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Photograph: Benjamin Turcotte

Where to eat fresh catches of the best seafood in Montreal

We ate through every sparkler-topped tower and popped oyster platter to bring you the best seafood in Montreal

Written by
JP Karwacki
&
Audrey Carleton
Contributor
Tommy Dion
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UPDATE, December 2021: The proving ground of the last few years have revealed some excellent new players on the scene of the best seafood restaurants in Montreal, and that calls for an update. Whether it's an old institution or a fresh catch of a place that tastes like it was hauled out of the city yesterday (and it likely was), it's all here. We've had to say goodbye to some classics (RIP Le Bremner!), but the new blood here makes up for it.

When you take a good look at the scene in the city, the best seafood in Montreal covers a lot of ground: It’s the best sushi this side of Quebec, the city’s Greek and Portuguese restaurants, or the Michelin star-worthy options in Old Montreal. From casual spots for fish and chips and lobster rolls to elegant platters of shucked oysters and restaurants with cutting-edge cuisine, nearly everything from under the sea is easy to find in this city, but only so many are among our picks for the best in town.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Best seafood in Montreal

Among the restaurants of the group that includes spots like Le Club Chasse et Pêche, Le Serpent, and Il Miglio, Le Filet is the one that will delight the greatest lovers of fish and seafood. Garnished oysters (or not), tuna tartare and grilled octopus will be the perfect preamble to catch and savor the fish of the day, or a plump scallop when it's on the menu. 

Fish and seafood at their best, simply prepared to enjoy their tender flesh, meticulously placed on sushi rice prepared according to the rules of art: That's Jun I. By opting for the omakase menu, you're in for a tasting that features a vast selection of seafood. This Laurier Street institution is also an emblem of the city and another must-see destination to enjoy the cream of the crop of sushi.

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Impeccable and versatile in its delivery, Marcus at the Four Seasons hotel in downtown Montreal does seafood justice with delicious panache. Whether it's the recipes of Marcus Samuelsson himself like the spaghetti Picadilly or new recipes from executive chef arrivals like Montreal's own Jason Morris, the kitchen here keeps it fresher than most others on the fine dining scene when it comes to seafood. They've got it all, from oysters to seafood towers to dishes that use Japanese techniques: Consider this your starter pack when dining downtown.

Open seasonally in the summertime around the back of Beau Temps in the Mile End (also a great restaurant), Parasol is an alleyway pop-up that can open slightly earlier for the snow crab season as well. It's got all the trappings of a traditional shack on the side of the road, near the ocean, but with a twist of offering some great bottles of wine to suck back as well. Be sure to eat up the lobster rolls, but also the popcorn shrimp and an amazing fish filet sandwich you won't forget once eaten.

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This downtown restaurant from the Ferreira group prides itself on serving authentic Portuguese food, much of which incorporates specialties from under the sea. Roasted sardine filets, fish soup are among the dishes favoured by critics, while oysters raw and served Portuguese style (in a tomato and chorizo sauce with São Jorge gratiné) plus their fresh seafood casserole are the go-to dishes for newcomers. Visit them for their post-10 p.m. late-night menus to get a discounted taste of their fish and seafood bouillabaisse.

If you're looking for a festive restaurant to celebrate an occasion or just have some fun for an evening—and where fish and seafood are a must—you should be Plateau-bound for Josephine. The seafood platter is one of the most attractive in the city, the lobster tagliatelle is divine (ask for extra lobster!), as are the chef's inspirations when he gets his hands on new arrivals. In summer, we love the terrasse.

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Recurrently sitting in the top 10 for Canada’s best restaurants, this La Petite-Patrie spot in the Saint-Hubert Plaza is known for its eccentricity and a unique set of sharing plates. The menu features some truly original dishes, and the kitchen’s work with seafood is no exception. From whelk gratin with miso butter to Chinatown razor clams, confit salmon with an irresistible smoked cream to smoked sturgeon cream, it’s all inventive, playful, adventurous and colourful on the plate here.

This sleek and trendy downtown restaurant serves a range of small, beautifully plated seafood in a beautiful setting. An interior with features like exposed brick walls and hanging red lanterns makes this a great spot to wow colleagues, something made doubly easy with the restaurant’s precision in dishes like salmon, cod and dumplings alongside its innovative cocktails. The restaurant and its chef Olivier Vigneault have received critical acclaim since opening in 2014, and enjoys a regular fandom from the more monied crowds of the city.

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This Old Montreal restaurant is full of history and anecdotes, and has been serving fresh and simple fish since 1934. One of the few restaurants in Montreal that still serves Dover sole meunière, deboned à la minute, Chez Delmo should be a necessity on any seafood lover's list in Montreal. As an appetizer, we suggest the famous tomato cream, a recipe that's remained unchanged since day 1.

This upscaled restaurant in Westmount from chef Antonio Park has a vast seafood-heavy menu that includes sushi either à la carte or in an omakase service, bowls and oysters that pull from both Park’s Korean roots and his training in Japanese sushi techniques. Fish cut to specifications rarely gets fresher than at this restaurant, importing catches suspended with ikejime. It’s their attention to detail that makes the chef and his kitchen revered both locally and internationally.

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In this first theatrical omakase restaurant that opened in 2020 with bento services to go and now full services, not only do you get to taste very carefully selected fish and seafood, but you also get to see the chef at work. Over the course of the 20-course evening, expect to taste nearly a dozen different species on a menu of seasonal ingredients mainly sourced from Japan. Dessert and a tea ceremony are also part of the 1 and a half hour meal.

This Mediterranean restaurant with Greek leanings in Old Montreal offers a refined array of seafood dishes over the course of lunch and dinner services. Order from a list of dishes like arctic char with fava beans or snow crab with peach gazpacho, or put together your own platter of grilled seafood that can include shrimp, scallops, octopus, calamari and lobster. Note that during summer months, patrons have the option to dine on their elegant patio—if there’s space on the popular seating option—which overlooks the bustling streets of the old city.

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Another seafood-heavy Greek and Mediterranean restaurant in the Mile End, Milos is a critically acclaimed restaurant that’s regularly regarded as among the country’s best. Their menu includes a range of delectable seafood dishes like their lobster pasta, salt bakes and calamari while the restaurant’s signature dish, the Milos Special, doesn’t include fish at all: It’s a stack of thin fried slices of zucchini and eggplant, topped with tzatziki and fried saganaki cheese.

This trendy Little Burgundy restaurant is a relatively new option in the city, but one that’s earned its stripes quickly. The menu’s range of seafood to eat—octopus, lobster halibut, cod, mackerel and more—comes in a wild variety extending from fish burgers and salads to raw bar platters and risotto; essentially, if it’s a notable dish in the realm of seafood, it’s here. After a meal here, head downstairs to its velour and mirror-lined speakeasy King Crab for cocktails and dancing; if you work up an appetite again, there’s wood-fired pizza by the slice.

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Jellyfish is a glamorous spot with floor-to-ceiling windows and glass chandeliers every which way serving eclectic seafood dishes with Asian and European influences. Among them is a shrimp ceviche, a salmon crudo, and an octopus tempura that are star players of the menu. Seafood lovers should feel free to bring along their fish-free friends as well, as there are several vegetarian dishes worth tasting, such as charcoal-grilled beets and heirloom carrots.

This small sushi chain with locations in the Mile End, Downtown Montreal, Westmount, Laval and at the Pierre-Elliot Trudeau International Airport serves maki, nigiri, and shashimi with an amazing level of speed and accuracy. As opposed to being a cookie cutter franchise, menus vary by location, which means those looking for a bang for their buck should be seeking out each spot’s unique specials and combos.

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Before this Little Burgundy address was opened in April 2019, Montreal was surprisingly lacking in representation for classic Acadian dishes like poutine râpée (potato dumplings filled with pork) and fricot stew, let alone the awesome traditions in seafood that the culture sports. Our money on this restaurant quickly becoming the city’s most popular spot for lobster rolls accompanied by popcorn shrimp—and not just because it’s attached to the popular watering hole Drinkerie Ste-Cunégonde.

The team behind Little Burgundy’s Burgundy Lion and Mile End’s Bishop & Bagg absolutely nails the traditional British fast food dish with this family-friendly fish and chips spot. Fried food lovers will adore it all, from their classic fried fish and fries combo to excellent Scotch eggs, popcorn shrimp and battered cod cakes. The restaurant is also vegetarian-friendly with a smoked tofu alternative to pair with french fries.

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Located in a quaint stone building in Old Montreal, Porto Mar is one of the more down-to-earth Portuguese restaurants in town with its cozy ambiance. The menu includes a variety of fresh fish—shrimp, whelks and sardines—alongside a range of other types of meat like sirloin steak and calf liver. Whether you opt for surf or turf here, both are worth it, as fish and meat selections alike are equally revered among their diners. Above all, this spot earns a lot of bonus points for their uber-friendly service.

This spot has become one of the most popular in its neighbourhood of NDG—if not the city at large—for its oysters since opening in 2009. Their raw bar changes regularly according to what’s in season, but always includes an array of Canadian oysters from both sides of the country. Beyond their oyster selection, Lucille’s serves up other crowd-pleaser seafood dishes like surf n’ turf, calamari and fish tacos.

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At this sociable Mile End spot, you can dine on authentic Greek food alongside live music, friendly staff and a bustling atmosphere. Commonly-favoured items on their menu are the octopus and calamari dishes which you can eat alongside indulgences like fried feta cheese and loukoumades (Greek honey donuts). This is where you go for good times alongside your meal as well, as Mythos proudly features a lot of music to accompany dining out here.

A small fish n’ chips spot in Verdun, Comptoir 21 is a casual and affordable spot for superb fried foods in a diner-style setting decked in prerequisite nautical decorations. Their fish n’ chips are simple yet delicious with everything you want in a crisp-but-airy exterior around choice cuts of white fish. They also serve a number of casual fast food classics like hamburgers, poutines and hot dogs for a more turf-bound option.

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This humble spot takes up a mere corner of Little Italy’s bustling Jean-Talon market, making it easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, but it’s known by locals for having some of the freshest oysters in the city at reasonable prices. They serve a range of flavours imported from the East and West coasts of Canada, America and Europe, all of which are served with the essential fixings of shaved horseradish and lemon. The best time of day to stop by is on a Tuesday when they serve oysters for a dollar a piece.

Located in La-Petite-Patrie, SolyMar is an expansive two-story restaurant that serves authentic Peruvian cuisine. Choose from a diverse range of seafood fishes, from calamari and fish and shrimp nuggets to clam chowder if you’re looking for something familiar to North Americans, but it’d be a mistake to forego their dishes with hints of influence from across South America from ceviche to Chilean chorillana.

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