On the rarest of occasions, winter will have its perks, but summers in Montreal? That’s precisely when you need to go out to eat in the city. Sitting around in good company while taking in the sights and sounds of the streets around you outside, or feeling the high vibes of a season when everyone wants to get out and enjoy the weather is a local experience that’s in high demand for Montreal. That said, don’t be surprised if it’s hard to find some last-minute seats.
From lush terrasses strung with lights to plush interior banquettes with cold stone tabletops loaded up with some of the best wine and food in the city—things seldom get better than that. If you want to enjoy some of the finer things Montreal’s dining scene has to offer, here’s where you should be reserving spots in advance.
1233 Avenue Lajoie
While tapas can be found around Montreal, this is a spot where it truly feels special. On their terrasse rolling out to the street’s edge, fine wines with a Catalonian focus get paired with imported canned fish and seafood from across the Atlantic, seasonal vegetables, and some of the best rotisserie chicken, prepared Barcelonian style.
4095 Rue Molson
While this restaurant’s cavernous outdoor terrasse is set on the asphalt of a retrofitted industrial compound, its slick tables and service make it feel like a natural extension of their dining room. Enjoy the wind and shade while you peruse their immense wine list that provides a lot of occasions for celebration on its own, but it’s twice as good when enjoyed with their menu cooked over the kitchen’s woodfire: Think PEI beef with black garlic, cavatelli with nduja and shiitake mushrooms, and platters of Quebec cheese for dessert.
1025 Rue Lenoir
Under the big top of their backyard terrasse, there’s all manner of great wine lists with even greater backstories, grilled goods like whole Cornish hen or Italian arrosticini, and fresh pastas to enjoy at this instant hit in Saint-Henri. Above all else, however, it’s the service here that makes it truly special—you’re sure to make friends with your server in no time.
386 Beaumont Avenue
There’s a lot of flavour and panache within this shoebox of a restaurant. Sit elbow-to-elbow with other guests inside in their diner-like setting and get a good look at the kitchen working away, or luxuriate on their side terrasse as you guzzle their glou-glou natural wines. Wherever you opt to sit, let the team run by chef Marc Villanueva Felipe take the reins and shoot you plates like calamari cut thin into noodles, grilled oyster mushroom skewers, smoked chicken, and more until you can’t take another bite.
1142 Avenue Van Horne
With its own in-house butchery, the menu of this Outremont restaurant is an exceptional find for summer dining. Serving everything from grilled skewers to sharing plates of top cuts, plus some well-sourced platter of oysters in between, this restaurant is akin to a next-gen steakhouse worth enjoying at the peak of the season.
Located on the cusp of downtown under the shadow of a complex designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, this upscaled bistro spills out onto its surrounding plaza in the summer with a long and luxurious terrasse. You can try perusing their selection of private imports, but we won’t blame you if you leave suggestions up to the server as you’re distracted by upscale bistro menus including things like New York striploins and unforgettable burgers and pasta.
150 Rue Saint-Zotique Est
Inventive cuisine, convivial service, and one of the greatest selections of wine in the whole country are all found within the walls of this Little Italy restaurant, and they’re even better when enjoyed on their terrasse. The whole experience here is so quintessentially Montreal that it’s no wonder it’s often cited as one of the best restaurants in the country.
8521 Saint-Laurent Boulevard
Classic French-meets-Italian Provençal cuisine from this Villeray restaurant is a great drawcard on its own, but when it’s enjoyed on their verdant back terrasse as the sun’s going down? You’ll be hard-pressed to find much else that’s as rejuvenating. Dive into their European wine list with precise accompaniments of finessed takes on seasonal, family-style dishes crafted from farms and coastlines—and don’t miss out on their desserts.
4662 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
Enjoy calm and cool early evenings at this Saint-Henri bistro, or book a table later on to enjoy a more energetic vibe where the wine flows and the music gets turned up. Whichever time of day you pick, enjoy it on one of their intimate terrasses with carefully crafted bistro menus of oysters, fresh seafood, and big cuts of beef and lamb—no wonder why it’s named after the reliable spots to grab a bite.
Bringing the heat with its wood-fired kitchen, Foxy single handedly makes Griffintown look good with its dark interiors designed by Montreal’s own MO Design Workshop and Architecture. Cruise through their feed on any given day and you’ll see why people flock here in the summer, from their menu’s mainstay grilled flatbreads to roasted vegetables and pastas infused with wood smoke. Pair that with a cocktail or three, and it’ll be closing time before you know it.
6966 Rue Saint-Denis
This neighbourhood spot converted from a longstanding dive bar is perfect during warmer months. Whether it’s drinking and dining on its casual streetside terrasse or cooling off with wine and bites inside their long dining space, its seasonal cuisine sourced from the nearby Jean-Talon Market takes classics ranging from dressed oysters, pasta, desserts, rotisserie—really, anything—and gives them inventive spins you won’t find elsewhere.
6448 St Laurent Boulevard
If you ever doubted that good things can come in small packages, then you haven’t tried dining either inside this tiny Little Italy restaurant or on its cozy outdoor terrasse. Whether it’s farm-to-table vegetable dishes or their mainstays of tartare and entrée proteins, they’ll almost always come with artistic plating where the food tastes as good as it looks.
551 Rue Saint-Martin
It’s one thing to dine inside this restaurant set in a deconsecrated church, but come summertime, its terrasse of natural wood and white steel is the optimal way to experience it both in terms of atmosphere and tasting menus that take you through whatever’s freshest that time of year. The peak of summer isn’t just celebrated on the plates, but with bottles from their long wine lists.
374 Victoria Avenue
This new operation in Westmount makes good on dining out in the summer both inside its extra high-ceilinged dining room and long outdoor terrasse. Bring company and dig into its sharing-style menus and luxurious desserts with a heavy French influence; it’s one of the better dining options in the southwest side of Montreal for its exceptional service and level of cooking.
988 Rue Ottawa
One trip to this new-wave Italian restaurant in Griffintown will you give you a great idea of what they’re all about, and good enough to beg repeat visits: Fresh Italian aperitivo, fresh pastas and focaccia, sliced charcuterie, and pulled espresso shots and mixed sodas for dessert all come in a lively atmosphere that effortlessly exudes cool. Try them during their family-style Sunday Sugo meals.
7495 Rue Saint Denis
Lighting up its street like a lantern in a window on summer nights, this easy-going Italian restaurant excels at putting together light yet satisfying plates of Italian cuisine with Montreal twists to go with their long wine lists. If you ever wanted to know how simple ingredients can get spun into truly delicious dishes through pure skill, this should be the first place on your list to find out.
A lauded, 17-year veteran of Montreal’s restaurant scene thanks to the devotion of its chef Chuck Hughes, Garde Manger is where summertime restaurant goers head to when they want to leave a meal more than satiated. From its infectious atmosphere to heaved platters of seafood and precise plates of seasonal vegetables and farm fresh proteins, the cooking and service here is always on its A-game, and that’s as good a reason as any to eat out in our books.
4255 Rue Ontario Est
Don’t let its casual air fool you: This here’s one of the few restaurants leading the pack for fine dining in Hochelaga thanks to its inspired menus, served in a spacious room dripping with hanging pothos. Wines are sell-sourced, the cocktails are creative, and their tasting menu will take you on an inexpensive but no less flavourful trip through everything they have to offer.
This article was brought to you by DINR. For same-day reservations at some of Montreal's most exclusive restaurants, download the app and reserve today.