Where to Eat, Drink, and Stay in Montreal
Your comprehensive eating and drinking guide to spending a decadent weekend in the “Sin City of the North.”
With more restaurants and bars per capita than any other Canadian city, it should come as no surprise that Montreal is plenty with incredible things to eat and drink.
Thanks to its European influence and creative dining flair, the largest city in Quebec is known for being one of Canada’s most exciting cultural hubs and culinary hotspots.
While you could spend a lifetime trying every tantalizing tasting menu and wonderful wine list in the city, we’ve outlined some of the best for your convenience.
Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, consider this your comprehensive guide to spending a decadent weekend in the “Sin City of the North.”
Au Pied de Cochon
If gluttonous, Quebecois fare is what you’re after, look no further than Au Pied de Cochon. But don’t let the over-the-top, playful nature fool you: chef and owner Martin Picard is one of the very best culinary masters in the city.
Here you can expect expertly planned and executed dishes that take the traditional notion of fine dining and throwing it in the wastebasket. Some of the most beloved plates include like likes of foie gras poutine, duck in a can, and moose tartar.
Although the Quebecois institution made a name for itself thanks to its extreme decadence and seemingly carefree menu, the dining room is incredibly welcoming, friendly, and fun.
Picard prides himself on the festive atmosphere that has naturally developed at Au Pied de Cochon, making it a great spot to bring friends, family, or to visit alone to fully take in the unfolding scenes.
A trip to Montreal is not complete without a trip to Little Burgundy, where you’ll find the city’s finest restaurant row. Be it Joe Beef, Liverpool House or Vin Papillon (more on that below), the relaxed-but-refined family of restaurants helmed by restaurateurs David McMillan and Frederic Morin is unarguably the best in the city.
If you’re able to plan a few months in advance, book a table at Joe Beef for farm-to-table fare on steroids. Here, you can expect over the top, meat-heavy dishes, oysters, and an out-of-this-world natural wine list to wash it all down.
If you’re looking for a last minute reservation, you may have a better shot of getting a spot at equally delicious Liverpool House (where Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau shared a meal just last year).
While McMillan and Morin have publicly stepped away from the lush, booze-fueled lifestyle that Joe Beef represents, the restaurants are just as decadent as ever. But the main draw for many locals is the familiar, friendly atmosphere.
Stepping into one of the Joe Beef restaurants feels something like walking into the middle of a close friend’s house party: warm and welcoming, where the wine flows generously and the food is locally sourced and entirely satisfying.
This highly-anticipated addition to West Saint Henri opened just over a year ago, but has already become one of the most loved restaurants in the city—for locals and travelers alike.
After the success of their first restaurant, Ryan Gray, Emma Cardarelli and Marley Sniatowsky came together once again to create a more casual, pizza-focused emporium (with an equally cool al taglio takeout counter and coffee shop built onto the back).
The airy and bright restaurant is tucked into a forgotten block of trendy Saint Henri (in a ground floor venue that once housed one of Montreal’s most notorious strip clubs, no less). Far from its original roots, Elena boasts a modern, welcoming dining room, complete with blue velvet bar stools that snake around a sleek marble bar, a bright yellow bar, and plush couches, where guests can get cozy around the perimeter of the restaurant.
Above all else, the food and wine reign supreme. Expect creative appetizers and housemade pastas alongside naturally leavened, wood oven pizzas, packed with seasonal toppings like foraged mushrooms and celeriac.
Be sure to take a look at the wine list as well, which boasts one of the best selections of natural wine in the city.
The lighter, more vegetarian-friendly Joe Beef counterpart is technically a wine bar that happens to serve some of the most satisfying sharing plates you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
Vin Papillon boasts farm-to-table dishes (be sure to try the carrot eclair—you’ll thank us later), and a star-studded line up of natural wines curated by sommelier Vanya Filipovic.
Since 2013, wine lovers across Canada have been flocking to the wine bar like moths to a flame, and for good reason. The chalkboard wine list changes constantly, flitting between Canadian skin contact wines to Old World sparkling wines, and everything in between.
Grab a glass of something new and tuck yourself into one of the many nooks and crannies for an unforgettable night of vino and decadent bites.
Big in Japan Bar
Possibly one of the most beautiful, understated bars in the city, Big in Japan Bar is quietly tucked into an unmarked door in the bustling Plateau neighborhood.
Enter the bar by making your way through the black door between the neighboring casse-croute restaurant and jewelry store on the corner of Rue Rachel and St. Laurent Street. From there, you’ll be led down a dim hallway until you reach the discreet, candlelit room.
We recommend getting to Big in Japan before the after work crowd starts to trickle in. The intimate cocktail bar is tiny, with just fifty seats in the place that snake around the mahogany bar.
Be sure to chat with the bartender. The menu boasts everything from wine and beer to cognac and scotch, cocktails, Japanese whisky, and sake: They’ll be happy to help guide your selection.
Luxury meets discretion at this well-loved nod to the Prohibition era. The 25-seat cocktail bar hidden in the Golden Square Mile has quickly become a favorite for locals and visitors alike—at least the ones who can find it.
Nestled into the cloakroom (thus the name) of a bespoke menswear store in a 19th century mansion, Maison Cloakroom boasts all the mystery and intimacy you’d expect from a high-end speakeasy, along with expertly crafted cocktails made by renowned mixologist Andrew Whibley.
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been committed to modern luxury for more than a century, and while this well-loved hotel needs no introduction, it’s important to note that The Ritz is more than just a pedigreed property.
The downtown Montreal location includes North America’s only Dom Pérignon Bar, a rooftop saltwater pool, afternoon tea services, and many other indulgent amenities that will instantly sweep you away from the bustle of the city and into full vacation mode.
Whether you’re checking into the Ritz-Carlton or just stopping by for a spa treatment or nightcap, don’t miss the Canadian outpost of Maison Boulud.
The romantic French restaurant by Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud is home to a serene garden and pond, one of the city’s best wine cellars, and a creative (and decadent) menu that features farm-to-table French fare.
Four Seasons Montreal
Montreal’s most luxurious getaway is quietly nestled into a bustling block, straddling upscale Golden Square Mile neighborhood and rowdy downtown de la Montagne and Crescent Street.
The newly erected property includes 169 rooms (including deluxe suites) elevated on the sixth to twelfth floors, each of which designed by the Paris-based firm of Gilles & Boissier for a sleekly modern, intelligent and sensual aesthetic.
Although the elegant downtown refuge is relatively new to Montreal’s hospitality scene, Four Seasons has been quick to draw in both visitors and locals alike, largely due to its immaculate third floor terrace and brasserie by culinary wunderkind Marcus Samuelsson.
Expect jaw-dropping city views, luxurious design and some of the city’s most exciting cocktails and cuisine at this 100-person bar and eatery.
If a smaller, boutique stay is more your speed, head to Hotel Nelligan in Old Montreal.
This picturesque property includes 166 lavish rooms (including 59 suites two penthouses), each of which boasting luxury amenities, original stone walls, and sweeping views of the well-preserved, centuries-old streets (the hotel itself dates back to the 1850s) and neighboring Chinatown.
Inspired by the city’s rich history, here you can expect dark-wood and brass furnishings, abundant natural light, and a handful of fine dining options available within the hotel walls.
Head all the way up to the property’s well-loved rooftop terrace, which overlooks the Old Port and St. Paul Street, including an unobstructed view of the iconic Notre Dame Basilica.