As an antidote to Montreal’s brutal winters, the city springs to life in the summer. From around May to September (if the weather cooperates), restaurants, bars, and cafés burst out onto sidewalks, rooftops, and courtyards—or terrasses, as locals say in French.
A seafood-centric fine-dining spot in Plateau/Mile End features an outdoor space with stunning Jeanne-Mance Park views. An acclaimed Swedish-American chef brings Japanese-accented fare to a swanky hotel terrasse in central Montreal. In Outremont, a beloved Syrian restaurant is home to one of the city’s best streetside setups, ringed by trees and planters.
These are the terrasses and alfresco spaces best equipped for a hot and humid southeastern Canadian summer. Read on for a guide to 13 Montreal restaurants that nail outdoor dining.
With polished stone walls, colorful umbrellas, and plenty of plants, the terrasse at the Sofitel’s in-house restaurant feels far from the bustle of Sherbrooke Street below. Executive chef Olivier Perret oversees a menu of vibrant modern French fare, loaded with zingy flavors in dishes such as grilled octopus with tarragon-olive tapenade and burnt leeks with creamy celery root, candied lemon, smoked mussels, and beef marrow. A menu of bar bites such as charcuterie boards and oysters is ideal for a languid summer afternoon. Stop by on a Thursday and you’ll be treated to the tunes of a live DJ.
Acclaimed Swedish-American chef Marcus Samuelsson made the leap across the border with his namesake restaurant in central Montreal’s luxe Four Seasons Hotel. Set on the building’s third floor, Marcus’s glimmering white terrasse is ringed with greenery and gives off a distinctly Californian vibe. Samuelsson’s team serves a seafood-focused menu that nods to Japan with dishes such as sesame black cod with edamame, though there are many standout vegetable and meat options, too.
Mauvais Garçons (Griffintown)
Upscale bistro Mauvais Garçons serves creative dishes that strike the ideal balance between class and comfort, with a little international flair to boot. Think burrata studded with za’atar or jerk cauliflower tacos. It’s the kind of casual summery fare you’ll want to eat outside–and that’s doable, courtesy of a hedge-ringed off-street terrasse that brings a garden party atmosphere. Bonus points for the terrasse’s cover, equipped for Montreal’s impromptu summer storms.
Aqua e Farina (Old Montreal)
Aqua e Farina’s focal point is fresh pasta with an emphasis on classics such as cacio e pepe, bolognese, and carbonara. There’s a robust selection of salads as well if you’re looking to balance out all those carbs. Enjoy it all on a streetside terrasse facing the Old Port and the St. Lawrence River—you’re on the edge of historic Old Montreal, after all. Drink in the view along with an inventive cocktail from a list that features plenty of Italian spirits and liqueurs.
Terrasse William Gray (Old Montreal)
Head up to the eighth floor of the boutiquey Hôtel William Gray to take in a formidable view of Old Montreal, the St. Lawrence River, and beyond. Pair it all with sangria or a spritz, plus casual bites including a charcuterie and cheese board, beef carpaccio, and a killer burger with bacon and sun-dried tomato aioli.
One of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants also has one of its best streetside terrasses, ringed by trees and planters on a leafy street in Outremont. Fine Syrian food is the focus at Damas, with silky smooth dips and tender charcoal-grilled lamb and chicken. The tasting menu, while pricey, is an excellent choice that lets you sample a large part of the impeccable Middle Eastern menu here.
Le Filet (Plateau/Mile End)
This seafood-centric fine-dining haunt from the owners of Montreal’s famed Le Club Chasse et Pêche features a knockout terrasse looking out onto beautiful Jeanne-Mance Park. But the main attraction is the excellent menu, filled with carefully sourced seafood and nods to Japanese cuisine, including kampachi with fried wontons, beets, and soya and king salmon with yuzu marmalade and wasabi cream. A few equally elegant meat dishes round out the menu for those who don’t feel like fish.
Maison Boulud (Downtown)
Daniel Boulud’s Montreal outpost at the Ritz-Carlton is a veritable oasis in the city’s concrete jungle. Its veranda, right on the hotel’s landscaped garden, is one of Montreal’s most striking outdoor dining options, and the exquisite food from executive chef Romain Cagnat matches the dreamy ambiance. Expect a French-accented menu with caviar, local lamb and rabbit, foie gras, and fine Canadian beef and cheeses.
Chez Sophie – Montreal (Griffintown)
Armed with experience from MICHELIN-starred Parisian restaurants such as L’Astrance, chef-owner Sophie Tabet brings her firepower to this Griffintown restaurant. At her namesake spot, she serves fine French fare with some international twists including salmon tartare with a ginger-sesame vinaigrette, and veal sweetbreads with stewed leeks and coffee gastrique. It’s a bright selection that pairs well with Chez Sophie’s tranquil backyard terrasse, set on a wooden deck bordered by classic Montreal outdoor staircases and a shady tree overhead.
Fiorellino Laurier (Outremont)
This casual take on Italian dining comes from the owners of the famed but shuttered Montreal supper club Buonanotte. The menu is made up of classics such as antipasti, pasta, and a robust selection of red and white pizzas. They are all best devoured on the terrasse, a large wooden deck stretching out onto quiet and leafy Laurier Avenue. Take note: there are two other Fiorellino locations—one in Little Burgundy, also with a sizable terrasse, and the original downtown restaurant, with very limited outdoor seating.
Hoogan & Beaufort (Rosemont)
Chef Marc-André Jetté converted a former industrial building in Rosemont into one of the city’s most popular outdoor dining destinations with a spacious courtyard terrasse and an in-house fire pit. Impeccably crafted fresh pasta dishes and meaty mains that showcase Quebec’s bounty are just as stunning to look at as they are to eat.
Cafeden (Little Italy)
This sleek walk-in-only Vietnamese restaurant fuses a range of other Southeast Asian influences on its tiny but mighty menu. This ideal summer food includes grilled shrimp, papaya salad, and Cantonese-Vietnamese banh bao (steamed buns), complete with a light-and-bright wine selection. The dishes taste even better on Cafeden’s comfortable outdoor seats, surrounded by a sea of greenery.
Jacopo (Old Montreal)
Jacopo may have the best terrasse in town for people-watching and heritage architecture views, thanks to a prime location in the heart of Old Montreal. The menu is all about trattoria-style Italian fare. Housemade pasta lies at the heart of the selection, but heartier secondi, such as grilled octopus and saucy braised lamb shanks also figure among the must-try options. Stop by on a weekend for an Italian-style brunch with bellinis and pane dorato, or Italian-style French toast.
Tim Forster is the former editor of restaurant news site Eater Montreal, and is now a freelance journalist and editor covering food, tech, culture and more.
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