Finding a restaurant that is more than just a cure for hunger is a difficult task. Montreal is the kind of town that prides itself on its culture and nightlife, and it has an abundance of places to eat out. These restaurants aren`t just about the food however; each of these Montreal eateries is about good food in a fun and unique atmosphere. All possessing a little je ne sais quoi, if you’re after a place that will not only satisfy your appetite, but also intrigue and inspire with their décor, service and distinctiveness, skip a night out at the same old steakhouse and try something exciting!
When Brazilian cuisine meets the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil, a spectacle is born. At Le Milsa the waiters are called churrasquieros, who rotate from table to table with an assortment of grilled meats (beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, pork). When they arrive at your table, slices are carved from the larger chunk of meat. Come hungry, as you are served as much as you want, that is, until you signal with a red placard for them to stop. Le Milsa brings more than food to the table – the establishment offers traditional Brazilian music and dance, as well as cocktails made from sugar cane spirits. 1445A Bishop St., 514-844-4550.
Tried and true, award-winning, and perhaps the most talked-about restaurant in Montreal, O.NOIR’s success has recently led to another location opening in Toronto. This fine dining restaurant has patrons eat their meals in pitch darkness, simulating blindness to heighten the other senses. While the menu ranges from avocado salad to veal al limone, there is also have the option of ordering each dish as a surprise – which I would recommend, as it adds another layer to an already unique, if not bewildering, experience. 1631 St. Catherine St. W., 514-937-9727.
Le Spirite Lounge
A grassroots approach to dining, Le Spirite Lounge may not be the faint of heart – or those who are addicted to their Blackberry. This is a phone-free restaurant, and the waiters insist that each plate must be finished before moving onto the next dish. It’s well known that Le Spirite Lounge is one of the best vegan eateries in the city, despite being likened to the soup stand in Seinfeld – and as it’s decorated with tinfoil, print, bamboo and tassels, the entire restaurant acts as a conversation piece throughout the meal. If you are in need a business-free, uninterrupted dinner or are merely curious to see what the buzz is about, visit: 1205 Ontario St. E., 514-522-5353.
Located in the heart of the historical Old Port, Gibby’s is one of the more tame restaurants in Montreal, though nonetheless outstanding. The building itself is over two hundred years old and like a good wine, it has aged well. Its menu, experienced wait staff, and rustic accoutrements come together to compose a dining experience unlike any other – while Gibby’s may lack bells and whistles, its focus on nuance proves that reinventing the wheel is not always necessary. 298 Place d’Youville, 514-282-1837.
Image courtesy of imfernandes.