Bienvenue en France: The Best French Bistros in Montreal

Montreal’s ever-expanding list of French restaurants can be hard to keep up with; the thriving French expat community (over 100,000) in Montreal is home to many brasseries run by French chefs and sommeliers, but it can be hard to tell the genuine from the touristy. Here is a list of French bistros in Montreal that are approved by locals and focused on authenticity - if visiting France isn’t in your short-term plans, eating at a Montreal bistro is the next best thing.

3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2W 2M4, Canada
L’Express, on rue St-Denis in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood, opened in 1980 and has about it the air of a beloved institution. Indeed, with its timeless style, it feels even older than it is. This popular spot serves classic renditions of bistro fare—steak tartare, bone marrow, onion soup—into the early morning hours (2 a.m. except for Sundays, when it closes at 1 a.m.). When the kitchen ventures into new territory, the results are impressive. The spaghetti with mushrooms is unconventional in its presentation (topped with a healthy serving of arugula)—one of those dishes you try on the road and then want to re-create at home. Reservations recommended.
1257 Avenue Bernard
What started out as a crazy musing during a family dinner has turned out, surprisingly, to be one of Montreal‘s most appreciated establishments. Indeed, when Francine Brûlé mentioned that she was thinking of taking on a new project, nobody could predict the huge success Les Enfants Terribles would be become—not even her. And yet, with the help of chef Guillaume Daly and partner Serge Bruneau, this Outremont eatery is now a frequent hideout for the cool, hip, urban youngsters of Montreal. It’s a place where people go to see and be seen, but most importantly, to have a good time. Les Enfants Terribles revisits the classics of French cuisine, all while crafting innovative dishes with a festive, flavorful, and unorthodox touch. For example? Chorizo corndogs, gouda mac’n’cheese, shepherd’s pie with truffle oil, and a coco pana cotta. I have visited this restaurant many, many times and not once was I disappointed.
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