Montreal Gazette

Montreal restos rule on latest Maclean's Top 20 list

- BILL BROWNSTEIN bbrownstei­

Once again, Montreal restos rule on yet another cross-canada list, this one compiled by Toronto food critic Chris Nuttall-smith for Maclean's.

This city placed four eateries on its Top 20 list, and at the very top of the pile is, once again, the Little Italy gem, Mon Lapin, owned by the husband-wife tandem of Vanya Filipovic and Marc-olivier (Marco) Frappier.

“This joyful, candlelit spot is one of the finest places to eat — not just in Canada, but the world,” marvels Nuttall- Smith on his choice of Mon Lapin.

Mon Lapin finished No. 1 on the 2023 edition of Canada's 100 Best Restaurant­s list, which was revealed earlier this week. A whopping total of 27 Montreal restaurant­s — and 34 in all of Quebec — hit this list, voted upon by 135 judges and assembled by ex-montreal and current Toronto editor-in-chief Jacob Richler, foodie son of Mordecai.

Mastard, Rosemont's nofrills and well-priced adventure in haute cuisine (which is 55 on the Canada 100 chart), is in the coveted third position on the Maclean's list. No surprise there as co-owner Simon Mathys took the 2022 chef of the year honours in Les Lauriers de la gastronomi­e québécoise.

Curiously, two of the three other city restos cited on the Maclean's list — Damas, in seventh position, and Elena P.S., at No. 18 — didn't make it among Canada's 100 Best Restaurant­s. Gia and Nora Gray, part of the Elena ownership family, did, ending up, respective­ly, 36th and 53rd on the latter list.

St-henri's Elena takes pizza to another level, but its pastas also stand out, as does its selection of natural wines, overseen by co-owner, sommelier and veteran city chef Ryan Gray. And yet another neighbourh­ood hot spot that has attracted a wide following around town.

Regardless of its questionab­le exclusion among the Canada 100 list, there's no denying Outremont's Syrian-influenced Damas' placement on the Maclean's list. It is frequently touted, for good reason, as the best Middle Eastern dining room in town.

Until yet another restaurant poll comes out, consensus is that Montreal has become a dominant force on the Canadian food scene. Nice for the city to have bragging rights for something other than non-edible orange cones.

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