Onion soups: The best sources of comfort in town
Today we’re talking about onion soup. Add onions and breadcrumbs to a base of broth – traditionally beef – then sprinkle generously with grated cheese and broil to perfection. The result is a delicious dish that is bursting with comfort. Perfect for those unrelentingly cold winter days.
Rumour has it that onion soup is attributed to a late night snack of the French King Louis XV, after he returned from hunting. That particular evening, the pantries contained only onions, champagne and butter. Served together, the ingredients appealed to the king, who included in his noble diet what we know today as French onion soup (made with wine). The accessibility of the ingredients contributed to the democratization of the dish which quickly found its way into the homes of many French people.
Some 300 years later and across an ocean to the west, onion soup has been warming up and winning over many Montrealers for ages. Indeed, this French classic was quickly adopted by the city’s establishments. It can be enjoyed in cozy taverns, but also in more upscale restaurants where some chefs try to give onion soup a gastronomic touch by reinterpreting it.
It is in the spirit of a balm against the cold weather that we have prepared a list of the best places to enjoy onion soup in Montreal.
To help you in your quest for comfort, we also suggest you check out our list of comforting restaurants in Montreal where you can eat extremely well or our list of the best soups in the city. Something to warm up your body and mind!
In his small restaurant on Beaubien Street, chef David Ferguson offers Quebecois cuisine with a twist from the American South. His onion soup is made with red beer and features smoked pork shank, avocado, homemade croutons, and is layered with cheddar cheese. An onion soup 2.0 that is definitely worth a try. Photo Vadim Daniel Photography
Le P’tit Rustik is a charming little establishment located on Drolet Street, just north of Duluth on the Plateau Mont-Royal, that serves good food in all simplicity. Here, the onion soup is inspired by the owner’s grandmother’s recipe. White wine is mixed with dark beer and homemade garlic croutons, and covered in Swiss Gruyere cheese.
It is not surprising that in an English pub like the Burgundy Lion, onion soup is also prepared in an English fashion. Here, the onions are cooked in a house beer – an English bitter – and beef base, then paprika croutons are added, and finally topped with Gruyère cheese au gratin. A delicious onion soup in the colours of the Union Jack! Photo Burgundy Lion
Les Enfants Terribles is a very popular restaurant in Montreal as much for its breathtaking view of the city as for its brasserie classics. For example, the restaurant serves a melt-in-your-mouth onion soup. The secret of this soup lies in the cheese mix of the house: cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. A mastered classic! photo Enfants Terribles
Au Pied de Cochon has been a staple of Montreal’s gastronomic landscape for nearly 20 years. Chef Martin Picard’s decadent cuisine continues to draw large crowds. Unsurprisingly, the house version of onion soup is finger-licking good. The cooks here use two types of cheese, gruyere and emmenthal, while all the charcuterie is cooked in the broth. Photos Alison Slattery