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Balsam Inn Montreal
Photograph: Courtesy Balsam Inn

21 notable Montreal restaurants and bars that have permanently closed

New names pop up and classics are forging on, but many Montreal restaurants and bars have permanently closed for good.

By JP Karwacki
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UPDATE September 15, 2020: Our original list of restaurants and bars closing in Montreal started out with 15 names but has, unfortunately, since risen to these 21 names. The latest names to shut their doors for good can be found at the top, and if these names are revived under new ownership with the same name, they'll be removed.

We're working hard to keep track of how much our city is changing. Know of a noteworthy restaurant that's not listed here? Send our editors an email.

Don't get us wrong, no one's more excited than us to start going back to restaurants as they reopen in Montreal, but it's also a bittersweet time for us. We're happy that many of our favourite cafésbars, bistros, restaurants and spots for the best cheap eats in Montreal have managed to weather the pandemic, but some have not.

Businesses have been given the green light to open for some time now, but it's a rough start with limited capacities and a lot of new rules and regulations concerning public health. It's more important than ever to support local businesses, whether it's dining on one of the best terrasses in town during the summer or continuing to order up the best delivery and takeout during colder months. We want to take this time to remember the amazing work of places that have given us some of our fondest memories, but did not make it through this current crisis.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Notable Montreal restaurants and bars that have permanently closed

L'Entrecôte Saint-Jean
Photograph: L'Entrecôte Saint-Jean / lentrecotestjean.com

L'Entrecôte Saint-Jean

After 29 years of serving sauce-covered steak frites from its location on Peel, this French bistro was forced to close. With its exceedingly intimate setup, a reduced dining room capacity made things exceedingly difficult for the restaurant to survive. "It is with great sadness that we announce the official closure of our restaurant," their website announced at the beginning of September. "We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for these 29 wonderful years that we have spent together." While it's not exactly the same experience, L'Entrecôte Saint-Jean's Quebec City location remains open for those who will miss its Montreal address.

Chez Yolande
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Fredo J.

Chez Yolande

For those in the know, they knew it well (as well as anyone who went to James Lyng high school in the last 20+ years): Chez Yolande, a restaurant who served exceedingly cheap breakfasts to Saint-Henri residents for decades, was forced to close. Confirmed by the neighbourhood's residents in an online Facebook group for dwellers of the Hen, this was a place where you could grab a full breakfast for less than $10—something that's increasingly rare in this city—but not any longer. RIP.

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Les Fillettes
Photograph: Les Fillettes

Les Fillettes

August 30 marked the last day of service for one of Montreal's most classic destinations for as many brunches as it was for romantic dinners. After five years of operation in the city, the owners of the neighbourhood bistro Les Fillettes announced their closure in a Facebook post: "...We no longer have the physical, emotional and financial strength to continue the operations of what has long been our second home," they wrote. "We wish we could have continued this adventure, but we are able to weather this crisis."

Moishes
Photograph: Moishes / @moishesmtl

Moishes

After 83 years, the iconic Jewish steakhouse Moishes is calling it quits on its original Plateau address. Despite having weathered the turmoil and uncertainty of the Second World War, the ice storm of 1998, historic moments of political upheaval in the city and economic recessions, the pandemic's effect on foot traffic, tourism and indoor dining brought down this monolithic figure. It's not the complete and utter end of Moishes, however. Back in 2018, Quebec’s Sportscene group—known for the sports bar chain La Cage aux Sports and Quebec locations of Chinese-American restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s—purchased Moishes with the intent of moving it to to a new location between downtown and Old Montreal, but those plans remain on hiatus. The point is that this Moishes, the one of fond memories for many Montrealers, is no more.

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Café Joe
Photograph: Café Joe / @cafejoemtl

Café Joe

We're going to miss this place. While Saint-Henri continues to boast a fair amount of honest casse-croûtes and breakfast joints, one less of them really hurts. Café Joe went under new management in 2018 with two owners who kept the name, vibe and menu intact, but they've since faced hardships following March including a break-in during April. At the end of July, they posted on Facebook that their doors would be closing indefinitely, likely only to return under new management.

La Vitrola
Photograph: La Vitrola / @lavitrolaMTL / Facebook

La Vitrola

La Vitrola may have only had six years under its belt, but it was an indelible members of the Suoni per il Popolo family of venue-bars that also included Casa del Popolo and la Sala Rossa (breathe easy now, those last two are still functioning). Back at the end of June this year, however, co-owner Mauro Pezzenta posted on Facebook that "with no vaccine for Covid-19 in sight soon and debt building and building (Kiva Stimac and myself) have realized we cannot keep La Vitrola open." Pour one out for a sorely missed bar and performance space when you can, Montreal. 

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Provisions Montreal
Courtesy Provisions

Provisions 1268

While the effect of the virus on the restaurant industry run deep, one of the biggest blows has been made to the fine dining sector, whether or not their name carries a lot of weight. Provisions is (and hopefully the only) latest name to be adversely affected with its 25-seat restaurant buckling under pressure and moving operations over to both their meat-forward nieghbour Boucherie Bar à Vin Provisions and an all-new ice cream joint. "We knew we had a decision to make as to whether we paused or moved or closed," chef Hakim Rahal told Time Out in an interview. "COVID kind of made the decision for us."

Balsam Inn Montreal
Photograph: Courtesy Balsam Inn

Balsam Inn

Few places were better than Balsam Inn for just as many quick 5 à 7s downtown as they were for long meals lounging on its terrasse by Dominion Square. Immaculately designed in a way that evoked Wes Anderson films, warm in the winter and too cool for school in the summer, it sadly closed due to difficulties directly related to the pandemic. Thankfully, it's survived by the Dominion Square Tavern next door.

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Restaurant Su Montreal
Photograph: Restaurant Su

Su

Chef Fisun Ecran has been one of Montreal's best ambassadors for Turkish cuisine (and according to some, THE best). Her restaurant in Verdun had always been a well-kept secret among casual diners in the city and a necessary place to go for those in the know. While Ecran announced the closure of Su on June 16 after 14 years in the business, the highly lauded chef will go on to tackle new projects at Ferme Bika.

House of Jazz
Photograph: House of Jazz / @HouseofjazzCanada

House of Jazz

A longtime stalwart of the jazz bar scene in Montreal, the original House of Jazz location downtown definitively closed its doors on June 24. Originally opened in 1981 by George Durst and the late bassist Charlie Biddle, the venue was a prime hotspot for live music during the International Jazz Festival. From its unique interior décor featuring Baroque and Rococo elements to the fiberglass statues of the Blues Brothers atop its entryway, it was a well-loved institution in town. While this might come as sad news to some, the business' Laval location is still up and running, having reopened its doors on June 25.

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Chasse-Galerie Montreal
Photograph: Chasse-Galerie

Chasse-Galerie

Having run its course since 2016, it took little time for Chasse-Galerie to capture a lot of hearts, minds and stomachs from its sub-basement address on Saint-Denis (no easy feat when you consider how tough that part of town can be to run to restaurant). The fine dining destination wasn't able to survive the pandemic, but the owners have since decided to flip its operation into a new restaurant, La Maisonette. It's simply that we won't get to experience what it once was anymore.

Ganadara Montreal
Photograph: Ganadara / @Ganadaramtl

GaNaDaRa

Open since September of 2012, if you were ever wondering what was causing a huge line-up on Maisonneuve Boulevard a stone's throw away from Concordia University? This was it. Unfortunately, that's over now since the restaurant announced its closure on Instagram with direct reference to the outbreak. It will, however, be survived by Bar Ganadara up the street on Ste-Catherine West. See you in the future for fried chicken and beer, old friend.

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Snack N' Blues
Photograph: Two Food Photographers

Snack 'N' Blues

Truth be told, this Mile End dive bar been for sale in a turn-key format for a little while now, but the pandemic has only exacerbated its ability to survive. It's where many-a dates both bad and good have happened, many bowls of snacks were eaten, and many cheap beers were drank; it's where many great open mics have gone down and where many bartenders got a good and honest start in the city. We'd normally hope new owners show up and keep it alive, but those would be big shoes to fill.

Le Smoking Vallée
Photograph: Le Smoking Vallée

Le Smoking Vallée

After 8 years of BYOB service to the nieghbourhood of Saint-Henri and beyond, this restaurant—part of a family of similar restaurants around town—decided to close up shop. It's unknown as to whether or not the closure was directly related to the pandemic, but with fine dining destinations facing often massive difficulties in switching to takeout and delivery, the likelihood is there.  

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Café Coop Touski
Photograph: Café Coop Touski / @cooptouski

Café Coop Touski

While the loss of a well-known destination for dining in Montreal's a sad affair, losing a place built on the basis of cooperative ownership and community can hit even harder. Good for as many snacks and coffee as it was a place to support local artists, the collective behind the space had previously crowdfunded and bought their building, but have since opted to shut down and face potential bankruptcy. 

Le Lendemain de Veille
Photograph: Le Lendemain de Veille

Le Lendemain de Veille

Known for its breakfasts and brunches on Saint-Hubert Street, this small spot was just beginning to see progress in the six months prior to the outbreak. Once forced to close in March, the restaurant has since had no choice but to shutter for good since that time, leaving us all with one less awesome place to have a couple beers and poutine and call it breakfast. 

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Librairie Oliveri Montreal
Photograph: Librairie Oliveri / @LibrairieOlivieri

Librarie Olivieri

Montreal's first bookstore-café was one of the first notable closure to come out of the pandemic, all the more unfortunate when considering this Côte-des-Neiges destination had been open and running for over 35 years. With its decision to close came a lot of Montrealers remembering having a great place to chill out with a book and fine coffee.

Comptoir 21
Photograph: Angel Montiel

Comptoir 21 (St-Viateur & Gilford)

While this fish and chips chain continue to operate elsewhere in the city, its location on Saint-Viateur in the Mile End has been forced to close its doors. It's not only a victim of the upheavel the pandemic has cuased, but of callous landlords as well; a local reported in a Facebook post that the owners received a substantial rent increase despite the circumstances around COVID-19 or more than $1000 more a month. Its locations in Verdun and the Plateau continue forward as far as we know.

 

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Bar-B-Barn
Photograph: Bar-B-Barn / @BarBBarn.MTL

Bar-B-Barn

Having originally opened on Guy Street near Concordia University in 1967, you—if you're either new to the city or focused on flashier, newer spots—may not have had the chance to eat here. Locals loved it for its convivial atmosphere, and having served Montrealers for over 50 years, it was an institution for many. The announced closure brought with it a lot of lamentations, but the owners felt social distancing and limited capacity, plus further demands that the outbreak requires of restaurants, would eb too much for them to continue. The restaurant's location in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, however, lives on according to a report by the CBC.

Orange Rouge
Photograph: Orange Rouge

Orange Rouge

It continues to be an uphill climb for restaurants in Chinatown, as stigmatic discrimination and unwarranted apprehensions directly or indirectly affected diners' choices over going to this small neighbourhood area. While most Chinese restaurants have yet to close in the face of this, Orange Rouge has. A unique fine dining destination for the area with a kitchen run by chef Minh Phat that took a pan-Asian approach to its menu, despite it switching over to takeout for several weeks, the business could not weather a lack of business. 

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Tacos Frida, Gay Village
Photograph: Tacos Frida Village

Tacos Frida (Gay Village)

On June 26, Tacos Frida's announced that it would be closing its Gay Village location on Facebook. The location was the Oaxacan family's first foray into expanding beyond their popular business beyond the original Saint-Henri location which, thankfully, continues in an even larger dining room than before. Montrealers can continue to grab cheap and delicious tacos from Frida, just not east of downtown any longer.

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