Jul 2, 2010

The best restaurants of Montreal: my personal favourites


By Alexandra Forbes

Today I got a call from my friend Alessandra asking me that age-old question: which are the best restaurants in Montreal? The list will obviously vary wildly depending on who you ask, but here is where I take my friends when they're in town visitting:

1 - Barroco

To me, the best steak in Montreal is their ribsteak with chimichurri sauce. The place rocks! Amazing service by barman Graham and co-owner Roberto in an intimate setting which is as cozy as it gets, in the heart of Old Montreal. Great vibe: dimly lit, stone walls, great-looking crowd.
Click here to read the full post.
Barroco: Rue St. Paul Ouest, 312, tel (514) 544-5800

2- Garde Manger

Some love it, some hate it - and I'm on the first team. Every time anyone younger than 40 asks me where they should go to eat well AND have a very fun time I answer Garde Manger without thinking twice. It's pretty much the only place I know that manages to walk the fine line that separates fun, clubby restaurants from clubs that try to serve decent food (hello, Velvet Speakeasy, hint, hint!). Booking a table or even a seat at the bar is a pain in the ass, to be perfectly honest - especially since chef and co-owner Chuck Hughes went from being a Montreal celebrity to a North American celeb-to-be (his TV show Chuck's Day Off has just been picked up in the U.S.). Don't let that obstacle stop you from going, though. The seafood platters, the oysters and the lobster poutine are amazing, the girls are gorgeous and the party, after 11, is as fun as it gets.
Garde Manger: 408, Rue St. François-Xavier, 678-5044
Click here to read the full post.

3 - Joe Beef

Joe Beef is that little place on Notre Dame St, a bit off the beaten bath, that has gotten a ton of press in the US, owned by that friendly ogre of a chef, Dave McMillan, and his partner Fred Morin. Now... surely, if you live in Montreal you're tired of hearing about him. But for those of you who don't: he's one of the city's best-known chefs, who, after leaving Globe (a hot spot of a few years ago, best known for the hot waitresses in tight dresses), went off to create his own mini-empire of hip little restaurants.

Turns out McMillan hit the jackpot with Joe Beef. It was an instant hit, the tiny restaurant a favorite for its party vibe, top-notch oysters and enormous, carefully-prepared dishes. Great oysters. Delicious wine by the glass! And the most outstanding grilled octopus, previously poached in wine, with peeled yellow and red cherry tomatoes, the purest expression of late summer, all the garlicky goodness of the sauce enveloping the tender tentacles. Yum.
Joe Beef.: 2491 rue Notre Dame West, tel. (514) 935-6504.

4 - Koko Restaurant + Bar

This place, to me, is the most surprising of all. Because it is primarily a lounge bar, I never really expected much from the food. And then, one night, I went for dinner with some friends. Not bad at all!

EDIT: Since this post was published the chef at Koko left and the food has been very up and down. No longer a place I'd recommend.
Koko Restaurant + bar (Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, 10, 514 843-6000, 17h/3h) 

5- Ferreira Café

The undisputed king of Downtown restaurants, it's been going strong for several years on Peel Street thanks to the strong hand and sly charm of owner Carlos Ferreira. The food can be Portuguese for those who want it, but the menu is filled with classics and crowd pleasers, with several fish and seafood dishes. My favourite is the cod with confit tomatoes, olives and potatoes. For dessert, nothing beats the pastéis de nata, delicious custard-filled pastries served with ice cream on the side. This is where the movers-and-shakers close deals and where couples go to celebrate special dates, and the room is always humming with lively conversation, no matter what night of the week.Ferreira Café: 1446 Peel St., Montreal, tel. (514) 848-0988

6- Brasserie T! by chef Normand Laprise.
This place is brand-new and already rocks. Below, you can see the T! stamped on the huge window that opens onto the promenade that is home to all the city festivals. In fact, the Brasserie is like a glass box that pop out of the sidewalk and allows diners to enjoy all the buzz of the festival's main promenade, fish-bowl style.

But even more exciting than the location is the food - brasserie classics, most very reasonably priced.
Click here to see why I love it: full post with photos of the dishes.
Brasserie T!: 1425 rue Jeanne-Mance (corner of St. Catherine), tel. (514) 282-0808


  1. a entrega de comida em casa

    The blog is about the famous & best restaurants of Montreal which is very good & with lots of comfort & amenities

  2. Thanks, Alexandra. With so many options, the problem is, now, to decide where to go first!

  3. Nice blog..

    It's useful for who are visiting Montreal First time they can't miss this types of favorites..
    Really nice post..

    Thanks For Sharing..

    Restaurants Montreal

  4. Totally agree with Barroco, definitely one of the best restaurants in Montreal. I would add the following to your list:

    Lemeac, Club Chasse et Peche, Milos, Le filet, Les 400 coups, Aux Vivres (for vegans), Tri Express (for sushi)

  5. the problem is that you are too close to those people. your post could have been untiled 'the favourite of my friends'

  6. I know you won't post my previous comment. that is another big problem with what you are doing: you encourahe friendly comments only

  7. Thanks for the tips, although you dont mention two of my all time favorites when I'm in town from New York City; Chasse et peche, totally rocks and the food and people there are the BEST, and the new Le Filet - amazing food and Patrick and Hubert make you feel like you're returning home.

  8. Based on your recommendation, we went to Barroco to try the steak. Everything you say about the place was spot on, great ambience and service. However, the steak was way too greasy and not very good. Maybe it was a one off, but if this is the best steak Montreal has, then I would be very very sad for this city.