The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now Bar St. Denis

Bar St. Denis

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

An evolving list reflecting what we’re into and where we think you’re guaranteed to get a good meal.

Below is a list of the Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now, an evolving selection of places we love to eat at. It’s by no means definitive, it’s just a reflection of what we’re into at the moment and where we think you’re guaranteed to get a good meal.

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

1. Bar St. Denis

Having taken over the space formerly home to a dive bar of the same name, Bar St. Denis is one of Montreal’s most underrated restaurants. Owned and operated by Au Pied de Cochon alumni Emily Homsy and David Gauthier, Bar St. Denis is best known for its stunning ceiling, solid beverage program and menu of subtly esoteric yet utterly delicious dishes. (6966 St-Denis)

2. Pichai

The Thai curry shop in Little Italy, owned and operated by Jesse Mulder, Jesse Massumi, and Xavier Cloutier-Guerard, is a sit-down counterpart of Épicerie Pumpui. Opened mid-pandemic, the trio added a new chef (and third Jesse) to the mix in Jesse Grasso (former of Vin Papillon and Toronto’s Black Hoof). Grasso’s menu is a mixture of Isaan (Northern Thai) staples and thoughtful riffs on traditional Thai dishes that blend local produce with imported Thai ingredients. The food is fragrant, unapologetically spicy and damn delicious. (5985 St-Hubert)

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

3. Beba

Brothers Ari and Pablo Schor’s exceptional Argentinian restaurant in the heart of Verdun. Far from a South American steakhouse, Beba’s menu is representative of the food the brothers grew up eating: a mix of Spanish and Italian-influenced fare. Uncomplicated and honest cooking mingles with a cleverly composed wine list in a small and intimate setting. Easily one of the best tables in town. (3900 Éthel)

4. Schwartz’s

Probably the world’s most famous smoked meat joint and a tourist destination in its own right. Perennial line-ups, surly staff and cramped seating are considered part of its charm. Repeat after me: Medium-fat, with mustard and a half-sour. (3895 St-Laurent)

5. Chalet Bar-B-Q

An alpine-kitsch rotisserie chicken institution in NDG since 1944. Entirely unironic and without an ounce of pretension, this ski-chalet-themed restaurant is beloved throughout the city for its smokey, spit-roasted birds (sold by the piece or as complete dinners) and for its Chalet BBQ Sauce, a proprietary spiced brown gravy that is without equal. (5456 Sherbrooke W.)

6. J’ai Feng

Part Chinese grocery, part take-out counter, J’ai Feng is a newly minted Chinese staple by way of celebrated culinary personality, Anita Feng. Feng’s cooking has introduced an increasingly open-minded clientele to a new variety of homestyle Chinese cooking. An excellent resource for top-quality and hard-to-find Chinese ingredients but its biggest draw is whatever’s on the lunch menu that day. (43 Beaubien E.)

7. Petit Alep

A casual Syrian/Armenian restaurant serving snack-sized versions of fattouche salad, muhammara and stuffed vine leaves. If you make the trip, make sure to try the Kebbé Nayé (beef tartare) and the Saucisses D’Alep. Feeling like a splurge? Alep has one of the best (and best-priced) wine lists in town. (191 Jean-Talon E.)

8. AA

This St-Henri institution dates back more than 50 years and is known as one the best late-night casse-croûtes in town. A poutine and a hotdog is a classic order but regulars know the steak sub is what’s up. Open 8 a.m.–5 a.m. daily. (3700 Notre-Dame W.)

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

9. Boom J’s

A no-frills Jamaican restaurant serving some of the most famed jerk chicken, plantains, wraps & beef patties in the city. (2026 Wellington)

10. Ma Poule Mouillée

With the closure of Romado’s, Montreal’s most beloved Portuguese chicken restaurant, Ma Poule Mouillée is the natural heir to the title for best chicken. Their charcoal-roasted, Piri-Piri glazed birds approach Montréalais-Portuguese sainthood. Make sure to try their poutine, loaded with shredded chicken and thick slices of smoked chouriço. It’s the best of both worlds. (969 Rachel E.)

11. The Willow Inn

After parting ways with Le Bremner in 2019, all eyes were on beloved celebrity chef Danny Smiles’ next move. After the pandemic squashed the chef’s Roman-style restaurant project in St. Henri, Smiles packed his bags and headed 45-minutes out of town to take over the culinary program at Hudson’s historic Willow Inn. Think St. John meets your local pub with Smiles’ unmistakable fingerprints. Elegant dishes in an old-world dining room overlooking the Lake of Two Mountains — pretty hard to beat. (208 Main, Hudson, QC)

12. Restaurant l’Express

The bistro that needs no introduction. Open since 1980, l’Express is perhaps the city’s most beloved dining institution. Classic French fare like steak frites and rognons de veau are served in the generously lit, Luc Laporte-designed dining room. Open (temporarily) from 11:30 a.m. to Midnight, Tuesday to Saturday. (3927 St-Denis)

13. Le Super Qualité

Serving up a diverse range of dishes from across India, this nouveau spot is as scrumptious as it is cool. The unbeatable lunch combos come served in convenient and compact tiffin sets. Try their homemade salty lemonade or the medicinal cocktail. (1211 Bélanger)

14. Falafel St. Jacques

The best falafel in Montreal since 2016. Run by an Israeli-Palestinian duo (Israeli owner Ronan Baruch and Palestinian manager Saleh Seh) the Ville St-Pierre lunch counter has developed a loyal following thanks to its signature take on the Middle Eastern staple. Though falafel is the main draw, the fully vegetarian menu also features a plant-based shish taouk and shawarma. (A recently established second location on Chabanel is now serving the north-central side of the city.) (345 St-Jacques, 1299 Notre-Dame, Lachine, and 323 Chabanel W.)

15. Marchigiani

A cult Italian grocer/takeout counter in the heart of LaSalle. They do a lot of things really well: dry aged steaks, trippa a la Romana, homemade lasagna but everyone knows that you come to Marchigiani for one thing— Montreal’s best porchetta sandwich. Available in the classic hoagie format or as an 8ft sub, should you need to feed a crowd. (7790 Juliette)

16. Mano Cornuto

Griffintown’s finest neighbourhood joint. Run by alumni from Le Bremner, Garde Manger, Foxy, and Monkland Taverne Man Cornuto is all about simple pleasures. Fluffy focaccia sandwiches a couple of handmade pastas and some charcuterie-laden salads take up the bulk of the menu. On the bar side, think Italian classics: a negroni, an amaro spritz — an ice cold Peroni. Mano Cornuto is where you’d go to watch the Inter Milan game and the spot you double-park in front of as you dash in for an espresso. (988 Ottawa)

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

17. Salle Climatisée

Open mid-pandemic as a take-out lunch counter and caviste, Salle Climatisée has quickly become one of the most exciting restaurants in town. Helmed by A trio of Maison Publique alumni, the food is refined, restrained and utterly delicious. (6448 St-Laurent)

18. Bistro la Franquette

After a string of wildly successful pop-ups, le Fantôme alumni Louis Deligianis, Renée Deschenes and Blake Hickerson opted to open their version of a classic French bistro. Simple, straightforward dishes are cooked with masterful precision and Deschenes works the room with warmth and knowledge. (374 Victoria)

19. Moccione

Next to impossible to book, this newly minted Villeray classic run by co-owners Luca Cianciulli and Maxime Landry rivals any fine-dining restaurant in the city. The duo are both Toqué alumni so expect culinary finessed and a rock solid wine list. The menu is typically seasonal and leans classic — think beef carpaccio with giardinera or bonafide Roman staples like buccatini all’amatriciana. If you can get a table — go. (7495 St-Denis)

20. Phở Tay Ho

A top contender for Montreal’s best pho and easily Nguyen Phi’s top rival. The phở is great but don’t sleep on the bùn and the rare beef salad. (6414 St-Denis)

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

21. Liverpool House & Vinette

While it may be the middle child of the Joe Beef group, Liverpool House mysteriously remains the best-kept secret on this strip of Little Burgundy. Joe Beef classics like the Lobster Spaghetti appear alongside clever seasonal specials, such as the Hot Crab Sandwich — a dish that epitomizes the Joe Beef style of cooking. The expanded patio and newly opened oyster bar Vinette mean securing a spot for two is easier (but never easy). (2501 Notre-Dame W.)

22. Noren

This microscopic Japanese lunch counter is run by couple Élyse Garand and Hidenori Tsuda. Originally from Kyoto, Tsuda’s menu is influenced by the simple home cooking of the region in which he grew up. Bonito flaked okonomiyaki and kewpie drizzled takoyaki are fixtures but don’t miss the daily bento box. Noren also features a grocery section full of hard-to-find Japanese sundries and a modest sake list. (77 Rachel W.)

23. Chez Téta

A sensationally good nouveau-Lebanese café on Rachel East. Téta — its name is derived from the Lebanese word for grandmother — is about two things: coffee and manoucheh. The sumptuous Lebanese flatbreads are served straight from the oven and can be had with a variety of toppings — a special shoutout goes to the Lahem Bi’ajin (ground meat with peppers and tomato). There’s a smattering of dips and salads but Téta’s other main draws are the pitch perfect third-wave and potent Lebanese coffee and its tastefully swank dining room. (227 Rachel E.)

24. Les Street Monkeys

A flamboyant and mouth-watering restaurant specializing in Cambodian street food. Named for the three owners’ cheeky attitude and the monkeys who loiter on the streets of Cambodia, les Street Monkeys serves playful renditions of traditional Cambodian food that respect the region’s authentic flavours and techniques. The fried chicken wings are legendary. (3625 Wellington)

The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now

25. Mélisse

An escape to the Mediterranean. Chef Tom Allain (formerly of Nora Gray) took over this Old Port restaurant just before the pandemic. Under his management, the food is as bright and fresh as their sunkissed terrasse at the corner of William and Queen. Expect simple dishes like a halibut crudo with Fresno chillies and labneh, silky and vibrant spaghetti vongole and clever, refreshing desserts — buckwheat financier with berries and cream, anyone? (719 William)

For more on the Montreal restaurant scene, please visit the Food & Drink section.