It’s that time of year again
You know – the end of it.
So naturally, we like to sit back and reminisce about everything that came together to make 2014 a year to remember. Which definitely includes considering the newest notable restaurants on the block.
Each of restaurants listed below brought something innovative and fresh to the table. From Southeast Asian street-food to Spanish tapas, Japanese sushi perfection to Middle Eastern freshness – these are our notable picks for the best new Montreal restaurants in 2014.
From chef Shinji Nagai and Simple Plan guitarist turned multi-restauranteur Jeff Stinco, comes Shinji. Situated in the heart of Griffintown’s restaurant row, the Japanese restaurant’s mainstay is sushi and it’s known for serving up some of the finest freshly cut sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls in the city – all of which are presented in Chef Shinji’s signature artistic image. In a town that’s somewhat sushi depraved, Shinji is a foolproof welcome for all our fish cravings.
In a city rich with Greek culture, it’s a new player that’s managed to take the lead. Ikanos offers something that many of its counterparts don’t – a live wood charcoal stove that seafood and fish lovers will drool over. Their grilled meats and vegetables are always seasoned to perfection and will make you scream OPA after your meal. Guaranteed.
Wilfrid Sur Laurier
Laurier Street just got a whole lot tastier. Wilfred Sur Laurier fills the void that La Petite Ardoise left behind. Their very affordable menu boasts an array of dishes to satisfy every foodie’s taste buds. Our standout favourites were the seared pork belly with kimchi dish and succulent beef tartare with caramelized eggplant. Not only does Wilfrid offer a nearly perfect dinner experience, but it also wins at weekend brunch time.
St. Henri hits another home run with this fresh and simple concept of Middle Eastern cuisine with a casual environment where people can experience food that the owners (David Bloom and Raquel Zagury) are passionate about. The menu is all about homemade, fresh, and flavourful foods that include spreads, salads, pita sandwiches and plates, as well as homemade pickles, spices, and sauces to compliment your main dish.
This young Mile-Ex kitchen has the city talking. Praised by many as the best new restaurant to hit Montreal in several years, it’s no surprise it made our notable list. The restaurant boasts chic minimal décor, cozy but spirited ambiance, and a wine and food menu that come together perfectly. What we really love here is that the food is based on what’s in season, ensuring the dishes are always fresh and delicious.
The highly anticipated – and long awaited – Kinka Izakaya has finally opened its doors here in Montreal. And when the team behind the über-successful Guu franchise comes to town, it’s definitely going to be a restaurant worth drooling over. The seared tuna tataki, spicy ebimayo, and creamy udon noodles alone are worth the infamous line ups. Not to mention the collection of Japanese cocktails and beers on deck to support all those delicious foodgasms. It’s just that Guu’d.
Little Italy’s best new restaurant hits the nail on the head in every way. Perfect for special occasions or just a date night out, the fascinating ambiance and food go hand-in-hand. The menu offers sharp dishes like scallops, deer, and freshly caught mackerel – protein seems to be the star of every plate. Salmigondis doesn’t have a particular genre of food but the heavy talent in the kitchen keeps us coming back for more.
Bringing Spanish tapas to a whole new level, Villeray’s Mesón restaurant has us crawling back to try every plate. A block away from its big brother restaurant Tapeo, Mesón’s menu is one that distinguishes itself by using a combination of audacious culinary creations as well as typical and traditional Spanish flavours, all while providing a comfort food feel. But their Spanish plates aren’t the only stars; their cóctel list of reinvented Spanish sangrias and margaritas hit the spot in a major way.
Southeast Asian street food with a touch of cool. This is what Chefs Hong Hà Nguyen and Ross Louangsignotha brought to the table when they opened up their Mont-Royal West eatery. The restaurant offers a formidable vibe with a vast assemble of snack plates meant to be shared. Dishes we enjoyed most and would order over and over again were the fresh spring rolls with Montreal smoked meat and shrimp, fluffy squid ink buns stuffed with pork belly & crispy vegetables, and our favorite winter treat, Mr. Ha’s comforting beef pho soup.
We’re breaking away from ‘new’ with our final entry – but only because it’s well worth it. This Old Montreal staple has undergone a huge face-lift in 2014, which includes a new look, menu and Chef (a pas Joe Beef resident). Retaining its warm après-ski lodge look, L’Orignal offers some of the juiciest and best oysters in town and its cozy and refreshing atmosphere provides a relaxing (and non-pretentious) night out. We love sitting back at their newly extended bar and sharing their popular seafood plate consisting of lobster confit, smoked trout, mussels, and oysters – all while indulging in Old Montreal’s finest cocktails.
Cover image by: Marlon Kuhnreich – Marlon Kuhnreich Photography for SUMAC