Holidays with the family are full of festivity and fun, but preparing, cooking and cleaning for a house full of 10-20 guests is a tall order, especially if you live in a condo in Montreal. If you’re looking to forgo the labour-intensive meal making this year, you’re in luck. The city is chock-full of delicious, gourmet restaurants, all filled with that holiday spirit and spirits if you know what we mean. Not only do these standouts serve some of the best cuisine in Montreal, but they also offer you a stress-free, sophisticated ambiance where you can eat, drink and be merry – without having to worry about the dishes after.
Here is our list of the best restaurants for holiday dining in Montreal.
Set right in the heart of the “Golden Mile,” inside the luxurious walls of the famed Ritz-Carlton Montreal, Maison Boulud is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the city. Run by Daniel Boulud, Chef/Owner of several Michelin-ranked restaurants and the Feast & Fêtes catering company, his restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine with hints of traditional Quebec ingredients infused into each meal. With an elegant, yet modern interior, you can bring friends and family to relax at the lively bar and lounge before sitting in the main dining area, or you can book one of the two private dining rooms for large gatherings. Highlights off the regular menu include the egg yolk ravioli with bufala ricotta, chanterelle mushrooms and truffle butter, or the hazelnut crusted sea scallops, mushroom and black truffle coulis, spinach and rice emulsion. If you love seafood, the sea bass with roasted fennel, citrus vierge and celery is a favourite, or go for a bit of surf and turf with the bacon wrapped monkfish tail medallion with lobster coral potato gnocchi. Craving a bit of Christmas? Maison Boulud also has a six-course Christmas menu with traditional favourites, but all elevated to gourmet class with the restaurant’s French touch.
Opened in 2010 to rave reviews, Les 400 Coups is set in the heart of Old Montreal and offers guests contemporary French and Quebecois food with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients. With a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere, the restaurant is a perfect pick for families or couples seeking a classy, intimate atmosphere. Spend the night dining on fan favourites like their fragrant white onion soup or the fresh buffalo milk mozzarella, or delight in delicious mains like their tender Arctic char with buckwheat, maitake mushrooms, sea buckthorn, squash and sage cream. Another popular pick is their guinea fowl breast from Besnier farm with king mushroom, cauliflower, bisque, Ontario peanuts and chives. No matter what you choose, make sure you choose a wine from their excellent list to top everything off.
Set near the ultra-hip art galleries, artisan gift shops and historic allure of Old Montreal, Epik Resto-Terrasse is the picture perfect choice for a cosy Christmas dinner. Part of the boutique hotel, Epik, the restaurant also projects a boutique atmosphere, yet is also steeped in history and charm that only Old Montreal can provide. Inside, beautiful stone walls and antique details add charm and history to the environment while a great wine list and friendly staff spread cheer to every cloistered corner. The spirit of sharing is also a highlight of this joint as tapas are the focal point. Taste their salmon tartar while sipping on a glass of Chianti, or nibble on their renowned calamari while drinking a signature Tom Collins. Feast on delicious flavours of the Mediterranean with plates like the roasted sausages pepperoncini or delectable seafood paella with saffron rice. Just don’t forget to test our their gourmet meat and seafood plates, because they are among the best in the city and feature only the freshest cuts and catches on a daily basis.
If you’re looking to have a Christmas dinner full of culture and history, then look no further than the Auberge Saint-Gabriel. Built in 1688 by a French soldier, the building is one of the oldest in the city and features a fascinating history and ambience that is sure to rouse plenty of lively conversations. The first Auberge in Montreal to obtain a liquor license, the building has since been a trading post, a townhouse, and finally one of the hippest restaurants in the city. A beautifully refinished interior preserves the ancient history of the building, but fuels it with a modern and upbeat feel too. There is no shortage of excitement here, as the place is renowned for bustling activity, and fantastic gourmet fare to match. Famed for their spit grill dishes, a local favourite is the cantons-de-l’est stuffed Cornish hen with garlic, thyme jus, potato mousseline and baby greens or their Wild boar shank braised and lacquered with port, and served with seasonal vegetable cocotte. Once you’ve had your fill of epicurean delights, stick around for more drink and dancing at Velvet night club, hailed as one of the best venues in the city.