Solo dining done right in Montréal
Montréal has so many beautifully designed restaurants that have long bars and comfy little nooks that make solo dining a cinch. Here are thirteen of the coolest places where eating solo isn’t just easy, it’s a joy.
A shared-plates restaurant on the Plateau opened by the people behind the beloved Bouillon Bilk, Cadet’s minimalist contemporary design features a long white-topped bar ideal for a solo diner. The best thing about the small size of the plates is that you can get a selection of flavours even when dining alone – plus, no sharing! 🙌
Montréal Plaza Restaurant
The wacky interior design at the posh Montréal Plaza Restaurant on the Saint-Hubert Plaza will keep you entertained for much of the meal (check out the upside-down dollhouse-cum-chandelier). The friendly bar staff will also keep you happy at your spot tucked away at the bar, where you can enjoy a selection of seasonal small plates (sea urchin mousse, anyone?).
Restaurant Manitoba is a Mile Ex hideaway that offers an ever-interesting interpretation of terroir ingredients and provides a festive scene to boot – especially in the summer months when the good times spill out into the yard. The tall counter runs from the bar in front to the open kitchen in the bar, so pick your seat based on what craft you want to see in action.
Opened by one of the members of Arcade Fire, Agrikol is a raucous nouveau Haitian restaurant in the Gay Village that serves up scrumptious Caribbean comfort foods and rum cocktails you could order all night. The design, in an old home, is all nooks and crannies you can easily find a spot in – otherwise there’s always the small bar near the entrance.
Chef Jason Morris presides over Le Fantôme, a candlelit Griffintown hole-in-the-wall where the relaxed décor matches the menu. The signature dish is a PBJFG, a sandwich involving peanut butter, strawberry jam and foie gras on toasted brioche. Tuck into this beauty or the many other treats on the menu at one of the half-dozen bar seats by the open kitchen.
Located in a Little Burgundy basement, Candide offers stunning four-course prix-fixe menus for a steal in a warm, designer wood-and-brick atmosphere perfectly suited to a relaxing feast alone. Nab yourself one of the coveted few seats at the bar, or take over one of the many tables for two.
Opened by the owners of the super popular Old Montréal café Olive et Gourmando, Foxy located in Little Burgundy is a dark, woodsy, moody contemporary spot where everything is cooked on open fire, from the whole fish to the puffed flatbread. Its extra-long bar is the perfect place to blend in and dig in.
This menu-less restaurant on the outskirts of Outremont is freshness incarnate: what the Provisions chefs buy at the market that day makes the blackboard and therefore your plate. The space is tiny, so it’s better suited for solo diners or pairs, at most – dig into the inventive cuisine from the bar or one of the tiny high tables.
Hoogan et Beaufort
You’ll get lost in the clatter and designer gleam of this critics’ favourite in the Technopôle Angus development, in the northeast end of town, which serves fire-pit cooking and homemade pastas. But think refined: Hoogan et Beaufort’s grilled octopus is like butter, the agnolotti served with preserved carrots, pine nuts, and coppa in a stunning yuzu broth. The design is tailor-made for solo diners, featuring mostly bar seating. Pick a spot by the open flames.
Traditional Italian with a twist, with a wine list worth travelling for, Nora Gray is a tiny, easygoing restaurant and a regular stop for the creative crowd – designers, musicians, the it intelligentsia flock here. Solo diners are common because they’re coming for the food, and thanks to the friendly staff, they don’t stay strangers for long. Saddle up to the sleek wood bar and enjoy Italian done differently.
Some of the very best and most inventive sushi in Montréal contains no fish at all, thanks to Sushi Momo. This vegan sushi restaurant will change your opinion on plant-based diets forever with its decadent, refined flavours, which you can enjoy in a warm, enveloping atmosphere thanks to its semi-basement location, either at one of the small tables or at the bar next to the masterful chefs.
A glittering Plateau icon, L’Express is like a piece of Paris relocated to Montréal, complete with the accents. The atmosphere is glamorous with the black-and-white tiled floor and vast mirrors, and the high ceilings help the happy chatter and clinking china fill the space with a joy solo diners can take in either at one of the many small tables or at the comfortable high bar.
Montreal is synonymous with Jewish-style smoked meat, and that’s in large part thanks to Schwartz’s. The queues around the block indicate how tender and flavourful these beef briskets are – but the deli seating is anything but chic! The long bar is the ideal spot for a solo diner to chow down, soak up the ample atmosphere and watch all the action behind the counter.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s eclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.