Unique to Montréal are BYOBs, otherwise known as Bring Your Own Bottle restaurants, where diners are invited to bring their own wine instead of choosing from the restaurant’s wine list. These restaurants are popular with groups and, it has to be said, young university students. But it doesn’t have to be a rowdy night; many BYOBs have some of the best chefs in the city, and depending on where you go, the atmosphere can be either casual or refined. No matter where you end up dining, however, this is a great way to enjoy a meal without the sometimes-pricey wine lists.
Though you might find this elsewhere, in Montréal you won’t be charged a corking fee, so your $12 bottle of wine will only cost you $12. Bring-your-owns can be found around the city, but Duluth and Prince Arthur, both charming cobblestone streets, have the highest concentration. Duluth has the most choices in the city, but some options are mediocre. One standout is La Colombe, a great, elegant corner bistro. If you are with a group, the three-story L’Academie is always accommodating.
Prince Arthur has a number of different restaurants serving various cuisines, with Greek cuisine the most popular. Though none of these will reach the apex of culinary experiences, the restaurants at least offer good value for a decent meal, and sidewalk dining in the summertime is hard to beat.
Farther north on rue Rachel, you’ll find small, Parisian-esque bistro Au 917, seafood restaurant Le Poisson Rouge, and Les Infideles, probably one of the most refreshing and interesting restaurants in the neighborhood.
Up in the Plateau, Gilford is a picturesque street full of irresistible BYOBs: Le Quartier Général is one of the best on the scene and is almost always packed, while Le Pégase (1831 Gilford, 514/522-9487, Tues.-Sun. 5:30pm-11pm) is perfect for a romantic meal. Chez Doval serves simple, classic Portuguese fare and has a dedicated fan base. One of the most popular with locals and visitors alike is Pizzeria Napoletana, a lively, busy pizza parlor and Italian eatery in Little Italy. They don’t take reservations, however, so you might be in for a wait.