Shaken, not Stirred – Montreal’s Best Cocktail Bars

On the hunt for new and creative drinks to spice up your night out? Check out this list and Glutton Guide Montreal for a comprehensive compilation of Montreal’s best cocktail bars!

Big in Japan Bar

A post shared by COCKTELLS (@cocktells) on

Not to be confused with Big in Japan the restaurant (just down the block), this easy-to-miss cocktail bar is the perfect first-date spot (and a late night haunt of many of chefs). Bottles of whisky hang from the ceiling, waiting for drinkers to return for their next session. If you’re there with a group, get the punch before settling in with a classic Manhattan or negroni. The small bar menu is mostly Asian-influenced options like tuna tataki and crispy pork rice, but if you’re really hungry, stumble down the road to the restaurant, which serves its full menu until 3am.

La Distillerie

Le Distillerie is the home of the city’s most famous CA$17 mason jar – and it is worth it. The menu is divided by adjectives – powerful, fresh, delicate, fruity, tart and tropical – and changes monthly. You can’t go wrong with a mojito, but you can go much more right with a monk-y town (white tequila, Chartreuse, passion fruit syrup, mint, lime, agave and vanilla bitters).

Le Lab

A post shared by Austin Kourakin (@kourakin) on

The original flair bar in Montreal, its owners started it as a place where bartenders could learn to make beautiful creations. Now the monthly menu is a work of art. It starts with happy hour specials like the ‘bang-banger’ (Cazadores Blanco tequila, Meletti anisette and orange) available from 5-8pm (and 5-10pm Thurs), and moves on to sections called ‘gentleman’s choice’, tiki drinks and the most popular creations in the Lab’s history. Pace yourself, though – those CA$14 cocktails add up.

 Le Mal Nécessaire

The owner of Montreal’s only tiki bar has a flair and classic cocktails background, having worked at Dominion Square Tavern and Barocco. He makes ones of the best old fashioneds in the city (and trained half the city’s bartenders to do it too), but he’s also a rum punch pro. Order anything than comes in a pineapple or coconut, and some dumplings from the restaurant next door. Don’t miss Barrio Chino Sundays – industry days, where local bartenders come hang out– and the monthly Drunken Masters competition, a contest for the city’s top mixologists who concoct five pre-selected cocktails as cleanly and quickly as possible – think two bottles per hand and some serious mixer shaking.

Le Slang

A post shared by Le slang (@slanglab) on

Expect creative molecular options involving centrifuged orange juice and sous vide infused syrups here. If the smoker is in action, try a ‘smoked bloody Caesar’ with caramelized bacon. If not, there’s always a maple syrup bourbon old fashioned. The multi-cultural menu includes mountainous baby back ribs glazed in sticky Vietnamese caramel with fish sauce. The AAA Angus beef burger is pure comfort.

N Sur Mackay

You’ll walk past this speakeasy-style cocktail bar at least twice before finding the entrance, but once you’re in, you’ll love the multi-page menu of seasonal, classic, unique and delicious drinkables. Start with the cocktail of the week at the bar or nestle up to a ‘campfire’ (spiced rum, Galiano vanilla liqueur, pumpkin purée, lemon and a toasted marshmallow) in a cozy nook in the back. Wednesday is the weekly quiz night and a great way to meet some locals.

For more delicious sips and bites, be sure to check out Glutton Guide Montreal!


Montreal’s Best Food Trucks

After a 66-year ban on street food was lifted in 2013, Montreal’s food truck industry took off. Many food trucks opened brick-and-mortar locations after the success of their trucks, while others were restaurants first and food trucks second.

Now street food vendors are required to work out of a certified sanitary production kitchen, emphasize local products and keep processed foods off the menu. They are even given points in the application process for green initiatives like compostable containers or solar-powered trucks.Street food is available year round, but most trucks stop their regular schedule between October and May. In high season, their hours are usually between 11am-2pm or 4-7pm. Check out Glutton Guide Montreal to hear about all the hot spots!

Landry et Filles

A post shared by Véronique Lemay (@ve.lemay) on

The eponymous chef of this bright blue food truck is Marc-André Landry, who draws on his childhood growing up on the Acadian peninsula to create a magical menu featuring memorable takeaway eats. Lunches are relatively fresh and light, and he utilizes local, seasonal produce to create dishes like buckwheat crêpes with gravlax, cream cheese, fennel and caviar or seasonal popsicles. When the truck closes for winter, head to the Landry et Filles storefront for the filling down-east fare.


Pas d’Cochon Dans Mon Salon

This food truck is famous for its pulled pork sandwich, slowly smoked with hickory, then served spicy and not too sweet with fresh crunchy cabbage. Also coming out of the window are oysters, salads and dessert (don’t skip the rhubarb & cheese turnovers). The owners are four long-time friends who have cooked their way through many of Montreal’s fine dining restaurants. With the success of the truck, they’ve now opened a year-round restaurant, Les Fillettes, where you can pick up their book on low-and-slow barbecuing.

Pied de Cochon the Truck

The Pied de Cochon is definitely the fanciest food truck around in terms of ingredients, but like the restaurant of the same name (and the seasonal sugar/apple shack), the truck serves fine food in a low-key way. Here you will find their famous foie gras poutine – twice-fried French fries topped with cheese curds and a foie gras sauce – and oversized duck wings with a maple glaze. Look for the camo-green truck and know that the wait will be worth it.

Pizza Napolitana no. 900

Following hot on the heels of their successful brick & mortar restaurant of the same name, Pizza Napolitana no. 900’s truck also has a ceramic-tiled 900°F oven where pies cook every 90 seconds. Quality is key in both the San Marzano tomato sauce and Quebec-made mozzarella. Order a slice from the daily menu of pizzas (although you cannot go wrong with the basic: basil, oregano, arugula and garlic) and wash it down with an Italian soda.


A post shared by (@weskonva) on

One of the city’s food truck pioneers, Zoe Dalakas is a spunky redhead and the daughter of Greek immigrants, and that heritage is reflected in her Mediterranean-influenced sandwich truck. Start with a small spanakopita – phyllo pastry stuffed with cheese and spinach – and move on to a fried halloumi sandwich on fluffy bread with the namesake melted salty cheese, sweet figs, crunchy lettuce and fresh dill.

Still hungry? Check out Glutton Guide Montreal for a host of sit-down restaurants, bars, and more! 


Montreal’s Best Jewish Delis

If you and Bubbe are looking for a place to kibbutz, look no further! Glutton Guide Montreal has plenty of suggestions for Montreal’s best Jewish delis and restaurants.

Lester’s Deli

A post shared by Food Guy Montreal (@foodguymtl) on

Opened in 1951, Lester’s is a family-run institution that supplies Cirque de Soleil and the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. The Outremont establishment sells spiced and salted smoked meat – thinly-sliced, delicate and moist, just like it should be. Lester’s offers more than just smoked meat; the owner Billy, his sister Sybil and his daughters Liana & Candice also make their own smoked salmon, kernatzel (spicy beef sausage) and a mean chopped liver sandwich with fried onions.

Moishe’s Steakhouse

Since 1938, this well-known Jewish steakhouse has been for the who’s-who of Outremont, and those who respect well-cooked meat still come for perfectly seared, aged rib-eyes with pickles and coleslaw, as well as lobster and Caesar salad. While the shrimp cocktail isn’t kosher, Moishe’s does have Jewish classics like latkes and chopped liver. Modern touches come in the form of filet mignon poutine – yum!

Schwartz’s Deli

A post shared by MUNCHIES (@munchies) on

Opened in 1928, this deli was Jewish-owned until Celine Dion bought it for CAD 10 million in 2012. Expect a line, but your wait time is nothing compared to how long it takes to make the signature dish: Schwartz’s Smoked Meat. Premium Alberta beef brisket is cured for 10 days with Schwartz’s special spice blend, smoked for eight hours then steamed for another three. The meat is finally served on soft rye bread with mustard. Don’t forget the half-sour pickle and a cherry coke. The meat is drier, spicier and fattier than Lester’s, but when asked how fatty you want it, order the medium or the staff will scoff at you.

Wilensky’s Light Lunch

A post shared by Jon (@dr_snoots) on

For the past 80 years, Wilensky’s has been serving the Wilensky Special, an all-beef salami and bologna sandwich heated in an iron, served with mustard and never cut in two. Make sure to order a homemade egg cream soda (with milk) to wash it down, and don’t skip the half-sour pickle.

Still looking for some food after all that smoked meat? Be sure to check out Glutton Guide Montreal for all the best suggestions!

Montreal’s Best Fine Dining Restaurants

Looking for an upscale establishment for your anniversary or considering pampering yourself with the very best of Montreal’s culinary offerings? You’ll definitely want to check out this list of Montreal’s best fine dining restaurants, as well a wealth of everyday options in Glutton Guide Montreal!

Au Pied de Cochon


A post shared by Mina Riad (@minariad) on

Montreal’s most famous chef, Martin Picard is known for over-the-top decadence and a complete disregard for the merits of healthy eating at Au Pied de Cochon (as well as his seasonal sugarshack and food truck). He redefined Quebecois food, exaggerating its sweet, caloric and meaty character while simultaneously refining it – see the restaurant’s famous foie gras poutine. One bite and you’ll agree that it is worth a game of pacemaker roulette. Many of the city’s young chefs cut their teeth in Picard’s kitchen, so you’ll taste his influence even if you don’t score a reservation here.

Club Chasse et Pêche, Le Filet & Le Serpent

A post shared by Anne-Josie Roy (@annejosie) on

Chef Claude Pelletier’s fine dining empire is a trio, and all three of the restaurants manage to stay full regardless of economic downturns, seasonal tourist droughts and shifting tides of taste. The original, Club Chasse et Pêche, uses French cooking as its base, incorporating in the finest in-season and local ingredients for subtle, delicate dishes served with an elaborate wine list in posh surroundings. Le Filet came next, overwhelming Chasse’s feminine touch with dark, masculine design. The kitchen, though, is all about finesse, borrowing from Japanese and Italian culinary traditions. The baby of the family is Le Serpent. The décor is industrial and the dishes are Italian-inspired.


As much art and theatre as it is a restaurant, Europea serves a multi-course tasting. The elegant affair, book-ended by amuse bouche and mignardises, includes house-cured meats, perfectly poached or seared seafood, braised game and claypot guinea hen. The menu changes daily, but hope for homemade cotton candy and passionfruit marshmallows to end. It is worth every penny.

Joe Beef

David McMillan and Fred Morin’s first restaurant turned the southwest neighborhood into a dining destination long before the condos came. Now, there are design boutiques and brunch spots galore, but Joe Beef still reigns supreme. Order anything with pig, laugh at the bathroom décor and finish with soft serve.

La Salle à Manger

Where else in Montreal offers homemade charcuterie platters and equally impressive pulled rabbit Asian-style steamed buns? Throw in some pig head and currywurst sauce and it sounds like a recipe for disaster, but rest assured, the bistro-turned-bizarre concept has something for everybody. Steak-frites and tartare never knew such refined whimsy.

Le Bremner

A post shared by Kim (@vintagegal25) on

Celebrity chef Chuck Hughes has two successful Old Montreal restaurants. Go to Garde-Manger for the supperclub feel; come to Le Bremner for seafood, cocktails, the summer terrasse and a more relaxed vibe. The menu changes regularly, but think beurre blanc and lamb’s neck cavatelli meets kimchi crab – it all goes down smooth with dark ‘n’ stormies.

Les 400 Coups

Les 400 Coups has seen some kitchen turnover since it opened, but now with Jonathan Rassi at the helm, it is once again going strong. Pastry sous chef Brian Verstraten also got a well-earned promotion, which means that desserts with names like “apple” and “lemon cream” are flights of fancy involving sunflower, honey jelly and Thai basil. Chef Rassi holds his own with variations on bistro classics like veal tartare and mouthwatering suckling pig.



A post shared by Julien Landry (@zinzin979) on

A gem of a restaurant, Manitoba uses the most local ingredients possible, including many of Quebec’s seasonal wild edibles that you’ve probably never heard of. The menu is always changing according to what’s available, but if you see it, don’t miss the smoked mackerel with fennel and wild caraway the housemade spruce beer, which comes with a branch in each bottle. Out back is the al fresco seating under the stars, right next to the beehives that produce their urban honey.


Joe Mercuri’s newest outpost is modern Italian meets molecular market cuisine. Fish carpaccio comes with garnishes like soy gels and powdered cilantro, while dishes of charred leek ravioli and braised octopus on smashed potatoes echo with old-school refinement. The next-door, casual rotisserie is owned by the same people and is open for lunch.


A post shared by #CHEWINGtheWORLD (@chewithme) on

Chef Normand Laprise’s ode to locavore fine dining, Toqué! has a menu of seasonal ingredients – think heritage lamb and biodynamic ice cider – sourced from farmers, who often enjoy a meal at the wraparound bar after making their deliveries. Get the tasting menu with wine pairings and enjoy Quebec Princess scallops and Nordic shrimp artfully strewn with strawberries and mint in July, or duck breast slow-cooked in maple in winter. Don’t skip the local, raw milk, unpasteurized cheeses.

Looking for a nice after-dinner drink or a delicious dessert? Check out Glutton Guide Montreal all this and more!

Meet the Author: Glutton Guide Montreal’s Amie Watson

Amie Watson is a Montreal-based food and travel writer who throws her whole heart into local, sustainable and organic food. She writes for EnRoute, The National Post, Montreal Gazette,,,, Alive Magazine and her own blog, Multiculturiosity. She’s also hosted the Friday morning show at Montreal’s CKUT 90.3FM and researched everything from Austin barbecue to vegan food trucks for Bite This, the Food Network’s travel show. When not judging cooking competitions, doing cooking demos at farmer’s markets, teaching sushi and canning classes, she explores Montreal’s restaurants and ever-changing neighborhoods. Follow Amie Watson on Twitter @MissWattson.
Where are you from?

St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

How long have you lived in Montreal?

9 years

What’s your favorite food?

Fresh mangoes…or barely seared scallops, or figs, or miso black cod, or vegetarian chili, or BBQ ribs, or homemade chicken and rice soup, or nasi lemak, or brined and BBQ-ed chicken. 

Favorite restaurant in Montreal?


Favorite chef in Montreal?

Jonathan Lapierre-Réhayem [of Laloux]

Foodie street cred?

Being invited to the Modernist Cuisine Test Kitchen for a week to centrifuge figs, rotary evaporate passionfruit and Pacojetize dairy free vanilla bean-macadamia nut ice cream

What’s the one dish visitors cannot miss if they come to your city?


Favorite piece of food writing? 

Guilty pleasure/embarrassing food obsession?

Mangoes? And I call myself a locavore…

Favorite destination for eating?

Lima, Peru

What should you always make from scratch?


To find out more about Montreal’s best places to eat in Montreal, download your copy of the city’s Glutton Guide – co-authored by Amie Watson. Designed to take the guesswork out of eating well, this digital guidebook makes sure you never fall into a tourist trap again. Don’t waste a mouthful on your holiday to Montreal with Glutton Guide by your side. 

Montreal Terroir & Wild Edibles

In Quebec, the term terroir applies to more than wine. It means wild chanterelle mushrooms, blueberries, local caviar, sunflower oil, heritage lamb, pork and bison, sea asparagus and unique herbs from the province’s lush valleys, rugged mountains and flowing rivers – all within hours of Montreal. While you can go straight to the source with daytrips from the city, it is also possible to find most of what the land offers at specialty shops in the city itself to taste that Montreal terroir.

Where to Discover Montreal Terroir

Les Jardins Sauvages is a stall at Jean-Talon Market that offers all sorts of wild edibles. Sample everything from springtime fiddleheads and prized morel mushrooms to wild ginger, bergamot, seaweeds, sarsaparilla and gooseberries.

Just outside the market complex, Le Marché des Saveurs du Québec sells all local products. Select from jams and unpasteurized honeys to smoked Arctic Char, microbrews and raw milk cheeses, including the award-winning Bleu d’Élisabeth. There’s even a local wine and ice cider room that offers tastings on weekends. And in summer, Fou du Chef sets up outside the Atwater Market. Find it there selling its foraged, wild mushrooms by weight and transforming them into bruschetta, tapenades and salads dressed with goat cheese and maple syrup.

A photo posted by jordan powers (@jay.po) on

For mushroom-hunting excursions and information on how to grow your own, Mycoboutique in the Plateau is your go-to source. Or stick with restaurants using the products of Société-Orignal, the province’s high-end distributor of foraged local foodstuffs. You’ll find their items, like pickled elderberries, marshmallow root, ice plant and cold-pressed camelina oil, at some of the city’s best restaurants: Laloux , Manitoba and Lawrence. 

For more on Montreal terroir and wild edibles, download Glutton Guide Montreal.

The Best Montreal Food Festivals

There’s more to festivals in Montreal than the July’s famous Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. During all seasons, the local community celebrates its chefs and culinary traditions with the best Montreal food festivals. Check out the dates and book your trip accordingly! 

Feb – March

Montreal en Lumiere (2017: Feb 23-March 11)

While other North American cities often try to drag customers to restaurants in the down season with low-price menus of so-so quality food, Montreal goes all out with invited Michelin Star chefs, gastronomic tasting menus, happy hours with wine producers and free tastings of local cheeses, charcuterie and ice ciders. One the best of Montreal’s food festivals, it also includes a large art and music component, but the focus is squarely on the food. Each year features a cuisine and wine-producing region. Guest chefs partner with local restaurants for one-night-only and multi-night dinners. Dinners range from CA$60-300 with wine pairings, but many offer CAD$20-40 three-course lunches, which is a perfectly acceptable time to drink a glass of wine or three.  



Montreal Beer Fest (2017: June 14-18)

A photo posted by (@montreall) on

The Montreal Mondial de la Bière is a much more casual – though much more raucous – version of La Grande Dégustation. The award-winning microbrewery industry in Quebec is in full regalia at this annual June event. It features a wide range of local beers and some rare imports (think Lambics and Belgian abbey offerings) plus Quebec ciders and meads. Buy a package of CA$1 coupons and trade them for tastes and glasses of the whole line of Microbrasserie Charlevoix, Dieu du Ciel and Microbrasserie Le Castor. Grab some sausages and poutine on the outdoor terrasse and make a day of it.

Palais des Congrès. Subway: Orange line – Place d’Armes. Web:


Week-Ends du Monde (2017: July 9-10 & 16-17)

A photo posted by Jessyka (@jessykajcs) on

This free festival happens over the course of two weekends of July at Parc Jean-Drapeau, the island built next door to Montreal for Expo ’67. Each day multiple countries set up restaurants and store kiosks (and stages and activity areas) throughout the park. Dance salsa before diving into Peruvian fried chicken, then head to the Turkish pavilion. A land of kofta beef skewers await, complete with a show of whirling dervishes (who hopefully eat after they stop spinning, not before). The event is extremely family-friendly (kids will enjoy the water park and jungle gyms), but the music, food and dancing goes well into the night.


Poutine Fest (2017 Date: TBD)

Montreal’s outdoor poutine fest brings together restaurants and food trucks serving the French fry, cheese curd and gravy dish. Also on offer are versions with ribs or lobster and gluten-free or vegetarian takes on the classic. Don’t miss trying the award-winning variations from the provincial competitions, including Le Smoking BBQ’s pulled pork poutine. You could even try the versions from Ottawa, though Quebec purists may snub their noses at their neighbors’ version.

Quai Jacques-Cartier. Web:


Oysterfest (2017 Date: TBD)

A photo posted by Marie-Laurence (@mari_lau) on

Daniel Notkin’s annual oyster extravaganza brings together a seemingly endless supply of sustainable bivalves with open-air BBQ, gourmet poutine, a Bloody Mary-making competition, an international oyster shucking competition and more in this two-day fest. More than 50 local restaurants set up stalls. Grab coupons for cocktails and snacks and slurp back as many as you can. Proceeds partially go towards the Open Shore Foundation, Notkin’s organization supporting sustainable seafood. 



La Grande Dégustation (2017 Date: TBD)

Montreal’s biggest wine & spirits event is a sprawling display of samples from the world’s biggest producers. Each year features a couple of types of wines and a type of alcohol (like Port or whiskies). One year was all Champagnes – that made for one heck of a headache… Each sample costs a certain number of tickets. Big Bordeaux will cost more CA$1 coupons than Kim Crawford. Strike up a conversation with your producer of choice. They may give you a couple free pours from their line. Pace yourself! Even if you use the spitoons, you’ll have a hard time leaving sober.


To find out more about Montreal food festivals, download your copy of Glutton Guide Montreal: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook.

Introducing Glutton Guide Montreal – Poutine, Bagels, Smoked Meat & More!

Searching for the best poutine, bagels and smoked meat in Montreal? Glutton Guide  The Hungry Traveler’s Montreal Food Guidebook has the answers to all your culinary questions.

The Montreal food guidebook is the seventh in the Glutton Guide series, following Shanghai, Melbourne, Prague, Buenos Aires, Burlington & Beijing. Designed to help tourists eat like locals, Glutton Guide creates curated guidebooks written by foodie experts.

Mélissa Simard and Amie Watson wrote Glutton Guide Montreal. Mélissa is a trained chef who gives cooking workshops and owns ‘Round Table Tours (Montreal’s premiere food tour company). She also runs a local dinner club for the past 13 years. Amie Watson is a Montreal-based food journalist. She has covered the local food scene for The National Post, Montreal Gazette,, CKUT 90.3FM, Bite This!, the Food Network’s travel show and many more.

“Montreal is a strange and beautiful mix of European charm, tattoo-heavy celebrity chefs, a love for duck fat and all things pork, an obsession with bagels and – oddly – a clean living mentality juxtaposed with a ‘you-only-live-once’ spirit,” says Amie Watson. “We’ve spent more than a decade exploring its fine dining heavy-hitters, its boulangeries and its casse-croute dives alike, and we’ve distilled it all here, like high quality local Gin, into this Glutton Guide.”

Why Glutton Guide?

By concentrating just on the F&B offerings of a city, Glutton Guide’s focus is narrower than broad-strokes guidebooks, picking up where these books fall short by using locally-based author-eaters who know the city’s dining scene inside and out. Unlike travel writers who come and go, these locals bring their thorough understanding and knowledge of the city to each edition, updated regularly as the dining scene evolves.

Glutton Guide goes beyond simple restaurant listings by providing a comprehensive look at the city’s dining scene. In addition to Montreal’s must-do culinary experiences, the guidebook explores the markets, food trucks, Jewish fare and neighborhoods. The reader will also find the city’s best international restaurants, nightlife options, cafes, bakeries, foodie day trips and much more. 

Download Glutton Guide: The Montreal Food Guidebook on our website, Amazon and iBooks.