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Restaurant Pigor
Photograph: Restaurant Pigor / @restaurantpigor

The very best restaurants Verdun has to offer

The best restaurants Verdun has on offer don't quit, from Caribbean poutines and Korean BBQ to brunching and fine dining

By JP Karwacki
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In less than a decade, a steady stream of arriving restaurateurs and chefs has helped push Verdun into the ranks of Montreal's best neighbourhoods for grabbing a bite to eat. New and flashy destinations are now rubbing shoulders with the borough's age-old, classic Montreal diners and a preestablished variety of cuisines, together forming a heavy culinary salvo of the very best restaurants that Verdun has to offer. From some of the city's best Chinese restaurants to solid contenders for the best bagels in Montreal and beyond, this part of town is undoubtedly one to watch hungrily.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

The best restaurants Verdun has to offer right now

Pigor
Photograph: Pigor / @restaurantpigor / Facebook

Pigor

What started out as a passion project of the Pilote sisters, Julie Anna and Laurence, and chef Sidney Gordon in 2018 has slowly and steadily gained major traction in Verdun, Pigor is a substantial force in its area's fine dining offerings. It's hard to believe so much can be contained in a small space, from it's beautiful plating styles with flavour play to an upbeat character in service, inventive cocktails and ear-to-the-ground wine lists that keep you guessing during every easily merited return trip. This one's a must-visit.

Les Street Monkeys
Courtesy Les Street Monkeys

Les Street Monkeys

Chef Tota Oung can take credit as being the first in the city to really take Cambodian cuisine to the next level, serving it up in a fresh dining space back in 2017 that combines seriously delicious food with an upbeat atmopshere. Each dish served out of the kitchen pops with spice and aromatics, from sautéed squid and fried cod in a rich amok sauce (coconut curry), chicken wings stuffed with Northern Thai pork sausage, and crispy fried papaya salds. Cocktails here get dangerously good too; be careful not to slam them back too quick, as each one creeps up on you.

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Beba
Photograph: Matthew Perrin

Beba

Brother Ari and Pablo Schor turned a lot of heads when they took on this small corner restaurant to write a lovesong to their Argentinian roots with local seasonal Quebec ingredients—a mandate chef Ari got from his time stoking the fires at Liverpool House, no doubt. Don't pigeonhole this place as a strictly Argentinian restaurant, however (no matter how good the empanadas are); Italian and Spanish get thrown in here and there on the menu in fulfilling ways alongside choice glasses of natural wines. Now, the restaurant can boast being among the 100 best restaurants in Canada after nabbing the 25th spot in 2020.

NEWSLETTER_MTL-EN_06-Hungry-Kwizinn-2048x1536
Photograph: Kwizzinn

Kwizinn

At the time of this guide being written, Kwizinn has only held residence in Verdun for a month. Call that a technicality, but the Haitian-forward offerings of Michael Lafaille and Claudia Fiorilli have long been in high regard in Montreal before they arrived, so we'll count them among the best that are currently available. Trust us, it's really, really good food: Plantain poutine with lobster? A burger served on fried plantain patties for bread? Massive platters? Donuts served with whipped mascarpone banana cream? Since this is now their headquarters—decked out with live music and beautiful décor—we can all but totally forget about their original location in Plaza Saint-Hubert.

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Janine Café

Both a literal and figuartive 'sister' to Régine Café, a destination brunch spot in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, the famous formula's no different with Janine. It's all the same impeccable high tea-style servings of house-baked scones (order with the lemon curd), cinnamon buns (the returning clientele's favourite) and crumpets along with upscaled eggs Benedict (with refinement, of course, not just slapping lobster in and bumping the price) and every other breakfast food you could crave. It's brunch all week long, people; what's not to like?

Restaurant Wellington
Photograph: Restaurant Wellington

Restaurant Wellington

While Verdun remained a dry borough between 1965 and 2010, BYOBs like this one—and this one's one of the best BYOBSs in Montreal—could thrive. This one has since opening in 2012 thanks to impeccable French offerings like their boudin and scallops, and is often the site of huge groups (when dining in is possible; thanks, 2020) having blast uncorking their bottles and passing them around. If a visit here impresses, and it should, be sure to visit the owners' equally successful formulas elsewhere in town, O'Thym and Les Canailles. The chef Alexandre Bérard here doesn't falter in his stride in the slightest.

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Blackstrap BBQ
Photograph: @foodfoodiesfoodgasms / Instagram

Blackstrap BBQ

Welcome to the beginnings of pimaster Dylan Kier's empire in Montreal. His award-winning skills at the smoker have garnered him awards in the States, and has brought the recipes that won those accolades back to Canada (thankfully!). From Texas-style briskets and St. Louis pork ribs to their panko-breaded fried mac'n'cheese 'Paddy Mac' squares and pulled pork sandwiches, it's all deeply delicious stuff. Don't even get us started on the burnt ends poutine that uses chopped brisket in the gravy. 

Rita
Photograph: Caroline Perron

Rita

As the borough's first place to serve Neapolitan pizza, Rita had a lot of expectations to live up to when it first opened its beautiful dining space and lit the fires of its oven in 2018. They exceeded those expectations, however, and then some: Finger-licking good antipasti like polpettes and burrata, salads, and fresh cavatelli can all precede a range of pies that use different sauces—mushroom purée, Béchamel, red sauce, smoked eggplant purée—and exacted ingredient combinations that exhibit a refined palate. 

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Well
Photograph: Well / @RestaurantWell

Well

The first in Verdun to deliver a robust, upscaled brunch-focused restaurant, any meal here would provide immediate evidence that its owners Peter Simard and Paule Vezina are a winning combination. They'll do a fine poched egg on edamame toast, sure, but the additions of fried chicken sandwiches, a game-changing breakfast poutine with lardons and shrimp on waffles display a level of creativity that's hard to elsewhere in the city. Montrealers likely won't travel across town to Verdun just for brunch, to which the locals say: More for us.

Chez Boss et Fils
Photograph: Chez Boss et Fils / @chezbossettfils / Facebook

Chez Boss et Fils

This seafood-forward from Louis Boutin (Boss) and Félix Dauvet-Lainesse (Fils) restaurant has been a longtime favourite of locals since its inception in 2015. Sure, the kitchen's truffle veal sweetbreads and crusted racks of lamb can win over diners who walk through their doors, but it's the atmosphere here that seals the deal. The owners have created a place to have an exceptionally good time that can only be found in Quebec, where exuberance and enjoyment comes in that perfect trifecta of good food, good company and good vibes. 

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Les Délices de l'île Maurice
Photograph: Les Délices de l'île Maurice / @lesdelicesdelilemaurice

Les Délices de l'Île Maurice

Among what few Mauritian restaurants are in Montreal, Les Délices is the one that reigns supreme. This place's treatment of the cuisine of that Indian Ocean island, coupled with the home kitchen feel of its dining room, has a transportative effect. Shrimp breaded and fried in coconut, sautéed noodles in spicy sauce (a call to the Chinese influecnes on the island's cuisine), and house specialties of lamb and octopus are all good bets, but tell the personable staff there to take you on a trip and they'll be happy to oblige.

Restaurant Les Îles en ville
Photograph: @foodiefork / Instagram

Restaurant Les Îles en ville

Take a trip to Îles-de-la-Madeleine, the Atlantic-facing archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, with this well-loved restaurant by uprooted locals from the islands the Acadians you'll find in the borough. No wonder: In addition to the cheap lunch specials that rarely break the $15 mark, the main menu's made of so, so many regional delicacies like Pied de Vent quiche, sea bass rillettes, lobster rolls and lobster club sandwiches, and grilled seal meat burgers (if you haven't eaten that last protein, this is the place to try it).

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Bossa
Photograph: Bossa / @bossamtl

Bossa

Mile End doesn't get to be the only place in the city that can boast a strong Calabrian spot to pick up $5 orders of gnocchi anymore. What's more, the family that opened up this Italian counter eatery is doing even more, with melt-in-your-mouth porchetta and chicken parm sandwiches alongside orzo salads and a grocery selection of Italy-only products, fresh pastas, and homemade sauces. While relatively new to the neighbourhood, Bossa has quickly earned a spot that rubs shoulders with the likes of Pointe-Saint-Charles' Clarke Café and Griffintown's Manu Cornuto.

Bagel St-Lo
Photograph: Caroline Perron

Bagel St-Lo

Ever since they opened in 2014, Bagel St-Lo has quickly garnered a strong (and authentic) offering of Montreal-style bagels; we'd call them one of the best in the city after time-honored spots like Fairmont and Saint-Viateur. Husband and wife duo Philippe St-Laurent and Isa Lora Messier have taken the tradition of the Montreal bagel and carried it well, if not making it even better: They do brunch, and they do that well too. Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, served with a side of house cretons? Yes please.

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Woodland Pizza
Photograph: Woodland Pizza

Woodland Pizza

An OG Verdun institution, Woodland Pizza has been churning out pies since it opened in 1960. A family-owned and operated place, they've barely changed their tone, and for good reason: If 'Montreal pizza' is to be regarded as a style in its own right, this is one of the best places to dig into it with thick, fluffy crust brushed in garlic oil, and heavy amounts of toppings and cheese. Dig into their American-Italian pasta dishes while you're there as well, and enjoy the food coma.

Verdun Beach
Photograph: Verdun Beach / barverdunbeach.com

Verdun Beach

It's not every day a recently opened address will land a spot on lists like this, but when they perform as well as they do on the first visit? That's Verdun Beach. As the first proper wine bar to open in the borough, while owners Charles Garant, Marc Frandon and Philippe Jacquelin all do solid work with wine lists and service, but the Park-trained chef Philippe Gougeon? He's got chops and he knows it. While Verdun Beach identifies as a snack bar, the menus here are worth long-drawn out evenings ordering and splitting upwards of six or seven dishes; they're all delicious.

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Chez Jackie et France
Photograph: @ericaoverseas / Instagram

Chez Jackie et France

Verdun is home to classic casse-croûtes, and many of them number among the best diners in Montreal. Chez Jackie et France is one of them, a Magdalen Islands-themed diner that does their menu on the cheap, but does it well. While you can walk in and out having a two-egg platter and spend under $10 during the week, trips on the weekend make it much clearer what it's all about: A neighbourhood hangout that's packed to the gills with as many families as there are locals nursing hangovers. While that might not seem like the best of combos, take one look and you'll see they're all happy to be there. 

Bistro Entre Ciel et Terre
Photograph: Bistro Entre Ciel et Terre

Bistro Entre Ciel et Terre

Verdun's got variety, for sure, and while there's Peruvian/Chinese/Indian/Texan/Mauritian/etc. to pick from, sometimes you can't beat a classic bistro with a bueaty of a hidden back terrasse. First-timers swear by their experiences, as each plate coming out of the kitchen has this loving touch to them, and fans have a secret romance with the cheap and boozy brunches and breakfast they're serving up by day, and the chalkboard specials they do for lunch and dinner later on. While away an afternoon at this one.

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Hong Mere
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Alice L.

Hong Mère

Don't be fooled by its front windows stocked with retail goods: A walk through the door reveals a honest, family-run Chinese restaurant that makes up for a lack of décor with house specialties that few chefs in town could hope to replicate. As food writer about town Jason Lee wrote, "the Dong-bei style glass-noodle or cumin beef are all sure bets. The best scallion pancakes in the city are served here." We went, we tried them, and yup: He's right.

Aka Fuji
Photograph: @mavuedemontreal / Instagram

Aka Fuji

There's a handful of spots for sushi in Verdun, but the Japanese-owner Aka Fuji does it best. Doing a massive list of maki, nigiri and sashimi, Aka Fuji does just as many home country classics as it does Americanized rolls (from California rolls to the 'Boston' and the 'Montreal'), but true sushi fans would be well-served to order up the restaurant's full platters to get the best experience. Go big or go home, you know?

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Kui
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Xue L.

Kui

Verdun truly felt like it had it all when this all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant opened up in recent memory. Fatty slices of pork and bulgogi beef get served up with piles of veg, and their dinner boxes during pandemic days are cheap and filling. When the grills fire up, note that this place is BYOB as well, and with a dépanneur located directly across the street? We'd call that a winning combination for a great night out. 

Poutine
Photograph: Shutterstock

Restaurant Bingo

Consider this a hot tip, Montreal: If you're on the hunt for some of the best poutine in the city? This one's a solid ticket. We know, we know, "why didn't you mention it before?" Honestly, we just wanted to keep it to ourselves. When that classic dish is served up brimming in a styrofoam container, it doesn't look like much (what poutine does?), but one taste nails it. They do their own fries, the gravy recipe's on point, and they've got some of squeakiest curds in the southwest. Bonus round for dining here: The salami burgers. Don't ask, just bite in.

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Villa Wellington
Photograph: @restaurantvillawellington / Instagram

Villa Wellington

Villa Wellington does a good job of satisfying all tastes by offering a fair share of American dishes like burgers and fries and some Mexican enchiladas and fajitas, but really, the Peruvian dishes here are where they shine brightest. Papas rellenos, chicharonnes and ceviches are all on point and best washed down with true blue pisco sours. If you're someone who enjoys a kitschy dining experience, come here and bask in the owners' panache for Peruvian-meets-Quebec décor.

New Verdun
Photograph: @clubsandwich.club / Instagram

New Verdun

Diners are an artform in Montreal, and there's only so many that give a classic vinyl boothed, neon-lit experience like New Verdun. Classic in appearance but unconventional in its menu, New Verdun might spook some with its auxiliary Chinese menu or the appearance of frog legs. No worries, the poutines are bona fide and heavy submarine sandwiches like the 5th Avenue—weighed down with a combo of steak, smoked meat, mushrooms, green peppers and fistfuls of mozzarella—are the main reasons you either eat in or order up late at night. 

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Pierrette Patates
Photograph: @mulan.ttd / Instagram

Pierrette Patates

Folks swear by the poutine and burgers of Pierrette, and we don't blame them. Thick-cut fries get a heavy canopy of gravy and curds, while flattop smash-style burgers lovingly drip with grease here. If diner eats are the kind of thing you're craving, add on an order of their 'Michigos', pogos covered in bolognese and white onion, for a real innovative (and gutbusting) meal.

Archway Bar Santé
Photograph: Archway Bar Santé / archwaymtl.com

Archway Bar Santé

When it arrived in Verdun, Archway set itself apart by being the first vegan restaurant and café in the area—that's big news, considering the historically diner-heavy selection the borough has had. Things change, and thankfully, for the better: Jackfruit 'pulled pork' sandwiches, nachos, grilled 'cheese' and more get paired up with solid vegan cakes and crafty cocktails. It's also just so darn pretty in there with its cream and white colour scheme punctuated by wood and rice paper accents. Restaurants in Verdun are starting to add more vegan options to their menus, but this one's got it down pat.

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Honi Honi
Photograph: Honi Honi / @RestoHoniHoni / Facebook

Honi Honi

Poké bowls are far from passé when you eat at a real deal like Honi Honi. Along with the usual suspects for poké options like ahi tuna, spicy salmon and shrimp, they also have a build-your-own-bowl option for anyone looking to mix things up. Don't skip on some of their hot plates of Hawaiian chicken, takoyaki and/or calamari while you're there as well, topped off with Tiki drinks.

Bombay Grill
Photograph: Bombay Grill / bombaygrillverdun.ca

Bombay Grill

An unassuming spot on the Wellington thoroughfare, if you watch the front door, you'll notice a steady-ish stream of locals rolling through. That's because they're crazy about their butter chicken recipe which leans toward the more savory side of the dish's spectrum (and great when they serve it on poutine), but any other dish does well from the paneer to curios like the Desi-style roasted cauliflower in the Gobi Manchurian. It's also exceedingly cheap here, so it's a great bet when you're looking to go whole hog. 

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