In keeping with our best of Montreal Brunch segment this is our first part focusing on Best new Montreal brunch. These are the places we have reviewed this year and in many cases are not established yet as compared to older places that we all know and love.
Let’s start with our favourite new discoveries this year. This year we reviewed a bunch of places those that really stood out in terms of food, service and ultimately the eternal question of “would we come back here?” are: Barbounya, Brasserie B, Manitoba, Ma’tine, Salmigondis, Sel Gras, and Tripes and Caviar. Now, this doesn’t mean that we didn’t like the other spots we reviewed, it just means these were the most memorable ones we went to this year that we would highly recommend. In case you haven’t read the reviews here is rough breakdown and a link to the review. Do note that some of these places have seasonal menu items so they may no longer be on it. I will also try to give candid reasons for why the place did not make number 1 or why it stood out. I respect all restaurants for what they have done; when you put love, passion, hard work and creativity into brunch you help make Montreal a better city and because of that, people who live here, as well as, come to visit associate Montreal with brunch.
Barbounya (234 Avenue Laurier Ouest): Turkish food, meets a fancy décor and some fine wine. I love the fact they took ethnic food and made it work for brunch. I think the best examples are 2 items from the menu – the Burek which is a traditional item, and a brioche bread French toast (with tahini and chocolate). Balancing traditional dishes and mixing it up with brunch favourites like french toast take courage and vision. My only criticisms are that the bill can climb, there is no coffee refills and I would like some slightly larger portions on some dishes.
Brasserie B (1249 Avenue Bernard): This is what Bernard street needs. After falling out of love with Bernard street, Brasserie B swept me off my feet. This is a place I always suggest for any reason – if you are a large group, if you want a good meal, if you love a good pain perdu, and the list goes on. Their Pain Perdu is on my list as one of the best in the city. It’s hard to be critical with them since they do well on all points from food, to service to décor. It is really my favourite on Bernard street. That being said I do need to find a negative which is that the menu does have similar theme and the risks they take from a culinary point of view are not drastic so they are not really re-inventing brunch. One of my criteria is that after almost 300 brunches, I need that wheel to be re-invented once and a while. Other than that I have and will keep coming back.
Manitoba (271 Rue Saint Zotique Ouest) has made waves for dinner service in the city and also put out an impressive brunch, with a menu that draws inspiration from fresh and seasonal food. We have had some mouthwatering dishes here. They are not afraid to go in the slightly more lunch than brunch direction and use fish in their dishes. Portions are just right and I felt I was getting a good price point; I just wish coffee came with refills. My issue with Manitoba is that the service fell apart when we went. It was a train wreck which is odd since I had been there for dinner a week or so prior and the service was great. Manitoba gave me one of the tastiest dishes I have ever had this year but the service ruined my experience. I will try it again in 2015 although I really hope I get a different waiter.
Salmigondis (6896 Rue Saint Dominique) has been my most recent food crush. Their menu changes constantly, the produce are fresh, their terrace is breathtaking, and they even have free coffee refills. I loved their lobster Benedict and lament the fact it is off the menu until it comes back in season. The service is great, the décor is breathtaking, and I have never had a bad meal. This is one of my top spots for when I bring people in from out of town or people ask for recommendations. On the negative side, the price can be high. I do feel I get what I pay for but it is a little more expensive than other places. The dishes are also not very classic brunch items so if you are a bacon and eggs fan this is not the place for you. That being said, if you like creative dishes with fresh ingredients you need to try it out.
Sel Gras (5245 Boulevard Saint-Laurent) is another welcomed addition to the area with some very impressive dishes that kind of stand out from the norm. For example, their breakfast tortilla and house gravlax are tasty and fun. It’s a nice place to go and the capacity is enough that you don’t have to worry about waiting in line to get a spot. You definitely get dishes that are less classic brunch so for those that like that, it is worth it. On the down side, again, the bill can climb a little bit and some dishes are not the largest of portions.
Tripes and Caviar (3725 Rue Wellington, Verdun) makes going to Verdun worth it for this unique brunch. They use ingredients we would often not see in a brunch like tongue and octopus. The creativity here is off the charts. They have a nice terrace in the summer and also make some nice brunch cocktails, which is always nice to see. On the negative side, it was not consistent on my second visit as the plates were small and not impressive. Consistency is an important factor and the difference between our two visits was night and day.
The Winner is?????
With all these newcomers there can only be one best new brunch of 2014 and that is…….. Salmigondis. The food is delicious, they are creative, the terrace is breathtaking in the summer and it is a much needed brunch spot for Montreal. You cannot go wrong here every time we have gone it has been perfect.