The best late night foods in Montreal are unsurprisingly some of the best dishes the city has to offer in general. Poutine, bagels, and smoked meat spring to mind, delectable clichés for locals contrasting as palate-pleasing discoveries for travelers.
And during regular business hours, they can be found all over the city. No issues there.
The tricky part is knowing where to go for the best eats when most of Montreal's kitchens shut down for the night. But those hot foodie spots are out there. You just need to know where to look. After all, Montreal might not be the official city that never sleeps --we're looking at you, New York City-- but it's just as sleep-deprived as the best of them.
Late-Night Upscale Deals for Steal
Some of the best restaurants in Montreal have late night menus, short lists proposing dishes as elegant and varied as salmon tartare, filet mignon, and grilled dorade flown in from the island of Kefalonia served at prices you'd never expect to see associated with upscale, let alone the city's top restaurants. Think two- or three-course meals executed by top-tier kitchens for under $30.
The only hiccup here is that these incredible menus, though labeled ''late night,'' tend to conclude their evening runs by midnight.
These Choice Pubs & Bistros
Most the Montreal pubs and bistros that made this best-of list are open late.
Barely a block from the late Leonard Cohen's home is Patati Patata, a teeny diner with tinier prices. Open every day from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., its poutine is one of Montreal's best and the food, from Patati Patata's fried fish and borscht soup to its traditional diner fare like burgers and sausages, is consistently good.
Count on filling up on $10 or less. Just don't be surprised if there's a lineup. A twelve-stool capacity will do that.
Located at the neighborly confluence of bohemian Mile End and affluent Outremont, trending diner Nouveau Palais serves spätzle, fried chicken with kale salad and cider BBQ sauce, and grilled hangar steak with chimichurri among others mains.
And by midnight the menu shifts toward pierogies, poutine, cheese fries, cheeseburgers and other creature comforts. By the way, foodies insist on the burgers here. They're some of the best in the city.
Nouveau Palais is open until 3 a.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
La Maison VIP
Montreal's Chinatown is in no short supply of cheap eats and foodie goodness... unless it's three o'clock in the morning. Then you've got a bit of a problem.
Not so with La Maison VIP. The iconic decades-old restaurant stays open Mondays through Saturdays until 4 a.m., an accessible locale from the downtown entertainment district and easy to get to from Old Montreal. On Sunday, doors close at midnight.
Some of the La Maison VIP's best dishes? Try the Cantonese chow mein, chop suey won ton soup, VIP's Peking duck, and the ginger lobster.
Arguably Montreal's best French bistro and one of the city's most romantic restaurants (if you don't mind close tables and loud chatter), L'Express is a classic Plateau neighborhood haunt on rue St. Denis, a page out of Paris with its decor, impeccable service, and impressive wine list, probably the best and most extensive in the city with every price point covered, including decent options for tight budgets.
Try the affordable and generous pork rillettes appetizer or warm goat cheese salad. Splurge on the buttery bone marrow opener and the savory fish soup, then move onto the hanger steak served with with fries or keep it classic with a ham and cheese quiche or homemade toulouse sausages. Finish off the night with a trio of maple pastries --profiteroles à l'érable-- or a handful of house chocolate truffles.
Late night doesn't get more elegant than this.
L'Express is open until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and until 1 a.m. on Sunday.
Open 24/7 in warmer months, Montreal's iconic Orange Julep closes at 3 a.m. during the winter (sometimes earlier), understandable given its slightly off-the-beaten path location on boulevard Décarie in the Côte-des-Neiges neighborhood.
But come summer, it's a destination unto itself. Every Wednesday (and sometimes Tuesdays and Thursdays), vintage car owners assemble in the Orange Julep's parking lot as they have for decades to show off their hot rods.
Linger in the lot, gawk at the cars, chat with their proud owners, and sort yourself out with some poutine and an Orange Julep, the joint's legendary eponymous beverage.
The best poutine in Montreal? Claims are abundant suggesting Plateau neighborhood's La Banquise leads the pack with 31 different varieties and 24/7 hours attracting clients throughout the day and night. Club kids are known to brave late night lineups past 4 a.m. just to indulge on one of the joint's 2,000+ calorie dishes. Some are even willing to cab the distance.
Mimi La Nuit
An Old Montreal pub, lounge, club and restaurant in one, Mimi La Nuit's kitchen stays open until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and until midnight Tuesday and Wednesday.
The menu features tartares, charcuterie, cheese and mixed platters as well as oysters. Just one caveat. Vegetarian options are fairly limited.
Open 24/7, downtown Montreal's Al-Taib on Guy Street, just over one block north of Ste. Catherine Street, is a Lebanese bakery and Middle eastern restaurant.
It's also one of the only late night joints in Montreal serving healthy and wholesome menu items, gems like tabouleh and fattoush-style salads priced better than anywhere else in the city. In other words, score enough veggies to fill you up for $10 or less. Unsurprisingly, Al-Taib is a top cheap eats destination for college students, particularly those from Concordia University given its downtown campus is a block away.
For something more glutinous, try Al-Taib's pizza --get a slice topped with chicken-- or one of their Manakish, flatbreads topped with cheese, meat, and/or Zaatar spice (a tart and savory spice mix composed of sumac, oregano, thyme, and roasted sesame seeds). Staff will stuff them with sliced tomatoes, olives, onions, mint leaves, and hot peppers on request.
A hot and cold buffet serving meats and vegetarian items is also on location. Plates are charged by weight. As with everything at Al-Taib, quality is incredible for the price.
Schwartz's & Jarry Smoked Meat
Located in the heart of the action on the Main, lineups aren't so bad at night, if there are any at all. Just keep in mind that the schedule varies by day, open until 12:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 1:30 a.m. on Friday.
Craving smoked meat but it's past Schwartz's closing time? No worries. Jarry Smoked Meat is open 24/7. The only problem is it's a little out of the way in St. Leonard, great news if you live in the east end neighborhood. Otherwise, count on a steep cab bill.
The Bagel Showdown
Montreal makes a mean bagel and, incidentally, the city's two top bagel shops are open 24/7. Both are located in the Mile-End neighborhood, a few blocks from each other.
And at roughly an equal distance to the park is Fairmount Bagel on Fairmount Avenue.
Locals have been arguing over who makes the best bagel between the two for generations. The one objective edge Fairmount's brick-and-mortar bakery has over St. Viateur's at this point is variety, with nearly double the kinds of bagels on offer at Fairmount, from blueberry to chocolate chip in addition to age-old sesame and poppy seed favorites.
A hotspot on the Main at most five minutes from Mount Royal Park, Le Majestique's menu was devised by Charles-Antoine Crête, the former chef at Toqué, a top Canadian dining institution declared 70th among the world's best 100 restaurants by Elite Traveler in 2015.
Back to Le Majestique, it's a cocktail bar and lounge which keeps its kitchen open until 2 a.m. with booze flowing until 3 a.m. Order from the oyster bar, score a dish of whelks (a.k.a. sea snails) served with herb butter and fried bread and try Le Majestique's infamous 12-inch hot dog. The raves are real.