10 amazing restaurants that opened during the pandemic

This month marked the two-year mark of the pandemic; an unprecedented time in which restaurants have had to reinvent themselves time and again, and deal with repeated closures. Hoping that the recent reopening will be the last one, we go out to the restaurant to rediscover the art of gastronomy and service that we had missed so much. Here, we wish to showcase our favourite restaurants to open during these challenging times.

Braving winds and tides, several charming addresses have opened during the pandemic. Some took advantage of the short reopening periods to announce their opening, while others offered a take-out formula in their early days. If you wish to encourage them, this list is for you.

Our favourite restaurants to open during the pandemic :

  • Mui Mui: Giving new life to the former space of Jiep Jiep with a cuisine bursting with flavour and colour. Behind this beautiful project—as well as working their magic in the kitchen—is the former chef of the restaurant Orange Rouge (which closed its doors because of the pandemic).
  • Marstard: Chef Simon Mathys (former chef of Manitoba) and with his wife Vicky are behind this project. Officially opened on January 6, 2021, Mastard is a delicious tribute to Quebec’s terroir.
  • Entre-Deux: A new wave of entrepreneurs are moving in on Sherbrooke Street West, breathing new life into the area. Entre-Deux—a new neighbourhood café-bar—is one of them, and is well worth a visit in NDG.
  • BarBara Vin: BarBara is, above all, a wine bar where good juice flows freely and at affordable prices. It is also a dispensa (mini grocery store in Italian), as well as a café for early risers in the area.
  • Pichai: Pichai was the long-awaited new restaurant from the Épicerie Pumpui team. Due to the pandemic, the opening of the address had been constantly postponed; they finally opened with a take-out formula on May 12, 2021. Here, we find the same talented trio eager to introduce us to Thai gastronomy, and in particular isaan: Jesse Massumi (ex Voro and Waverly), Xavier Cloutier and Jesse Mulder (former chef-owner of the now-closed Chak Wow).
  • Fleurs & Cadeaux: Fleurs & Cadeaux is the charming new Japanese snack bar in Chinatown that opened in September 2020. Nestled in a pink century-old building on Saint-Urbain Street, this small restaurant offers a multisensory experience like no other in the neighbourhood.
  • La Franquette: Opened on November 25, 2020, La Franquette is a delicious French-inspired restaurant located on Victoria Avenue in Westmount.
  • Gia: And that’s four for the Elena family! The beautiful team has accustomed us to taste the best of Italy with its first three establishments, and Gia is no exception. Here, we enjoy grilled meats prepared according to the tradition of the Abruzzo region, all washed down with a fine selection of wines.
  • Salle Climatisée: From the outset, this project looked promising with its talented instigators, who we knew from Maison Publique. Brendan Lavery, Harrison Shewchuk and Darcy Gervais Wood have joined forces to open a delicious restaurant with market flavours.
  • Tinc Set: Born in the middle of the pandemic last year, Tinc Set is moving to its new location, right next door to its big brother restaurant, Alma. The Catalan counter is leaving its alley to move into the former convenience store next door, on Lajoie Avenue.  For this new address, owners Lindsay Brennan and Juan Lopez have focused on several aspects: rotisserie, wine shop and luxury dépanneur.

You can also check out our list of all the restaurants that opened during the pandemic for a wider choice in all four corners of the city.

As a bonus

Discover Nita Tout Garni for their delicious sandwiches and their superb bottles of wine, sprinkled with small producers. Gentile Pizza Parlour offers delicious pizzas and its magnificent decor designed by Zébulon Perron. Don’t miss Soda Cantine for its relaxed atmosphere and its small seasonal dishes.

Photography by Alison Slattery

From the magazine