Today is the last day of 2012. And, like every year, it’s time of putting together my “best of” lists. I always have so much fun compiling my favorites moments of the year. Especially, when I had a good one. And I can’t complain! In fact, 2012 was a delicious year for me. I started this blog and I had an amassing time discovering so many great new food places. It was a terrific year for Montreal too. New restaurants, gastronomy festivals, food trucks hitting the streets. The local food scene has never been so busy and Montreal has truly become an international culinary destination, earning the respect of some of the worlds best chefs.
So, picking the best Montreal restaurants I visited in 2012 wasn’t easy. But finally I have my Top 5 eats of year. Voilá!
Best New Place: Maison Publique
Back in October, chef Derek Dammann finally opened the doors of his highly anticipated new business, Maison Publique. The gastro-pub attracted a lot of attention because it’s backed by the British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. But the fact is that, despite the buzz, Maison publique is really an unique place. This charming British-style tavern, hidden in the middle of the Plateau, has this cozy and unpretentious vibe and serves affordable and delicious good. That’s the perfect spot for having a beer after work or sharing a comforting meal with good friends. I had brunch there on my birthday and it’s was a remarkable experience. It definitely deserves to be in my Top-Five list!
Best “New-to-me” Place: Toqué!
Toqué opened its doors in 1993 and for years it has been widely considered one of the best restaurants in town. Although I was aware its reputation, I only had the chance to sample a bit of its incredible menu a while ago, during the Taste Montreal Restaurant Week. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of fancy places and, most of the time, I find fine dining a bit overrated. But Toqué! really surprised me. Everything I ate there looked amazing and was cooked to perfection. Undoubtedly, one of the best meals I ever had.
Best BBQ : BlackStrap BBQ
That’s a fact: 2012 was the barbecue year in Montreal. New BBQ joints were popping up everywhere. As a meat lover, I couldn’t be happier. After trying many different new options, I finally have my verdict. In my opinion, the best place for having the perfect, juicy smoked piece of meat is Blackstrap BBQ. Brought by the former owners of Grifintown Cafe, the eatery opened its doors a few months ago in Verdun. Like in most BBQ joints, the menu offers Southern classics: ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and turkey. The big difference it that, at Blackstrap BBQ, meats are prepared in genuine Memphis Style: they use a homemade dry rub and meats are smoked over oak and apple woods for up to 16 hours. It’s finger licking good! And those fried mac & cheese balls were definitely my biggest guilty pleasure of the year.
Best Brunch: Lawrence
Brunch is my favorite meal of the week. I love breakfast food and I never miss an opportunity to go out and have a relaxing time with friends on my weekends. Throughout the year, I’ve discovered a lot of nice brunch spots in Montreal. It’s awesome that the city offers such a great variety of tasty options. But if I have to name one place, my favorite brunch in Montreal is still Lawrence. Whenever I go there, I never get disappointed; Food and service are always outstanding. And since the menu changes constantly, I know I’ll be always nicely surprised.
Best Food Ever: Dinette Triple Crown
Dinette Triple Crown is my little food heaven in Montreal. This Mile X takeout counter really made my life happier. My summer picnics couldn’t be more delicious. And even after the sunny season was gone, I couldn’t help myself from stopping by and having some fried chicken, some smoky slabs of brisket or a pulled pork sandwich from time to time. Dinette Triple Crown has the friendliest staff ever. The girls at counter are always nice and cheerful in their cute polka-dot uniforms. But most importantly, everything they serve is absolutely fabulous! I remember eating their Thanksgiving special: home-made turkey served with meatloaf and creamy mashed potatoes. Unbelievably good! Not to mention all the to-die-for desserts that I had the chance to try. Those deep-fried apple “pie”rogis were something out of this world. And there’s more to come. Dinette Triple Crown recently got its liquor license and they will start offering cocktails soon. They are also in the process of renovating the space next door and expand the business. I can’t wait for 2013!
Well, those were favorite Montreal eats of 2012. How about yours? What were your most memorable restaurants of the year?