mariani brunch

Montreal Restaurant Round-Up – St-Henri

Elaine dancing

The weekend is so close it just makes me wanna DANCE!

It’s Wednesday night – you’ve just gotten over Hump Day and the weekend feels so close you can almost taste it. But what are you going to do with those 2 days of “freedom”? Where are you going to eat? How will you find time for yourself? Who’s gonna take care of those crazy kids?! But most importantly, where are you going to eat?

You start browsing your go-to sites – Urbanspoon, Resto-Montreal, TripAdvisor, Yelp, OpenTable (my go to when I don’t have the time or patience for investigative work) and then Gooooooogle. It’s almost dizzying! The options are simply overwhelming. I’ve been there. I get it. And trust me, I am THE WORST decision-maker ever. Something looks great and then *poof* – Urbanspoon rates it at 60% and the reviews warn you against slow service, lukewarm meals and orders gone awry. Back to square one.

So in the spirit of being judgemental, I’ve decided to help guide you around Montreal neighbourhoods and save you from scouring likes and lists of countless reviews.

Every once in awhile, I will pick an area or a theme and give it a good once-over. I’ll try to be fair and give a shout-out to the places I think are worth checking out, when, and why.

Following up to my last review of local hang-out Ludger, I’m sticking with the St-Henri theme.

There is argument as to whether everything east of Atwater is actually Little Burgundy (and then Griffintown) but I still consider up until Vinet to be the St-Henri I have come to know and love. Stay tuned for reviews of the many (and growing) number of eateries opening in those neighbourhoods. I have intentionally left out a few spots for lack of anything (nice) to say but I am always happy to hear your opinions.

Where have you snacked and dined in St-Henri? Have I hit it on the nose or do you disagree? Come on people – am up for some culinary sparring!
In no particular order…

Tuck Shop

A great place for a pricey meal, tasty bistro food with a twist, yelling above the high-energy din and feeling like you’re in Westmount without actually going there. Don’t skip dessert, they are unreal.

Fang Chi

My go-to cheapo Chinese/Malaysian/Thai/Whatever take-out. Oddly located and the only resto in a several block radius. It can be hit or miss but I love that the family lives upstairs and that it takes only 20 mins to get your food.

F&F Pizza

The first of a new chain of pizzerias using fresh ingredients at reasonable prices. Their caesar salad is outstanding and their individual pizzas inventive and consistent. There are always a good dozen hot sauces on-hand to spice it up and home-made lemonade to cool you down.

ff pizza duck and fig pizza

Mak Mak

Another pocket-friendly local take-out or eat-in spot. Don’t expect fireworks but there is a real Thai woman in the kitchen and their pad-thai is perfectly decent. Choose your heat-level from 1-6 and try one of their many options of foreign beers.

Green Spot

Old-school diner ecently renovated and revived. Famous for its steamies, Nathan’s hot dogs and now an abundant Poutine selection. The day Green Spot has to shut down is the day I give up on St-Henri. Greenspot on restomontreal

Quoi de n’Oeuf

As far as I can tell, this was the first “hot spot” when St-Henri put up its first round of condos next to the Atwater Market a good 15 years ago (that’s a guess). Weekends still see lines out the door and lunches are packed with local business owners and anyone looking for honest, hearty and quality breakfast food. Quoi de n’oeuf on RestoMontreal

Boulangerie Sweet Lees

Opened by two siblings in an old garage recessed about 10 feet from the street, this bakery does sweet and savoury. It was the first of the influx of St-Henri bakeries but is somewhat hidden on a residential street. Try their scones and soft, somewhat experimental cookies.

sweet lees gourmet cookies


A very pricey and selective menu in a location easily missed. I don’t think it’s received too many accolades but I do know the chefs are trying to do something different with good ingredients (one is former chef at the now defunct DNA). I gave brunch a try once and it was tasty but a few dollars more than warranted.


See my rave review.

Cafe Mariani **SORRY – CLOSED!**

One of the first establishments to mark the neighbourhood with a nice corner spot next to Sir George Etienne park. A small but varied hot and cold lunch menu and a celebrated brunch menu. It’s a generally nice hipster-ish atmosphere.

mariani brunch

Smoking Vallée

From the same owners as the Wellington, Monsieur B, Les Héritiers, Les Canailles and O’Thyme these guys have done something great with the BYOB concept. No need to hit-up Duluth for mediocre food. The atmosphere is vibrant, you can have a gourmet meal without worrying about skyrocketing the bill with a single bottle of wine. It’s solid.


Another new bakery on the west side of Notre-Dame. Across the street and with a family relationship to Tuck Shop (respective owners are brothers). They have some tasty bite-size delicacies not for those of you willing to sacrifice calories for a few bites of delight.

Satay Brothers

If you’re ready to brave the constant line-ups, hit up this stall in the Atwater Market (in the winter they have an indoor location on St-Jacques nearby). Their steamed buns (pork and tofu) are ridiculously good as is their Laksa soup, replete with fresh and home-made ingredients.

satay bros

Miracle Pizza

I don’t know why I am mentioning this place only for the fact that they make this old school diner-style pizza I dream about. Its that buttery crust that gets me every time. I recommend take-out as the interior leaves a bit to be desired (although this is the real-deal St-Henri eatery and thus has its charm).

Le Vin Papillon

Haven’t tried it yet but have heard great things about this wine bar and tapas locale. Next door to and the new venture of Joe Beef and Liverpool House owners (and now celebrity chefs) David Macmillan and Frederic Morin.

Grumman ’78

Tacos Tacos. If you haven’t heard of Grummans either for its pioneering of Montreal’s food trucsk (they used their truck for private events for several years now), then maybe you know it for its vibrant lofty, warehouse space restaurant opened last year. Try the Bahn Mi tacos, salmon tartare and anything else they have on special for the evening.

grumman nachos

Joe Beef

Do I really need to write anything about this? Haven’t they received enough attention? Overrated? Not sure as I have yet to save up for this evening out. Apparently the double-down is plain ‘ol whacky. Feel free to share your Joe Beef experiences!

Liverpool House

I went a few years ago and was disappointed. No its not bad by any standard but with the plethora of high-end cuisine du terroir restos available, they don’t do anything significantly different and they may be riding on the success of their big brother next door (see above). Feel free to debate! Liverpool House on Urbanspoon

Burgundy Lion

The veritable English pub that attracts young 20-somethings from around the city. Their menu is quality pub food. Great burgers, a delicious bavette & fries, variety of sandwiches and hearty salads, addictive home made chips, Sheppards pie, Fish ‘n chips and the like. There are also fun Brit bites like Scotch eggs and tea sandwiches to keep your stomach buffered in case you’re in for a night’s fun.

burgundy lion fish and chips

Gracia Afrika

I have been wanting to try this miniature BYOB that has been on Notre-Dame for many years. It appears to be truly home-cooked Congolese food and has many gushing over its warmth and flavours. Just gotta beef up my stomach before I give it a whirl.


Expensive wood-burning brick-oven Pizza. Nothing to write home about but it’s there if you’re in the mood. I’m partial to F&F but to each their own. Montreal pizza debate to come in near future!

Lili & Oli

Really this is a coffee place with a few baked goods. But their coffee, atmosphere and staff make this place a very local hang-out. Even though they have been assaulted on all sides (Starbucks & JavaU opened on the same block a couple years ago), they have braved the competition and survived thanks to a dedicated clientele. Lili & Oli on Facebook

Long live St-Henri!


  • Roz
    Posted at 07:21h, 08 October Reply

    Love your reviews and the easy way to access the restaurants’ websites! Keep em coming!

  • Harlie
    Posted at 11:17h, 08 October Reply

    Thanks Roz! So glad you enjoyed. Next week I have a little sushi up my sleeve…stay tuned 🙂

  • ralph alfonso
    Posted at 13:45h, 11 October Reply

    fantastic overview! you should visit our BBAM! art gallery/cafe at 3255 St Jacques.
    Excellent coffee & juices while you browse our pop art, vintage clothing, cool vinyl and/or enjoy our weekend afternoon music/literary events.


  • Max
    Posted at 13:55h, 11 October Reply

    Nice list. You definitely need to add H4C Place St-Henri to it though. It is SO SO GOOD there, try the foie gras dumplings!

  • Harlie Dover
    Posted at 14:15h, 11 October Reply

    Ralph – will do! Have noticed it but never had a chance to pop by. Will definitely come say hi soon.

    Max – You’re the second person to tell me about that place…so intrigued. Never noticed it but will check it out now for sure.

  • Jay A-C
    Posted at 17:42h, 11 October Reply

    Firstly, 7 of the 21 restos reviewed (not counting Mariani) are actually in Little Burgundy and not in St-Henri. Secondly, most of these places are not frequented by people living in St-Henri. Tuck Shop clientele, for example, are almost exclusively Westmounters. None of the people I spoke to coming out of Smoking Vallee live anywhere near the South-West. Little Burgundy and St-Henri have some of the highest number of OMHM (subsidized housing) and seniors residences outside of Hochelaga Maisonneuve. These residents may eat at Miracle Pizza or Green Spot though many have stopped going to Green Spot since it changed hands. Many (too many) of the condo owners do not shop or eat in our neighbourhood. My husband and I and most of our neighbours can only afford to eat at 5 of these places and 2 of those are special occasion only places. One of the big things in the election for this riding is a moratorium or further condo / upscale development because we do not want our area to turn into another plateau.

  • Harlie Dover
    Posted at 19:41h, 12 October Reply

    Hey Jay – So I totally agree that there is a huge population shift happening in St-henri and just as gentrification brings in a new commercial economy, it also makes it less accessible to a part of the population. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg issue – new condos go up and so entrepreneurs seize the opportunity to provide more services to that new demographic and capitalize on that change. For that reason I would argue that people moving into the neighbourhood ARE frequenting these places (with Joe Beef, Liverpool House and Tuck Shop the exceptions). I don’t think they would exist otherwise. I do think though, that while several of these restaurants are mainly for special occasions, I counted 11 of these that are absolutely affordable – a meal can easily cost less than $20 and a coffee or treat an average $2 – not any more expensive than anywhere else in this city. I am not comparing them to McDonalds. I will not.

    As for it becoming the next Plateau, I agree no one wants to see that happen but I don’t think they’re comparable. We are a small neighbourhood and a loyal one. The space to develop is limited and as far as I have witnessed, I have seen new parks built, new social housing and a general increased community involvement. What used to be dangerous abandoned industries are being turned into condos. It is happening ALL OVER the city and has always been a part of the history of the developing world. Even Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has seen a steady gentrification (several new restaurants on Ontario E. go to show). The condos are inevitable and the best thing we can do is to continue contributing to our neighbourhoods and supporting the local commerce that has been there since the beginning. Here’s a great article – and a response to it – that drives home the complexity of the issue. In the meantime, my job is to be as well-rounded as possible in terms of the eateries I review and to try to keep politics at bay.

  • julie
    Posted at 20:43h, 09 March Reply

    Thanks for this list!

    I was wondering if you knew of any places to go dancing to St-Herni/griffintown-ish? We are a group of 30 something fun professional women looking for food/tapas and some good vibes but not douchy/techno stuff (so not Velvet and the like). Does montreal possess, to your knowledge, a place for us to go party?

    • Harlie
      Posted at 21:43h, 09 March Reply

      hi Julie

      Yes! There is a new bar called Rufus Rockhead on Notre-Dame. It’s a very cool place. I can’t say for sure what kind of music they play and its relatively new so I can’t speak for the vibe but the space is beautiful with 3 bars and lots of seating and a mezzanine. You could definitely call and ask them. You might even be able to reserve a space for your group (which is advisable with 30 people).

      There are only a few snacks though. If you’re really looking for more food you could go to Le Bureau a few doors down for tapas and then heading to Rufus for drinks after.

      Other than that, it totally depends on the day. Sometimes Bar de Courcelle has live music and dancing but I think only on wednesdays.

      I don’t know how much dancing there is and on weekends its packed to the brim but the Drinkerie Ste-Cunegonde is fun and has great DJs and jazz during the week. They also added some food to their menu recently when they opened up in the adjoining store front and doubled their capacity.

      This one is not in the same area but I discovered it recently. Bier Markt – on Rene-Levesque across from the Bell Centre. It used to be a steakhouse and they gutted it and made it into a two-level restaurant with full meals and tapas (charcuteries, cheese, flatbreads, poutine, etc) and they have an ENORMOUS beer selection. They have a four other locations in Ontario and another two on the way. When we were there they had a rockin’ live cover band – Rebound – and people were ripping up the dance floor. It would be worth it to call them as well and find out what’s on that night or check their site – You can make group reservations there as well.

      Hope that helps!

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