Let’s do lunch: great places for a business lunch

JP Karwacki

JP Karwacki is a Montréal-based writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Time Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, National Post, Time Out, NUVO Magazine, and more. Having called the city home for over a decade and a half, he regularly focuses on spreading the good word about the amazing things to eat, drink and do in Montréal. One half raconteur and the other flâneur (with just a dash of boulevardier), when he wasn’t working on the frontlines of the city's restaurants and bars, he spent his time thinking about, reading about and writing about restaurants and bars.

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This article was updated on May 5, 2022.

As a city full of bon vivants who love to catch up over a glass of wine and sharing plates, the art of a business lunch comes naturally to Montréal. Of course, there’s work to discuss and relationships to retain, but meetings are all the more convivial when dining out. Not only is Montréal full of restaurants that provide the right casual environment, but they’re all good places to get comfy while sealing deals, pitching a sale, and getting the edge over a competitor.

DOWNTOWN

 

Alexandre et fils

1454 Peel Street | Website

Alain Creton’s French brasserie is a downtown classic that has been looked to for its steak-frites, boudin, and foie de veau since it first opened in 1977. Consider visiting its cigar lounge for a smoky digestif.

 

Bar Caffettiera

2055 Stanley Street | Website

Styled after 1990s-era Italian cafés, this Golden Square Mile stand-up spot is good for quick drop-ins for espressos, apreitivos, sandwiches, snacks and desserts.

 

Bar George

1440 Drummond Street | Website

Serving Scottish and British cuisine inside the Le Mount Stephen hotel, the quality of the food and drink is only matched by its heritage mansion interior dating back more than 140 years—great for impressing out-of-town clients.

 

Café Holt

1300 Saint-Catherine Street West | Website

Located inside the Holt Renfrew department store, this chic spot inspired by 1940s Hollywood glamour serves a tidy menu of bistro classics, from tartare and salads to burgers. The interior design and décor alone merit a trip, but a bite or two from the menu ought to seal the deal.

 

Chez Dévi

1450 Crescent Street | Website

This downtown Indian restaurant serves Northern specialties like channa bhatura as well as interesting twists like tandoori-grilled salmon. Its table d’hôte keeps things easy for ordering and pricing as well.
 

Ferreira Café

1446 Peel Street | Website

One of Montréal’s premier destinations for Portuguese fine dining, their lunch menu is full of fresh fish and seafood to dine on over a glass (or two) of Portuguese wines. Got a big group to entertain? Ferreira Café has private rooms for groups ranging from 12 to 25 people.

 

Fiorellino Snack Bar - Ristorante

470 De La Gauchetière Street West | Website

This restaurant’s Neapolitan pizzas make for a great light lunch, but they’re serving pasta and light antipasti if a bigger hunger strikes. Don’t skip the Nutella bites, though, and end that business lunch on a sweet note.

 

Ibérica

1450 Peel Street | Website

Specializing in Spanish tapas with Barcelona focus, it’s good for both grabbing either table d’hôte of fish, meat, or paella as well as loading a table with different bites. If the focus of a visit is to talk, the restaurant’s charcuterie selection should do the trick.

 

LOV de la Montagne

1232 de la Montagne Street | Website

Entertaining vegan clientele or someone who needs gluten-free options? Chef Stéphanie Audet’s restaurant does both, and in a fashionable spot serving cocktails. For something even more novel, enjoy that business lunch while sitting in their swing chairs.

 

Osteria MKT

1333 Robert-Bourassa Blvd. | Website

A modern Italian restaurant where diners can enjoy the downtown scenery from its dining room or the sizeable terrasse in the summer. The lunch menu is particular is good for sharing with its plates of fritto misto and charcuterie plates.

 

Restaurant La Medusa

1218 Drummond Street | Website

Talk up you client while twirling strands of fettucine on a fork with this classic Italian restaurant that’s been serving the city for over a quarter of a century. If pasta doesn’t sound like enough, their pizza is worth an order as well.

 

Restaurant Sho-Dan

2020 Metcalfe Street | Website

Sushi and sashimi are front and centre at this modern Japanese restaurant, served either à la carte or in sampler platters that can make for an interesting business lunch of sharing and discussing the food between getting down to details.

 

Restaurant Toqué!

900 place Jean-Paul-Riopelle | Website

Served in a table d’hôte format that includes an appetizer, a main course and coffee or tea for one sum, business lunches can be equal parts focused on business at hand as they are on the enjoyment of accomplished gastronomy from chef Normand Laprise and his team. With wine pairing options for each dish and luxe dessert add-ons, this option Is great for impressing a guest.

 

OLD MONTRÉAL

 

Bloom sushi 

368 Saint-Paul Street West | Website

Coming from the minds behind Canada’s first-ever vegan sushi restaurant, Sushi Momo, Bloom focuses on a colourful array of vegan futomaki. Long and lingering business lunch plans can benefit from the omakase service here.

 

Boris Bistro

465 McGill Street | Website

This Old Montréal institution stands out form the pack for its steadfast devotion to serving an entirely gluten-free menu of French bistro-style dishes. Elegant and considerate, this is a cinch of a spot where catering to that client with dietary needs.

 

Fiorella

980 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West | Website

Serving the flavours of southern Italy from the ground level of downtown’s Hôtel St-Martin, Fiorella provides lighter antipasti for those looking to snack, pasta for those craving carbs, and milk-fed veal chops, ossobuco, and filet mignon for folks really looking to dig in.

 

Graziella

116 McGill Street | Website

From its bright interior to the careful attention paid to its modern Italian menu, this time-honored restaurant is designed to impress those that walk through its doors, making it a solid option for business lunches.

 

Helena

438 McGill Street | Website

Treat clients to the riches of seafood and wine at this Old Montréal standard: Chef Helena Loureiro’s eponymous restaurant excels at serving the light yet no less flavourful side of Portuguese fine dining.

 

Le Muscadin

443 Saint-Vincent Street | Website

Combining warm Italian hospitality with the comforts of a menu full of antipasti platters and plates of pasta—they swear by their burrata-topped spaghetti with basil-pistacchio pesto—Le Muscadin is for those looking to both tuck in and get down to business.

 

LOV McGill

464 McGill Street | Website

Bright, airy, and serving each and every one of chef Stéphanie Audet’s greatest vegan hits, the something-for-everyone menu here is great for clients both health-conscious and looking to fill up at lunch. Pastas, curries, tacos, burgers—you name it, just vegan instead.

 

Modavie

1 Saint-Paul Street West | Website

Got jazz lovers to entertain? This bistro serves a lot of classic French and Italian dishes in an environment decorated with instruments and photos of jazz masters past and present. Consider suggesting returning at night to your client to see a live show, too.

 

Monarque

406 Saint-Jacques Street | Website

This svelte French brasserie from Richard and Jérémie Bastien couples an elegant dining room with just as elegant food. It’s one of the more high-end options for a business lunch, but the quality is undeniable.

 

Pincette - Bar à homard

94 Saint-Paul Street East | Website

It may be billed as a lobster bar, but the décor and offerings at lunch time keep Pincette away from being too kitschy. Enjoy a menu full of fish and seafood, and yes, there’s lobster poutine for those craving something sinful.

Restaurant Gandhi

230 Saint-Paul Street West | Website

A standard-bearer among Indian restaurants in the city, Gandhi is a good choice for business lunches with its à la carte menu of easily shareable dishes. Extensive attention has been paid to its wine lists as well—fun for exploring pairings.

 

Restaurant Holder

407 McGill Street | Website

Get chummy with clientele along its long bar or enjoy a bit more intimacy at a table alongside its dining room’s towering windows; however you experience this European brasserie, the food will be rich and satisfying.

 

Restaurant Mélisse

719 William Street | Website

Looking for something simple and refined to impress your dining companion? This hospitable spot is a young and refreshing presence in its neighbourhood, and its menu is kept tidy with healthful, vegetable-forward options.

 

Ristorante Quattro

17 Notre-Dame Street West | Website

Simple yet stylish, this modern Italian restaurant covers the full spectrum of delicacies, but their selection of contorni is particularly worth noting with lamb, bison, rabbit, and more. Just be sure to save room for cannoli and granita.

 

Vallier Bistro

425 McGill Street | Website

With its discreet location, give your dining companions the impression you know the city like the back of your hand by taking them here. Once you do, enjoy a handful of bistro classics from the menu, each carried out with precision.

 

Vieux-Port Steakhouse

39 Saint-Paul Street East | Website

Carrying the torch for amiable and affordable steakhouses in Old Montréal, this longstanding restaurant excels in the surf and turf category. That said, keep things quick and easy with their inexpensive table d’hôte menu if you don’t want to cut into a 16-ounce rib steak.

JP Karwacki

JP Karwacki is a Montréal-based writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Time Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, National Post, Time Out, NUVO Magazine, and more. Having called the city home for over a decade and a half, he regularly focuses on spreading the good word about the amazing things to eat, drink and do in Montréal. One half raconteur and the other flâneur (with just a dash of boulevardier), when he wasn’t working on the frontlines of the city's restaurants and bars, he spent his time thinking about, reading about and writing about restaurants and bars.

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

 

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