Montreal’s dining scene is known for emphasizing seasonally-based fare, switching up menus frequently to reflect whatever is fresh and in-season. Although there isn’t as much produce to go around in the winter, dishes still come and go frequently, making it tricky to establish go-to favourites in the city. Still, there are some places in Montreal with tried-and-true menu staples—here, five mainstay eats you can rely on through the colder months.
The soup at Ramen 9000. There are few things more comforting than a hot bowl of soup, and a flavourful spoonful of ramen is no exception. The neighbourhood of Saint-Henri knows this ice cream shop by the name of Dalla Rose during the summer, but owners Nick Rosati and Michael Dalla Libera have opted to transform it into a long-term ramen pop-up in colder months that begins at the end of September and runs until April. Their umami-rich bowls of vegan broth—no small feat in the world of ramen—here come packed with options like marinated tofu and egg and cured pork, to name a few.
The chicken at Le Coq de l’Est 2015. Rotisserie chicken is a Québecois staple, and while there are many great casse-croûtes and chains that offer it, few are quite as notable as this spot from Omar Zabuair and Vanessa Beeching in Tétreaultville. Zabuair’s take on your average rotisserie joint is one of high quality with none of the upscale price points. Slow-roasted birds ordered whole, half, or by the leg and breast are retooled with tandoori spices and coupled with a spice-laden gravy reminiscent of butter chicken sauce. The kitchen also serves a mean plate of crispy roasted chicken as well, with just the right amount of grease to slick your fingers.
The laksa at Satay Brothers. Of all the Singaporean street food–inspired options the Winnicki brothers proffer at their restaurant, the laksa is a choice option for winter. The base of this spicy noodle soup is a rich broth of coconut milk blended with turmeric, chili, garlic, shallots, and fish pasta. It’s one thing to enjoy this aromatic soup as is, but adding spoonfuls of sambal oelek bring on the sweat, making this an ideal dish for the cold winter months. An insider’s tip: order the cadilaksa, which comes with two succulent satay sticks on top.
The PBJFG at Le Fantôme. Jason Morris and Kabir Kapoor keep diners on their toes with this restaurant, as both its tasting menu and its à la carte options are known to change with jackknife turns. One exception is a staple dessert: the peanut butter, jelly, and foie gras sandwich. The creamy, sweet, and savoury topping is loaded onto fresh brioche bread for a simple yet irresistible combination that avoids being excessively heavy. It’s a decadent dish that goes down like velvet—and has just the right amount of calories for a blisteringly cold night on the town.
The naanza at Bar Pamplemousse. Pamplemousse is primarily a chic brewpub in downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles, but the drinks aren’t the only reason to visit. Chef Pelopieas Brisson-Tsavoussis’ kitchen features a wood-fired oven which he puts to good use, drawing from his Caribbean roots to put together dishes like vegetables roasted with jerk spices or an eggplant bharta. It’s the naanza that’s a crown jewel, however, with its soft-and-sour dough dressed in a spicy murgh makhana sauce with fresh cubes of cheese and chicken, and some spoonfuls of cooling raita.
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