 514 277 4689
Leméac Café Bistrot
“Really well-made classic French food; open late; satisfies midnight cravings for rillettes (preserved meat) and chèvre chaud (goat-cheese salad).”—Theo Diamantis. Lively, airy spot on elegant shopping street; set multi-course menu for $22 after 10 p.m. 1045 Avenue Laurier O.; tel. +1 514 270 0999. www.restaurantlemeac.com
“The most garlicky garlic chicken anywhere; walls are decorated with snapshots of Céline Dion because it’s her favorite restaurant.”—David McGimpsey. Family-run Lebanese restaurant in business since the 1970s; the best shish taouk in a very shish taouk town. 519 Rue Faillon E.; tel. +1 514 276 8310.
“Specializes in bio-dynamic, organic, artisanal natural wines; 90 percent private imports mainly from France.”—Theo Diamantis. Wine bar open from cocktail hour to all hours, full of hardcore wine geeks and other bons vivants; downtown location near festival grounds and music venues; tapas menu. 3424 Avenue du Parc; tel. +1 514 288 7779. www.pullman-mtl.com
Au Pied de Cochon
“Comforting Quebecois farmhouse cooking; foie gras prepared all ways, as appetizer, side dish, and main event.”—Maria Francesca LoDico. Plateau haute-bistro went supernova when celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain proclaimed it his favorite restaurant in North America; chef/founder Martin Picard considered a young lion of Quebec’s culinary new wave—his foie-gras poutine is a necessary excess. 536 Rue Duluth E.; tel. +1 514 281 1114. www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca
Definitive Montreal brasserie name-dropped in films, literature, and popular music; handwritten menu just like in Paris with white tablecloths, mirrors, noise level, and service to match; kitchen open late to accommodate après-théâtre rush for classic steak-frites; cold meat plates accompanied by giant jar of all-you-can-eat house-made cornichons (mini sour pickles). 3927 Rue St. Denis; tel. +1 514 845 5333.
Les Trois Petits Bouchons
“Homemade charcuteries (delicatessen) and classic duck confits, seasonal menu, fantastic wine list.”—Theo Diamantis. Rustic French cuisine on the stylish French stroll—a new favorite. 4669 Rue St. Denis; tel. +1 514 285 4444. www.troispetitsbouchons.com
La Montée de Lait
Tiny spot tucked away on tinier Plateau street; top-quality, market-driven cuisine at affordable prices; extensive list of wines by the glass specially picked to accompany menu. 371 Rue Villeneuve E.; tel. +1 514 289 9921
Chef Normand Laprise is considered the founding visionary of Quebec haute cuisine; teetering stacks of local, hand-selected ingredients. The Cirque du Soleil of food, complete with acrobatic flourishes. 900 Place Jean-Paul Riopelle; tel. +1 514 499 2084. www.restaurant-toque.com
“Chefs Dave MacMillan and Fred Morin used to work the flashier circuit—their scene is now more blue-collar attitude [still] at blue-blooded prices.”—Sarah Musgrave. Capricious and fetishistic menu that showcases best possible ingredients from raw oysters to rooster-crown pasta; advance reservations required. 2491 Rue Notre-Dame O.; tel. +1 514 935 6504. www.joebeef.ca
Le Club Chasse et Pêche
“Feels like dining in a secret but oh-so-stylish den.”—Sarah Musgrave. Unlike other hunting and fishing clubs; named for traditions the chef flouts daily. A sly take on surf-and-turf that pairs a Kobe beef medallion with a stuffed lobster tail. 423 Rue St. Claude; tel. +1 514 861 1112. www.leclubchasseetpeche.com
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