The Best New Restaurants in Montreal [Feb 2024]

Under the radar or over the top, these are the best new restaurants in Montreal that you should get a taste of right now.

J.P. Karwacki

J.P. Karwacki

February 15, 2024- Read time: 14 min
The Best New Restaurants in Montreal [Feb 2024]Photograph: Scott Usheroff / @cravingcurator

A new year brings with it a sizeable selection of the best new restaurants in Montreal. Some may say winter is a slow season in the city, but the latest openings in town are true to the city's way of life, showing that we won't let something like winter get in the way of having a good time.

From new names to established chefs, fine dining options to casual buvettes and hidden gems, the dining scene here is always in flux. That's why we always keep this list fresh, with no opening more than six months old.

This is the list you can use to track where you should be eating at right now, taking stock of what’s worth eating and drinking in the city, and who’s bringing something new to Montreal’s collective table.

Not sure about our picks? Take a deeper dive into what they're cooking with our resident restaurant and bar critic Bottomless Pete.


Oncle Lee

222 Avenue Laurier Ouest

While the city's not exactly a stranger to a newer generation of Chinese restaurants, few—if any—have gone the lengths to offer an alternate take on the cuisine. Enter Oncle Lee, where chef Andersen Lee has a space to call his own, exploring his Chinese identity, influences, and inspirations.

Embarking into uncharted territory for Montreal to create a contemporary Chinese spot, some flavours and dishes will recognizable here, but so much of what the restaurant does won't be served in the Beijings, Mon Nans, and Keung Kees of the city: Steaks sliced and served sizzling on hot plates with a side of bone marrow; oysters either steamed with black bean sauce or served with a yuzu mignonette; raw fish and shellfish dishes like scallop crudo with XO sauce and marinated salmon.

Photograph: Scott Usheroff / @cravingcurator

Chez Jean-Paul

1141 Rue Bélanger

Chez Jean-Paul is a bright arrival on the corner of Bélanger and de la Roche streets, taking over the space that once housed the bistro Coeur De Loup.

Named in homage to the chef Isael Gadoua's grandfather, the restaurant a modest spot where elegance comes through just as much as it does in the decor as it does the food. Gadoua's menu is uncomplicated yet exquisite here, offering plates like aged duck confit, sweetbeards, savory custards, marinated arctic char, and confit duck leg with roasted beets.

And that's just at night—there's a short a tidy lunch service offered here too which generally offers a few vegetable-forward dishes alongside pasta and meat and/or fish that changes often.

Photograph: @restaurant_chez_jean_paul / Instagram

Miracolo

3891 Saint-Laurent Boulevard

Local restaurateur extraordinaire Richard Holder and his collaborators has done it again with Miracolo, an Italian-forward restaurant next to Schwartz's on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Designed in collaboration with Thomas Csano, it's yet another astounding space to dine in, dressed to the nines in every single nook, cranny, and angle you care to look in with vague moments of religiosity—think Madonna statuettes, a cow's head with a halo, or communion wafers at the entrance.

In the kitchen, it's chefs Alejandro Vega and Pierre Morneau. Their menu's a versatile one, offering a little of every size of dish and snack to meet their aims of being open every day of the week: Stop in for a few cocktails and some ricotta or anchovies on toast, or settle in for a more substantial meal of dishes like broccolini or endive salad, skewers of grilled mortadella, crudos, carpaccios, and a lot of fresh pasta that you see being made if you grab one of the table in the back dining room.

It's a bustling spot: At 100-ish seats, this has been a runaway hit since it opened. A great spot if you want that quintessential experience of rubbing shoulders with a neighbour as you chow down and feel the energy of an active address.

Photograph: @twofoodphotographers / Instagram

Bar Vivar

533 Avenue Duluth East

A lot of spots in the city will describe their menu as 'tapas-style' and intended for sharing, but that gets tapas all wrong. Bar Vivar, however, is doing is right for a change.

Located in the Plateau along the time-honored strip of Duluth and across the street from Au Pied de Cochon, Bar Vivar beckons diners with Spanish-inspired menus that blend their source material with a bit of Montreal (think involvement of croissants, or local charcuterie). Headed by chef Georges Greiche with the hospitality of the floor overseen by Patrick Oakes, these veterans from Joe Beef has come together to create a cozy wine bar resonating with simplicity and warmth.

Reminiscent of home, the ambiance leans towards dropping in at someone's chic home for a glass of wine and a snack, but it's fairly easy to order up the whole menu here: The 40-seat space adorned with artwork and leather banquettes inspired by medieval Spain offers things like tortilla, croquettes, and jamón alongside traditional wines, sherries, and vermouths.

Photograph: @twofoodphotographers / Instagram

Marci

6600 Rue St-Hubert

Marci isn't just about food and wine; music plays a starring role as well at this Plaza St-Hubert arrival boasting a New Jersey-inspired menu, natural wines, and a top-notch sound system.

Run by industry veterans, it was imagined by David Schmidt and Daniel Finkelstein with chef Alex Geoffrion in the kitchen crafting comfort food with swagger. Dive into classics like pizzas, casino clams, chicken parm, and Caesar salad with anchovy fillets.

The wine list, featuring mostly natural selections, is handwritten on a large mirror behind the bar, offering affordable choices by the glass.

Photograph: @marcisurlaplaza / Instagram

Parapluie

44 Rue Beaubien Ouest

Chef Robin Filteau Boucher's dream of owning their own restaurant becomes a reality with Parapluie in Little Italy: Partnering with maître d'hôtel Karelle Voyer and friend Simon Chevalier, Filteau envisioned a place where he could cook and connect with patrons in a 30-ish seat spot serving French-inspired dishes crafted with seasonal ingredients priced affordably between $10 and $30.

Standouts include the ravioli in brown butter, beef with button mushrooms and a chicken jus, sauce on eggs mayo with poached lobster, and a Montreal-style trout on a bed of horseradish sauce. Karelle curates the wine list while mixologist Félix Pagé Blouin crafts the cocktails, keeping the room lubricated while folks drop in and out over the course of an evening.

Photograph: @parapluie.mtl / Instagram

Octo

4045 Ontario Street East

Opened in January 2024 in Hochelaga following the closure of their fine dining restauranr Le Flamant, Octo seeks to take on dim sum with playful twists.

Pascal Bolduc and David Hibon are the ones who spearheaded this culinary project designed by Blazys Gerard studio to have an industrial ambiance with popping references to octopi. At 44 seats, Hibon has constructed a menu that vascillates from the small and inexpensive to the big and filling: Their 'reinvented' Asian street food from $4 to $23 features signature treats like the duck spring rolls with passion fruit sauce, shrimp wonton in Tum Yum broth, bao, Peking-style duck, honey cake with maple parfait and a miso cheesecake.

The big bonus folks love here is that they're open late, cranking out food until 1am from Tuesday to Friday.

Photograph: @octo_mtl / Instagram

Jun Jun

1974 Notre-Dame Street West

“Higher end Filipino restaurants have been more for the titas (aunties), the bougie and sophisticated crowds,” Jun Jun owner JoJo Flores explained. “It’s lacking in a lot of cities, including Montreal; we don’t see that level of focus on plating or quality ingredients often. With Jun Jun, we want to offer a new generational take on our cuisine.”

While Jun Jun fully embraces Filipino cuisine’s inherent cross-cultural qualities, it spins them further: Anyone unaffiliated with Filipino food will often find that by googling the name of a dish off Jun Jun's evolving menu will show something entirely different—what was once a stew, a soup a dessert, or a ceviche has become the inspiration for something entirely different, yet the touchpoints of flavour remain in subtle ways.

Take the bulalo carpaccio for example, which turns the traditional Filipino beef shank soup of shanks and marrow with corn on the cob into a plate of thinly sliced tenderloin topped with a marrow-demi mayo, a grilled corn salad, and fermented cabbage.

Photograph: @generalchauchicken

Ohayo Café

145 Mont-Royal Avenue East

At the 28-seater Ohayo Café right next door to Kitano Shokudo, you'll find yoshoku food—Japanese dishes based on Western food, like Japanese-style French toast—in addition to a coffee program features a range of specialty coffees ground on Mahlkönig and Mythos grinders, with a La Marzocca for espresso-based drinks and classic pour-over gear for filter coffee.

Run by Hiroshi Kitano and his longstanding employee and close friend Samath Mom, they're preparing everything from homemade pickles to karaage, ramen, mazemen and artfully arranged bowls of chirashi.

“It’s very specific to cafés in Japan,” Hiroshi says. “Omu rice, hayashi rice, beef stew: they’re Western, but we’ve been making it for a long time.” Ohayo’s menu also features keema curry with ground beef and pork, an egg sando, and ebi (shrimp) and chicken burgers.

Photograph: Scott Usheroff / @cravingcurator

Chai-Yo

3603 Saint Denis Street

At Chai-Yo, you'll find a fusion of Thai and Chinese flavors within an entirely vegan menu celebrating family recipes and street food classics. A new project from ChuChai—a restaurant awarded Thai SELECT Classic mark of certification awarded by the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government to guarantee the authenticity of their food—the menu here's focused on bold yet comforting flavors:

Pad thai with tamarind sauce, bean sprouts, carrots, chives, tofu and peanuts; stir-fried pad see ew with tofu and Chinese broccoli; kao kra pao stir-fry with basil and chili served with steamed rice; bahn mi-style sandwiches of vegan duck (seitan) with black pepper, lettuce, pickled vegetables, chili and coriander on a baguette, and more.

Photograph: @chaiyo.mtl / Instagram

Sora 45

1 Place Ville-Marie

Perched on Place Ville-Marie's 45th floor, Sora 45 is a new project from the team behind Hiatus that takes over its more informal bar space below their supremely high-class restaurant. With stunning skyline vistas and delectable sushi in a chic setting, what was originally intended as a café and lounge for Hiatus has been reimagined with the help of chef Gary Durand and Hiatus chef Yoann Therer. Together, they've curated a menu of sushi and hot dishes complemented by selections by mixologists Carl Charette-Kelada and Tim Robertson.

Open for lunch and dinner, it's far easier to drop in for a bite here than at Hiatus: Stop in and grab platters of maki, nigiri, hosomaki, and bowls of chirashi by day, or a longer list of more elaborate sushi and dishes by night that'll range from eight-hour braised pork-belly and beef sirloin marinated in koji to seasoned chicken tsukune meatballs.

Photograph: @sora45sushi / Instagram & Scott Usheroff / @cravingcurator

Pony BBQ

1608 Saint-Catherine Street West

Softly opening back in October, this Korean BBQ project from the minds behind spots like Otto Yakitori and Bar Otto is a wildly decorated place that evokes the side streets of Seoul. Atop their swish circular and subway-tiled booth tables, you can cook up stuff like 48-hour marinated short ribs, fatty pork belly, king oyster shrooms, and all the other fixings. There are standalone dishes as well like bibimbap, steamed egg gyeranjjim, and rabokki, a type of tteokbokki with added ramyeon noodles.

Photograph: @pony.bbq / Instagram

Lou’s

309 Chemin du Bord-du-Lac-Lakeshore

Why’s the core of the island got to have all the fun? A supergroup of principles from spots like Loïc, Name’s On The Way, and a bunch of other projects have opened this proper American joint in Pointe-Claire. Sporting interior design of soft tones and leather by Kyle Adams Goforth and Sid Lee Architecture, the restaurant serves high-end takes on diner classics—club sandwiches, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese—alongside some more upscaled options like crab cakes and steak-frites. They also make a point of serving a tidy amount of classic cocktails with an eye to martinis and variations.

Photograph: @louspointeclaire / Instagram

La Marelle

129 Rue Beaubien Ouest

Taking over the space that once housed Mile-Ex’s chef-forward dining room of Le Diplomate, La Marelle comes from Salle Climatisée alum Carlos Melgar. Now brightened up with a new paint job, the restaurant’s softly opened with a purely creative menu that pulls inspiration from the chef’s personal and professional backgrounds. Seasonal with a good use of seasonal ingredients, dishes to date have featured scallop aguachile, beef taratares, sweetbreads, raddichio salads, and beets with stracciatella. Given the spot's connections, you can bet the wine selection’s off the chain here.

Photograph: @lerestaurantlamarelle / Instagram

Savsav

780 Brewster

Set below the 7m-high ceilings of a century-old heritage building in Saint-Henri, Savsav—a play on words from “ceux qui savent savent” (or IYKYK)—is the new all-day social club. Along with a beautiful, naturally-lit ambiance with custom furniture and a six-foot light fixture of white oak, waxed cord, and 60,000 handmade glass beads by artist @jamiewolfond, the project comes from BarBara alumni and serves coffee and tea by day and mostly natural private import wine and cocktails by night, as well as a menu for breakfast/lunch/dinner that evolves; there’s a different menu every week on Thursdays and Fridays.

Photograph: Audrey-Eve Beauchamp / @audreyeve.beauchamp

Kari de Krapow

1139A Mont-Royal Avenue East

Following on the success of the Southeast Asian street food spot Krapow, Kari’s a new takeout curry house project that once again specializes in gluten-free menus. This time, they’re focusing on bowls of comfort food sourced from all curry-producing countries of the world. Things get changed up often here, but the latest menu we’ve seen went from Thai green curry with shrimp to Indonesian chicken stem, Jakarta-style milky beef stew, and Vegan Malaysian vegetable stew. They’ve also built in a grocery component to pick up products you can’t find elsewhere.

Photograph: @karidekrapow / Instagram

Regashi

820 Atwater Avenue

A sleek and modernized project compared to past counterparts from the team behind Tri Express, this new izakaya project by chef Tri Du’s son Thierry-Tri Du-Boisclair in Saint-Henri combines their history in Japanese cooking with Quebec terroir. Most dishes are made to be shared over drinks and explore a custom aging room for the fish on-site, including things like bao buns, tataki, and oysters—there’s some sushi, but Montrealers who know Tri Express shouldn’t expect more sushi. This new spot’s a departure for the team.

Photograph: Casandra Kim-Chouinard

Nofish

3723A Saint-Laurent Boulevard

Plant-based chef Christian Ventura of spots like Sushi Momo, Bvrger, Bloom, and LOV is now into poke with a new concept that builds off his past work in fish-free fish. Set in the bright and casual space that used to be the chef’s Nopalito concept for vegan tortas, Nofish takes the best of Ventura’s past work and combines it together, exploring both his work in sushi and his own Mexican heritage. The menu’s kept simple with seven bowls to choose from, plus miso soups and veggie gyoza.

Photograph: Courtesy Nofish

June Buvette

1900 Centre Street

Pointe-Saint-Charles seems to have all the luck these days: Located inside the true heart of the neighbourhood at a nexus point where a lot of new names have opened in recent memory (read on for another!), June Buvette is a true-to-form buvette focuses on gathering around good wine with snacks. The term ‘snacks’ doesn’t do this place from Thomas Engasser and Kevyn Houpert of La Traversée and Thomas Vernis and Patrick Marion from the Tomahawk Group justice, though: Scallop pogos, fried halibut sandwiches on potato buns, rigatoni with a PEI beef ragu, and other plates leaning decadent are light and reasonably priced for the inflationary times we’re in right now. But don’t skip drinks at this MRDK-designed spot, with cocktails like coffee-infused negronis and a lot of glou-glou ‘n’ funky wines with Italian and French focuses.

Photograph: June Buvette | Cath Cooper

Casavant

350 Rue de Castelnau East

Back when we got in touch with the chef running the show of this new spot in Villeray, Charles-Tristan Prévost, we were told that while Casavant is a proper French brasserie, it’s very much meant to be the kind of place you could roll through in shorts in the summer. That means this place from vinvinvin alumni and other industry vets is making a point of keeping things fun and casual while upholding quality. In a slicky designed place by MRDK, the kitchen churns out classics like tartare, tartes Provençale, chanterelle risotto, and more thatès carefully with wines from owner Matisse Deslauriersès wine import agency, À Boire Debout, which pulls in bottles from Italy and France with a bit of the States, Spain and Germany as well.

Photograph: Casavant |Dominique Lafond

Bar Dominion

1243 Metcalfe Street

Restarted by chefs Pablo Rojas and Hakim Rahal of Provisions Bar à Vin and Andrew Whibley of the Cloakroom cocktail bar, Bar Dominion's less of a reinvention of the old Dominion Square Tavern and more of a revisit to its formula, drawing inspiration from both its last form and the one from when it first opened in 1927 as a hotel restaurant. The menu's now toned down from the ploughman's lunches and Sunday roasts of yore and now focused on more drinks and snackable food, with Rojas and Rahal opting for a leaner but refined offering of seafood and fish, like a full raw bar brimming with oysters, crab, caviar and lobster. As for drinks, in addition to wine there are 25 cocktails in all on a menu broken down into martinis, negronis (boulevardiers, white negronis, and so forth), a whiskey-forward cocktail section, a selection of 75s and spritzes, and a section for highballs and fizzes.

Photograph: Courtesy Bar Dominion

Hayat

131 Rue De la Commune Street Ouest

Hayat is the latest project helmed by chef Joseph Awad of Griffintown’s SHAY, a new spot in the Old Port with a menu billed as a series of inspirations culled from the Lebanese sea and Syrian mountains alongside fine dining adaptations from Awad A few dishes pull from those geographies like shrimp in an arak-tomato sauce or a Mediterranean halibut with a potato galette and sauce vierge, and in addition to classic mezze and traditional dishes like richly spiced soujouk sausage and shish taouk plates, you’ll get choices like lamb shawarma tacos, baklawa pancakes, roasted vegetable tarts. The swish interior design by Montreal’s own Ivy Studio helps elevate the night out, particularly though a central fabric chandelier evoking the mountain ranges of Lebanon.

Photograph: Hayat | JF Galipeau

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