Montreal’s best new restaurants to try in 2017

Every passing year confirms the death of fine dining as we once knew it.  Small, affordable, made-to-share plates have cut across all cuisines and eased their way into the upper echelon of Montreal’s newcomers for 2017.  Fall may be creeping in on us soon, but there’s still plenty of time to try one of our suggestions below – the places that caught our attention, for better or for worse. (Added suggestions by Kelsey Rolfe)

Dessert Café Momo

1
5525 avenue de Monkland, Montréal, QC H4A 1C7

If you’re looking for something sweeter, Montreal’s first Korean dessert cafe might have just the thing. Opened in January 2017 in NDG, Dessert Cafe Momo offers a wide range of cakes, cake pops and cookies, and Korean-style cakes and breads. Bingsoo, the Korean shaved ice dessert, is a major attraction, and the fine folks at Momo don’t hesitate to experiment, featuring flavours like Oreo and matcha.

Banh Mi Banh Yiu

2
255, rue Saint-Viateur O, Montréal, QC H2V 1Y1

The Plateau started 2017 by welcoming a new banh mi joint on Saint Viateur, which is serving up the classic Vietnamese-style sandwiches on crusty French bread. The amusingly named Bánh Mì Bành Yiu offers the standard pork and chicken sandwiches, as well as some deviations, including satay chicken and avocado pâté, out of a small storefront near Saint Viateur Bagel. For those looking for a quick and cheap meal, a sandwich here costs $6.

Marconi

3
45, avenue Mozart O, Montréal, QC H2S 1C1

The product of former Au Pied de Cochon chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly and his culinary partner Molly Superfine-Rivera, Marconi aims to be a neighbourhood restaurant rather than a destination spot. Opened in December 2016, the restaurant is situated in a converted storefront right between the Mile Ex and Little Italy neighbourhoods. Despite the name, Marconi is not an Italian joint, with the seasonal menu offering nods to Quebecois and other cultures.

Prince Restaurant

4
771, rue Rachel E, Montreal, QC H2J 2H4

Prince is the newest venture from Montreal’s BYOB king, Georges Blais, having opened on Rachel in the Plateau in November 2016. The bistro’s all-white interior is a place to enjoy European classics with a twist, including beef tartare with jalapeno and burnt squash, that come artfully arranged on the plate.

Tiradito

5
1076 rue de Bleury, Montréal, QC H2Z 1N2

Nikkei food – the unexpected combination of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines – made its entry to the Montreal food scene with Tiradito, which opened in October 2016 on Bleury. The menu gives pride of place to the dish from which the restaurant draws its name – a Peruvian sashimi – and features more recognizable Latin American dishes like empanadas and ceviche. Tiradito doesn’t have servers; instead, the chefs deal directly with customers.

Le Bird Bar

6
1800, rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC H3J 1M5

Le Bird Bar in Griffintown has been classing up fried chicken since it opened in November 2016, offering a full bar of sparkling wine, champagne and cocktails. Diners have a choice of 13 sauces for their chicken, and plenty of sides, including mashed potatoes, corn bread and kale or Caesar salads. For the vegetarians and vegans there are “mockpok chicken” alternatives, and lactose-free and gluten-free options.

Moleskine

7
3412, av du parc, Montréal, QC H2X 2H5

Replacing the former Acropolis Ouzerie Greek restaurant, Moleskine opened in May 2016 and was the brainchild of the partners behind Pullman, the wine bar next door. The two-floor restaurant defies characterization. The street-level dining area keeps it casual with pizza, snacks and drinks, and even has a take-out window allowing customers to order food to go, and ice cream in the summer. Meanwhile, upstairs offers a more extensive menu and boasts a wood-fired pizza oven.

Bar George

8
1440, rue Drummond, Montréal, QC H3G 1V9

Following years of construction, the stately Mount Stephen Club has returned in all its glory. The eponymous downtown luxury hotel now counts Bar George, a modern British restaurant. While the opulent interior does the historic landmark justice, the food – think Earl Grey-cured salmon, oatmeal skirlie-stuffed Cornish hen and whiskey gravy-topped sirloin steak – hasn’t fared as well with critics.

Restaurant Burger Royal

9
3820, boul Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2W 1X6

Old Montreal’s farmer’s market initiative at the former Café des Éclusiers has returned this past summer for a second wind with a new direction. While the farmer stalls have been relocated right outside the venue, inside more emphasis has been placed on ready-to-eat. Among the newcomers is a second offshoot for our beloved Burger Royal, which fits perfectly in the marché-of-sorts given the eatery’s farm-to-table ethos.

Bistro Licence Iv

10
143 Rue Saint-Paul O, Montréal, QC H2Y 1Z5

While most new restaurants seem mired in a battle to outdo each other with innovative concepts, gimmicky themes and/or unique propositions, it is actually quite refreshing to see a classic French bistro/brasserie join the fray. The prototypical menu featuring escargots, tartares, cassoulet and bouillabaisse won’t set off any fireworks, but a fun night among friends around a glass or bottle of French wine is a sure bet at Griffintown’s Licence IV.

LOV

11
464, rue McGill, Montréal, QC H2Y 2H2

Head on down to Old Montreal’s temple of local, organic and vegan – the three words making up the acronym LOV – to find out what the hipper-than-thou crowd is fussing about. Sample the likes of kale mac’n’cheese, quinoa fritters, a veggie burger and gluten-free brownies in the “granola cool” setting while feeling good about consuming sustainable produce.

Mandys Philips Square

12
1241, rue du Square-Phillips, Montréal, QC H3B 3E9

Everyone’s favorite “gourmet” salad bar – which needs no introduction – has gone through its largest expansion in 2017. In addition to a new food truck and Phillips Square outpost, the Mandy’s Old Montreal location also adds an alcohol permit; so you can now make a soirée out of your salad dinner.

Taqueria Arturo

13
64, rue Prince-Arthur E, Montréal, QC H2X 1B3

Taqueria Arturo has added a little sizzle and spice to Prince Arthur’s pedestrian-only strip since it opened in December 2016. With a large selection of cheap tacos and burritos – including some more inventive options, like falafel and Peking duck – Arturo is catering to the area’s student population. The taqueria also offers margaritas and tequila.

93985190 Québec Inc

14
4690 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC H4C 1S6

Even an anti-gentrification ban on new restaurants opening within 25 meters of existing ones along Notre-Dame Street West in the Sud-Ouest borough couldn’t slow down this red-hot stretch. The latest occupant takes the form of Tran, a modern, sleek Vietnamese eatery offering a minimalist menu consisting of pho, rice bowls and banh mi sandwiches. All three can be ordered with a choice of protein – chicken, beef, shrimp – or simply veggies.

Kozu

15
500, rue Rachel E, Montréal, QC H2J 2H2

No place on this list typifies the petits plats à partager tendency as much as the Plateau’s Kozu. Pan-Asian dishes from a mango papaya slaw and cabbage dumplings to oven-roasted black cod and soft-shell crab bao are married with signature cocktails such as the Konrad Gaze – mixing Lot 40 whiskey with maple syrup, Sichuan pepper and bayberry preserve.

It comes as no surprise that Montreal’s local food movement is a force to be reckoned with. As a result, scores of chefs have jumped on the bandwagon; some do it out of an ideological drive, others to satisfy an increasingly demanding and scrutinizing clientele. The following list of restaurants place an emphasis on sourcing locally, relying heavily on nearby farms, game and fishing. [Image credit: iStock]
Montreal’s rich and complex dining scene goes through its fair share of fads and trends every couple years. Of late, we’ve witnessed an explosion in Japanese izakayas, which were followed by Neapolitan pizzerias and more recently taquerias. The following list showcases our city’s various takes on the Mexican staple, from its most traditional form to experimental renditions that are bound to amaze. [Image credit: iStock]
Setting aside the purported health benefits of consuming animal flesh in its pure, unadulterated form, it can actually taste absolutely fabulous! Far from pushing restaurants that suggest a chiefly raw menu, the following list is simply a roundup of spots serving standout raw dishes – excluding sushi – from tartares and crudos to tatakis and ceviches. [image credit: iStock/MiguelMalo]
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