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Bar George
Photograph: Cindy La

33 best downtown Montreal restaurants

From high-end spots to casual eateries, this is the essential guide to eating downtown.

Written by
Holly Tousignant
Laura Osborne
Isa Tousignant

From Michelin star-calibre institutions, to epically delicious cheap eats and some of the best new restaurants in town, there's something for everyone in the city’s most bustling neighbourhood. Did we mention that one of them is Montreal's most romantic spots according to Antoni Porowski? It's no secret that downtown Montreal is home to some of the most fun things to do in the city, but it's also where you can find some of the most famous and iconic food in town. Check out Canada's largest supper club, one of our favourite sandwich spots, the best brunches in the city and more.

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Best of the city under one roof

Our local editors have handpicked the best of the best restaurants and chefs and gathered them on one place at Time Out Market Montréal. It's a 40,000-square-foot culinary and cultural destination that's centrally located downtown in the Centre Eaton de Montréal—the biggest in the city of its kind—stocked with 13 eateries, 6 bars for beer, wine, cocktails and mocktails, a cooking school to learn new tricks and techniques, a boutique, and cultural spaces devoted to art, music and more. Time Out Market Montréal brings the best of the city under one roof. But don't just take our word for it.

Where to find the best restaurants downtown

The brand new YAMA in the Vogue Hotel is easily one of the buzziest restaurants in the city right now, partly for the setting, partly for Chef Antonio Park’s food. Chef Park was born in Argentina to Korean parents, and spent time in Brazil and Paraguay before eventually moving to Montreal. YAMA is the latest of his many restaurants (hello Park and Jatoba), and a chance to get a fresh take on his multicultural approach to seafood, both raw and cooked. The glittering, twinkling scene in the newly redesigned dining room is also an attraction in itself. Make sure to stop at the bar: it’s a handsome place to stand and try one of the classic cocktails—a martini seems fitting—while crowd-watching.

With panoramic views of Montreal’s skyline and an all-star line-up of chefs, Place Ville Marie in downtown Montreal is the spot to be. Sprawled across the 45th and 46th floors of Place Ville Marie — one of the city’s most iconic buildings — Hiatus is a top tier rooftop experience. With breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and downtown Montreal, Hiatus transforms from a café-bar on the 45th floor during the day to an intimate dining experience in the evening one floor above. 


Montreal’s largest-yet supperclub is emblematic of the downtown nightlife scene, with its larger-than-life décor and eye popping entertainment. Its Peruvian-Japanese menu, by contrast, is full of refined flavours that will excite the palate without overwhelming. The sticky sesame ribs are a standout, as are the wagyu ravioli and super yummy Bluefin tuna ceviche, with addictive pops or concha corn and a touch of jalapeño heat.

This hidden terrasse on the 6th floor of the Hampton Hotel by Hilton will take you and your fellow scenesters to a sunny headspace that channels Saigon of the 1950s. Inspired by Vietnam’s French colonial architecture, Carla’s offers a menu that mixes classic French fare with Vietnamese influences. Try the juicy Saïgon burger for irrefutable proof.


One of Montreal's most romantic spots according to Antoni Porowski, this spot is situated in a gorgeous, historic space inside a swanky boutique hotel. Bar George’s British Isles-inspired fare (Scotch eggs, Welsh rarebit) is all the more impressive for the wood-panelled, high-ceilinged and exceedingly posh environment it’s served in. The team uses local ingredients to create dishes and cocktails that are as beautiful as the building itself, and if you gorge too much at George, it’s also part of one of the best hotels in town.

Labo Culinaire
Photograph: Alex Dozois

6. Labo Culinaire

On the third floor of the cutting-edge cultural centre known as the SAT, you’ll find culinary inventiveness—and, in summer, a very cool view from the shared tables on the rooftop terrasse. The seasonal menu is simple and short, but always a trip for your taste buds and a way to discover locally foraged flavours. The veggie-forward mains are great for vegetarians but also include choices like Quebec scallops, lamb, beef and more. 


7. Kamúy

At the heart of the city is Place des Festivals, and at the heart of Place des Festivals is this restaurant by chef Paul Toussaint (also of Time Out Market Montréal fame). The ever-evolving Caribbean menu celebrates and elevates island flavours, from jerk shrimp to crispy pork shoulder griots to pillowy doumbreys: sweet potato dumplings that are Haiti’s answer to gnocchi, served up with seasonal seafood and a coconut bisque.

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Photograph: Pullman

8. Pullman

Just up the road from Quartier des Spectacles, this bijou wine bar serves charcuterie platters, Quebec cheese platters and small shareable plates in an environment that’s chic, moody and calming. We love the chandelier made out of wine glasses. And the lobster ravioli with tarragon cream. It’s the perfect spot to share a bottle of private import wine before a show.

Café Vasco da Gama
Photograph: Café Vasco da Gama, Mélanie Vallière

9. Café Vasco da Gama

Get a taste of Portugal with your sandwich today. The downtown mainstay serves crowds of locals as well as visitors from its long counter filled with salads, sweets and next-level sammies, with fillings like duck and fig, pulled lamb or Portuguese charred chicken. For dessert, grab some pastel de nata—egg tarts with an impossibly flaky crust.


Photograph: Fiorellino Snack-Bar/Ristorante

10. Fiorellino

Let the quintessentially Italian-style chairs engulf you as you sink your teeth into some of the best Italian snack food in town: wood-fired pizzas, homemade salumis and fresh pasta worthy of nonna. The service is fast and effusive, as it should be, making this a great spot for a lunch between appointments—but it’s also warm and cosy enough for a date.


Photograph: Courtesy of Four Seasons Montreal

11. Marcus

The Four Seasons Hotel houses this fashionable restaurant signed by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. The Nordic, Ethiopian influenced food attracts celebrities of the Québec kind with its fish-forward inventiveness, mix-and-match menu, interactive cocktails (involving smoke or sparklers) and star dishes (try the sashimi). Weekday lunch and weekend brunch offer a more affordable way to get the Samuelsson experience.

Henri Brasserie Française
Photograph: Ocean Marketing

12. Henri Brasserie Française

From the restored stained glass to the ornate carved ceilings, the historical grandeur of the bejewelled Birks building is enough to feast your eyes on at first impressions. Slide into a lush velvet booth for the refined French fare, and splurge on the shareable seafood platter for a glittering dinner. Or opt for a more casual, quick lunch of steak tartare or Caesar salad.


13. Café Parvis

Right next to its big sister Furco, this café is more “morning person” to Furco’s “night owl”, with a sunnier vibe and a focus on lunchtime (though both places are open all day and into the night). The protein-topped salads are worth coming back for again and again, but the favoured order among the local business set are the pizzas.

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14. Furco

Light up any day or night downtown with a visit to this rad and ragamuffin bar, where the casual wood-laden décor makes for a cosy context for tasty cocktails and an interesting private import wine list. The food is straightforward, homey, filling and simply yummy—the lamb kefta was a recent hit, and the charcuterie board a distinct 5 à 7 favourite.

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Ferreira Café
Photograph: Ferreira Café/Hans Laurendeau

15. Ferreira Café

The Plateau’s Little Portugal neighbourhood isn’t the only place to get top-quality Portuguese food in Montreal. Ferreira has been a downtown staple since the mid-90s and its fresh, high-end takes on Portuguese classics include dishes like grilled octopus and Portuguese-style oysters. The attractive Peel Street eatery offers an impressive selection of imported products from Portugal, line-caught fish flown in by plane and (we saved the best for last) a stunning covered terrasse for the summer.

Nora Gray
Photograph: Nora Gray

16. Nora Gray

In a city flush with quality Italian food, Nora Gray is among the best of the best. Tucked away near the Bell Centre, this bustling spot just outside of the downtown core is more modern Italian fare than nonna’s kitchen, but it’s regularly named one of the best restaurants (period) in Montreal, let alone Canada.

Photograph: LOV

17. LOV

This aesthetically pleasing plant-based resto (with two locations downtown) is proof that vegetarian food can be exciting and innovative—not just for vegetarians, but for all lovers of great food and impressive presentation. The casual menu includes burgers and modern takes on comfort food classics and isn’t strictly vegan (egg dishes are available and substitutions can be made for “real” cheese), but even without the animal by-products, LOV’s veggie fare is full of flavour and consistently crowd-pleasing.

Bouillon Bilk
Photograph: Dominique Lafond

18. Bouillon Bilk

This outwardly unassuming spot is off the beaten path on the lower end of Saint-Laurent, but inside its as fresh and contemporary as anything in the city. Staffed with a front-of-house team that’s passionate and informative about the dishes they’re serving, chef François Nadon is behind a menu that is meticulous and innovative, all beautifully presented in a famously minimalist setting.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jonny M.

19. Cadet

Run by the same team as Bouillon Bilk, Cadet is mere steps down the road on Saint-Laurent, with a similar minimalist style to its more formal big brother. Fresh, creative dishes are coupled with friendly, attentive service, and their cocktails and desserts are major fan favourites. If you’re a fan of seafood restaurants in particular, you gotta eat here.

Il Focolaio
Photograph: Pizza Il Focolaio

20. Il Focolaio

This wood-fired pizza joint’s extensive menu includes just about every combination of toppings one could possibly hope for. A downtown mainstay located on Phillips Square near the corner of Sainte-Catherine, Il Focolaio is also dietary restriction-friendly; most of their 77 pizzas can be made gluten-free and all of them can be done with vegan cheese if that’s your thing. Whatever your order, it'll be among the best pizza in Montreal.

Photograph: Martin Girard/Jatoba

21. Jatoba

The Asian-fusion dishes on offer at Jatoba (including dumplings, maki and sashimi) are fresh, delicious and ideal for sharing, but the business district eatery is a must-visit spot even if you only have time for one of their pretty cocktails. The exposed brick-and-glass interior, full of foliage and orange lanterns, makes for one of the most striking dining atmospheres in Montreal.

Photograph: Mehdi Lampropoulos

22. Escondite

Escondite’s mouth-watering tacos and other creative, Mexican-inspired dishes have made it a popular spot among both locals and visitors alike. Its young, trendy digs (with not one, but two downtown locations) would feel just as much at home in the Plateau, a nice change from the minimalism aimed at the business crowd found elsewhere. The food is as fun as it is delicious, and it’s best washed down with one of their tequila-based cocktails.

La Habanera
Photograph: La Habanera

23. La Habanera

Union Avenue spot La Habanera is the brainchild of the same team behind the nearby Escondite, and the creativity found in the latter is just as evident in this kitschy Cuban bar and eatery. The specialties here are small plates that combine Cuban classics with other cuisines like smoked meat croquetas or fried chicken bao. They also offer plenty of rum-based cocktails (including various mojitos, natch). Full of delightfully cluttered tropical décor, Habanera’s tables are often as busy as the art on the walls.

Le Taj
Photograph: Le Taj

24. Le Taj

Le Taj was one of the very first Indian restaurants in Montreal and remains one of the most beloved. The long-time downtown staple (also servind delicious dishes at Time Out Market Montreal) has a large evening à la carte menu; its fare's a standardbearer as far as local Indian spots go, due to its beautifully flavoured touches and how it's served in an elegant setting.


25. Sushi Okeya Kyujiro

One of the first restaurants in the city to offer an exclusively omasake experience, Sushi Okeya Kyujiro features a 20+ tasting menu highlighting fresh fish flown in from all over the world. Don't miss the omasake brunch on weekends. 

Photograph: Campo

26. Campo

There’s no shortage of delicious rotisserie chicken in Montreal, most of it concentrated around the Plateau. But Campo, a relative newcomer opened by the same team behind Ferreira Café, still manages to stand out from the crowd with its casual fare, making for an ideal stop for a finger-licking treat. Check out its Time Out Market Montréal location in the Eaton Centre downtown.

Maison Boulud
Photograph: Alexandre Parent/Maison Boulud

27. Maison Boulud

Renowned French chef Daniel Boulud’s Montreal restaurant is as luxurious as you’d expect from an eatery situated in the Ritz-Carlton hotel, with a luxurious menu and wine list to match. It’s not all foie gras and veal tartare, though; they also do a popular burger for lunch and sport a solid buffet for breakfast.

Ristorante Beatrice
Photograph: Ristorante Beatrice

28. Ristorante Beatrice

Another downtown staple, Beatrice is as much a sought-after destination for its delicious Italian fare as it is for its lush, romantic terrasse. Beatrice’s dishes might veer somewhat from the traditional, but once you taste the homemade pasta and fresh ingredients, you certainly won’t be complaining—you'll be glowing.

Photograph: Restaurant GaNaDaRa

29. Ganadara

Getting a quality meal downtown doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Korean fusion spot Ganadara, known for its deep-fried comfort foods (the fried chicken in chili sauce is the cult favourite) is a popular and inexpensive Concordia student haunt. Ganadara is proof that low prices don’t have to equal low quality, even around the Concordia University campus. The line outside can be long, but thanks to the generous portion sizes, you won’t have to worry about eating for a while afterwards.

Photograph: Influencr Agency

30. Tiradito

Serving up Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei cuisine, Tiradito’s opening in 2016 heralded the introduction of something new and fresh to many Montreal restaurant-goers; a nice change in a city with a strong but not-overly-varied food scene. The eponymous dish, tiradito, is a scrumptious dish of raw fish cut like sashimi. Other menu items include Peruvian ramen and Peruvian poké, all of which guarantee a dining experience unlike anything else you’ll find in Montreal.

Otto Yakitori Izakaya
Photograph: Alison Slattery

31. Otto Yakitori Izakaya

Montreal is full of izakayas, but Otto was the first to specialize in charcoal-grilled yakitori (all parts of the chicken) skewers. It’s a perfect stop for a late-night night and a drink, which make the late opening hours ideal for fuel during a night out, if not just before the bars announce last call. You won’t be going too far, though, as the sake and soju selections here are the real deal.

Photograph: Rosélys

32. Rosélys

The pressure can be high for the restaurants of high-end hotels, and the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth’s Rosélys delivers. The large, art-deco-inspired space is the site of daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as afternoon tea and Sunday brunches, all meals which are as much about the experience as they are about the (French-inspired, this is Montreal after all) food.

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