As our summer of wines, baguettes and cheeses comes to an end, it’s time to embrace more toothsome meals. While French bistro isn’t going anywhere soon, this season might be time to explore some exotic alternatives. Luckily, Montreal’s Japanese restaurants are in abundance. Some are undoubtedly better than others, but the top spots each have a distinct appeal.
We’ll call it a rarity. Juni is a sushi bar that doesn’t taste like you’re eating in Montreal, a city notorious for having some of the worst sushi in Canada. Finding the right joint is imperative to truly satisfying a craving, and Juni has it all. Order everything on the Uramaki-Temaki menu, pair with a sake your waiter recommends. 156 Laurier Ave. W., 514-276-5864
Pioneering Japanese fusion cuisine in Montreal, Kazu gathers crowds for both lunch and dinner. While the restaurant is small, the intimacy amplifies the TLC that goes into the prep, service and dining experience. Original flavour profiles meet traditional dishes — go with anything tartar. 1862 St-Catherine St. W., 514-937-2333
First considered a spillover restaurant to seduce those impatiently waiting in line for Kazu, Imadake has carved out a niche for itself: incredible food served in a euphoric atmosphere. While the cooking here matches any upscale eatery, few first-rate restaurants condone (and encourage) getting completely bombed. Go for $10 steins of Sapporo and test out miso cow tongue. 4006 St-Catherine St. W., 514-931-8833.
Borrowing from the trendy fusion cuisine that dominates many downtown restos, Ryu pairs Asian culinary convention with Quebec regional produce. This combo gives Montrealers a little taste of home while also creating exciting departures from Japanese gastronomy. 288 Laurier Ave. W., 514-439-6559
Image courtesy of amesis.