Epicurean Montreal: Where to Eat Now in Quebec’s Culture Capital

Above image: Capsa

 

 

Montreal is a small city with a large reputation – a rep that has mainly to do with the quality of life, which includes rolling green parks, stunning architecture, friendly people…and a bountiful food scene. Much like the rest of Quebec Province, Montrealers take immense pride in using local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible, giving their cuisine a uniquely regional flavor. Not to mention the locally brewed beers and local wines sold in specialty shops around the city.

With almost six thousand restaurants and three hundred gourmet food markets, there is always something uniquely delicious waiting just around the corner. And while change comes in Montreal at a manageable pace, we made another visit recently to discover some new fave dining spots – and as ever, were not disappointed.

 

Dandy

Branded the “new brunch spot for Vieux Montreal” (meaning, the historic part of the city), this light and airy restaurant crafts coffee and cocktails with an Italian influence. And some of the best biscuits and baked goods in the city, along with their specialty œufs pochés all are perfectly complemented with a Campari spritz or two. Also, don’t miss the Vol-Au-Vent Du Moment. The strikingly designed space features dramatic arches, globe lamps, bright orange banquettes and mod schoolhouse chairs.

 

 

Beau Mont

Beau Mont is the latest venture from Normand Leprise, famed chef and restauranteur of Toque and champion of Quebecois ingredients. Located off the beaten track in Parc Extension, the sprawling but welcoming dining room is the setting for local market cuisine, featuring seasonal vegetables and refined techniques – plus, there’s an extensive wine list. The space is a work in progress, with a dedicated area acting as a showcase for the growing pool of local artisan-producers.

 

 

Pullman Wine Bar

Sophisticated design, lush décor and a fascinatingly staggered interior make for a place of uniquely low-key luxury. Pullman claims to have over 350 wines, sold by the glass or bottle, including an impressive selection of natural and hard to find bottles. Snacks come sweet or salty, yet all are simple and refined and change seasonally. The grand aioli has a rotating variety of seasonal vegetables from fresh to pickled, and the steak with chimichurri is uncommonly tender and well cooked. Servers are extensively schooled in pairings, ensuring that plats are enjoyed with a perfectly matched cuvée.

 

 

Capsa

This garden level restaurant brings dazzling Portuguese flavors to the city’s Latin Quarter. Located in the hip new Boxotel, it features a daily three-course-menu lunch offering, with dishes like vegan mushroom risotto and braised pork with clams. Highly recommended is their Francesinha, basically a Portuguese croque monsieur, made with house chorizo and a shimmering pan sauce. Capsa is located a little of of the way, but it’s worth the detour for their fresh “crafted” salads alone.

 

 

Spade & Palacio

This is the locally founded company that puts on “non-touristy tours,” taking guests to parts of Montreal they may not otherwise see. These include visiting various murals painted by local artists, bike tours and a variety of unique food tours. One of latter, the Beyond the Market Tour, begins in a handful of small, local restaurants like Los Planes on Bélanger Street, where Salvadoran pupusas (flatbreads) are filled and hand shaped, then drenched in sauce and spice at the eater’s discretion. The tour shifts to a local beer and cheese bar, multiple stops at the Jean-Talon market and a fried chicken picnic in Little Italy. With samples of locally made cheese, gelato and even 5th Wave coffee, no food corner is left unturned.
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