If Montreal had the Michelin Guide, which restaurants would earn a spot on the list and what would their star rating be?
Written by JP Karwacki
Despite all of the international attention it receives on the culinary stage, Canada has yet to receive ratings from the Michelin Guide. Until it arrives—and our guess is that it’s only a matter of time until it does—the following are what we think would be Michelin star restaurants in Montreal. They’re the city’s top-notch institutions and groundbreakers, from our most romantic restaurants to quintessential Italian restaurants, that form the best of the best and make Montreal stand out as a cultural powerhouse.
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Michelin star-worthy restaurants in Montreal
A trailblazer of creative Canadian cuisine from Allison Cunningham, Fred Morin and David McMillan, this restaurant has been incalculably valuable to Montreal’s status as a culinary champion ever since it was founded in 2005. If award-winning cookbooks, raising the barn for three other restaurants—all of which make this list—and heaps of accolades both national and international aren’t enough to convince the uninitiated of their value? Experiencing their characteristically bombastic services replete with richly weighted dishes made from Quebecois terroir treated with deft techniques will.
We can thank this restaurant’s chef-owner Normand Laprise for leading the city’s pack when it comes to recognizing the quality of Quebec’s ingredients, with Toqué! being known as a forebearer of the farm-to-table movement here. From seafood on the coast to the peak freshness of farms in the summer to preserves and hearty roots in the winter, the menus here shift seamlessly with the seasons in colorful curations of cultivation.
New York City’s one of the top stomping grounds in America for Michelin star restaurants, where chefs like Daniel Boulud maintain the gilded status of French cooking. Highly lauded specialties from there are found here, at this high-class restaurant located in the Ritz-Carleton hotel, from long tasting menus and French classics to humble yet elevated dishes of hamburgers and club sandwiches; all of it—and you, the diner—are given the most thorough of treatments.
The meticulously conceived menus of chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard and his team are the hallmark of both this and its sibling à la carte restaurant Le Petit Mousso next door. The work here is regarded as a Quebecois approach to New Nordic cuisine—using natural and seasonal ingredients to create new dishes—and any given plate on the table excels at surprising patrons: A spiced pig’s blood cake with fermented apple gel; sea buckthorn berry juice that’s refined down to the taste of a lemon; beet candy floss with chilled foie gras. It’s all painstakingly creative here.
The work of chefs Charles-Antoine Crête and Cheryl Johnson are both outliers and essential reading when it comes to dining out in Montreal. Food, service and atmosphere—from conception to execution—is like no other when considering the chefs’ high-wire balance of play and rigor: Names of commonplace dishes are merely placeholders for crazier work, like ‘cannelloni’ made with daikon or baloney or sashimi draped on the back of a plastic gorilla. If the food isn’t enough to attract, come for the fever dream-like touches in its décor.
6.Le Vin Papillon
The second sibling of the Joe Beef family of restaurants, this address holds a status as both an amazing wine bar and accomplished eatery in the city. Thanks to the combined efforts of sommelier Vanya Filipovic and chef Jesse Grasso, the vegetable-forward dishes and charcuterie of house cured meats and regional cheeses are blended seamlessly with pairings that turn any diner’s whims from snacking to full dinners into tasting menu experiences.
The fresh, local apple doesn’t fall far from its tree: The first restaurant spurred from Joe Beef, this no-reservations location serves those who can’t nab a table at the perpetually-packed Joe Beef next door. Here, chef Ariel Schor caters to local families and flâneurs with a menu that offers classics from the patriarch like lobster spaghetti alongside hearty proteins and an impeccable oyster bar. Lest we forget, the work of sommelier James Simpkins and barman Chris Morgan keep things lively with their boozy skills. Oh, and Obama and Trudeau once famously dined here.
Its satellite locations in the cities of Athens, Miami, London, New York and Las Vegas—and soon ones in Los Cabos and Dubai—tend to fool outsiders, but make no mistake: This Montreal location started it all with a Greek taverna right here in 1979. Its current location is a chic representative of the Mediterranean diet, serving a tremendous array of fish and seafood fresh from market that’s grilled or salt-baked to perfection alongside savory vegetable side dishes.
Were there one restaurant to cement the vision of Montreal as the Paris of North America, it would be here at this bistro reputed for local reliability and consistency. While chef Jean-François Vachon dishes out French classics like bone marrow, chicken liver mousse and saumon au cerfeuil with pinpoint accuracy, barman Claude Masson keeps the ship afloat with his lightning-quick service that bails out one satisfied customer to make room for the next. All that, and this one’s been open from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily since 1980. A level dedication seldom found elsewhere.
Being a French city, the traditional English art of the gastropub isn’t exactly commonplace in Montreal. Chef Derek Dammann’s restaurant arguably brought it to the fore with this weathered-wood address, serving foundational European and Canadian dishes with inspired treatments. Walking in proffers an easygoing atmosphere, but a taste of its surf, turf and terra is anything but: From sumptuous offal-based plates to gooey Welsh rarebit, the experience here is as adventurous as it is a homecoming.
One year: That’s all it took for frontman Kabir Kapoor and chef Jason Morris to gain a major amount of traction with this bright and airy location. With an inventive cuisine that defies any single descriptor—pulling from a variety of international influences to enhance local terrior—that’s paired with top-notch wine lists and attentive service, it’s little wonder that this place made waves when it first opened its doors. Scout the menu for dishes that play with cherished memories of food, like retooled smoked meat sandwiches and s’mores.
Ask around for the best Japanese restaurant in Montreal, and it’s this one from chef Junichi Ikematsu. While sushi is one of this restaurant’s more recognized calling cards, don’t disregard the menu’s entrées that result from a cross-pollination with European techniques: Octopus with kombu salt that’s grilled and set in a burnt celeriac purée, or arctic char with a pepper meringue and blood orange reduction. Whatever you visit for, it will impress.
To say the building blocks of Syrian cuisine’s meze and main courses—earthbound fruits and vegetables, nuts and honey, grains and legumes, lamb and sheep, herbs and oils—are ‘elevated’ at chef-owner Fuad Alneirabeie’s Damas runs dangerously close to being a disservice. The food here is amazingly fresh, robust and colorful, and the décor both plush and ornate. All of it conducts a mode of transportation for visiting diners to be whisked away on a culinary silk road.
Following on the success of their Italian restaurant Nora Gray, a pizza-focused restaurant seemed to be a no-brainer in a city screaming for more choicely crafted Neapolitan style pies. Once this plush and sleek Italian modern eatery from Ryan Gray, Emma Cardarelli and Marley Sniatowsky opened, it stole the show: Their wood-burning oven turns pies into what many agree is the best in town—no small feat when considering how much Little Italy capitalized on the dish for the longest time. A combination of Gray’s wine savvy, Cardarelli’s recipes and seasonal coordination makes this location inimitably cool and accomplished.
For several years Montrealers were wondering when this brasserie project from Jérémie and Richard Bastien would ever open, but any delays immediately became water under the bridge when doors were thrown open: An immaculate design full of windows and industrial textures inspired by New York City’s Gramercy Tavern sets the stage for a menu that leans French with international applications. Food is both inspired and inventive while being reined in by solid technique, from tuna tartare with foie gras cream to roasted meats and seafood soups.
16.Vin Mon Lapin
Market cuisine’s a term that’s bandied around so often that it runs the risk of tiring itself out, but this restaurant in Little Italy could be regarded as one that singlehandedly breathed some life back into it. Another homerun from the Joe Beef team: Chefs Marc-Oliver Frappier and Jessica Noël take Quebec’s seasonal ingredients and spin gold à la minute with them while Vanya Filipovic expertly curates the wine cellar. No reservations at this tiny restaurant makes it democratic, but the dance of food and wine they provide makes it indelible.
17.Le Club Chasse et Pêche
There isn’t an avid diner alive in Montreal who would deny the level of quality in chef Claude Pelletier and maitre d' Hubert Marsolais’ restaurant in Old Montreal. Situated in an old stone château, this height of fine dining in the city is a combination of a dark and contemplative dining space and the Governor's Garden in the summer. But really, wherever and whatever you eat in its space, it’s posh. Pelletier is said to be a quiet and reserved individual, saving oxygen for the kitchen where amazing food is made, food that Marsolais adeptly guides the hungry through with adept pairings to boot.
When this encore act to Dyan Solomon and Éric Girard’s Olive et Gourmando opened, it seemed like there was little they couldn’t successfully do. At the sexy black and gold restaurant Foxy, chef Leigh Roper uses open fires to their fullest with a wood-burning oven and Argentinian grill, where char and smoke infuse the menu with rich textures and flavours alongside fresh and flavorfully green counterparts. Just like its open flames, the atmosphere is hot and the service is warm, leaving diners in an embrace that lasts well into the night.
19.Au Pied de Cochon
Before they were tackled by this restaurant’s famous chef Martin Picard, Quebec’s traditional and most iconic foods like poutine and pouding chômeur—while ceremoniously embraced by anyone from this province—weren’t exactly showstoppers on the international scene. Rather than shun those recipes and traditions in lieu of time-honored European ones, Picard embraced them, enhanced them, and dug his feet in deeper to create this home to chaotically luxuriant food. Foie gras is scooped and shaved by the bucketful and maple syrup rains from the sky here. No one could better represent a wild and welcome treatment of Quebec classics than this man and his restaurant.
Owners Nada Abou Younes and chef Sean Murray Smith first made names for themselves with the top restaurant in town on TripAdvisor, Les Deux Singes de Montarvie. Rather than rest on those laurels, they opted to reconstruct their business and identity from scratch, creating this excellently serviced and vegetable-heavy fine dining spot. The menu now gives elevated treatments to ingredients that make past traditions look demure: Last we checked, leeks were spun into spaghetti, jalapeños turned to jus and king oyster mushrooms were turned into Thanksgiving dinners. The variety of wine pairings matched with their multi-course menus make this one an exceptional young gun.
The work of chef John Winter Russell in this seminary-turned-restaurant is a masterclass in seasonal menus. Inspired by Voltaire’s last lines of the novel of the same name, their dish compositions from farms and gardens are anything but garden variety. Even the wine list from Emily Campeau, numbering in around 100 bottles, is exploratory and refined. Maybe it’s a residual effect of the building the restaurant is situated in, but the kitchen and front of house are so studious and attentive that dining here feels like in-depth research on the Perfect Experience.
For a restaurant that excels in the field of high concepts in French cuisine, look no further than chef-owners Marc De Canck and Olivier de Montigny’s restaurant. Rich and savory sauces, emulsions and foams flow easily alongside expertly cooked proteins, dishes that easily cater to anyone with a craving for a luscious meal. Wine too is a necessary experience here, as sommelier Jonathan Sitaras has a keen sense of good grapes. Together, they make the vaulted ceilings and eggshell white of their address a necessary stop on anyone’s list.
23.La Cabane d’à Côté
The sugar shack, where the internationally coveted maple syrup of Quebec is made, is in itself a bucket list experience for anyone hoping to get at the heart of this province’s culture. Many are endearing in their ramshackle and informal ways, blasting lively fiddle music as plates are mounded with portions coated in sweet amber. Enter chef Martin Picard with pastry chef Gabrielle Rivard-Hiller and sous-chef Vincent Dion-Lavallée, who took this in-the-bush tradition and raised it to dizzying heights with this destination where classic Quebec dishes are unbridled in creativity and guaranteed in their deliciousness. Whether it’s tourtière, grand-pères or even pea soup, it’ll be unforgettable.
Italian cuisine is hot in Montreal right now, but the first wave of this trend shouldn’t be disregarded amongst all the press about what’s new. This project in Little Italy from chefs Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione became a darling of its community in a short span of time, whether it was for fall-off-the-bone contorni or fresh pastas, all celebrations of regional Italian delicacies. It’s now Aicia Colacci in the kitchen, and by her hand the menus are that much more wonderful and worth a trip.
One part chef-driven and the other market cuisine, the menu at this restaurant is one of the more curious experiences Montreal dining has to offer. Here, Hakim Rahal and Pablo Rojas opt to act as galley cooks that simply list the ingredients they’ll be working with on a blackboard—hence the name—and take it from there. Diners are welcome to challenge the kitchen with combinations and restrictions on the fly, but whatever they dish out in requests, the chefs return the favor two times over. If anything, their mastery of combining concept with presentation deserves a reservation.
Situated in a reclaimed depanneur (convenience store), this neighborhood restaurant from chef-owner Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly and partner Molly Superfine-Rivera is a formidable combination of bites and booze, respectively. Visiting diners are proffered either snacks or suppers according to their tastes as they enjoy the bottle and booze selections, making this a true-to-form combination of refinement and conviviality that Montreal’s so well-known for. Whatever your preference, we recommend you run the full gamut while eating here and take one of everything.
27.Hoogan et Beaufort
Chef Marc-André Jetté and sommelier/partner in crime William Saulnier were the first to come together to offer a quintessential Canadian experience: Drinks around open flames. With a fire pit-driven menu and cocktail and bottles put to good use, evenings and nights in this renovated factory space are both cozy and edge-of-your-seat innovative. Be it a protein from the land or sea, it’s grilled off and treated with artful presentations that sport thoughtful accompaniments. Everything here, even fresh pastas and plate-licking desserts, should be high on your list of what to eat.
Antonio Park is a force to be reckoned with in this city. To be sure, this chef’s mastery of sushi techniques is a major star of this restaurant’s show—offering unbelievably fresh fish and seafood—but the hotter side of the menu is equally valuable. The chef’s Korean-Argentinian background and cooking chops in countries like Japan and North America make eating here a real trip, whatever the temperature of the food: His speed and skill is seldom matched, and the experience of this restaurant’s as fresh as his fish: Very.
This intimate address is what put Ryan Gray and Emma Cardarelli on the map in Montreal, combining their respective skills in bottle selection and cooking fostered by Liverpool House into one formidable—and yet comforting—place to wine and dine. Shaped by the classic Italian procession of courses, it’s all refined takes on what you’d find out the kitchen of either an accomplished ristorante or nonna herself, from primi right down to dolce. If not for the food, come for the ambiance at this jovial place.
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Who decides who gets a Michelin star? ›
Michelin Stars are given by a collective of inspectors who visit the establishment multiple times.How many Michelin stars does Montreal have? ›
41 Michelin star restaurants in Montreal.Why are there no Michelin stars in Montreal? ›
In fact, the only reason Canada has no Michelin starred restaurants is because the Michelin Guide has not made it's way over there - yet. There's certainly no lack of good restaurants in the country.Does Montreal have any Michelin stars? ›
In Montreal, Quebec, and more widely in Canada, there aren't any Michelin stars listed proudly by restaurant names. It's not for lack of pride in this internationally recognized symbol of excellence, doled out annually by the Michelin Guide; there just aren't any restaurants with Michelin stars.Can you reject a Michelin star? ›
As Michelin Guide international director Michael Ellis told Vanity Fair in 2015: “'You can agree with it or you cannot, but you can't give it back. That's not an issue. ' The giving back of stars — that's 'kind of an urban myth.How hard is it to receive a Michelin star? ›
To earn one star, a restaurant must be considered "a very good restaurant in its category." For two stars, the criteria is "excellent cooking, worth a detour." To qualify for the elusive three stars, a restaurant must serve up "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey."Do any Canadian chefs have Michelin stars? ›
Sushi Masaki Saito was the only restaurant awarded two Michelin stars. Chef Masaki Saito took home the biggest honor with a two-star rating for his restaurant Sushi Masaki Saito, which does 18-course omakase menus for CAD$680.Do any Canadian restaurants have Michelin stars? ›
The Michelin Guide has made its way to Canada, awarding 13 Toronto restaurants Michelin stars. Here's what made the list. Canada's first two-star restaurant is Sushi Masaki Saito.Which city has most 3 star Guide Michelin? ›
Tokyo has eleven restaurants with three Michelin stars (the most of any city in the world), plus dozens of other top-notch eateries to choose from.Can you wear jeans to a Michelin restaurant? ›
"casual smart" - Jeans, leggings, golf shirts allowed as long as neat, not torn and no large logos (other than Michelin).
Can a restaurant Get 3 Michelin stars at once? ›
What do Michelin stars mean? Restaurants can earn a maximum of three stars (as well as some additional awards, but more on that later).Why does Boston not have Michelin stars? ›
Boston lacks Michelin-starred restaurants, and the reason behind that is simple: There is no Michelin Guide for the city. However, plenty of critics of the city's food scene say if there were a more affordable, lower barrier to entry, there would be more chef-driven restaurants.Do any US restaurants have Michelin stars? ›
There are nearly 200 Michelin Star restaurants in the US.
Now, there are Michelin Star restaurants in many big cities across the country.
With one, two, or up to three stars to gain, a restaurant can obtain various levels of prestige. Restaurants and chefs will consider the acquiring (and losing) of stars as defining moments of their careers.Which country has only 3 Michelin stars? ›
|1||France and Monaco||31|
Typically a 5-10% tip is fine. If you tip more, you will often see looks of surprise and gratitude since it is not as common to see 15-20% tips.Which chef refuses Michelin star? ›
The first chef to reject his stars was Marco Pierre White—in 1994 he was the youngest chef to achieve three Michelin stars only to renounce them five years later in 1999, CNN reports.Why has Gordon Ramsay lost so many Michelin stars? ›
Why did acclaimed chef and restaurateur Gordan Ramsey lose his Michelin stars? Distractify explained the reason for the loss of stars in a quote from Michael Ellis, Michelin's Guide Director: "We've had issues with consistency, and consistency is a huge thing for us."Do Michelin stars expire? ›
Technically speaking, Michelin stars do expire after the publication of a new Guide. However, most critics and consumers accept that restaurants don't lose and then regain stars year after year. In almost all cases, the decision to revoke a star will not have been taken lightly.Does Bobby Flay have a Michelin star? ›
Bobby Flay does not currently have any Michelin Stars.
Do Michelin star chefs make money? ›
How much does a Michelin Chef make? As of Feb 8, 2023, the average annual pay for a Michelin Chef in the United States is $73,425 a year.Who is the most famous chef in Canada? ›
Michael Smith. Undoubtedly one of Canada's most well-known chefs and the country's biggest selling cookbook author, Michael Smith is “an inspiration for families creating their own healthy food lifestyle.” On Canada's Food Network, he hosts Chef Michael's Kitchen, Chef at Home, and Chef Abroad.What nationality has the most Michelin stars? ›
The country that has the most restaurants that have earned a Michelin star is France. France has a total of 632 restaurants that have Michelin stars. 74 of these restaurants have earned at least two Michelin stars, while 29 restaurants have earned a total of three stars.Does Boston have Michelin star restaurant? ›
33 Michelin star restaurants in Boston.How many Canadian restaurants have Michelin star? ›
1-20 of 134 Restaurants
The areas covered by the MICHELIN Guide are increasing regularly so we may have some selection soon.
Thirteen restaurants in Toronto have been awarded a MICHELIN Star, including Sushi Masaki Saito, which received two MICHELIN Stars. Altogether 74 Toronto restaurants have been recognized, including 17 Bib Gourmand restaurants and 44 recommended restaurants.Does McDonald's have a Michelin star? ›
They're McLovin' it. A McDonald's in Welshpool, Wales, just over the border from England, has been dubbed “the best in the world” by a Michelin-starred chef.Does anywhere have 4 Michelin stars? ›
Perhaps disappointingly, the answer is no - three is still the maximum number of Michelin stars that can be awarded to any one restaurant.What chef holds the most Michelin stars? ›
Alain Ducasse is the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world with a total of 20 stars (see below for the full list of his starred restaurants). French-born in 1956 on a farm in the Landes region, Ducasse developed a taste for locally grown produce from a very young age.What is the Michelin capital of the world? ›
Cities with the most Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide 2022. Tokyo was the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world as of January 2022, with 203 of the Japanese capital's eateries boasting at least one of the tyre giant's coveted stars.
Can Gordon Ramsay have Michelin stars? ›
Some people only know Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay for his stints on TV shows like Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. Yet despite his large and sometimes hotheaded personality, Ramsay has the Michelin stars to prove his talent as a chef.Is Michelin star given to chef or restaurant? ›
But the fact of the matter is that they don't exist: stars are awarded to the restaurant, not the chef. Gordon Ramsey holds no Michelin stars. Restaurant Gordon Ramsey holds three. The reasoning is pretty obvious: different chefs cook at the same restaurant.Has Gordon Ramsay won a Michelin star? ›
His signature restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, London, has held three Michelin stars since 2001. After rising to fame on the British television miniseries Boiling Point in 1999, Ramsay became one of the best-known and most influential chefs in the world.Why do tires give out Michelin stars? ›
The famed Michelin Guide was developed by tire manufacturers Edouard and Andre Michelin specifically to encourage French drivers to hit the road.Does Bobby Flay have any Michelin stars? ›
The Las Vegas Mesa Grill earned Flay his only Michelin Star in 2008, which was taken away in the 2009 edition. Michelin did not publish a 2010 or 2011 Las Vegas edition, so the star could not be re-earned.Who is the #1 chef in the world? ›
Joël Robuchon: 31 stars
Joël Robuchin holds the number one spot amongst the world's top 10 chefs, making him the best chef in the world according to Michelin star ratings.
- #1 Dabiz Muñoz. Spain.
- #2 Rene Redzepi. Denmark.
- #3 Joan Roca. Spain.
- #4 Massimo Bottura. Italy.
- #5 Andoni Luis Aduriz. Spain.
- #6 Bjorn Frantzén. Sweden.
- #7 Disfrutar. Spain.
- #8 Alain Passard. France.
$37,715 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $99,196 is the 75th percentile.Do chefs care about Michelin stars? ›
The prestige that comes with even a single Michelin star is an honor coveted by chefs around the world.Do Michelin Star restaurants make money? ›
The results reveal that Michelin-starred restaurants are not only profitable but also more profitable with each additional star.
Who has lost a Michelin star? ›
The rest is history. If you ask Gordan Ramsey or any chef what it feels like to lose a Michelin star - it is devastating. Upon hearing of the loss, Cheatseat reported Gordan Ramsey's saying, "I started crying when I lost my stars. It's a very emotional thing for any chef.Who is the best chef in America? ›
Thomas Keller is the USA's most decorated chef, with a current total of seven Michelin stars.Which chef has the most Michelin? ›
Alain Ducasse is the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world with a total of 20 stars (see below for the full list of his starred restaurants). French-born in 1956 on a farm in the Landes region, Ducasse developed a taste for locally grown produce from a very young age.Do Michelin star chefs make a lot of money? ›
The average salary for chef in a US Michelin star restaurant is a little under $57,000. However, experienced workers, such as sous chefs, in a city like New York, can expect to make considerably more – in the region of $70,000–80,000.Why Michelin chefs are handing back their stars? ›
The restauranteurs who've turned their back on the Michelin route have spoken of their desire to focus on a better work life balance.