No one likes to feel like a tourist, especially not in a city where everybody hates the town you came from. If you’re going to Osheaga and want to spend your evenings in Montreal eating and drinking like a seasoned local, let us show you the way the hometown crowd does it.
Else’s (156 Rue Roy Est, 514.286.6689)
An institution in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood for over 20 years, Else’s is the best place to spend a totally unpretentious evening in a city that can sometimes go overboard with affectation. Because of the city’s lunatic liquor laws, which restrict the licensing of bars close to churches and schools, you’re forced to order food with your booze — not an uncommon event in Montreal. But don’t worry, the food is great, and the atmosphere is relaxing and convivial. You won’t find a better place to end a night out in la belle ville.
Chu Chai (4088 rue St-Denis, 514.843.4194)
Let’s say you’ve got some obnoxious vegetarians in your party and you’d rather not eat at their typical bean-sprouts-and-sadness bistros. Or let’s say you’re a vegetarian surrounded by loudmouth carnivores who can’t get through a single meal without braying with glee that a creature died to fill their stomachs. No matter what your crowd, Chu Chai will leave everyone happy with its vegetarian fake-meat Thai. Don’t worry, meat-eaters, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Everyone will be too busy rolling their eyes into the backs of their heads in communal gustatory pleasure to whine about their usual food politics.
Les Trois Petits Bouchons (4669 rue St Denis 514.285.4444)
A wine bar resto with a range of locally sourced plates based on Quebec rural food traditions, you’ll pay a little extra (but not that much!) at Les Trois Petits Bouchons for a meal you’ll go back to Ontario dreaming about for weeks. Whether your taste is for seafood or for artisanal charcuterie, the food is simple, elegant, and beautiful. We strongly recommend the pissaladière (caramelized onion tart) as an appetizer, but warn you that it might move you to tears.
Bangkok (Upstairs food court at the Faubourg Mall, 1616 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest)
Maybe you’re not feeling like fine dining, but you don’t want to endure eating bad food as punishment for not putting on a tie or skirt (or both, your choice). In Montreal, arguably the city’s best Thai restaurant is located in the food court of a downtown mall that’s gradually been closing down for the past decade. Undaunted, the Bangkok remains, serving Styrofoam plates of some of the best curries and Pad Thais you’ll taste in North America. All plates available in mild, medium, or spicy. They’re not joking. Don’t order spicy unless you’re serious about your willingness to suffer. They used to have a sign warning that they would not take back food that was too spicy. Does that make it clear enough?
Sparrow (5322 Blvd. St Laurent 514.507.1642)
We’ll assume that if you’re in town for Osheaga, you feel like being surrounded by a crowd reminiscent of the cast of Girls. Off to Sparrow you go, then! Good thing it’s actually a classy bar run by nice people who are committed to quality cocktails. The music is good, the ambiance is comfortable despite that pretending-we’re-Victorians aesthetic so popular these days, and the cocktails (available with or without alcohol, for designated drivers and folks not drinking) are carefully crafted. Be forewarned: one in four men will have an ironic moustache. Just go with it.