Finest eating places in Montreal in line with meals specialists
As is the tradition with Eater, we close the year by asking a group of food writers, bloggers, and others from around town to weigh the year down while eating. Your answers – unedited (except for grammar) and in no particular order – will be published in multiple posts when the 2020 clock runs out. Here they share memories of their best meal of the year.
Joanna Fuchs, Food writerand Associate Editor ELLE Canada: For the brief moment that restaurants were open this year, I went to Joe Beef on a fine September evening to celebrate my tenth anniversary with my partner. We sat in the idyllic garden, surrounded by twinkling fairy lights. Chef Gabriel Drapeau’s food was exquisite, Wine Director Max Campbell’s recommendations were spot on, and the service was impeccable. It was enough to make me forget about the pandemic – if only for a few hours – and a meal reminder that both makes me so incredibly sad and nostalgic, and literally keeps me going.
JP Karwacki, Time out Montreal editor: Nothing beats a meal in a restaurant, so it’s a three-way tie for me: My blissful pre-pandemic meal with a friend at Le Coq de l’Est on the night of March 14th, during which I had a fantastic Steak and oysters eat Provisions Bar à Vin, or celebrate good times during the summer opening of the restaurants in Time Out Market and Cadet.
Iris Gagnon-Paradis, Press Restaurant reporter: That is hard. I went to a couple of restaurants this summer when they were open and had a really great meal at the new Baie-Saint-Paul-Buvette La Louve (from the Faux-Bergers team). I also went to Monarque this summer and it was absolutely fantastic; This restaurant is a winner every time. When it comes to gastronomy, Trifecta, the project by Club Chasse et Pêche, Le Filet and the owners of Le Serpent, is hard to beat. We also enjoyed a large sushi plate from Park for my friend’s birthday. Soooo good.
Alison Slattery, main photographer, Two food photographers:
- Experience at home – Public House (WOW !!), Jun I & Park
- Terrace – I have set / soul
- Picnic – hut next door
- Sandwiches – Diplomat (these were amazing and always a bit of a surprise in classic Aaron fashion!)
Jason Lee, food blogger, Shut up and eat: During the summer at the height of Covid fatigue and when guidelines were relaxed, our family (in charge) gathered to order the biggest takeaway at Mon Nan restaurant in Chinatown. Part of it was the delicious food, but above all being able to eat as a family again, which made it the best meal of 2020.
Clay Sandhu, food writer, Cult MTL: At the end of September I was allowed to spend a few weeks in Gaspésie. The whole summer had been such a joyful respite from the oppressively dull and closed spring. For lunch I ate in the highly touristy, but ultimately quite good landmark of Percé, La Maison Du Pêcheur. We sat in the glowing and glowing solarium with a view of the Rocher Percé, ate fish and chips and drank Pit Caribou beer. It’s one of my few cherished memories of that terrible year.
Anonymous, @FNoMTL: June I Getting Sushi and seeing The Boys instead of the US election results was a great decision.
But really, the last “meal” we missed the most was probably coffee and biscotti, crammed into an alcove in the Olimpico from the cold. I wait all day for different people to come and go.
Amie Watson, freelance food writer, Montreal Gazette and 5à7 podcast: It was more of a snack, but the first place I went after the first lockdown ended was the Pullman Bar à Vin. We got the first reservation time on a Sunday before the wine bar closed that day, so the place was empty and bottles of wine were 50 percent cheaper. It felt like such a celebration. We had the same waiter as we had before (this time with face protection) and ordered these ridiculously good cerignola olives with candied lemon peel and the boned quail in the sticky-sweet bourbon sauce. I want to cry now when I think about it.
I know they have a whole quail with chestnut filling and brown butter as part of their “tout inclus” vacation package, but it’s just not the same. However, it’s a pretty great deal for 14 dishes and a bottle of Bubbles for $ 140. And no, I don’t get paid to say that.
Rachel Cheng, Photographer and food security activist: Lawrence, during that magical time when they had a handful of tables on the sidewalk. It was late August and one of those days when the sky was deep purple and the food, wine, and service were so perfect that it was almost okay that it had been my only restaurant meal since February. They had tossed that creamy fresh pasta in Gaspé seaweed that I still think about.
Ivy Lerner-Frank, Eater Montreal contributor: Mon Lapin has been our wedding anniversary splurge tradition two years in a row. This year they were closed for renovations so this was our first time to try Damas. I couldn’t believe how delicious a salad can be until I tried Chef Nirabie’s fattoush – but the real thrill was the lamb kebab with sour cherries and pine nuts. (I still think about it pretty much every day.)
The Christmas menu of two of my favorite dishes made the competition for the best meal of the year really tough. Mon Lapin’s duck in the Christmas tree, as Marc-Olivier Frappier described her duck confit in pine and juniper, was so festive and hearty, and the chestnut-amaro-nanaimo bar hit the really good combination of just sweet enough and salty: it was absolutely revealing . Beba’s tart with foie gras and apple is my idea of the perfect combination for a similar theme – but also the Quatro Leches tart with passion fruit cream by head chef Ari for dessert. (Now it has to be home cooking again for a while.)