© Alison Slattery / Two Food Photographers
Places to celebrate special occasions
I am an advocate for celebrating love (and good food) daily but some occasions demand a more glamorous endeavour. These chic establishments offer outstanding fine dining experiences that are always irreproachable.
Restaurant La Chronique, 104 Laurier Avenue West – I go to La Chronique when I am craving an impeccably elegant French meal. I am particularly fond of their foie gras dishes, so don’t miss out!
Restaurant Toqué!, 900 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle – Dining at Toqué! is always a treat. I invariably discover intriguing Québec ingredients and I particularly admire their commitment to local producers.
Bouillon Bilk, 1595 Saint-Laurent Boulevard – Eating at Bouillon Bilk is like experiencing an art exhibit where the décor is a neutral canvas to the colourful market cuisine.
Le Mousso, 1025 Ontario Street East– Art on a plate and a most unique Montréal restaurant is how I would describe Le Mousso, which I visit for the awe-inspiring dishes that astonish every time.
Maison Boulud, 1228 Sherbrooke Street West – Renowned chef Daniel Boulud’s Montréal restaurant is such a great spot to enjoy a romantic dinner. It’s especially nice to be seated in the lush courtyard in the summer.
Le St-Urbain, 96 Fleury Street West – This Fleury Street spot has had a consistent streak of magnificent food and excellent wine since its opening.
Le Club Chasse et Pêche, 423 St-Claude Street – There are a handful of iconic, fine dining establishments that are always at the top of everyone’s list to celebrate special occasions and this is one of them. Le Club Chasse et Pêche impresses by its romantic lodge décor, its impeccable service and, of course, the great menu.
© Two Food Photographers
Places to rekindle the flame
I am a big fan of cozy and casual dining rooms, which are a great excuse to snuggle up to my date.
Le Vin Papillon, 2519 Notre-Dame Street West – This is one of my favourite restaurants to celebrate any and every occasion. I book a table on the left-hand, more intimate side of the restaurant in winter or on the terrasse in summer and let the knowledgeable staff dictate what I eat and drink. I’ve never been disappointed!
Vin Mon Lapin, 150 Saint-Zotique Street East – If, like me, you find phenomenal wines and impeccable dishes romantic, then Vin Mon Lapin is one of the dreamiest restaurants in Montréal.
Gus, 38 Beaubien Street East – I really like this intimate 28-seat restaurant where you can actually hear what your date is saying and I am absolutely addicted to its Caesar salad!
Hoogan et Beaufort, 4095 Molson Street – The stunning space, the open-flame cooking, the irreproachable food and the grilled focaccia are all the reasons why I keep going to Hoogan et Beaufort!
Candide , 551 St-Martin Street – By far one of my favourite restaurants for its uncompromising commitment to serving a local and seasonal menu, for its exquisite space in a former presbytery, for the fun staff yet exemplary service and for the excellent wine list that never ceases to surprise me.
L’Express, 3927 Saint-Denis Street– One of Montréal’s most classic restaurants is also one of its most romantic with a vibe that transports me to Paris every time I go.
Tri-Express, 1650 Laurier Avenue East – Sushi is definitely at the top of the list of the cuisines that are great to share on a romantic night out and chef Tri Du’s unique take on this Japanese specialty makes this place one of my favourite Montréal sushi restaurants. They even have an omakase menu as well as a sharing menu available.
Ratafia, 6778 Saint-Laurent Boulevard– Nothing says I love you like an exceptional dessert to share (or not!) and Ratafia is definitely an exceptional place to indulge in a tremendous plated dessert or two. Note that their savoury menu and wine list are just as excellent.
Foxy, 1638 Notre Dame Street West – There’s something about being in a restaurant that cooks over a wood fire that makes it that much more enjoyable. The food at Foxy is fantastic, focused on vegetables or sustainably raised meat and fish and all meant to be shared.
Pichai, 5985 Saint Hubert Street - Rekindle the flame over a fiery plate of Kor Moo Yang (grilled pork collar, "nam jim jaew" sauce, glazed yu choy) or the not-to-be-missed Pla Rad Prik (whole fried fish, sweet and sour sauce, sweet chili & tamarind sauce) at this lively neighbourhood Thai restaurant with a great wine list.
© Alison Slattery
Places that are exceptionally beautiful
You’ll only have eyes for your date, but it helps to be in gorgeous surroundings.
Elena, 5090 Notre Dame Street West– The gorgeous dining room of this Saint-Henri restaurant won the enRoute magazine decor of the year award in 2019. Its pizza–especially the M. Fun-guy (get it?)–also won my heart.
Marconi, 45 Mozart Avenue West– Little Italy’s Marconi is a very handsome restaurant that just happens to be in my neighbourhood. Enjoy its dark and moody setting with one of its excellent cocktails.
Le Serpent, 257 Prince Street – This is one of my favourite restaurant spaces in Montréal. I love the industrial chic décor and its ever-changing pasta menu never disappoints.
Place Carmin, 740 William Street – Among the exceptionally gorgeous Montréal restaurants is Place Carmin, the newest addition from the team behind Bouillon Bilk. The elegant, chic yet still somehow cozy Old Montréal restaurant specializes in French cuisine. The selection of refined canapés to share are a must, as is the black pudding tatin and the desserts.
© Two Food Photographers (Alison Slattery)
Places to share tapas or mezes
Because I always want to try as many things as possible, I love sharing food and these restaurants are often on my list for a romantic night out.
Tapeo Bar à Tapas, 511 Villeray Street – Tapeo is always a great date spot and I never tire of their classic tapas, such as the patatas bravas and the Spanish tortilla.
KazaMaza, 4629 du Parc Avenue – This is one of the best Lebanese restaurants in town and I head there when I’m feeling homesick. Share some mezes and then order the delicious fattet makdous.
Damas, 1201 Van Horne Avenue – I am always mesmerized by the One Thousand and One Nights fairy tale décor, which is perfect for a romantic date.
Alep, 191, Jean-Talon Street East– Alep and its more casual spot Le Petit Alep are my go-to spots for a spontaneous date, where I share some meze and then dig into their spicy Terbialy shish kabab.
Beba, 3900 Éthel Street– If I lived next door to Beba, I would dine there at least once a week. The small restaurant’s cuisine reflects the owners’ Argentinian background, sprinkled with a bit of Italian and Spanish influences and guided by seasonal availabilities. The result is an array of exquisite little dishes to share that will surely make an impression on your date.
Tinc Set, 1233 Lajoie Avenue – This small Outremont restaurant from the husband-and-wife team behind delicious Alma focuses on tapas, Barcelona-style roast chicken and Catalan wine. I really enjoy their long European-style lunches on weekends.
© Two Food Photographers
Places to share a plate of pasta
Share a plate of noodles à la Lady and the Tramp.
Impasto, 48 Dante Street– The Little Italy restaurant is one of the best Italian establishments in town and its homemade charcuterie is as delicious as its pasta.
Nora Gray, 1391 Saint-Jacques Street – A classic Italian restaurant and the perfect romantic spot to share some pasta and conversation.
Moccione, 7495 Saint-Denis Street – I fell in love with Moccione’s beautiful dining room, great staff and exquisite, fuss-free Italian food, some of the best in Montréal!
Kitano Shokudo (Otto Bistro), 143 Mont-Royal Avenue East - This small Japanese restaurant specializes in mazemen, or brothless ramen. They are toothsome and comforting. Try the classic version with spicy minced pork or go fancy with burrata and lobster butter.
Mayssam Samaha is a food and travel writer and blogger and the founder behind the blog Will Travel for Food. She travels the world in search of the next culinary discovery. From Iceland to South Africa, she’s already visited over 30 countries and there’s nothing she enjoys more than wandering around a farmers’ market in a foreign city. She is also the founder of the SAISONS intimate dinner series highlighting Québec products and chefs.