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Montréal Restaurants

Au Pied de Cochon
536 Duluth Avenue E.
Plateau
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2L 1A9
Tel: 514 281 1114
www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca

Martin Picard's pig-out palace in the Plateau is a big reason Montréal's culinary scene has been attracting attention in recent years. His synthesis of rustic fare and haute cuisine is masterful, and best sampled in his famous foie gras poutine, which elevates the classic dish of Québec—French fries with gravy and cheese curds—with an indulgent slab of poached duck liver. Nearly everything is drenched in maple syrup and gravy—insanely heavy but sinfully delicious. On any given night, you could be slicing into blood sausage with cured foie gras (much more delicious than it sounds) or surprisingly tender sheep's testicles. In short, it's an adventure into a world where waistlines no longer matter. Sit at the counter, the way Anthony Bourdain does, and reserve well in advance. (Note: Between mid-March and early May, you can also sample Picard's decadent food at his Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon in St. Benoît de Mirabel.)

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 5 pm to midnight

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon
11382 Rang de la Fresnière
St. Benoît de Mirabel , Québec
Canada J7N 2R9
Tel: 450 258 1732
www.cabaneasucreaupieddecochon.com

Each spring, at dozens of cabanes à sucre (sugar shacks) in the rural areas outside Montréal, visitors can see how sap is turned into syrup and can sample traditional Québecois dishes made with lots of the sweet stuff. The food alone usually isn't worth the trip. Unless, of course, you're headed to Martin Picard's Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon, in St. Benoît de Mirabel, a 45-minute drive from downtown Montréal. The restaurant, opened in 2010, maintains the whimsy of Au Pied de Cochon (see the cheeky logo of a pig drinking maple syrup straight from a tree), and the food is just as intense. Indulgences on the 12-dish prix fixe menu might include egg soufflé with smoked sturgeon and pulled pork, cabbage stuffed with ground pork and chunks of lobster, beignets fried in duck fat, and taffy made table-side by pouring lines of maple syrup onto a bed of ice.—Danielle Contray

Open Thursdays and Fridays 5 to 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 2 pm and 5 to 9 pm, mid-March through early May.

Cafés
Montréal , Québec
Canada

With its large Italian population and countless artists, Montréal is famous for its café culture. (The city's best cafés are all Italian—just because Montrealers speak French doesn't mean they have to drink espressos and lattes the Gallic way!) Order a latte at Vito at Café Olympico to while away an afternoon in the heart of bohemianism in Mile End (124 Saint Viateur St. W.; 514-495-0746; www.cafeolimpico.com). Or head up to Café Italia in Little Italy to hang with older men and feel like you're on the set of The Godfather (6840 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-495-0059). For the best macchiato this side of the Mediterranean and a sausage sub served the way Rocco likes 'em, take a detour to Milano Café in the Italian suburb of St. Leonard, a 15-minute drive from the city proper (5196 Jarry St. E., St. Leonard; 514-852-9452; www.cafemilano.ca).

Café Via Dante
251 Dante Street
Little Italy
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2S 1K3
Tel: 514 270 8446
www.cafeviadante.com

This casual, mellow neighborhood spot serves the sort of home cooking that you always dream of finding, yet so rarely do. The dishes aren't so different from those you'll find at other joints in Little Italy, but they somehow do gnocchi, rabbit with polenta, and a simple arugula salad better, and with more love, than anybody else. The lobster ravioli is enough to make mama weep, especially when it's paired with private-import Sicilian wines.

Open Tuesdays through Fridays noon to 2 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays 5 to 10 pm.

Club Chasse et Pêche
423 St. Claude Street
Old Montréal
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2Y 3B6
Tel: 514 861 1112
www.leclubchasseetpeche.com

Located in a grottolike room with a nouveau–hunting lodge feel and abstract art on the walls, this restaurant in Old Montréal is nothing less than a cave of edible wonders. Chef Claude Pelletier serves his oysters with lemon confit; cream and onion; au gratin with truffles, manchego, and arugula; or just plain. Each bite releases a flavor bomb so exquisite that time all but stops. The melt-in-your-mouth scallops on a bed of fennel purée are a perfect treat before "new school surf and turf," a combination of nouvelle-cuisine miniportions of exquisite seafood with wild game and other masculine meats—perhaps shrimp with bison. Everything on the menu is good, and even better with a savvy wine pairing (ask the staff for their pick). Yes, it'll cost you (the surf and turf alone is $39–$50, depending on market prices), but how can you put a price on ecstasy? Politicians, doctors, lawyers, and young independently wealthy types often crowd the small room; for an intimate repast, ask for a table near the windows. Reserve at least a week in advance.

Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Joe Beef
2491 Notre-Dame Street W. Little Burgundy
Little Burgundy
Montréal , Québec
Canada H3J 1N6
Tel: 514 935 6504
www.joebeef.ca

Joe Beef was a 19th-century Montréal tavern proprietor who kept wild animals in the basement. Today, this Little Burgundy restaurant pays homage to the historical figure with classic bistro cuisine. The preparations are simple but tasty: a charcuterie plate with cornichons and candied dates, spit-roasted suckling pig slathered with chanterelles and served with apple compote for dipping, or steamed bivalves (oysters, clams, mussels) served in a Le Creuset pot. Portions are large—it's better to add dishes later than to order too much food all at once. And make room for one of the three daily dessert creations, especially if it's the strawberry cake (white cake layered with fresh berries and topped with a foamy dollop of whipped cream). The only element that doesn't jibe is the music, which tends to be a bit schizo ('90s alt rock hits mixed with '80s hip-hop). This place is small, so reserve your table at least three days in advance.

The people behind Joe Beef have expanded their presence on Notre-Dame Street West by opening the market-driven Italian spot Liverpool House (2007) and McKiernan, a small luncheonette and wine bar (2008). McKiernan is where hip Montréalers go for a Saturday brunch of portobello mushroom burgers, flapjacks, or egg sandwiches with house-made bacon. If there's a long wait for one of the eight tables (and there probably will be), pop into some of the antique shops that line Notre-Dame West or take a turn around nearby Atwater Market.—Updated by Danielle Contray

Joe Beef: Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 6:30 pm to close.

McKiernan: Open Tuesdays 11 am to 3 pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays 11 am to 3 pm and 6:30 pm to close.

L'Express
3927 St. Denis Street
Plateau
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2W 2M4

Located in the heart of the Plateau on Rue Saint Denis, this is the quintessential French bistro, purring authenticity with its zinc counters, burgundy walls, and checkered floor. The food is nothing new, but it's all done well: grilled salmon on a bed of spinach, a mean steak frites, beef marrow served in large bones. Squint and you're in Paris. The room, often filled with local entertainers and politicians, is always crackling with energy—making you feel that you're among the crème de la crème of Québecois culture. Even better, L'Express is open from breakfast until 2 a.m. every day.

Leméac
1045 Laurier Street W.
Outremont
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2V 2L1
Tel: 514 270 0999
www.restaurantlemeac.com

Montréal's Outremont neighborhood is full of French expats, so it's no surprise that it's also home to one of the city's best bistros. Located among the tony boutiques on Rue Laurier, Leméac has the sort of dark wood–paneled bar with red leather stools and tables draped in white cloths that you'd expect to find in Paris. There's also an atrium that's heated during the long, cold Québec winter. The menu is packed with French bistro classics like steak frites, escargots, and duck confit, and the extensive wine list is heavy on the Bordeaux. Leméac is busy from open to close, but the time to go is after 10 pm, when you'll pay just $22 for an appetizer and an entrée. And the late-night menu includes everything you would have ordered, anyway.—Danielle Contray

Open Mondays through Fridays noon to midnight, Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to midnight.

Markets
Montréal , Québec
Canada
Tel: 514 937 7754
www.marchespublics-mtl.com

Montréal's two main open-air markets—filled with local products and seasonal produce, from crisp fiddleheads to heirloom tomatoes to cured hams—are Jean-Talon, located in Little Italy (7070 Henri-Julien St.) and Atwater, situated on the West side of town, in St. Henri (138 Atwater Ave.). Of course, spring and summer are the best times to visit, but both markets remain open indoors during the winter months (Atwater's interior is much more extensive). If the hanging meats, piles of gourds, and fragrant cheeses make you hungry, head to Atwater's inexpensive Pizz'ancora for a bite of pizza (514-935-0333) or Jean-Talon's Boucherie Jos & Basile for a calzone (514-274-6358).

Schwartz's Charcuterie Hebraïque
3895 St. Laurent Boulevard
Plateau
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2W 1X9
Tel: 514 842 4813
www.schwartzsdeli.com

This, Canada's oldest deli, is Montréal's answer to Katz's, and just as essential a stop. Whereas the New York joint serves pastrami, this place on "The Main" specializes in pastrami's close relation, the local Jewish classic: smoked meat. Schwartz's takes great pride in the "secret blend" of herbs and spices it uses in smoking its beef brisket and in its venerable history (it was founded in 1928 by Romanian immigrant Reuben Schwartz). Order up a side of pickles, fries, or slaw to round out your meal. Of course, you could get a turkey sandwich or a steak instead, but that's not why you're here—nor are you here for the ambience, which can best be described as efficient.

Tapeo Bar à Tapas
511 Villeray Street
Villeray
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2R 1H5
Tel: 514 495 1999
www.restotapeo.com

This tiny tapas joint, in the out-of-the-way Villeray neighborhood, is a food-lover's dream—the place where locals bring out-of-town friends to impress them (and Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl's favorite restaurant in the city). The broccoli rabe with garlic (cost, $5!) is so crisp and flavorful, it's awe-inspiring. Some dishes, such as sardine fillets with fennel, rival plates you might taste at Chez Panisse. Others, like chorizo or gambas a la plancha, combine pristine ingredients with supremely confident preparation so that they seem straight out of an Andalusian eatery. The wine list is simple, well-priced (the most expensive bottle is $100), and full of specialties that you've been trying to find for years. A must visit.

Closed Sundays and Mondays. No lunch on Saturdays.

Toqué!
900 Jean-Paul Riopelle Place
Quartier International
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2Z 2B2
Tel: 514 499 2084
www.restaurant-toque.com

Despite the French name of this eatery, the lineage of Normand Laprise's cuisine is strictly Berkeley, which means the veneration of local ingredients, many from Québec). Seared razor clams with marinated shiitakes and roasted salsify, guinea fowl with a turnip galette, and roast leg and braised flank of suckling pig with chanterelles and puréed chervil root (yes, root) are typical here. Laprise has been garnering raves from all over since 1993, so you need to book a weekend dinner a month in advance: Toqué moved to the Quartier International from Saint Denis Street in 2004, yet its roomy new dining room (done up in glass, wood, and steel with burgundy upholstery) is as packed as ever.

Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.