From the high-energy Canadian Grand Prix, to the talent-packed Jazz Festival, there are no shortage of events (and patios) in the summer that attract thousands of people to Montreal.
But Montreal is just as enticing throughout the year – especially since new places to eat, drink and be merry open their doors on the regular. Lucky for Toronto residents, the vibrant city is just a five-and-a-half-hour drive or hour-and-fifteen-minute flight away.
Here are the best new(ish) spots to stay and play in Montreal – places that may not have existed the last time you were there.
Get a Sleek Sleep.
The sleek and impeccably designed Hotel Monville – a new addition to Montreal’s boutique hotel scene – offers a talking point-full spot to stay in Montreal. Designed by local firm ACDF Architecture, the 18-story building houses 269 guest rooms, a sun-soaked terrace, fully stocked 24-hour gym and a bustling restaurant and bar (the poutine here is a dream). Each room is complete with rainfall showers, top-of-the-line flat screen TVs and a king-size bed. The hotel is as futuristic as it is well designed, with things like electronic kiosks for check-in and an actual robot that makes room deliveries – the first if its kind in Canada (!). As an added – and much appreciated – perk, the hotel welcomes guests of the furry, four-legged variety. The hotel sits across the street from the Place-d’Armes metro station and is just a 15-minute walk from Old Montreal.
Crush Your Craving for Comforting Japanese.
In late 2018, Montreal residents and visitors got a new Japanese restaurant when the anticipated Hanzo izakaya opened its doors. A project from the team behind Montreal’s popular Japanese-inspired spots Biiru and Gokudo, Hanzo sits in the heart of Old Montreal and offers a refined and thoughtful culinary experience. The menu was created in collaboration with Nick Liu, the celebrated chef behind the Toronto hotspot Dailo and features quick crowd-pleasers like the KFC (Konbini Fried Chicken), Hamachi sashimi and the samon bonbon (candied salmon). Complementing the menu is a selection of Japanese beers, sake (both filtered and unfiltered) and cocktails.
Get a Quality Beer Buzz.
Occupying east end real estate in the site of a former bingo hall (RIP) is brand-new microbrewery Avant Garde Artisans Brasseurs, which opened its beer-filled doors this summer 2019. The warehouse-like space now houses two craft breweries, Avant-Grande and Jukebox, offering a wide variety of brews to choose from and ample seating from which to sip and socialize. Whether you have a soft spot for ales or IPAs, you’ll find no shortage of options here. Word of advice: eat before hand, as the snack offerings are nowhere near as extensive as their beer lists are. This spot is open day and night, closing at 1 am.
Eat Pizza Worth Posting About.
For pizza worth the shameless indulgence, hit wood-fired pizza place Elena. The chic Italian spot opened up shop February 2018, specializing in three common guilty pleasures: pizza, coffee and wine. From two of the owners behind Montreal’s beloved Nora Gray, the 3000-square-foot Saint-Henri restaurant is thoughtfully decorated with pops of colour and a variety of textures, offering customers a stylish setting to enjoy comforting pizza and pasta dishes. Other offerings include salads, meat and fish dishes. Accompanying this is a selection of natural wines, many of which are Italian. A café in the back ensures that guests leave with a solid caffeine buzz.
Sip and Swirl Some Natural Wine.
Last year, Little Italy saw the arrival of Vin Mon Lapin, a refined wine bar from the team behind Montreal staple Joe Beef. Serving up a selection of naturally fermented wine complemented by a menu of artistic (i.e. Instagram-worthy) farm-fresh small plates, the intimate 35-seat spot has become a quick go-to for Montreal’s in-the-know foodie set. Keep in mind that this spot doesn’t take reservations: to avoid a lineup (a pre-dinner buzz kill), try to arrive earlier in the evening.
Binge on a British Brunch.
The team behind beloved Montreal pub Burgundy Lion opened the doors to a new British-inspired pub, Wolf & Workman, in Old Montreal. Housed in a historic building that dates back to the 1830s, this spot – which opened for business March 2019 – offers elevated pub-like brunch items like a hearty English breakfast with all the trimmings, artistic Scotch eggs, cinnamon French toast and a lamb curry casserole. To wash it all down – and to perhaps make for a longer-than-anticipated brunch – are bottomless mimosas for $35.
Savour Satisfying Seafood (and Stay for the Party).
Earlier this summer, Fish Bone opened up shop in Old Montreal, offering both a fresh new spot for seafood and a sophisticated new place to party. With a menu described as offering “modern coastal cuisine,” this sophisticated spot (i.e. dress to impress) serves up things like oysters, paella, sashimi, lobster-infused pastas and more. For the see-and-be-seen set, the restaurant takes more of a supper club approach Thursday through Saturday, offering a high-energy atmosphere that’s complete with flowing champagne and cocktails, DJs and dancing and late-night food service.