Choosing the best local restaurants in Montreal is challenging since it’s a food town that offers plenty of options. But to ensure you don’t miss out on the most happening places to enjoy traditional French-Canadian fare, we’ve managed to narrow down the top spots that Montrealers love most.

    This list includes an open-air neighbourhood market, 24/7 fast-food joints, family-friendly eateries, and even an iconic bagel shop. Some of the places mentioned below can get super busy on weekends and holidays. So be prepared to wait in a queue – it’ll be worth it, though!

    1

    Jean-Talon Market

    A neighbourhood market for fresh produce and local specialities

    Jean-Talon Market is one of the largest and oldest farmers’ markets in North America. It has been stocking locals’ pantries – and filling stomachs – since 1933. The market is located in Montreal’s charming Little Italy neighbourhood. You’ll find local fruit and vegetable growers and traditional bakers, butchers, and fishmongers at the market.

    Apart from vendors, there are a host of restaurants serving local specialities. You can also buy locally made products that you can take home as gifts, such as jams, jellies, and maple syrup.

    Location: 7070 Henri Julien Ave, Montreal, Quebec H2S 3S3, Canada

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 514-937-7754

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    2

    Schwartz’s Deli

    A landmark eatery for smoked meat sandwiches

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    • Families
    • History
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    Schwartz’s Deli is a longstanding spot for smoked meat sandwiches in Montreal. Since 1928, people have been queuing outside the deli to order their now world-famous offerings. The secret to the meat’s delicious flavour is the 10-day curing process and a decades-old brick smokehouse.

    Order the 6-inch high rye sandwich stuffed with layers of tender meat and yellow mustard, and you’ll find out why locals continue to line up. Even celebrities, such as Celine Dion, Angelina Jolie, and the Rolling Stones have walked through this deli’s doors. Besides the signature beef sandwich, the quintessential Jewish deli serves steaks, turkey, and liver.

    Location: 3895 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, Quebec H2W 1X9, Canada

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 10 am to 11 pm, Friday–Sunday from 10 am to midnight

    Phone: +1 514-842-4813

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    photo by Guilhem Vellut (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    La Banquise

    A Montreal institution since 1968

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    • Families
    • History
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    La Banquise is an informal Montreal diner that’s open around the clock and is renowned for its poutines. Poutine is a classic French-Canadian dish consisting of french fries topped with brown gravy and curd cheese. You can find over 30 different poutines on the menu, including meat gravy and vegan sauce. They also serve breakfast, hot dogs, and salads.

    While poutine is a popular 2-am food, La Banquise is family-friendly and offers a kid’s menu. Don’t be put off by the long lines during the weekends. The staff is quick and efficient, and you’ll be enjoying your poutine in no time. To complete the experience, order a local microbrew to accompany your meal.

    Location: 994 Rue Rachel E, Montréal, QC H2J 2J3, Canada

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 514-525-2415

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    4

    Gibeau Orange Julep 123

    A legendary fast-food spot set in a ‘giant orange’

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    • Unusual

    Gibeau Orange Julep 123 is an iconic fast-food joint in Montreal, set in a 3-storey-high building in the shape of an orange. The quirky eatery was founded in 1932 and has since become a roadside landmark on Montreal’s skyline.

    You can order typical Québécois casse-croûte (snack) classics, including cheeseburgers, french fries, hot dogs, and French-Canadian’s signature dish: poutine. You’ll also find veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, and veggie pogos. Accompany your meal with the restaurant’s namesake drink consisting of orange juice, sugar, milk, and powdered egg.

    Location: 7700 Decarie Blvd, Montreal, Quebec H4P 2H4, Canada

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 8 am to 3 am, Friday and Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 514-738-7486

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    photo by Khayman (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    Fairmount Bagel

    An iconic Montreal bagel shop

    Fairmount Bagel started out in 1919 after Isadore Shlafman moved from Russia to Canada and opened the first bagel bakery in Montreal. To this day, they continue to use the same recipes and methods from the old country to hand-roll the bagels and bake them in a wood-fired oven.

    The bakery is open 24/7. People flock to this hole-in-the-wall at all hours of the day and night to grab one of Montreal’s most famous bagels piping hot out of the oven. They come in a wide variety of flavours and are topped with cream cheese.

    Location: 74 Av. Fairmount O, Montréal, QC H2T 2M2, Canada

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 514-272-0667

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    6

    Restaurant Paulo & Suzanne

    A homey, 1950s-style diner

    Locals head to Restaurant Paulo & Suzanne in the Cartierville neighbourhood when they’re in the mood for inexpensive, classic old-school Montreal food and a neighbourhood vibe. The menu is extensive, and you’ll find a variety of delicious poutine dishes with unique combinations of ingredients.

    You can also order other typical Québécois comfort food, including burgers, fries, grilled cheeses, and all-day breakfast options. The restaurant offers a dine-in and takeaway service. In summer, you can soak up the sunshine on their outdoor terrace.

    Location: 5501 Boul Gouin O, Montréal, QC H4J 1C8, Canada

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 10 am to 3 am, Friday from 10 am to midnight, Saturday and Sunday open 24 hours

    Phone: +1 514-336-5561

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    7

    Holder

    An elegant local bistro in Old Montreal

    Holder is a chic European-style brasserie in Montreal that is always buzzing, whether it’s lunch, early evening happy hour, or dinner time. This place might not be the best option for those looking to enjoy a quiet evening of intimate conversations.

    The restaurant’s reasonably-priced menu features classic and contemporary hot and cold appetizers, salads, soups, meat, seafood, and pasta dishes. The restaurant also offers an excellent selection of Quebec cheeses and has an extensive wine list. Holder serves a daily-changing “express lunch” menu if you’re after a quick lunch. The service here is pleasant and efficient.

    Location: 407 McGill St, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 2G3, Canada

    Open: Tuesday and Wednesday from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm, Thursday and Friday from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm and from 5 pm to 10.30 pm, Saturday from 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +1 514-849-0333

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    8

    Ma Poule Mouillée

    Montreal’s popular Portuguese grill

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    • Group

    Ma Poule Mouillée in Montreal draws some folks to its poutine, while others to the famous spicy Portuguese-style chicken. But what everyone comes to this casual spot for is the family-friendly atmosphere, reasonably-priced menu, and fast and friendly service.

    Aim to arrive early for lunch or dinner, especially on weekends, as the dining room is small with limited seating. Alternatively, skip the queue and order a takeaway. You can then take a 2-minute stroll to Parc La Fontaine and enjoy your grilled chicken under the shade of a tree.

    Location: 969 Rachel St E, Montreal, Quebec H2J 2J2, Canada

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 514-522-5175

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    9

    La Binerie Mont-Royal

    A hub for traditional Québécois cuisine

    • Food
    • Families
    • History
    • Budget

    La Binerie Mont-Royal, founded in 1938, is an institution among Montrealers wanting to enjoy classic Quebec cuisine. The all-day breakfast menu includes a variety of eggs-and-bacon combos, waffles, crepes, and their signature homemade baked beans served with toasted crusty bread.

    The lunch and dinner menu offers tourtière (meat pie), fish and chips, and various typical French-Canadian dishes. The “traditional Quebec plate” will sort you out if you’re particularly ravenous. The meal comes with pea soup, meatball stew, tourtière, mashed potatoes, baked beans, and a pudding.

    Location: 4167 Saint-Denis St, Montreal, Quebec H2W 2M7, Canada

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 6 am to 2 pm, Friday from 6 am to 9 pm, Saturday from 7.30 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 7.30 am to 2 pm

    Phone: +1 514-285-9078

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    10

    Taverne Sur Le Square

    Cuisine with Italian and French influences

    Taverne Sur Le Square is a trendy neighbourhood eatery in Westmount that’s always buzzing with residents and business types from nearby offices. The menu is sophisticated and features a variety of refined dishes made from fresh ingredients.

    If you have trouble deciding, ask your waiter for recommendations. There are also specials on offer every evening. Accompany your meal with a glass or bottle of natural, organic or biodynamic wine. In summer, the Tavern’s terrace overlooking Sainte-Catherine St is a lovely place to people-watch and enjoy the warm weather.

    Location: 1 Westmount Sq, Westmount, Quebec H3Z 2P9, Canada

    Open: Monday–Friday from 5.30 pm to 11.30 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +1 514-989-9779

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    Jacqui de Klerk | Contributing Writer

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