When chef Normand Laprise opened this gem in 1993, the city’s culinary reputation was virtually non-existent. Toque! changed all that, and more than 20 years later it’s still the top of the heap. The decor is both refined and whimsical: a playful sunflower sculpture greets you out front, and inside you’ll marvel at the glass-paneled wine cellar that extends from below-ground to create a visual centerpiece with wine bottles suspended in midair. The menu is equally playful and is heavily influenced by local ingredients. Items change regularly, but you’re likely to find some perennial favorites such as a version of Magret duck (on a recent visit it was roasted and served with chamomile sauce.) There’s almost always one or two pasta dishes on the menu, such as squash cavatelli or rabbit-stuffed pasta with ricotta and rabbit jus. Adventurous eaters should try the seven-course tasting menu (C$115), it changes nightly and serves up the best the kitchen has to offer. Come at lunchtime during the week for the more wallet-friendly (but still a bit pricey) table d’hôte. For a more casual option, visit Brasserie T, also owned by Laprise. Reservations, not always necessary in this city, are recommended here.
900 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle (at rue St-Antoine)
Our Rating Neighborhood Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal) Hours Tues–Fri 11:30am–1:45pm; Tues–Thurs 5:30–10pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–10:30pm Transportation Métro: Square-Victoria Phone 514/499-2084 Prices Main courses C$42–C$52; tasting menu C$115; table d’hôte lunch C$25–C$48 Cuisine Type Contemporary French Web site Toqué!