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

The best new restaurants in Montreal: October 2020

As the seasons change, so too does our list of the best new restaurants in Montreal—mix things up by visiting these noteworthy names

By JP Karwacki
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UPDATE, October 2020: Hats off to all of the best new restaurants in Montreal, run by restaurateurs and chefs who are bucking the public's doubts about starting up new businesses and giving it their all with fresh, mouthwatering concepts. We're covering them here and featuring their names in our Love Local section, where we push support for local businesses keeping our city vibrant. Plus, you won’t find anything here older than six months since opening, ensuring a fresh selection.

From bold creativity to traditional homages, the best new restaurants in Montreal are where you’ll find some serious quality from places that have recently opened. We won’t deny that the city’s best restaurants—especially the ones closest to Michelin star restaurants that Montreal’s got—are time-honored places to dine at, but who’s next in line to join those ranks? 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 novelty looking to get a foothold here and catch our attention.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Where to find the best new restaurants in Montreal

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

1. 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.

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

2. 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.

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

3. 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.

Knuckles
Photograph: © Le Cuisinomane

4. 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.

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Kamúy
Photograph: Darwin Doleyres

5. 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

6. 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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Bucky Rooster's
Photograph: Courtesy Bucky Rooster's

7. 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

8. 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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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. 

Casa Kaizen
Photograph: Laura G. Diaz

10. 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.

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Kwizzinn
Photograph: Kwizzinn / kwizzinn.ca

11. 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.

Ferme Bika
Photograph: Ferme Bika / bika.farm

12. Ferme Bika

While in-the-know diners in Montreal were sad to hear that Fisun Ercan’s Turkish restaurant Su was closing, there’s a silver lining: The chef was moving to an all-new operation, Ferme Bika, in Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu. Yes, it’s a 40-minute drive from the city, but damn it all if the trip isn’t worth it: Dinner, brunch and lunch is being served right from the fields that run all around the restaurant, and who doesn’t want to be dining in a greenhouse right now? The reservations here are hard to come by, so book in advance and enjoy the ride.

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La Main Folle
Photograph: Courtesy Thomas Csano

13. La Main Folle

Pizza has been huge this year, and the new names in town started with this by-the-slice-or-pie option at the corner of Duluth and Saint-Laurent, in the spot that once housed an attempted expansion of NDG’s Melrose pizzeria. Now there’s crisp, wide, New York-style slices of ‘za that go for pretty cheap along with some salads, calzones, and plates of pasta. Good as a grab ‘n’ go spot, we’re anticipating that this place gets swamped once Barfly announces last call next door. Get it delivered if you want to avoid the lines.

Pizza Toni
Photograph: Pizza Toni / @thepizzatoni / Instagram

14. Pizza Toni

Following the success of Falafel Yoni on Saint-Viateur, Pizza Toni followed in July 2020 and it’s getting some major traction. One of a handful of names popping up this year with New York-style pies, Pizza Toni keeps it simple but delicious with true-to-form flat and foldable slices of pepperoni, margherita, and marinara with arugula on the menu with an al taglio option. With slices going between $3.25 and $4.25 and full pies between $22 and $28, it’s as good for apartment hangs as it is for park gatherings.

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

15. 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.

Restaurant Gabrielle
Photograph: Restaurant Gabrielle / @gabriellecafe / Instagram

16. Gabrielle

Coffee and pastries in the morning get combined with elegant meals for lunch and dinner at this new refined spot in Old Montreal. Opening in August this year, it’s a pet project of multiple hotshot names in the city that combines experience from restaurants like Hoogan et Beaufort and Laurie-Raphaël in the kitcen. The menu is more focused on highlighting vegetables, but you can drop in for some sumptuous brunches as well like a duck breast served with 63° eggs. Enjoy being transported to the Before Times with this notch in your belt, Montreal.

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Keela
Photograph: Resto Keela / restokeela.ca

17. Keela

Having opened back in February, we felt it necessary to give a big shout-out to Keela, a Gay Village-adjacent bistro which was required to close until the beginning up again in the summer. That said, the clock’s been reset for them: Their menus full of takeout-friendly flatbreads that blow our socks off are worth a visit, as well as chic dine-in menus of oven-roasted shrimps and grilled octopus—plus some savvy cocktail creations and wine curation. We’d venture it’s one of the better-looking restaurants in town right now as well.

More of the best restaurants in Montreal

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