Where to eat alone in Montréal

Stephanie Mercier Voyer

Stephanie Mercier Voyer is a writer based in Montréal. Previously working as an editor at enRoute magazine, she now freelances for various publications and is currently writing a book about natural wine set to be published in 2021. Stephanie is also an improviser and comedy writer.

Montréal is home to some incredible restaurants with lively bars, impressive design and friendly staff that make solo dining a breeze. Here are 13 places where dining alone is not just delicious, it’s actually fun.

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Foxy

From the team that brought you Old Montréal mainstay Olive et Gourmando comes Foxy, a modern, intimately-lit restaurant where the bar stools sport just enough of a backrest for you to want to linger a little longer. Chef Leigh Roper cooks everything on open fire at this Griffintown hotspot – make sure to taste the puffed flatbread and the wood-oven roasted coquelet

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Dominion Square Tavern

Dominion Square Tavern’s enchanting room alone is worth the detour with its 40-foot brass bar, vintage chandeliers, original coloured terrazzo floors and ceramic walls. The menu features elevated English dishes like bangers and mash and classic cocktails mixed to perfection. Why not celebrate spending the evening by yourself with a Royal gin fizz?

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Brasserie Harricana

Thanks to its table-height bar and cozy chairs, Brasserie Harricana is the ideal spot for creatures of comfort looking to dine solo. Order from the vast beer and cider selection (there are over 20 offerings on tap) and pair your pick with elevated comfort food staples like all-dressed hot dogs made with local maple and beer sausage wrapped in bacon. 

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Schwartz’s

No visit to Montréal is complete without a taste of Jewish-style smoked meat, and Schwartz’s is where to taste the real thing in the city. The large queues stretching around the block daily are a testament to the deli’s undying popularity with tourists and locals alike. And the no-frills counter is perfect for solo eaters looking to chow down on tender beef briskets.

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Le St-Urbain

Away from the bustle of downtown, Le St-Urbain is ideal for solo diners in search of quiet and a comforting menu packed with local market produce. Skilled chef and co-owner Marc-André Royal carefully prepares dishes like porchetta with smoked tuna cream, made using its house smoker.

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Time Out Market

A newer addition to the city’s culinary landscape, Time Out Market is a one-stop shop for solo eaters looking to try some of Montréal’s top restaurants. The food hall, conveniently located inside the Centre Eaton, features 16 mini-restaurants, including Montreal Plaza Deli, Dalla Rose, Foxy and Le Club Chasse et Pêche.

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L’Express

Beloved server Monsieur Masson has been presiding over the bar at L’Express for close to 40 years and has plenty of stories to share with solo diners. Located in the Plateau-Mont-Royal, this Montréal institution serves French classics such as celery remoulade, cornichons and hanger steak with shallot butter and fries. Open most days until 3 a.m., L’Express is a favourite among local artists who flock to the restaurant after shows.

Nora Gray

Sleek wood-panelling, leather banquettes and dim lighting make Nora Gray one of the most intimate rooms in the city to dine solo. Reserve a seat at the bar for some one-on-one time with the staff who will gladly walk you through chef and co-owner Emma Cardarelli’s thoughtful Italian menu, in which a plate of roasted pork chop with fennel shares the spotlight with handmade squid ink linguine with clams and ‘nduja. The extensive all-natural wine list, crafted by sommelier and co-owner Ryan Gray, is equally worth the trip to Griffintown.

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Pumpui

The simple decor at Pumpui features two window-facing counters – ideal for solo diners looking to people-watch while feasting on spicy chicken wings and shrimp pad thai. Part eatery, part market, this Little Italy joint proposes authentic Thai cuisine (chef Jesse Murdoch lived in Thailand and continues to visit every year to perfect his recipes). 

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Larrys

Set in the booming Mile End neighbourhood, Larrys’ casual vibe and tightly-packed tables make it the perfect place to mingle with the local art and tech crowds during the bustling lunch hours. Chef Marc Cohen’s menu of small plates allows solo diners to try different flavours without breaking the bank. Don’t miss the marinated lentils and the toast topped with ‘nduja and white anchovies.

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Club Social P.S.

Hidden behind sister restaurant Elena, the sunken concrete terrasse at Club Social P.S., dotted with fragrant herbs and flowers, lets diners soak up the summer rays and strike up conversations with strangers sitting at nearby tables. During the colder months, grab a seat around the shoehorn bar and let the friendly staff guide you through the selection of natural wines and naturally leavened pizzas.

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Maison Publique

Watch chef Derek Dammann work his magic in the open kitchen on dishes such as baked Lac Barron oysters and smoked lamb shoulder from your bar seat at Maison Publique. English pub vibes and an eclectic decor (think taxidermy deer heads wearing Montréal Expos hats) meet exquisite Canadian cuisine at this neighbourhood favourite.

Le Vin Papillon

Nab yourself one of the coveted bar seats at Le Vin Papillon, one of the many restaurants part of the Joe Beef family, where your server will happily tell you a story about the natural wines served by the glass that night. Check out the chalkboard for an ever-changing menu of seasonal dishes and staples (shaved ham and cheddar with brown butter, anyone?).

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More places to eat solo in Montréal

The thumping Konpa music, the colourful Haitian Vodou art and the Haitian comfort food will keep you entertained at Agrikol, the restaurant opened by one of the members of Arcade Fire inside a charming LGBTQ Village two-story townhouse. Spend the day working on your laptop at September before crossing over to newly-opened sister restaurant Stem Bar for small plates and a wide selection of local craft beers in a relaxed atmosphere. The smell emanating from the main grill facing the retro diner counter at Chez Tousignant is sure to make you salivate even before you put in your order for classic Québec snack bar items such as poutines, hot chicken sandwiches and burgers made with local beef and potato buns. Groovy beats and the seductive smell of Singaporean street food are in the air once you walk through the doors of Satay Brothers, an animated Saint-Henri eatery where you’re likely to meet other diners looking to have a good time over steam buns and tempeh satays with peanut sauce.

Stephanie Mercier Voyer

Stephanie Mercier Voyer is a writer based in Montréal. Previously working as an editor at enRoute magazine, she now freelances for various publications and is currently writing a book about natural wine set to be published in 2021. Stephanie is also an improviser and comedy writer.

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