The Top 25 Restaurants in Montreal Right Now


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. Mon Lapin

Marc Olivier Frappier and Vanya Filipovic’s contribution to Little Italy has been one of the most celebrated restaurants in the country since opening back in 2018. Having nabbed the #1 spot in the 2023 edition of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, Mon Lapin’s list of accolades only continues to grow. The food here is a poetic mixture of French and Italian cooking in Frappier’s unmistakable and ingenious style. As the undisputed queen of natural wine, Filipovic’s list is expertly curated and chock-full of classics and quaffable curiosities. (150 St-Zotique E.)

2. Beba

Owned by brothers Ari and Pablo Schor, Beba is a restaurant that changed the dining landscape in Montreal and has firmly entrenched itself in the ranks of the city’s best restaurants. Constantly in evolution, Ari’s vision is technique- and ingredient-driven, meaning he never hesitates to break with conventions or expectations to deliver a truly exceptional plate of food. Free from unnecessary embellishment and chef-centric ego, the menu oscillates from exceptional fish from Japan to premium caviar, perfectly prepared offal to boiled meats. Argentinian on paper, the restaurant’s roots are accented with Jewish, Spanish and Italian influences resulting in food that is singular, entirely unpretentious (though often luxurious) and absolutely delicious. (3900 Éthel)

3. Lawrence

Having originally started as a pop-up kitchen running out of Sparrow in 2010, Lawrence is a name synonymous with hearty English cooking, whole animal butchery and, of course, brunch. After a period of being somewhat eclipsed by (and subsequently swapping storefronts with) its sister restaurant Larrys, Lawrence is once again one of the city’s most exciting restaurants. After the departure of long-time chef de cuisine and collaborator Endi Qendro, co-owner and executive chef Marc Cohen has been running the kitchen solo and the food has never been better. The concise but balanced menu focuses on tidy, composed dishes that marry the best of old Lawrence’s offaly-good cooking with a newfound elegance, sophistication and maturity. (9 Fairmount E.)

4. Marcus

Among Montreal’s most beautiful restaurants, Marcus (named after celebrity chef/owner Marcus Samuelsson) is all about the finer things. Located inside the lavish Four Seasons Hotel and designed by Zébulon Perron, the restaurant has a swank and distinctly coastal feel. Executive chef Jason Morris (ex-Fantôme and Pastel) runs one of the city’s tightest brigades, and his menu concentrates on exceptionally high-quality fish and seafood prepared with finesse and intention. The cocktail program deserves a special mention (it’s spectacular) as does the terrasse, which is easily one of the best in town. A place to see and be seen. (1440 de la Montagne)

5. Paloma

Named after a family-favourite beach located in France’s Côte d’Azur, Paloma is a love letter to Nice by father-daughter duo Armand and Rosalie Forcherio. A serial restaurateur with nearly five decades of experience, Forcherio senior brings a rarely observed maturity and self-assuredness to his kitchen. Rosalie, for her part, honed her craft at Copenhagen’s Geranium, Paris’s Saturne and Montreal Plaza, and runs the front-of-house with aplomb. Elegant yet understated, Paloma serves up bits of land and sea cooked in all simplicity, but it’s offal in particular that deserves a special mention, as it’s treated with particular reverence — the same can be said for Rosalie’s thoughtfully curated wine list. (8521 St-Laurent)

6. Bistro la Franquette

It’s hard to remember the Westmount dining scene without Bistro la Franquette — only three years after soft-launching during the pandemic. Though the restaurant is known for hosting some of the Montreal’s most exciting pop-ups, chef and co-owner Louie Deligianis’s food is worth travelling for even without a special guest behind the stoves. Vegetables and proteins are cooked with masterful precision, sauces are rich when they ought to be and delicate when not. The menu is dynamic, moving from grilled halloumi with fava beans or a beef tartare “club sandwich” to guinea fowl cacciatore or a perfect steak frites. Co-owner and front-of-house manager Renée Deschenes, for her part, provides an exceedingly warm and welcoming brand of hospitality and keeps a well-stocked wine cellar. (374 Victoria)

7. Liverpool House

After some time living in the shadow of it’s older sibling Joe Beef, this Little Burgundy stalwart has carved out clear identity of its own. Hearty French cooking inflected with executive chef’s Fred Morin’s distinctive sense of humour still features prominently but Liverpool House has always been a destination for exceptional fish and seafood. Having opened Vinette a seafood counter in the back on the restaurant, the raw bar (and oysters in particular) remains a major draw but you certainly can’t go wrong with the Zesty Italian beef tartare, perfectly roasted trout with morels or an old-fashioned steak frites. (2501 Notre-Dame W.)

8. Bar St-Denis

Though BSD might have started as a watering hole with elevated bar food, Emily Homsy and David Gauthier’s eatery has clearly evolved to become one of Montreal’s best and most innovative restaurants. A regular haunt for industry folk and Little Italy locals, the beautifully designed restaurant has built its reputation on its easygoing atmosphere, genuine hospitality and undeniably excellent food. Often irreverent but always delicious, the menu oscillates from French to Italian to Lebanese with relative fluidity. (6966 St-Denis)

9. Foxy

Spectacularly good wood-fired cooking, cleverly finessed cocktails, warm-yet-professional service and one of the city’s very best wine lists — honestly, what more could you ask for? Foxy, from serial chef-restaurateur Dyan Solomon (Olive + Gourmando, Un Po Di Piu), is delivering one of the most complete and enjoyable restaurant experiences anywhere. With a menu built for the open flame, expect dishes with global influences prepared with tact and a generous helping of know-how. (1638 Notre-Dame W.) 

10. HENI

Centred around the ancient and diverse culinary traditions of the SWANA regions (an acronym for Southwest Asia and North Africa), HENI is one of the most unique, clearly defined and well-executed restaurant offerings to hit Montreal in some time. The kitchen is run by chef Julien Robillard (ex-Pastel and Hotel le St-James) along with sous-chef Rami Nassim and pastry chef Tien Nguyen. The menu embodies the flavours, techniques and diversity of the various regions it claims (think kibbeh nayyeh, Moroccan pastilla and couscous) and delivers them with finesse, refinement and a great deal of respect. Aside from the food, co-owners Noah Abecassis and Soufian Mamlouk also run Sienna Wines, an importation agency dedicated to importing low-intervention wines from Lebanon — one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions. (2621 Notre-Dame W.)

11. Taverne on the Square

For over 20 years, Taverne on the Square has been a beloved fixture of the Westmount dining scene. As classic as they come, Taverne’s intimate and elegant dining room, with its spectacular curved banquettes and expertly draped white tablecloths, is among the most attractive in the city. Chef Stephen Leslie built his reputation on sourcing the best ingredients and puts together pitch-perfect renditions of tried-and-true dishes like salmon tartare, mac n’ cheese (theirs uses 18-month comté) and Caesar salad. Unfussy and incredibly consistent, it rarely misses. Co-owner Jon Cercone’s wine list also deserves a special mention as it’s filled with an abundance of rare and sought-after wines. (1 Westmount Square)

12. Marci

Yes, another pizza and natural wine spot — but a great one, I promise! Recently opened on the St-Hubert Plaza, Marci is an ode to 1960s Italian sports bars, vintage Americana and New Jersey. Bringing together a bunch of serial restaurateurs (including David Schmidt and ​​Hideyuki Imaizumi), it’s the fist restaurant for chef Alex Geoffrion, who has spent the last few years honing his pizza chops in Montreal and stateside. The menu is short and sweet and features dishes like clams casino, a punchy, anchovy-laden caesar salad and exceptionally crispy Jersey-style pizzas. In addition to the food, there’s a solid wine list and a bangin’ sound system. (6600 St-Hubert)

13. Pichai

A Thai restaurant without equal and easily one of the city’s best restaurants. Moving away from silky curries and mango sticky rice, which made its sister restaurant Pumpui famous, chef Jesse Grasso’s food is diverse, composed and more reflective of dishes you’d see in northern Thailand. The fried fish balls in a sweet chilli sauce are incredible, as is the Laab Ped, a spicy salad of duck and duck hearts, but it’s the specials that keep the crowds coming back. Seasonal specials might include firefly squid served with nam jim talay (a potent dipping sauce made of lime, coriander and pickled garlic), or grilled veal heart with a fragrant lemongrass relish. The food is powerfully flavourful, unapologetically spicy and damn delicious. (5985 St-Hubert)

14. Salle Climatisée

Credited (at least in part) for reigniting the love for new-wave French fare over three years ago, Montreal’s coolest restaurant named after air conditioning remains one of the city’s best tables. Despite the departure of co-founder and executive chef Harrison Shewchuk in early March, chef-de-cuisine Dmetro Sinclair continues to run the kitchen with the same level of precision cooking and casual refinement that has come to define the Beaubien bistro. The intimate room, overseen by Brendan Lavery, is always lively with a contagious convivial buzz as content diners linger over a great bottle of wine and clever dishes that are consistently greater than the sum of their parts. (6448 St-Laurent)

15. Daou

Lauded by many as serving the best Lebanese food in Montreal, this Ville Saint-Laurent institution has been feeding the community excellent and uncompromising meals since 1975. While the storefront on Marcel-Laurin (which is in front of a cheap motel and opposite a car mechanic) doesn’t necessarily inspire, the sensationally good food, warm and professional service and even the charmingly elegant interior (which screams 1975 but in the best way) make up for it. All the Lebanese classics are on display here and they’re all good, but the the artfully cross-hatched kibbe nayyeh, hand-rolled yabrak (stuffed vine leaves) and kefta are the standouts. (2373 Marcel-Laurin)

16. 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. While the restaurant isn’t known for being particularly innovative, the daily specials have gotten a lot more playful in recent years and have graduated from casual curiosities to frequently must-order dishes. 44 years after its opening, l’Express feels refreshed and reinvigorated and may be better than it has been in some time. (3927 St-Denis)

17. Café Ohayo

The newly opened café/ lunch spot by Hiroshi Kitano. The fast-casual counterpart to Kitano Shokudo (next door) has a short and simple menu featuring dishes like Keema curry (somewhere between Japanese curry and chilli con carne), a fried Ebi (shrimp) burger that rivals the best fried fish sandos anywhere,= and a crimson red Tantan ramen that happens to be vegan and might well be the best bowl of ramen in the city. Paired with an elite coffee program and reasonable prices, Café Ohayo is a welcome addition to Montreal’s lunch scene revival. (145 Mont-Royal E.)

18. Ho Guom

An off-the-beaten-path Vietnamese restaurant specializing in the cuisine of Ha Noi. If you make the trek out to the eastern recesses of Jean-Talon, you’ll be rewarded with a selection of exceptional dishes that are almost exclusively served here. Ho Guom staples include bun cha muc nuoc, a citrusy, tomato-based noodle soup studded whelks and fried fish cakes, and Bò Lá Lốt, grilled beef wrapped in betel leaf. There are plenty of options for standard phở but it’s the house specialties that make Ho Guom stand out from the crowd. (2605 Jean-Talon E.)

19. Christina’s Cuisine

Ask almost anyone in Laval what their favourite Greek restaurant is and they’ll likely say it’s Christina’s. The eponymous Christina runs the restaurant with her daughter Dora and son George, overseeing the kitchen where long-standing (and frankly delicious) family recipes are faithfully prepared. The gyros and souvlaki are great here but you come to Christina’s for the homemade specialties — roast lamb and pork, perfect pastitio and almost impossibly crispy fried calamari. (4367 Notre-Dame, Laval)

20. Pony

A Korean BBQ joint from the folks behind Otto, An Choi Plaza and 9 Tail Fox. Located inside the revamped Faubourg building, Pony is a reference to a classic 1984 Hyundai by the same name and is inspired by the labyrinth-like side streets of Seoul. Heaps of meats get grilled at the table alongside bottomless banchan, crispy fried chicken and powerfully spicy soups and stews. While the food is incredible, the experience isn’t complete without a pitcher of ice-cold Pony lager and a bottle or two of soju. (1608 Ste-Catherine W.)

21. Orange Julep

Everybody knows the Julep. The giant orange orb is as visible from the highway as it is from an airplane and it’s easily one of the city’s most iconic and beloved institutions. It’s also the home of some of the best casse-croûte fare on the island. While they don’t to steamies, the toasties are buttered and beautifully browned, slathered with baseball mustard and relish and piled high with a vinegary and crispy slaw. The poutine, to many, is one of the very best anywhere and is known for its squeaky curds and unctuous dark-brown gravy. The creamy orange Julep remains a polarizing drink but has held its own since the 1930s. 

22. Keung Kee

Keung Kee’s relatively unmarked second-floor location, on the busy part of de la Gauchetière in the heart of Chinatown, means it’s an easy enough place to overlook. However, for those in the know, the restaurant is a mainstay for Cantonese-style seafood and a hub for celebratory meals. There’s little to talk about in terms of decor and ambiance, but the food is phenomenal. The menu is on the large side, so look around the room to see what folks are eating and don’t be shy to inquire about seasonal specials. Stand-out dishes include the famous lobster noodles, clams in black bean sauce or steamed razor clams with vermicelli and fried garlic. (70 de la Gauchetière W.)

23. Snowdon Deli

A perennial mainstay, the definition of an institution and one of the city’s most cherished Jewish eateries, Snowdon Deli has been feeding families in the area since 1946. There’s a lot on the menu here, but you can never go wrong with the Matzo ball soup (as classic as it comes), the club roll (an institution in and of itself), golden latkes or a good ol’ plate of smoked meat. (5265 Décarie)

24. Mange Dans Mon Hood

 While the smash burger may have taken over as the top food trend of 2023, Mange Dans Mon Hood stood head-and-shoulders above the competition as the year’s cheeseburger champion. Unabashedly influenced by In-N-Out, chef Michel Lim along with partner Michel Nguyen have been slinging paper-thin and magnificently caramelized all-beef patties (ground in-house) along with crispy shoe-string fries fried in beef fat. While the burgers do the heavy lifting, don’t miss the Ol’ Dirty Fries — an ungodly mess of fries, pickles, cheese sauce and MDMH’s signature burger sauce. Trust me, it’s good. (1380 Jean-Talon E.)

25. Parapluie

Inventive French fare from a trio of first-time restaurateurs. Occupying a nondescript white-bricked storefront on the corner of Beaubien and Clark, Parapluie’s classically elegant dining room is a delightfully unexpected addition to the neighbourhood. Chef Robin Filteau Boucher (ex-Chez Victoire) prepares sophisticated dishes like oeuf mayo au homard, beef tartare with artichauts bariougle and braised lamb saddle with peppery rocket in the central open-kitchen while co-owner Karelle Voyer (ex-Théophile) graciously greets regulars, works the room and pulls excellent bottles of wine from the carefully curated cellar. (44 Beaubien W.)

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