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10 best restaurants in Montreal: 2022

Looking for the best restaurants in Montreal? We reveal the top 10 according to food critic Tommy Dion (Le Cuisinomane).

Written by
Tommy Dion
Translated by
Laura Osborne

What are the best restaurants of 2022?

This year's top 10 is based on food critic Tommy Dion's (Le Cuisinomane) personal experiences, and his analysis of nearly 200 different restaurants in the greater Montreal area. Each visit was followed by a deep dive into not only the dishes, but the atmosphere, the service, the wine and cocktail list, and how all these elements came together.

He witnessed a few unfortunate evenings that were heartbreaking at restaurants that would have been among the best of the year, and are notably absent.

Here is a look back at the top 10 restaurants in Montreal in 2022:

1. Moccione

Little Moccione got bigger this year. In all the ways. It was my top culinary experience of 2022, without question. A cocktail menu developed in parallel with the kitchen (think artichoke syrup made by transforming kitchen scraps, a cryoconcentration of olive oil and goat cheese). Top notch service. And the dishes, all bordering on perfection, that arrive one after the other. While they may have appeared simple at first, their bold, complex flavours tell another story. I'll never forget the grilled octopus on a silky bell pepper puree, herbed oil and balancing yogurt; the melt-in-your-mouth calamari arrabiata; rich maccheroni bolognese and artichokes with mushrooms and fonduta (one of my favorite dishes in 2022).  

2. Okeya Kyujiro

The only omakase dining theatre in Quebec, dinner at Okeya Kyujiro is an unmissable event. It's an immersive Japanese experience from the entrance to the exit: the curtain rises with the clacking of instruments, the solemn preparation of rice for the nigiri to come, the tempering of the Wagyu beef, the presentation of the fish and the tea ceremony grand finale. A great multi-sensory experience that we wished would never end.

3. Extra Menu - La Table Cachée

A few times a year, the trio of Francis-Camilo-Alexis offer fifteen guests the opportunity to taste their stellar creativity outside of their gourmet, ready-to-bake business. The exclusive event takes place in their Mile-End production kitchen: A 10-course menu that honors Quebec's terroir and highlights the trio's sharp skills. We were not surprised by the use of multiple fermentations and techniques honed at Mousso. A sprinkling of garum, miso and other "secret" concoctions up the complexity of the dishes to the point where we're wondering how it's all so good. An egg yolk fudge with beef garum cleverly placed on a beet tartare that's been delicately dehydrated to enrich the flavor? We had to be there.

Add a wine pairing where sommelier Alexis takes great pleasure in serving his latest finds, and you couldn't be in better hands.

4. Vin Mon Lapin

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It's a pleasure to even just sit in this restaurant. Not to mention the anticipation of what duo Jessica Noël and Marc-Olivier Frappier have planned for seasonal ingredients, and the latest wine discoveries from Vanya Filipovic and Alex Landry. We can talk about the croque-pétoncle, the chicken liver mousse with radish, the snow crab and the morels prepared so expertly prepared that we count the days down until they appear on the menu (once every 11 months). And we give thanks to the mushroom gnudis, burgundy brochettes and the "spaghetti carbonara" with Kamouraska eel. A visit to Vin mon Lapin is never ordinary.

 5. Mastard

Mastard is the brainchild of chef Simon Mathys who, supported by a solid team, combines creativity with execution. It was a gift to my taste buds when the Quebec Arctic char melted gently on my tongue, mingling with a trio of sauces peppered with different textures and flavours. A slice of tomato drizzled with a beef fat was so delicious that only bread made with Grains Du Val and baked by Maxime Deslandes of Blés de Pays was worthy. One evening was enough to discover the chef's world and philosophy: beautiful to see, and extraordinary to taste.

6. Jatoba

From the Brussels sprouts chips, to the kohlrabi salad appetizer (hello with crab and truffles) and the caramel and banana mille-crêpes, there are no false notes at Jatoba. The sashimi—crafted by chef Olivier Vigneault from his station behind the raw counter—is at the top of the game. There are the dumplings reflect the perfect marriage of "crunchy-melting-umami", the dreamy grilled broccoli, and the ginger sautéed lobster that's a flavour bomb. Even the shrimp fried rice, which the whole table fought over to the last grain, was unforgettable.

7. Knuckles

Killer atmosphere, an evolving weekly wine list you're dying to try, and profusely tasty dishes leaning towards vegetables and pasta? Some would say it's the perfect trio, and I'm one of them. Matthew Shefler and Vincent Lévesque-Lepage have succeeded in creating an inclusive environment where all the elements are in complete synch, and then magic happens. Knuckles is the jewel in Villeray's crown, and is worth the detour (and the labyrinth of orange cones) every time.

8. Ketiw

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Ketiw, a Cambodian counter from the team behind Les Street Monkeys, specializing in Khuy Teav (among other things)—that bowl you slurp at all hours of the day in Cambodia—ranks among the best experiences of the year. Fabulous noodles in a savory broth (which you ask for on the side), next-level sandwiches with kroeung chicken (or beef marinated in lemongrass and galangal), or the spring roll and peanut sauce (which I found difficult to not finish with a spoon). It's an experience to be repeated in 2023.

9. 9TailFox

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The young team at 9TailFox is creating a lot of buzz. Chefs Jongwook Lee and WonGoo Joun, both originally from Korea, are putting their respective experience at Bouillon Bilk and Maison Boulud to good use by preparing highly original, intriguing, bold dishes. Sun-dubu with truffles, cabbage cigars with kimchi, dumplings with porcini and the epic galbi are a delicious way for them to honour their roots.

10. Caifan

Caifan is one of the city's best kept secrets. Far from an ordinary taco bar, the menu is an hommage to Mexico's gastronomic roots through the eyes and hands of the chef. Throw in some Spanish, sometimes Asian influences, and you've got Chef Edouardo's complex (and incredible) sauces, dressings and marinades. We're talking about 20-ish ingredients per preparation, including countless varieties of dehydrated, rehydrated, flaked or pureed peppers. Add a list of herbs, vegetables, spices, and cooking methods—sometimes long (cochinita 36h) and sometimes short (grilled tab)—plus the famous juicy chicken with crispy skin atop a tomatillo and tequila sauce, and you'll understand why we will eat anything Chef Edouardo puts in front of us.

Four other restaurants worthy of special mentions for magical evenings over the year: Pastel, Toqué!, Cabaret l'Enfer and Ile Flottante. 

For more information on Le Cuisinomane, click here.

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