Considering there are over 30,000 French expats currently residing in Montréal, it’s no wonder French bistros are often what foodies talk about. Curious to try authentic French food in Montréal but unsure where to start? These suggestions are guaranteed home runs that simply won’t disappoint.
Located on upscale and attractive Laurier Street West, Chez Lévêque serves what is decidedly one of the best Parisian bistro fares in the city – at a price that won’t break the bank. The cuisine is simple and focuses on seasonal products, for the freshest dishes possible. Their summery terrace is a definitive crowd-pleaser, as are their lunch and late night 3-course set menus ($22 and $35, respectively).
Chez Lévêque Restaurant 1030 Laurier Avenue West
Come for the food, stay for the gorgeous décor. This white-tablecloth bistro is one of the chicest-looking spaces in the city, and as if that wasn’t enough, they also raise the bar further up by keeping their dishes delightfully exciting, and, most importantly, deliciously paired with French wines. <
Restaurant Laloux 250 Des Pins Avenue East
Au Cinquième Péché
Let’s just say it’s a good thing the restaurant’s motto is “gluttony is not a sin” because they make it very hard to abstain – with “they” being the Lenglet brothers. Hailing from Northern France, they serve a meat-heavy menu (their calf sweetbread is legendary) in a beautiful room with stone walls. Le cinquième péché is also famous for its natural wine list.
Au Cinquième Péché 4475 Saint-Denis Street
Located in up-and-coming HoMa, this colourful and hip Art Deco brasserie grills a mean back steak – and if their creamy beet and goat cheese croquette is on the menu, you’re in luck. They have an extensive wine list, too, which can be enjoyed with their $23 late night set menu. Bonus points for their covered terrace facing a quiet and leafy square.
Le Valois 25 Place Simon-Valois
La Maison du Magret
Foie gras aficionados, listen up. Housed in the vault of a former Old Montréal bank, this contemporary bistro almost exclusively serves duck, with a few exceptions. Torchon foie gras, magret, confit, terrines, you name it, it’s on the menu. New to duck? Order their mouth-watering tasting plate, which will have you become the world’s most enthusiastic duck amateur right after the first bite.
La Maison du Magret 102 Saint-Antoine Street West
Brasserie Le Pois Penché
With a décor that would have diners believe they’ve crossed the pond and entered a chic Paris brasserie and an impressive wine cellar filled with over 150 privately-imported French wines, it’s no wonder Le Pois Penché is one of most-loved downtown eateries. Don’t think twice about going, if only for their stunning oyster bar.
Brasserie Le Pois Penché 1230 De Maisonneuve Boulevard West
M sur Masson
Perhaps the most Québécois restaurant on this list, M sur Masson singlehandedly revitalized the foodie scene in Old-Rosemont with its no-nonsense, comforting French cuisine with local twists. The Toulouse sausages and the cassoulet, in particular, are two unsurpassable classics.
M sur Masson 2876 Masson Street
Restaurant Plein Sud
This unpretentious and casual Plateau Mont-Royal eatery is famous for its wholesome service and outstanding dishes inspired by south-western French traditions. Staples like duck magret, Corsican sautéed veal and pissaladière are always available, and for that, our taste buds are thankful.
Restaurant Plein Sud 222 Mont-Royal Avenue East
With charm and quality being the operative words of Tandem, it really is no wonder customers keep coming back. The bring-your-own-wine yet haute cuisine restaurant offers a new 3-course table d’hôte every season, as well as a colossal tasting menu with 5, 7 or even (gasp!) 9 courses. Perhaps Villeray’s best-hidden gem.
Restaurant Tandem 586 Villeray
Café Le Petit Flore
Located on the increasingly trendy Promenade Fleury, this restaurant is very popular with the locals, which might explain why it is consistently full – a sure-fire sign of a tasty and well-priced French cuisine. Their bison tartare and braised lamb dishes are well worth the trek to northern Montréal.
Café Le Petit Flore 1145 Fleury East