Top 5 Restaurants in Montreal

by Michelle Valtas

1. Olive & Gourmando

With an abundance of brunch restaurants popping up throughout Montreal, nowhere does it better than Olive and Gourmando. This locals’ favourite is a well kept secret, and for good reason - it's just too good to share. Before you open the door and get hit with the warm smell of freshly baked croissants and pastries, you’ll notice a permanent bench just outside the door. Olive and Gourmando’s loyal followers will line up any time of day, in any type of weather for a chance to sit for a meal (there’s another line for take-away). This place is that good. In addition to the mouthwatering  food, the eclectic, rustic charm of Olive and Gourmando’s is its own attraction. Since they don’t do reservations, go early.

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2. St-Viateur Bagel

An authentic Montreal bagel is a reason in itself to visit Montreal, and St-Viateur Bagel stands out as offering the best bagel (and bagel experience) Montreal has to offer. Stop in to see each bagel being hand-rolled, boiled in honey water and cooked in a wood fired oven - the same way they’ve been making them since 1957. Eat your bagel like a local by biting into it right out of the bag or add your own cream cheese and smoked salmon to make a sandwich.

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3. Foxy

Foxy is the sister restaurant of Olive and Gourmando. This hot spot is loved for its understated luxurious decor and delicious food. Ingredients are sourced daily from the local Jean-Talon Market, and combined for optimal simplicity and taste in each dish. Foxy is a tad pricey, but is an exceptional experience and well worth the splurge. Like it’s older sister, Foxy is a popular spot, so be sure to book your reservation well in advance or arrive early during patio season for a seat outside. While you’re there, order the flatbread as an appetizer, the steak as your main (if they have it that night) and save room for their homemade apple pie.

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4. Maison Publique

Literally translated to "public house" in French, this restaurant stays true to its name by combining Canada's french and British background to create a truly Canadian experience. Maison Publique looks and feels like a traditional British pub while serving scrumptious french cuisine - with a Canadian twist. Known for their brunch and tapas, this foodie haven offers something for everyone at any time of day. I’d recommend trying their fois gras parfait and clams, but with an ever-changing menu they may not still be there. One thing that is a constant at Maison Publique is their extensive list of great Canadian wines. Fun tip: The executive chef and owner once worked for Jamie Oliver, and opened this restaurant with his financial backing.

 photo by Farah Khan of House 9 Design

photo by Farah Khan of House 9 Design

5. Terrasse Place d’Armes

While this restaurant may not serve the mouth watering food the others on this list boast, it does offer the best views in Montreal. Located in Old Montreal, this rooftop bar overlooks the it’s namesake square, (read: Notre-Dame Basilica and some of Canada’s oldest structures) and Montreal’s downtown. Their expansive drink selection is also worth noting as there’s something for every taste bud. Cool off on this privileged perch on a hot summer day with one of their specialty mojitos.  

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