Asian RestaurantsSeptember 6th, 2019
Montreal’s Asian restaurant scene has undergone many changes in recent years.
Last year’s closure of L’Orchidée de Chine on Peel Street marked the end of an era of elegant, downtown Chinese restaurants: L’Orchidée was the last of a select group that included Le Chrysanthème, the Elysée Mandarin, Zen, and others.
The Cristal Chinois restaurant, which occupied the entire 6th floor of the Swatow Plaza in Chinatown for a few years, has also closed. A large establishment in surface area although not in stature, this dining room exemplified a grandiose style which never quite caught on in Montreal.
A new generation of large Asian restaurants, more in tune with current tastes, flourishes in the suburbs of Brossard and Laval. One example of this style is the new Miss Wong: a large supper club that opened last year at the site of the former Moomba club at Centropolis in Laval.
Thai cuisine in Montreal suffered a setback with the closure of two long-standing addresses on Laurier Avenue West: Phayathai and Chao Phraya. In hindsight, these veteran restaurants may not have kept up with foodie diners’ hunger for novelty. On the other hand, the new, downtown branch of a Brossard restaurant, Siam, has been an instant success, and its cuisine earned an official certification of authenticity from the Thai government.
Until recently, Côte-des-Neiges was a sure destination for Tonkinese soups, but no more: small Vietnamese restaurants in this area have been decimated. Over in La Petite-Patrie, two restaurants on opposite sides of Saint-Denis Street: Y Lan and Pho Tay Ho, serve traditional pho soups. Another popular area for pho soup is Sainte-Catherine Street, east of Saint-Laurent.
Sushi, Japan’s best-known culinary export, has become a fast food staple, but there are several addresses in Montreal which serve gourmet versions. Recent trends in Japanese cuisine include izakaya fare, ramen soup, and Nikkei cuisine. There are several good examples of each category in Montreal, including foodie options like Kazu.
Surprisingly, Korean cuisine has not gained much traction in Montreal. A few years ago, we noted a trend when a wave of lunchbox establishments opened downtown around Concordia University. Several have since folded, but a few good spots remain, like GaNaDaRa on de Maisonneuve West, which often has a lineup out the door.
Well-prepared Asian cuisine, in one form or another, continues to draw enthusiastic crowds, including health-conscious and ethically-minded diners. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are central to some restaurant menus: ChuChai, on Saint-Denis, is a prime example.
Here is a short list of Asian cuisine restaurants to explore in Montreal:
Counter where you choose your favourite Asian flavours
Info: Montreal Casino | 514 392-2709 | casinosduquebec.com/montreal
Specialist in traditional Thai vegetarian dishes with the appearance, texture and taste of meat, fish and seafood, on the Plateau
Info: 4088 Saint-Denis Street | 514 843-4194 | chuchaimontmontreal.ca
Casual restaurant serving popular Korean dishes, such as seafood pancakes and bibimbap
Info: 1862 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West | 514 933-2288 | facebook.com/Ganadaramtl
Small chain of casual restaurants serving contemporary Vietnamese cuisine
Info: 243 Mont-Royal Avenue West | 514 848-0336 | restaurantha.com
600 William Street | 514 379-4111
Izakaya serving cocktails, dishes to share and ramen soups in a lively atmosphere, on the Plateau
Info: 360 Rachel Street East | 514 282-0009 | ichigoichie.ca
Small cocktail bar and contemporary dim sum restaurant in Old Montreal
Info: 399 Notre-Dame Street West | 514 543-3148 | jiaodimsumbar.com
Among Montreal’s best Sushi restaurants, located in Outremont
Info: 156 Laurier Avenue West | 514-276-5864 | juni.ca
Traditional shabu-shabu Japanese fondue in the downtown core
Info: 75 de la Gauchetière Street West | 514 396-4746 | kagayakirestaurant.com
Small Japanese brasserie, a foodie favourite, often with lineups
Info: 1862 Sainte-Catherine Street West | 514 937-2333 | kazumontreal.com
Toronto chain of ramen soup restaurants
Info: 1211 Bishop Street | 438 387-6187 | kintonramen.com
Kyo Bar Japonais
Izakaya with a sushi bar located in Hotel Place d’Armes
Info: 711 Côte Place d’Armes | 514 282-2711 | kyobar.com
Les Street Monkeys
Casual restaurant and bar serving traditional Cambodian tapas
Info: 3625 Wellington Street | 514 768-1818 | streetmonkeys.ca
Mai Xiang Yuan
Fresh, handmade Chinese dumplings in Chinatown
Info: 1082 Saint-Laurent Boulevard | 514 875-6888
Spacious, stylish Asian brasserie; a collaboration among Blossom, Red Tiger and La Belle et Le Bœuf
Info : 1780 Pierre-Péladeau Avenue, Laval | 514 557-9664 | misswong.ca
Mile End neighbourhood restaurant with Indonesian cuisine seafood and vegetarian dishes
Info: 151 Bernard Street West | 514 875-9998 | nonya.ca
Nouilles Lan Zhou Noodle Shop
House-made Chinese noodle soup, on the ground floor of Swatow Plaza in Chinatown
Info: 1006 Saint-Laurent Boulevard | 514 800-2959 | nouillesdelanzhou.com
Fine Thai cuisine on the west side of downtown
Info: 1235 Guy Street | 514 933-9949 | phayathai.ca
Vietnamese hipster pub that serves street food as tapas, near Beaudry Metro
Info: 1201 de Maisonneuve Boulevard East | 514 439-7006 | leredtiger.com
Chain of sushi restaurants with contemporary style
Info: 1474 Peel Street | 514 446-1468 | ryusushi.ca
288 Laurier Avenue West | 514 439-6559
Small Singaporean street food restaurant in Saint-Henri; expanded from a popular kiosk at Atwater market
Info: 3721 Notre-Dame Street West | 514 933-3507 | sataybrothers.com
Downtown veteran of traditional Japanese cuisine, with a sushi counter
Info: 2020 Metcalfe Street | 514 987-9987 | sho-dan.com
Authentic Thai cuisine in an elegant setting
Info: 1325 René-Lévesque Boulevard West | 514 393-8188 | restaurantsiam.com
Contemporary Chinese cuisine bistro in the heart of Mile End
Info: 5258 Saint-Laurent Boulevard | 514 499-9399 | restaurantsoy.com
Peruvian-Japanese Nikkei fusion at a lively downtown brasserie
Info: 1076 de Bleury Street | 514 866-6776 | tiraditomtl.com