What’s New in Restaurants in Montreal
It is certainly not because the restaurants are currently closed almost everywhere in Quebec that it is unemployed in catering. On the contrary! For professionals in this industry, innovation is second nature.
Montreal is known for its vibrant and diverse food scene, and while the concept currently lends itself more to park picnics and take-out, eat-in, many restaurants offer interesting formulas to discover this spring.
New concept, new menu, new chef, new formula, let’s take a closer look, as we see a glimmer of hope on the horizon for a reopening of restaurants that we hope is (finally) permanent.
Pop ups to discover for the summer season
Pandemic obliges, many Montreal chefs and restaurateurs have used creativity and resourcefulness to open so-called “pop up” concepts, until things return to normal … or not. Some are so popular that it would be wrong to miss them once the storm has passed.
Le Parasol is both a friendly lobster shack and a wine bar, established in the alley behind the restaurant Beau Temps du Mile-End. Opened earlier this year (because we really needed it), we go there if we don’t see the sea, to have a glass of organic wine accompanied by a roll of snow crab, or soon, of lobster.
Well-known chef Hakim Chajar wanted to continue doing what he does best, despite the temporary closure of his excellent Miel table. He therefore chose to open a gourmet fried chicken pop-up, Rubie’s , in order to offer Montrealers “what they really wanted to eat” during confinement. Well done, since the concept is so popular that a second branch of Rubie’s will soon open in Mont-Tremblant.
In the same vein, the fiery team of the Vin Mon Lapin restaurant inaugurated the Casgrain BBQ terrace last summer . It serves sandwiches and fried chicken to enjoy with a selection of wines expertly chosen by sommelier and owner Vanya Filipovic. Psst: while waiting for the return of good weather, the pop up is “in temporary residence” at the Saint-Denis bar. We run there!
If you like the Atma restaurant in the Outremont district, know that the owners opened a new counter last spring in the alley behind the popular restaurant. The Tinc Set offers a take-out menu, only composed of Catalan delicacies, and a selection of wines by the glass and by the bottle. For the curious, know that Tinc Set is a Catalan expression which means “I am thirsty”.
New things we can’t wait to try
Despite the pandemic context, restaurateurs have decided to inaugurate their concepts, hoping to soon be able to welcome their customers to new premises.
Among the recent openings, most offer the “while waiting” take out formula. The current situation allows them to test a few dishes, and to make themselves known, very slowly.
Here are the menus of the restaurants we can’t wait to try in Montreal, hopefully… this summer.
When two strong teams join forces to open an Italian-style wine bar, it’s bound to get the crowds racing. This is exactly what we want at BarBaravin , which opened last winter, and which currently offers a take-out menu of antipasti and homemade dishes. Successful restaurateurs Nicolas Urli (Flyjin, Hà) and Dan Pham (Blossom, Red Tiger), have teamed up with the couple Catherine Draws and David Pellizari (Lili et Co) for this family-friendly, convivial and highly promising concept.
It took a global pandemic to revive this legend that is Laurier BBQ , which is reopening its doors (again) this spring, in version 2021. It is thanks to the trio Emmanuel Goubard, Franco Parreira, and Maxime Tremblay (Victoria BBQ , Westmount BBQ) that the Laurier BBQ will this time be located at 231 rue Saint-Viateur Ouest, in the Mile-End. The team will bring back to the menu the great classics of the iconic Laurier rotisserie, in a “reviewed and improved” formula.
The Tommy Café welcomes you in its green and inviting decor, from morning to evening, for a gourmet break. If like us you like this address, know that Pastek Buvette is the newest member of this team, which will see the light of day when the restrictions are lifted. We find behind this new wine bar Thomas Vernis (Tommy Café, Santos) and chef Devon Skieff (Garde Manger, Au Pied de Cochon), who will invite us into the lobby of a new boutique hotel in Old Montreal, which will will also open shortly. Tempting!
The superb Lebanese cuisine restaurant Le Shay , in Griffintown, has been offering since its opening dishes that are perfectly adapted to the “take-out” formula, more Lebanese pub-style than a gourmet restaurant, for the moment at least. The result is no less impressive. Philly Cheese Steak Shawarma, Shish Taouk Submarine or Vegan Burger Kefta Impossible, the best of Lebanon to take away awaits you, by chef Joseph Awad and his team.