Foie gras, tartare, and charcuterie plates are just a few of the gluttonous, savory items that cause Montréalers to salivate and travelling gastronauts to convene on Montréal's hedonistic, no-mercy culinary scene. Add a penchant for quality, local produce (known as terroir), such as duck, pork, award-winning cheeses, and iconic maple syrup, it's no wonder that celebrity chefs are regular visitors or that the city's own kitchen glitterati are international stars as well.
While white-linen restaurants of yore remain a classic culinary art, the heart of Montréal's new foodie culture is found in her bustling, come-as-you-are yet decidedly upscale bistros. Think of the phenomena more as "fine diner" instead of "fine-dining," a happy, hearty concept that makes eating out not only laid-back and accessible but deliciously entertaining.
Prices listed are for supper unless otherwise indicated (lunch prices are usually lower) and do not include the cost of wine, tip, or the 5% federal tax and 8.5% provincial tax that are tacked on the restaurant bill. Montréalers consider 15% of the check (before taxes) to be a fair tip, increased only for exceptional food and service. In all, count on taxes and tip to add another 30% to the bill.
Always look for table d'hôte meals. These fixed-price menus with three or four courses usually cost just a little more than the price of a single à la carte main course. Restaurants at all price ranges offer them, and they represent the best value around. If you want to try many of the top restaurants, schedule some for noon-time meals if they offer table d'hôte menus at lunch. You'll get your best deal that way.
The midday meal is called dîner (which is lunch, not dinner) and the evening meal is souper (supper). An entrée is an appetizer, and a plat principal is a main course.
Because parking space is at a premium in most restaurant districts, it's easiest to take the Métro or a taxi. If you're driving, find out whether valet parking is available.
Québec has long had a smoking culture, but smoking in bars and restaurants has been banned since 2006.
Except in a handful of luxury restaurants, dress codes are all but nonexistent. But Montréalers are a fashionable lot and manage to look smart, even in casual clothes. Save the T-shirts and sneakers for another city.
Insider websites featuring reviews and observations about the Montréal dining scene include www.midnightpoutine.ca/food, www.tourisme-montreal.org/blog, www.montrealforinsiders.com, and www.endlessbanquet.blogspot.com. Montréal Gazette restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman has a highly regarded blog at www.lesleychesterman.com about the city's food scene.
Very Expensive C$30 and up
Inexpensive Under C$10
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.