La Chronique has been a Montreal institution since 1995, and it remains one of the city’s finest dining establishments. In fact, it is one of only five restaurants to make the elite CAA/AAA Four Diamond list in 2017. The story began 22 years ago, when Belgian chef Marc De Canck, newly arrived in Quebec, decided to open his own restaurant in a small space on avenue Laurier. Word soon got around, and before long, La Chronique was setting a new standard. In 1999, chef De Canck decided to take Olivier de Montigny, a rising young star on the Montreal restaurant scene, under his wing. Five years later, the two became partners and infused their French-inspired restaurant with a whole new spirit. In 2013, to celebrate its 18th anniversary, La Chronique made a big change, and moved to a new location. The timeless, refined and immaculate space turned out to be perfect for spotlighting the real star of the show, which is the food, of course.
At La Chronique, happiness truly is in the plate. Two supremely talented chefs working with the finest products produces nothing short of brilliance. This is classic cuisine at its best, perfectly executed, with the greatest respect for ingredients. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the duck foie gras, served with apples, pistachios and brioche. The balance and harmony of this dish is beyond reproach. The same goes for the milk-fed veal ris de veau and the venison (from Cerf de Boileau), both favourites on the menu. Then there’s the interesting and extensive wine list, with bottles ranging from $50 to $550. A perfect pairing of food and wine is, in fact, another of La Chronique’s claims to fame. And finally, there’s the service, which is unpretentious and impeccable. Consistently excellent, La Chronique never disappoints.
104 avenue Laurier O, Montréal
PERLES ET PADDOCK
to open a restaurant in Griffintown, they were keen on respecting the heritage of the neighbourhood. Given that the area was formerly home to city stables, the couple (in life and in business) chose a horse for their logo. Horses also inspired the name. But Griffintown was also known as a gateway to Montreal, due to its proximity to the Lachine Canal. Foodstuffs from around the world would arrive here, and Perles et Paddock honours this tradition by continuing to import the finest ingredients with which to spoil their discerning patrons. It is for this reason that the restaurant attracts a uniquely invested clientele–one that loves to discover new things, with a respect for detail, “We want to work with the best available organic food, and we support suppliers who work ethically and responsibly. Our goal is impeccable cuisine of the highest quality,” explains Maxime Perrault. The list of dishes is moderate, but each creation is highly original and exceedingly well executed, such as the Hamachi Origami or vegan Verveine Panna Cotta. Fruits and vegetables feature strongly on the menu, created by Paddy Cheang (formerly of Toqué!, Au Pied de cochon, Gordon Ramsey of Tokyo and Upper Modern Bistro of Hong Kong), and a vegan version is always available. “We want to make sure that nobody is marginalized by dietary restrictions,” adds Perrault, “so we offer gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan options.” Drinks are a big deal at Perles et Paddock. The restaurant is known for its elaborate cocktails, 16 beers on tap (available at three different temperatures) and its list of mostly natural wines made by small producers you’ll want to get to know. Built in a former garage, this is one pretty place. Stylish, immaculate and sprinkled with greenery. You’ll love it.
403 rue des Seigneurs, Montréal
Tucked away discreetly off the main downtown drags, this great little Italian eatery stands halfway between authentic and reinvented. Don’t be fooled by the “contemporary” decor (circa mid-70s) or the youth of the chef: at Fiorellino, you’ll eat just like at nonna’s, enjoying well-prepared, comforting classics featuring fresh, tasty ingredients. The big pizza oven may well be the focal point of the room, but Fiorellino (which means “little flower” in Italian) is anything but a standard pizza joint. “You won’t find meatballs, Caesar salad or fried calamari on our menu. We’re a foodie pizzeria, with a fabulous chef,” says co-owner Massimo Lecas, who is also co-owner of Buonanotte. Aside from the outstanding pizzas, Fiorellino is the place to go for Insalata di Funghi Crudi (shaved mushrooms, parmesan and gremolata), Carpaccio di Zucca (thinly sliced butternut squash, pickled chili peppers, crème fraiche and candied nuts), or the Gnocchi Pomodoro, made with ricotta, for a soft, light texture. “These signature dishes have been on the menu since day one,” notes Lecas.
The restaurant also has a counter at the front, serving sandwiches and pastries if you need a quick lunch to go. For a drink and a bite after work, or a relaxed dinner with friends, Fiorellino is a place to keep in mind. Note that a second location will be opening in the spring, in the former Laurier BBQ space in Outremont.
470 rue de la Gauchetière O, Montréal