July is a slow period for a lot of businesses around Montreal, but certainly not the restaurants and bars, which are in full speed for their busiest month of the year. With impressive new openings, revamped menus, decors and chefs, the Montreal restaurant scene is exciting for us to enjoy the warmest month of the year in good taste. But first, here are the latest restaurant openings in the city.
Two successful Plateau bar owners: Clébard and Brasserie Saint-Denis joined forces to open Joséphine, a gorgeous neighbourhood restaurant strengthened by a power team both in the kitchen and in the dining room. This venue, which has been home to Le Continental Bistro for nearly 30 years, now offers responsible seafood products, an extensive wine list, a fresh decor in addition to a superb “European-style” terrace. The menu is signed by Simon Leblanc (formerly at Helena) and the wine program is overseen by Sophie Allaire (formerly at Accords Bistro). The restaurant team is dedicated, polite, and professional and, mostly, everyone knows what they are doing. The menu is refined and fresh as chef Simon Leblanc makes sure every dish is flawless while sommelier Sophie Allaire suggests interesting and delicious wine pairings. Nothing to disappoint at Joséphine, surely!
Siam! : Downtown
Siam!, who strongly served East Asian-inspired dishes for years on the South Shore, recently opened a second location in Hotel Le Crystal. This new address of Siam! restaurant has a lot to offer: two terraces ( including one upstairs that provides downtown views, an amazing decor, a wide happening bar and a hard-to-beat ambiance) an impressive cellar, two floors of sparkling decor, a large bar area for those who would prefer quick cocktails and bites before a show ( while talking about shows, the restaurant also offers a “pre-show menu” during the festival season : quick, delicious and efficient ) ! The impressive cocktail list was imaged by master mixologist Lawrence Picard and Thailand classics can be expected on the menu such as: pad Thai, fried rice, curry chicken and mango salad. Siam Downtown is the first Montreal address of the Thai restaurant chain and we hope that it won’t be the last.
The team behind Parma Cafe partnered up with PMG Group to open Signorvino, a 60-seater wine bar located in the middle of Little Italy. The highlight at Signorvino, in addition to their vast terrace on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, is definitely their wine list, as you will find 70 choices of imported Italian wines and an extensive cocktail menu at this new address. The owners also pride themselves on their signature Italian dishes, where everything is made from scratch and old school Italian family recipes. Definitely a great new addition in Little Italy for all wine (and pasta) lovers !
The power duo behind the successful Fantôme restaurant recently inaugurated their second project, this time in Old Montreal. Pastel offers locally inspired dishes, a fairly cute setting (the name says it all) in addition to Instagram worthy dishes. This new refined address is open for lunch and dinner, and, contrary to its sister restaurant, there is also an “A la carte” menu (in addition to the tasting menu) at Pastel.
The owners of Le Mal Nécessaire recently opened Pamplemousse, a gorgeous new beer bar in Le Quartier des Spectacles. In addition to their wide variety of beers and cocktails, there is also a small shareable menu offered at Pamplemousse. The idea is to become the new “go to spot” of all festivalgoers after or before a show as we can enjoy small bites straight from the wood-fire oven, while sipping a beer sitting at one of the high tables.
Over Rice is a new restaurant that offers a menu inspired by New York street food and food trucks. The concept is simple : you choose your protein: chicken, beef, gyros (there is also vegetarian options) then your side: rice, fries or a salad. In a world where sometimes, menus are overcomplicated, at Over Rice, it’s the total opposite : it’s simple, convenient and affordable. The decor is signed by Atelier Lovasi, who also conceived the decors of restaurants Mélisse and HVOR, just to name a few.
The Antonopoulos Group (Perché, Méchant Boeuf, Maggie Oakes) and the Coldroom Group (Habanera, Coldroom) announced the opening of their most recent project (and first collaboration): La Terrazza, a new Italian pop-up bar on Place Jacques-Cartier. The indoor/outdoor space focuses on cocktails, Amari and Antipasti, bringing a modern and creative touch to the traditional Italian “Aperitivo” concept.
Cordova Coffee & Cocktails
Master Chef Canada contestant Aaron Polsky, also known in the Montreal-food scene as Foodie Date Night opened his first restaurant: a coffee/cocktail/tapas bar in the upcoming Saint-Henri district. The space is absolutely gorgeous, their coffee game is strong and, most importantly, the food is good. Cordova also offers free Wi-Fi for those seeking the perfect place to work during the day and a large terrace on Notre-Dame street to enjoy Montreal summer nights the way we should.
Can’t get enough restaurant news? Don’t miss our Hottest Terraces & Other Restaurant News feature where we share the latest restaurant news (new summer menus/decors/anniversaries, etc.)
by Catherine Maisonneuve
for Montreal Times – firstname.lastname@example.org