Restaurants & Food Markets - Montréal

List of all my favorite restaurants and food markets in Montreal. Some of these are described in more detail in the links. Photos are available in the Montreal Photo Gallery.

A map showing locations of all these restaurants is in the Montreal Restaurants Map posting.

Schwartz's Jewish Deli
Street View Schwartz's Deli 3895 St-Laurent Blvd, 514-842-4813.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 4 stars/4
Excellent smoked meat sandwiches -- spicy, tender, succulent meat that falls apart easily with the touch of a fork... accompanied with a black cherry soda or hot tea, it is truly an unique experience. Take a seat at the bar-stool at the deli counter, and enjoy the food amidst the hustle and bustle. More on Schwartz's
Le Petit Alep
Street View 191 Jean-Talon East, 514-270-9361.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
Syrian/Armenian food. Great food and excellent ambiance - the best dish is Ciche Kebab Terbialy which is filet-mignon with a special spicy sauce. Open Tuesday through Saturday. Can get crowded during lunch. Their weekday lunch specials are also excellent. Wine and Coffee available. More on Le Petit Alep
Marché Jean-Talon
7070 Henri-Julien St., south of Jean-Talon St., near the metro stop for Jean-Talon.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 4 stars/4
Marché Jean-Talon - Inside Jean-Talon Market bustles with activity in summer certainly and winter too. It is truly a fantastic market - all fresh vegetables, fruits you need, as well as bakeries, food stalls (bison sausage anyone), maybe the best calamari you can have (at Aqua Mare). And cheese too - inside the market, as well as at La Fromagerie Hamel close by at 202 Jean-Talon St. East. On your first day at Montreal, get down here, get yourself a supply of fruits, continue to replenish every few days. And then to eat you have crepes, fish, pastries, cheeses, and so on. Just outside the market is Marché des saveurs du Québec selling local products, at 280 Place du marché du nord, on a side street.
St. Viateur Bagel Shop - La Maison du Bagel
Inside St Viateur Bagel Shop 263 St-Viateur W, open 24 hours.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 4 stars/4
Best Bagels - New York or Montreal? Good for us, this battle continues. [The answer of course is both - variety is what keeps this battle interesting.]
Take as many as you want when returning from Montreal, slice and then freeze the bagels, they'll last for up to six months. These bagels are made using traditional methods -- hand-rolled and then dipped in simmering honey water and then placed on wooden boards which go in a wood-burning oven.
Of course, nothing compares to the experience of getting these fresh hot bagels from the shop, along with a tub of cream-cheese, and strolling down the street eating the bagel, in the middle of the night.
There is another branch of the same shop down the street, and there is also the similar (in my view, though each place has its fans) Fairmount Bagel. Fairmount offers many more varieties of bagels. But really, sesame is the only true variety, there is no reason to have any other bagel. External links: St. Viateur Bagel Shop, and Fairmount Bagel Bakery
Gibeau Orange Julep
Gibeau Orange Julep 7700 Décarie, open 24 hours a day, except maybe in winter; 514-738-7486
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 4 stars/4
This is another of the must-have iconic items of Montreal. For Pep Drink Orange Julep goes the slogan on the cups, and this orange juice beverage is really good. While this brand is now available in grocery stores (IGA has it), the real stuff is different and much better and worth the trek to 7700 Décarie, near the Namur Metro station. The building is a landmark - it is a 40 feet diameter sphere painted orange, and it opened in 1942. The drink is filled into a cup from a cylindrical plastic barrel that holds this stuff or maybe pipes it from somewhere in the top of the building. It is supposed to be made from fresh oranges daily, but the recipe is a "secret" according to the cashier, so it is best described as a mysterious, extra-sweet, frothy drink made from fresh oranges. (In fact, it is better if one does not think of real orange juice when trying this out! Just think of it as a cool Montreal icon that is drinkable!) They offer variations on Orange Julep by mixing in other fruits, and hot-dogs, hamburgers, poutine are also available. Drinks go for $2.20 for small, but medium at $3.50 or even large at $6.20 is recommended, small is too small [2008 prices]! Going home, take home the half-gallon container for $9.50 - but note that within a few hours, the froth will disappear, so 20% of the container will be empty, and this is really much more tasty when fresh.
Souvlaki Village Grec
Souvlaki Village Grec 654 Jean-Talon W., 514-274-4371.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 4 stars/4
The one food you will come across in nearly every block in Montreal is Doner also known as Gyro. The vertical rotisserie is ubiquitous, and this is something I've eaten in numerous places. Arahova (St-Viateur location) is good, Amir (Ste-Catherine and St-Hubert) is better, and Basha (Ste-Catherine and Mansfield as well as McGill) is fine. But for the best Gyro make the trek up to this place - it has absolutely the best gyro meat - lamb, beef and pork that is incredibly juicy and not dried out like most other places - delicious wrapped in pita, "all dressed" (onion, tzatziki, tomato, etc). The decor of this place leaves a lot to be desired, but go here for the food, and go the the downtown places for decor.

Amir - the one at the corner of Ste-Catherine and St-Hubert is good, the shish-taok chicken is best. Comes with hummus (chick-peas pureed) as well as garlic sauce, and the tzatziki is drizzled on the plates and sandwiches. The beef and lamb shawarma at most of these places is a bit dry - only Souvlaki Village Grec manages to make that juicy.

[ The Amir located at 419 Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal is unscrupulous and dishonest - they ignore the listed prices and charge up to 20% higher without telling the customer or posting signs to that effect. This is a purely tourist location, so they seem to get away with this. Avoid that location - plenty other places, all honest, to eat in that area anyway. ]

Arahova - St Viateur location is good, get the fantastic oven-roasted potato - drizzled with olive oil and lemon, out of this world! This place is open late, and there are many branches all over the city.

Basha is good too, certainly extremely crowded during lunch hours, but they don't seem to include things like hummus or garlic sauce with their dishes. Amir is my number one choice for meat, and Arahova for the oven-roasted potatoes.

Avesta - Manti 2077 Ste-Catherine W, 514-937-0156.
Food: 3 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
This Turkish restaurant has a unique window display of cooks making lavash - basically huge chappatis/tortillas. The appetizers are good enough for a meal, many choices to pick from, and come with a freshly made lavash bread. The borek is also excellent - phyllo dough pastries filled with feta and spinach along with a splash of hot spice - really good. Manti - small meat filled dumplings in a thin yogurt sauce is also very good. More on Avesta
Halal 786
768 Jean-Talon West, 514-270-0786.
Food: 3 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
Halal 786 - Lahori Fish Fry Pakistani food. [Took me 40+ years for my first taste of Pakistani food, when half of this time was spent right next door in India!] Excellent food, nice decor - which I understand is a hangover from the previously situated Greek restaurant - the fish net on the ceiling and all the nautical decorations seem out of place, but it is clean and inviting. This area is now turning into what is called Little India (really should be Little Pakistan?). It is not exactly what one would call tourist-attractive, some of the restaurants look like downright dumps. But Halal 786 is very nice, and the food is excellent - their Fish Lahori Fry is a whole fish heavily spiced up, and I've also heard good things about the Charga Chicken and the Biryani. But the fish is what will bring me back here. It is a full fish, fried, heavily spiced up - not for those who like their fish to be delicate, though. Best eaten using fingers, though that can be messy. Order a daal to go along with it, and maybe a chappati. Certainly a bit too much for one person, but it is the smallest fish they serve.
Pâtisserie Pain Pagel
231 St-Viateur W, 514-271-6083
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
There is no shortage of excellent pastries and bread in Montreal. A good place to visit is Pâtisserie Pain PAGEL. [On the same street as St-Viateur Bagel, Arahova, Fairmount Bagel, and right next door to Ave du Parc with its numerous restaurants.] This is a large place, sure to satisfy any craving - there is the chocolate lover's corner, the pastry section, the bakery and the pizza section.
Marché Adonis
Street View 2001 Sauve W., 514-382-8606.
This location is way out of the tourist areas and requires a Metro to Bus transfer to get there, but it is an great supermarket. Middle-Eastern food is the focus, but a large variety is available, and there is also a cafeteria on the premises. Guava fruits are available, tzatziki sauce can be purchased, and you can order stuff to eat right there - including great desserts.
2016: A newer site is now open - right in downtown, near the Atwater Metro, at 2173 Ste Catherine
Food: 3 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
Buffet Maharaja at 1481 René-Lévesque Blvd. West (near Rue Guy), 514-934-0655.
Good Indian food, at least there is no shortage of choices given the claim that 100 dishes are available.
Many choices here - chains like Just Noodles (Juste Nouilles) are always good - two are located at 2061 Ste-Catherine W. and 3711 St-Laurent. And then all the Vietnamese places in Chinatown - one of which is Pho Bang New York at 1001 St Laurent - great grilled pork of chicken over noodles, and the tonkinese soups, even the small ones, can fill one person up for lunch.
Ste-Catherine - Street Section
Rue Ste-Catherine is the premier tourist street, so lots of good food all over the place. One section that is not very frequented, is worth checking out - the section around Rue Guy and du Fort. Find the Le Faubourg Ste-Catherine with a small number of food stalls on its third floor including excellent thai at Cuisine Bangkok. There is also Indian and Japanese food up there. On the first floor there is the Bagel place with great bagels and you can also watch bagels made right there.

Other restaurants on the street include Juste Nouilles (#2061), Avesta (#2077), Arahova (#1825), Soupe et Nouilles (#1871), U & Me Noodles (#1900), Le Paris (#1812) for French Food, Nilufar (#1923) for excellent falafel. And a new authentic Sichuan Chinese joint at #1813 with a Japanese sounding name: Kanbai.

Guy Metro
This place now [2009] has a few new places, and is worth exploring.
Boulangerie Arouch, 1600 boul. de Maisonneuve West, next to Guy-Concordia John Molson School of Business.
The name says Armenian Pizza and two of them are outstanding Lahmajoun (beef, garlic, tomato), and the Cheese and Hot Pepper pizza. These are on a thin crust pita-like bread, and are a great snack or have two to three and make it a full dinner!

St-Laurent - Street Section
Boulevard St-Laurent is chock-full of great restaurants, down from the Chinatown area right up to Little Italy - which is a 30 minute bus ride!
The young, hip crowd seems to hang around the section north of Sherbrooke.
Keeping going up north more, and the section starting from Schwartz's (#3895) is definitely worth checking into, up to Ave Mont Royal. Around Schwartz's is Little Portugal - so start with excellent chicken at the take-out place Coco Rico. Laika (#4040), Patati Patata (#4177) - tiny place with excellent burgers and borscht soup and the place to try poutine, OM Tibetian Restaurant (#4350).
Côte-des-Neiges - Street Section
The Côte-des-Neiges area near the similarly named metro is home to an university, and that invariably brings around good restaurants. Many Asian restaurants, bookstores with cafes and bistros, but two places stand out here.

Grillades Farhat au Charbon
5785 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal (six or so blocks west of Côte-des-Neiges metro).
[2016 Note: They recently relocated, the old address was 5595B Côte-des-Neiges, 514-738-4999, (three blocks west of Côte-des-Neiges metro). All the web information, include Google results, have the wrong address. Use the new address above!]

Possibly the best sandwiches anywhere!

Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 4 stars/4
Grillade Farhat - Sandwiches Sandwiches are the best choice, available with brochette of merguez (spicy sausage), chicken, kafta (spiced ground beef on skewers), brochette de boeuf (beef pieces), foie d'agneau (lamb liver). Order the sandwiches tout-garni - all-dressed. They are fantastic with the harrisa (chilli paste), aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and tomatoes, onions, etc. The key to the taste here is that all the meat skewers are grilled after an order is placed which does mean a 15-20 minute wait. For a final touch, they will also grill the whole baguette sandwich after it has been stuffed giving the bread a nice crispy texture. All the grilling is done over charcoal. The baguette sandwiches are around 9 inches, easy to eat one, two if one is hungry. This place has a few tables, but don't look for decor here. The merguez, chicken, kafta sandwiches are best, the grilled beef meat is avoidable - tough and too much gristle. Sandwiches are an incredible price - CAD$6 or so [2016]. Plates can also be ordered - with one, two or more brochettes, for around CAD$4 per brochette. Plates come with sides of harissa, aioli, hummus, along with a salad and pita. But the grilled sandwiches are much better, the grilled bread makes all the difference.

Pho Lien at 5703 Côte-des-Neiges, phone 514-735-6949.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
They have fantastic beef tonkinoise soup, with the rare, rosy beef slices cooking in the broth in the soup cup. The place is small, and very crowded, it is very well known in Montreal as one of the best places for Pho (pronounced "fuh"), so there can be a wait to get an table during normal lunch and dinner hours.

Pictures and more at Poutine!. There are many places to get poutine in Montreal, and one cannot go home without eating this french fries with curd cheese with gravy dish at least once - more if you have a hardy body (or soul).
Hot Chocolate
juliette & chocolat
1615 rue St Denis near metro Berri-UQAM, and 377 Ave Laurier Ouest near Ave Parc
It is surprising that so many places serve hot chocolate, but nearly all of it is insipid, watery liquid with no thrill to the taste. Not so at juliette & chocolat. For fantastic chocolate in multiple varieties, this place is great - very expensive, but good! Their Grandma's Style - A l'ancienne is very rich and is like liquid chocolate, each sip is heavenly. The Classic style with milk is good too, and all of these are available in dark, dark-extra-bitter, milk, and white chocolate versions. Very expensive at $6+ for around 12 ounces drink.
They also serve sweet and savory crepes, so it is actually a full service menu. The St Denis location is in the thick of the tourist district and is always crowded - even during off season. The new Ave Laurier location is big, and usually less crowded.

chocolats privilège
They have good hot cocoa, just $1.50/cup. This is a must-have when visiting the Jean Talon market. They also sell chocolates and chocolate spreads. At 7070 Av Henri-Julien.

Cacao 70
All chocolate, all the time! Desserts mecca, with chocolates as centerpiece. They have a large variety of chocolates from different regions. Hot chocolate is good though expensive - the small is too small, and the large is normal cup, around $9 [2012 prices]. At 2087 Rue St. Catherine W (near Atwater metro).

Also worth mentioning
There is no shortage of unique food in Montreal. This section lists a few restaurants that are quite good serving their specialties - worth a visit or two to try out world cuisine:

Ban Lao-Thai
930 Boul Décarie, Ville Saint-Laurent (near Côte-Vertu Metro, two blocks south of Boul de la Côte-Vertu), 514-747-4805.
Food: 3 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
Serving Thai and Laotian food. Very small place, only some seven tables. Thai/Laotian food is best choice, they do have a fried fish, but that is nothing special.

Niukee - Authentic Sichuan Food 1163 Clark; 514-227-0464
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
The one place you can get authentic Sichuan food - which means extra hot and spicy food - is at Niukee. The hot flavors mixed with vinegar will hit your nostrils as you sit at your table and the server brings food to the other tables. Note that the place is just outside chinatown - on north side of René Lévesque, on Clark street - this is the only restaurant in this block on that street. The Kung Pao chicken here will be unlike any similarly named dish served in all the Chinese restaurants in North America. And there are numerous other dishes never seen in your standard Chinese take-out joint. The Sichuan peppercorn is what makes these dishes hot, helped along with loads of dried red chillies as well as sliced green chillies. Still, Niukee is just on the medium-hot scale - it could be much spicier - but medium is just fine - spicy hot enough to need the paper napkins to wipe your brow as you chow down the food, and still tasty enough to want to dig into the next morsel. The dining area is on the second floor while the kitchen is on the first floor, so the food gets transported on a small elevator! It is small place, only around 10 tables. The food is absolutely delicious, from the kung pao dishes, to the "special boiled sauce" dishes, to the "edible fungus with cilantro" salad. The selection is extensive and prices range from $8 to $15 for the main dishes, while some fish and crab dishes can go up to $26. [2007 prices]. There is no separate lunch menu, the same menu is available for lunch and dinner.

KanBai - Fish in Fiery Hot Sauce 1813 Ste. Catherine St. W. (near St. Mathieu St., near Guy Metro), 514-933-6699
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
New in 2011! Another place to get authentic Sichuan food with hot red peppers and numbing sichuan peppercorns (or berries, whatever it is). Now the name Kanbai is very Japanese, and the decor here looks very slick and modern and more Japanese-like than Chinese. And as you sit at the table, they bring out edamame plate for the table! But that is the extent of Japanese influence. The menu is all Chinese with plenty of nice spicy dishes.

Good but Expensive
All the places above are very easy on the wallet, from budget to moderate, and all have very good food. Here are a few good places that are on the expensive side:

La Queue de Cheval [was at 1221 Rene Levesque W, 514-390-0090, they are no longer there. Moving to new location by 2013]
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 1 star/4
Prime, dry-aged steak. Excellent location, nice decor. Steak is very good, and the sides such as creamed spinach are huge. Standard high-and steak place crowd - business people, suited up. But they have a bar, and that is a nice place to hang out, and also a way to get around without a reservation.

L'Express at 3927 rue Saint-Denis, 514-845-5333. L'Express - Menu
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 2 stars/4
French Bistro, moderate to high prices, always crowded, though bar seating may be sometimes available for one or two persons. So popular that it is in every tourist guide, and it does not need to have a name at the top (but look at the sidewalk). Start with marrow bones - dab on toast with the gray salt, move on to steak-frites or ask for recommendations. You can spend a lot here, or a little - there are varied items on the menu, wait-staff is very helpful, and an English menu is also available. So, though locals are the majority here, tourists should feel at home too.

On the question of carrying food back from Montreal to the US, there may be many restrictions - see Meat, Cheese and US Border Crossings comment for details.