Montreal is known for its excessively fun nights and hungry after-party crowds and is full of great midnight menus ranging from Asian food to our city’s national treasure, poutine. We have been frequently asked about what we recommend as our top spots for those afterhours cravings; here are our top 5:
Big In Japan
Featured on every foodie’s inspirational show, Anthony Bourdain showcased Big in Japan on his Montreal episode of The Layover. The resto is located on St. Laurent south of Pine Avenue and can be simply described as a form of an izakaya. The kitchen is open so you can check out the chefs and what they are up to. The décor is very basic, almost cafeteria-like, with a bit of character. The one thing you might notice right away is the music. Every time we have visited, motown melodies seemed to be the choice music, and we loved rocking out to Elvis while drinking sake. The food is typical of a Japanese brasserie. The menu consists of fried meats, a large plethora of ramens, bok choi, noodles, tuna rolls and their famous ice cream mochi, just to give you an idea. The price range is very affordable, ranging from $3 to $6 for the appetizers and $9 to $16 for the mains.
Everyone knows that Montreal is famous for two things: Hockey and poutine. If you’re a lover of an overload of calories readily available at any hour of the day or night (this place is open 24/7), you have to make a pit stop here. La Banquise offers a variety of 28 skillfully crafted poutines. To give you an idea of how creative a fries and gravy dish can get, an example is their “La Danse” Poutine, containing chicken bits, onions, bacon and pepper sauce. Talk about the yummiest heart attack possible! The fries are perfected to the last crisp and the creative mix of ingredients really works. We had to wait about 15 minutes on a Thursday night; the place was packed with post-party hungry clientele but it was well worth it. Aside from poutine, you can order up burgers, hot dogs, spaghetti and any other guilty pleasures you can think of.
Nouveau Palais is quite an original, going back in time to the good old days when diners were the big buzz and offered a special atmosphere. The interior is comprised of diner-style booths, no frills and a genuine, feel good vibe. The crowds are comprised of a trendier, hipster bunch, with a lot of interesting conversations being overheard all around the regulars that frequent here weekly. The midnight menu is very small, but we suppose if your mind is functioning a little less after some martinis, this is a good thing. The perogies with potatoes and cheese or cabbage and mushroom hit the spot for us. The 365 cheeseburger available with a double patty for you gluttons out there is another favourite. You go here to really soak up the vibe and imagine where your grandparents might have hung out when they were your age.
At first glance, this tiny little restaurant might not catch your eye, but once inside, it’s a whole different story. Being Greek food connoisseurs, we truly think that this is some of the most authentic Greek food we have yet encountered. The portions and prices are extremely generous. Having travelled to Greece, good calamari and tzatziki is hard to find; let us tell you: Tripoli has nailed it down. We attempted to try everything on the menu, including the spanakopita, fried calamari, eggplant, zucchini, home fries and the Greek salad, and every dish was just as good as the next. This place smells of your granny’s kitchen, that’s how credible it is. To top it off, the service is extremely attentive and welcoming, just like the Greek culture. Opa!
Village Mon Nan
If you really want to experience what an afterhours, packed eatery is, go to Mon Nan in Montreal’s Chinatown. We have frequented here due to their delicious peanut butter dumplings, Peking duck, general-Tao chicken, won-ton soups and their chef's selection seafood sizzling platter. Unlike a lot of other Chinatown restaurants that run late, the food here actually tastes like it was made with love and fresh ingredients. It's a great place to go to with a group of friends, sit around one of their many tables, and watch as the late-nighters stumble in and indulge.
Photo courtesy Nouveau Palais