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Beau Temps
Photograph: Mickaël A. Bandassak

The 21 best new restaurants in Montreal in December 2020

Here are all the most noteworthy names on the dining scene with this list of the best new restaurants in Montreal

By JP Karwacki
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UPDATE, December 2020: Hats off to the best new restaurants in Montreal for marching forward with their opening plans despite Montreal's red alert status. With a possible lockdown the likes we haven't seen since March on the horizon, someone's gotta keep Montrealers well-fed. While all restaurants need some love right now, new ones need some special attention for their preseverence and gumption. We're covering them here and featuring their names in our Love Local initiative, and keeping the selection fresh with nothing older than six months.

Bold creativity, traditional homages, and everything in between: That's what you're getting with the best new restaurants in Montreal right now. You’ll find some serious quality from places that have recently opened with concepts and executions primed to join our list of the best restaurants in Montreal. Locals know (and tourists want to know) all the classic spots for iconic Montreal food like the best poutine, the best bagels, the best Portuguese chicken or the best delis for smoked meat in Montreal, but there’s always some new face looking to catch your eye.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Where to find the best new restaurants in Montreal

Beau Temps
Photograph: Mickaël A. Bandassak

1. Beau Temps

Sommelier William Saulnier and chef William Cody of Mile End's favourite seasonal pop-up restaurant Parasol have teamed up with Peter Popovic of Magie and Sparrow Bar to bring Montrealers a brand new wine bar—that is, once this whole pesky pandemic clears up. Until then, they've turned the operation into a seriously gourmet sandwich shop where everything, from fried fish filet with tartare and brisket on fresh bread to app of fried cauliflower, is made to order. It's fresh, it's from a stellar group, and it's your new go-to for new bites in town.

Teochow Foodie
Photograph: Teochow Foodie / @TeochewFoodie / Facebook

2. Teochow Foodie

Sporting a unique offering, Teochow Foodie is serving of regional specialties southern Teochew (Chaozhou), and that means a lot of prêt-à-manger wontons to cook up at home with chili oil, rice noodles wrapped around meat and veg, salads and thick noodle soups. To top it all off, they've got some collaborations under their menu's belt, including Mongolian specialties like bread and braised beef, condiments via a Pointe-Saint-Charles café, and hot chocolate bombs. Nothing beats the lower temperatures of winter like a bunch of warm dumplings.

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Tinc Set
Photograph: Tinc Set / @tincsetmtl / Facebook

3. Tinc Set

The bird is the word: This one's a little anticipatory, but Tinc Set has announced that their back alley operation behind the Catalan wine-forward restaurant Alma will be opening up its very own neighbouring place in January. That means more room to sell a bevy of fresh wines that co-owner Lindsay Brennan curates and their steady menu from chef Juan Lopez Luna of Barcelona-style rotisserie chicken, fresh churros dusted with anise sugar, patatas bravas and more. Thing is, you can still try it now before the restaurant opens.

Le Mariachi
Photograph: Le Mariachi / @lemariachimontreal / Facebook

4. Le Mariachi

Chefs Dino Angelo Luciano and Sarah Tee stole the show—and no, we're not talking about MasterChef—in Montreal for their arrival of a Californian approach to Mexican cuisine, plant-based options included. Tacos, burritos, churros and more all occur on a semi-regularly shifting menu. Everything's homemade here, from Le Mariachi's vegetable proteins to its tortillas, with seasonal quality ingredients. "I want people to come here because our food is good and is unique to Montreal," Luciano explained in an interview with Time Out Montreal.

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Dat Aliis
Photograph: Courtesy Dat Aliis

5. Dat Aliis

Quietly and confidently, the Vietnamese eatery Dat Aliis was opened by Elie Brisebois, Quang Truong and Truong's mother Nguyen Hong Hoa to sell bahn mi, vermicelli bowls, salads and spring rolls that using Nguyen's recipes. They're big on keeping things fresh here, so much so that there are plans to install their own hydroponic system for fresh herbs and veg. It's a small counter service option that equipped for the current circumstances around the pandemic, so they're ready to receive customers for takeout and delivery in a heartbeat.

Nopalito
Photograph: Laura G. Diaz

6. Nopalito

Chef Christian Manuel Ventura Alatorre, known for his work at Sushi Momo and the recently-opened Casa Kaizen, is continuing his upward vegan climb with the new Mexican street food concept Nopalito and its focus on tortas. Options scrumptiously range from cactus and vegan cheeses made from coconut and cashew-jalapeno, black bean-nut-mushroom patties, "al pastor"  achiote-marinated oyster mushrooms, and more. Prices are cheap too: The cheapest sandwich is $10.50 before tax and doesn't break the $14 mark.

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Wren's
Photograph: Wren's / @wrensmtl / Instagram

7. Restaurant 212 / Wren's

When Restaurant 212 opened up in Old Montreal, they didn't think another lockdown like October's was coming. Since fine dining isn't accommodated very well by takeout containers, the restaurant's Noma-trained chef Patrick Marion has flipped to flipping burgers in the best of ways. He's doing some of the juciest, most savory casse-croûte you can find in town, so much so that we're thinking he'd give Tousignant a run for his money if he opened up a place of his own. That last part's not likely, but your enjoyment of his burgers, fries, salads and poutines is.

Les Crazy Chickens
Photograph: JP Karwacki

8. Lez Crazy Chickens

Chef Ki Chai Jung has landed a whole new Korean fried chicken spot in Saint-Henri in late October, and it's worth nothing for how they're doing it proper by pre-saucing their crispy recipe in one of five diffeent sauces. They're keeping it cheap and diverse too, offering as many tenders of white and dark meat as they are wings, huge (and cheap) buckets and Korean fried chicken-stuffed bao sandwiches that are served in two. Hit them up in person at 3532 Notre-Dame St West.

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Menu Extra
Photograph: Jeremy Dionne / Menu Extra

9. Menu Extra

A bunch of up-and-coming chefs in Montreal—all Le Mousso alumni plus a creative director they've brought on board—have been making waves this past summer with pop-ups that played on classic Quebec food. If you missed out on those, sorry, but the good news is that you can now dig into their current brick-and-mortar (likely limited edition) pop-up doing one amazing dish: Pithiviers (French pastry pies) that are filled with duck and slabs of foie gras and served with a "Montreal Miso" sauce. Vegans take note, there's a friendly option made with vegetables that goes for a bit cheaper. Best of all? They're doing takeout AND delivery. 

La Canting
Photograph: La Canting / @la_canting / Instagram

10. La Canting

Fresh on the scene this month, La Canting comes from Bouliion Bilk/Cadet alumni chef Helena Lin and Ben Serapins curating wines and beers. Lin's formative experience in Taiwan, China and Malaysia get expressed in this place's current East Asian menu with Taiwanese braised beef soup, Szechuan fried chicken, Singaporean calamari, Brussel sprouts in XO sauce, and green onion pancakes. Casual but masterfully done, this is a big win for a cuisine that deserves more attention than ever right now.

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Kamúy
Photograph: Darwin Doleyres

11. Kamúy

In a defiant move against all odds that came with the pandemic, chef Paul Toussaint has taken over the glass box spot in downtown’s Place des Festivals that once housed Taverne F. The result: A pan-Caribbean restaurant that’s cooking up some of the chef’s classic recipes alongside new plates that blend classic flavours with fine dining touches. Big ups to the plates— try the lomo al trapo (beef wrapped in the cloth that’s cooked directly on the grill) and the dombrey, gnocchi-style sweet potato dumplings served in a coconut bisque—and cocktails for two.

Fleurs et Cadeaux
Photograph: Fleurs et Cadeaux / @fleurs.cadeaux / Facebook

12. Fleurs et Cadeaux

Marusan chef Tetsuya Shimizu iis at the helm of this bento box-forward concept in Chinatown, located inside of the pink gift shop everyone sees as they enter the area from the Place d'Armes metro station. Inside's a sleekly designed space with even sleeker music—Marusan owner Hideyuki Imaizumi, the chef and co-owner David Schmidt all are big Japanese vinyl fans—and the menu's rounded out with udon and curry bowls plus a really, really good wine and sake selection.

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NEWSLETTER_MTL-FR_20201002_02-FR-Hungry-Joon-2048x1536
Photograph: Restaurant Joon

13. Joon

Erin Mahoney's highly anticipated Caspian restaurant is now up and running, and while its progress has been stalled by a lockdown, the chef is forging on with a takeout and ready-to-eat menu featuring the likes of lamb and veal kofta, mezze, housemade charcuterie and more dishes that are light and simple, easy on the wallet and packed with flavours seldom explored elsewhere in the city.

Gentile Pizza Parlour
Photograph: Kevin Mackinnon / @kevinmackinnon.ca

14. Gentile Pizza Parlour

The family team running their eponymous Westmount-based restaurant Café Gentile is throwing their hat into the (pizza_ ring with an all-new parlour that promises some of the best possible New York-style slices around. While you definitely get a pay-for-the-privilege experience while you're there (an OG 16'' cheese goes for $30), we can confirm that this is some of the most meticulously researched 'za in town and the taste shows. If you don't believe us, check out our interview with the pizzaiolo here.

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Knuckles
Photograph: © Le Cuisinomane

15. Knuckles

Built in the space that once housed a dépanneur in Villeray, Knuckles is an all-new Italian eatery that specializes in being a café by day with coffee and pastries, and a simple pasta and vegetable-forward spot by night—but that's all putting it lightly. They're doing fresh sourdough panzerotti as well, and have recruited a Hoogan et Beaufort alumni to act as chef, tas the food there tastes as good as it looks gorgeous. Props to their novel wine cellar, which has repurposed the dep's old beer fridge into a walk-and-pick experience.

Provisions Ice Cream
Photograph: Provisions / @provisions.pt.2

16. Provisions 418

Provisions 1268, the fine dining destination of Outremont with tasting menus created from chalkboard lists of ingredients, is no more for now. Chefs Hakim Rohal and Pablo Rojas have opted instead to move their focus to Boucherie Bar à Vin—their butcher-forward restaurant—down the street along with a new ice cream and snack bar called Provisions 418. There, the chefs are doing whatever they feel like, and it’s seriously good stuff: Juicy smash hamburgers, tacos, milkshakes, BLTs, arepas; this list goes on. When chefs put their mind to it, fast casual concepts get crazy good in this city.

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Bucky Rooster's
Photograph: Courtesy Bucky Rooster's

17. Bucky Rooster’s

With their original plans for Evelina’s—a swanky restaurant inspired by spice trade routes—from Arthurs Nosh Bar and the Saint Henri-based Letter Bet art gallery on hiatus, they’ve opted to switch their kitchen up by serving some of the best fried chicken in town. Billed as a spot for ‘late night pies ‘n’ thighs’, the pop-up runs from 5PM to 11PM (schedules posted on Instagram) and serve salads and 10-piece buckets alongside some monstrous slices o’ pie. Chef Alex Cohen says it will live on past the summer and fall, but get it while it’s hot on the back alley terrasse they got.

Resto-Bar Le Pick-Up
Photograph: Resto-Bar Le Pick-Up / @restobarlepickup

18. Resto-Bar Le Pick-Up

Now Little Italy isn’t the only spot to grab some of Beaver Sheppard’s sandwich magic. A collaborative effort between Le Pick-Up’s kitchen and some wine curation from Bar Alexandraplatz—what’s the opposite of RIP, now that they’re up and running again?—the Hochelaga-based restaurant is doing takeout-only with street terrasse seating and making mean pork belly and fried chicken sandwiches (plus some vegetarian options that substitute in cauliflower), as well as some picnic boxes while the weather provides.

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Casa Kaizen
Photograph: Laura G. Diaz

19. Casa Kaizen

One of the bigger openings of note this year so far has been this Mexican-Japanese vegan fusion spot (say that five times fast) from the chef behind Sushi Momo. Opening in the former location of June Rose, a short-lived buffet concept from Big In Japan, the new restaurant came out swinging with gorgeous plates, a sleek interior design and a lot of interesting things to nosh on: Black bean broth for vegan ramen, vegan chorizo stuffing for ‘imperial flautas’, ‘soysalmon’ tataki, and a lot more.

Kwizzinn
Photograph: Kwizzinn / kwizzinn.ca

20. Kwizinn

While not exactly a new restaurant in the city, the new digs for the Haitian restaurant Kwizinn deserves a more-than-honorable mention. Michael Lafaille and Claudia Fiorilli made a lot of waves in 2019 with this restaurant first location in Petit-Patrie, but they’ve moved the headquarters of this restaurant to Verdun. That means more dining space to enjoy specialties like lobster poutine on plantain fries and banana cream-stuffed donuts as you listen in on an all-new live music program.

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Le Norest
Photograph: ©Sita Payette

21. Le Norest

Chef Rémi Lemieux (La Cabane au Pied de Cochon) and mixologist Justin Petitclerc's new project is currently embargoes by the pandemic, but once dining rooms open again, the concept is a promising and delicious one: 10 course tasting menus with optional wine pairings display a lot of fair, panache and sensitivity to seasonal shifts. Exceedingly intimate, no one dinner here is the same as the next, and that's saying a lot when it's such a new concept. Keep your ears to the ground for this one.

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