This Montreal restaurant simply made OpenTable’s High 100 checklist in Canada
From its iconic smoked meat and indulgent poutines to upscale bistros, Montreal’s food scene is an eclectic mix of restaurants that spans world-class dining to late-night cravings. With so much selection, it can feel overwhelming to not only narrow your choice but secure a reservation at a coveted spot.
Recently, OpenTable released its list of the Top 100 Most Beloved Restaurants in Canada for 2022. The list offers potential diners a comprehensive look at this year’s most beloved spots and was selected from millions of diner reviews from restaurants across the country.
On that list is Montreal’s very own Modavie, a bistro known for its lamb specialties, imported wines, and old-timey jazz vibe. For decades Modavie’s sprawling two floors have provided a vintage ambience in the heart of Old Montreal, with a menu inspired by French classics.
We spoke to Chief Brand Officer Maria Antonopoulos about Modavie’s history, success, and how OpenTable helped them grow an already thriving restaurant.
Opening in 1997, Modavie began as a humble neighborhood bistro that quickly became a favorite amongst visiting locals. From the jump, they’ve been able to offer exquisite French-inspired cuisine with a vibrant atmosphere, but the restaurant’s signature jazz music wasn’t always part of the operation.
“When we first opened our restaurant, we didn’t offer live music,” Antonopoulos tells Daily Hive. “However, we always strive to enhance our guests’ experience, and adding sensory elements is a proven way to create a more inviting atmosphere. A few years into our operations, we decided to add live music and worked with local artists.”
Adding live music to their restaurant was a big success, says Antonopoulos — so much so that customers kept coming back for more. Seeing the success, the team decided to make jazz a staple at Modavie on a nightly basis.
Navigating the restaurant scene
The culinary scene in the city is strong, and not every restaurant has been able to break through in the way Modavie has. Antonopoulos credits the diverse clientele and passionate team as what’s made this bistro a Montreal institution.
“Montreal is a vibrant, multi-cultural city renowned for its diverse culinary scene,” says Antonopoulos. “However, French cuisine remains the most beloved among both locals and tourists alike. From the classic French onion soup to the decadent crème brûlée, our French-inspired dishes are sure to tantalize the taste buds of all who visit.”
The location of the restaurant has also fortified Modavie’s unique identity. Old Montreal is brimming with the city’s culture and history, and the proximity has allowed them to take advantage of the community that’s already cemented itself in the area.
The casual atmosphere of Modavie thrives within Old Montreal, encouraging guests to come in and really enjoy their time and the great food offerings.
“The city’s narrow winding cobblestone streets lends itself well to a cozy intimate dining experience with its ‘Old World’ charm,” says Antonopoulos. “Diners also appreciate being immersed in iconic historical architecture.”
Making the top 100
When restaurant restrictions were lifted earlier this year, Antonopoulos says there was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation. Montrealers had been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to dine out again, and as travel restrictions were also eased, tourists returned to the city. “We could feel the vibrant energy of pre-COVID days returning to our restaurants,” she says.
Antonopoulos says the inclusion of Modavie on OpenTable’s Top 100 Beloved Restaurants list is a testament to the hard work and dedication of their team, which consistently hits a high bar when it comes to a dining experience for their guests.
“It is an incredible honor for us to have made the Top 100 list, and we are immensely proud of what our team has achieved,” she says. “This recognition instills confidence in our new diners when they reserve a table with us to savor our cuisine at Modavie.”
Working with OpenTable has helped Modavie streamline its operations. Leveraging its cutting-edge technology, Antonopoulos says the team has been able to optimize its processes and enhance its customer experience.
She says it’s allowed the restaurant to accommodate more customers, attract more reservations, and ultimately make guests more satisfied.
What to expect next from Modavie
Still committed to providing an authentic French dining experience in a casual yet lively setting, Modavie’s menu will continue to feature classic French dishes that have been carefully crafted and authentically prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
The chef at Modavie loves to experiment with traditional French recipes, bringing unique twists to the signature lamb dishes the restaurant is known for, as well as their sweetbreads, garlic snails, and duck confit.
“Our data insights showed that Canadians were keen to dine out. The number of seated diners between January and October 2022 increased 79% compared to the same period in 2021, and six percent compared to 2019,” says OpenTable’s Country Director Matt Davis. “There is a great deal of enthusiasm for spending in local restaurants, and we expect that Canadians’ desire to dine out will continue into 2023.”
To make a reservation at Modavie for yourself, or to see the full list of restaurants that made the Top 100 Most Beloved Restaurants in Canada for 2022, visit OpenTable’s website.