The first half of 2019 was a slow time for Montreal’s food scene, with few new openings and several restaurant closures. Luckily for diners and restaurateurs alike, the second half of the year has seen things pick up, with an array of new restaurants, bars, and excitingly, several food halls set to hit the downtown core by the end of the year.
If you’re looking for a night out on the town or just a casual dinner with friends, these seven new spots should be at the top of your hit list.
When you think about food and wine pairings, desserts are likely one of the last courses in a meal to come to mind. Ratafia, named after a style of fortified wine, is hoping to change that. Offering desserts that rival that of any of the city’s top patisseries, Ratafia also thoughtfully pairs them with beverages from pet nat to dessert wines. A selection of savoury options is also available for those without a sweet tooth.
This experimental cocktail bar is housed out of the back of Montreal’s premiere barware store, Alambika. Run by cocktail aficionado, Tao Zrafi, the pop-up features a frequently changing cocktail menu based on a specific location or culture. Natural wines and local beer are also available. Keep in mind that they are only open from Thursday to Sunday, 4-11 p.m.
Vesta, the latest restaurant from Michele Forgione and Stefano Faita goes back to basics with Italian trattoria classics, like pizza and pasta, but you can’t leave without ordering its signature garlic knots with cacio e pepe sauce. There’s also a well-curated wine list focusing largely on Italian natural wines, all at very reasonable prices.
Having previously worked as the chef at the Liverpool House by the Joe Beef group, Ari Schor decided to return to his roots by opening his own restaurant. Named after his grandmother, Beba’s menu is influenced by Schor’s Argentinian background. Expect creative, local takes on classic dishes like empanadas filled with Quebec corn and chanterelles.
Of the three Montreal food halls slated to open this fall, Le Central is the first and largest, featuring offerings from 25 restaurant stalls. Located at the corner of St. Catherine and St. Laurent, expect both new outposts from Montreal staples like donut shop, Trou de Beigne, and Indian snack bar, Le Super Qualité, and many brand new restaurant stalls.
Fermentation is not something that you tend to see a lot of at your local bar, but Chinatown’s Cantine Poincaré leans heavily on this preservation method in its menu of snackable bar bites. Try the lacto-fermented French fries, which are reminiscent of salt and vinegar potato chips, dipped in black garlic aioli; best washed down with a glass of natural wine.