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Time Out Love Local Awards
Photograph: © MU, Ville-Marie, ElMac Gene Pendon (2017) - Photo : Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal

#LoveLocal: Time Out Montreal is celebrating what makes this city great

As this jewel of a city gets back up and running at full speed, we're celebrating Montreal’s best indie businesses.

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki
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Montreal continues with its reopenings, reinvigorated culture and revived hospitality, but many businesses continue to struggle since the pandemic began. Everyone—from your favourite neighborhood bars, restaurants, and indie venues to big and bright theatres and attractions—could use a helping hand right now.

Time Out Montreal may be relatively new in the city, but as its editorial team started out by seeking out the best of city life since it began in 2019, it has always taken time to champion what’s local and exciting. The world’s cities, as vibrant as they are, are nothing without their restaurants, shops, cafés, bars, theatres, music venues, cinemas, art galleries—and all the other local, independently run places where people come together to eat, drink, laugh, think, create, cut loose and fall in love.

Here's what you loved most in your city in 2021

Montreal has spoken: These are the winners of the 2021 Love Local Awards, voted in by locals themselves.

These are the local places you've nominated that are worth celebrating. They fuel our bodies, our minds and our connections. They give locals and visitors alike stunning attractions to explore, irresistible things to do, and as many fresh faces to meet as there are old friends to reconnect with.

Montreal simply wouldn't be the same without a strong community of small businesses providing places for us to gather and share common interests. As the city continues to reopen, Time Out's ongoing Love Local campaign will shine a spotlight on the people, places and organizations that make our city a special place.

Follow Time Out Montreal on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to hear about amazing people doing amazing things that you can and should support.

JP Karwacki

Editor

Time Out Montreal

These are Montreal's fave spots in the 2021 Love Local Awards

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Love Local in Montreal

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Every food hall in Montreal has a claim to fame. At Time Out Market Montréal, we’ve got two: Not only are we where you can find food from the best chefs and restaurants in the city, and we’re home to the Tournée Gourmande. The response to that special week-long event was so big that we’ve decided to bring it back—not just for another week, but once a month. Believe or not, but the Eaton Centre de Montréal downtown is about to become your best bet for dining out on a Saturday night. Whether you’ve just finished a full day of shopping or you’re looking for a gastronomic night out, Time Out Market Montréal will be serving an exclusive menu to ticket holders for this special event.  What is it? Montrealers will get a limited-time-only window of opportunity to taste a variety of dishes from the Market: All you need to do is to buy a $36 card (plus taxes) to try four dishes from an exclusive menu. Every eatery—Paul Toussaint’s Haitian eats, Portuguese chicken from Campo, Neapolitan pizza from Moleskine, you name it—is serving something that you can try. You can purchase tickets here! The best way to experience it, however, is if you come out with a few people so you swap and snack to try the full variety of plates! When is the next event? Our next Tournée Gourmande dinner will be taking place on May 7 from 5pm to 9pm.  What’s on the menu? Take a look below—this is a full menu of what will be served on that first night. And if you’re still hungry after your first four dishes? No wor

  • Things to do

We talk a big game when it comes to finding love and going out on date nights at the market—after all, our bar section is 18+ up and it’s loaded with cocktails, beer, and wine—but what about the kiddies? Not everyone is out looking for love; in fact, some of you have found it and had a family. We know it can be tough to think of things to do with kids in Montreal sometimes, so that’s why we’ve decided to give you one more reason to get out of the house: Every Saturday, you can dine on food from some of the greatest chefs and restaurants in the city, and the kids can get free activities. It all started with a special Easter weekend edition with a big ol’ bunny and his friends meeting and greeting the kids, as well as lots of entertainments running the tables and walkways for them to enjoy, in addition to free face painting and balloon animals. Of course, it wasn't an Easter without some chocolate: There will be an Easter egg giveaway, with candy bags available at our mocktail bar. Now, during the day on Saturdays from noon to 3pm, the market will offer free face painting using two techniques (makeup and an air brush for some really stunning effects), as well as regular balloon sculptors who can make just about anything your kids can dream up, as well as a clown and a magician. Sounds pretty fun, right? And you can expect more themed events whenever there’s a holiday coming up! Weekends with the kids happen at Time Out Market Montréal on Saturdays from noon to 3 pm, all activit

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  • Things to do

Following the smashing success of their Halloween show in 2021, Drag Brunch MTL is bringing a fresh new show at Time Out Market Montréal on April 10. Now that the market has added on a whole new brunch offering with dishes from every eatery—yes, even the new BBQ, Lebanese, and fine dining options that have recently arrived—we thought it was time for a spring fling! What is it? It’s going to be a free and family-friendly event for everyone to come out and enjoy! Seating is first come, first served at this event that will put a spring in your step: All guests need to do is grab a seat and enjoy the show - the best glamorous springtime looks will be rewarded with some lovely prizes from Time Out Market Montréal. Who's performing? The show will be Hosted by Barbada de Barbade in English and French, a performer whose disco, pop and dance styles, plus humor and 90's classics, has made her a huge fixture in the city’s drag scene. This year, Barbada was the very first drag queen in Quebec to host a children's show named after her, with ten episodes airing on Tou.Tv. Whether it's in bars, weddings or large outdoor festivals, her sought-after entertainment is sure to make you laugh! Barbada has been participating in and hosting drag shows since 2005 across Quebec (Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, and beyond) and Canada (Toronto, Halifax). In 2017, she participated in the documentary series "Ils de jour, Elles de nuit" on ArTV, has appeared in numerous other radio and TV appearances,

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Today’s the day: Announced earlier this month, locals and visitors to Montreal alike can now dine on a whole new menu at the market from chef Chanthy Yen. Serving a pan-Canadian menu that pulls from his travels across the country and from personal memories of when his family acquainted themselves with food served in Canada through “scrappy and creative” reinventions, Yen is serving classics that diners will find both familiar and innovative. Much like Time Out Market Montréal’s second latest arrival of Mezzmiz which brought a cosmopolitan Beirut style to Lebanese classics, Yen’s previously explained his food as dishes one might find at a casino: While there’s a classic steak-frites or shrimp cocktail, other ‘classics’ get spun in different directions like mussels and fries with a coconut white wine cream sauce, buttery whelks with a nori aioli, or flan with condensed milk and Vietnamese coffee caramel.  Photograph: JP Karwacki / Time Out We’ve called Yen a rising star in Canada’s kitchens—some may think that’s a term reserved for young guns eager to prove themselves, but Yen helps to redefine it: After completing his culinary studies at the Northwest Culinary Academy in Vancouver, Yen worked with some of Canada's best-known chefs, including Ned Bell from Yew Restaurant and Jefferson Alvarez of Secret Location (both in Vancouver). After working in these Canadian kitchens, Yen expanded his repertoire by moving to San Sebastian in Spain to work at one of the world's consistent

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Chef Chanthy Yen is on the move. When we caught up with him over the phone on a weekend, he was in Vancouver to check in on his restaurant Nightshade, the largest plant-based restaurant in the city to date; a few days prior, he was in Ottawa cooking for prime minister Justin Trudeau as his personal chef. He's passing through airports so often that attendants are starting to recognize him. "They're asking me if I work there," he says with a laugh. "Every time I go to a restaurant for a pre-flight meal, they just drop off the dishes." Yen is not only on the move, he's gaining momentum: Only months before Nightshade and making meals for JT, he was the one behind the Italo-Japanese stylings of Tiramisu in Montreal's Chinatown, and it was only the year prior when his Cambodian pop-up in Old Montreal stole the show in the summer of 2020 and his lifelong quest to cook for the Cambodian king began. Now? He's set his sights on Time Out Market Montréal with his own signature chef concept with a coast-to-coast-to-coast menu, opening on March 29. Photograph: JP Karwacki / Time Out “It feels good. It was on my list of accomplishments for Montreal, and it’s nice to finally see that people are willing to support me on that," Yen says about the announced opening. "There are people rooting for me, and it’s so nice to have that. Every time I leave a city I always want to leave a bit of a legacy there, and regardless of how intricate that legacy is, it takes a lot of work to get there, it tak

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

After the sold-out dinner party with Paul Toussaint, Time Out Market Montréal is bringing back its Chef's Talk series with chef Christian Ventura for one night only on March 29. Over three courses and drink pairings, the chef will discuss his career and huge, plant-based impact on Montreal's restaurant scene: Beginning with a cocktail and a conversation with Ariane Parent, a leading member of the vegan community, Ventura will be serving three meticulous dishes that are demonstrative of his mastery of vegan food, from his Mexican roots to his work in sushi restaurants that spurred the creation of the popular Sushi Momo restaurant. Dine out and listen in to the chef's story Known for his impact on vegan cuisine in Montreal, chef Ventura's made himself known through sheer determination, curiosity and a self-taught education—and that's saying a lot when considering he's been a vegan for only the past decade. It all started with a choice he made following his yoga practice. "Around 2012, I signed up for a yoga class with Bram Levinson at his yoga studio in the Old Port. It was a revelation for me," the chef told Time Out in a 2020 interview. "I enjoyed practicing yoga so much that I practically became an addict. I used to practice 7 times per week... I went to multiple yoga retirements in Bali, India, New York, Greece, and Thailand." That soon led to his work in the kitchen. "Eventually, one of my yoga teachers knew that I worked in a traditional fish sushi restaurant, and she kep

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

If you're like us, you've probably been eager to get back to the tables of Montreal's restaurants, and to once again meals from the city's most amazing chefs at all hours of the day. The thing is, while we would be happy just to eat a two-egg plate for breakfast, we know that brunch can be so much more than that. And at Time Out Market Montréal? It's ten times what you think brunch can be: Starting this Saturday and Sunday (February 19 and 20) from opening until 3 p.m. onward, every single eatery at the Market is going to be making a special dish to blow your weekend out of the water. Breakfast pizzas and brunch poutines? Middle Eastern, Indian and Japanese brunch dishes? You can sign yourself up for all of it, but the best way to experience it will be bring a bunch of people and try a larger selection of dishes together, all while knocking back some of the special cocktail pitchers that have been crafted for the occasion (see below the menu): What's on the menu? Paul Toussaint — Jerk sandwich, mesclun, fried egg, plantain fries Le Red Tiger — Sweet and Sour chicken Moleskine — Breakfast pizza: Mornay sauce, tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms, fior di latte, cheddar, egg, lettuce Mezzmiz — Foul with Eggs: Lebanese fava beans with zaatar and sumac spiced eggs Il Miglio — Spaghetti carbonara: panchetta, pecorino, parmasan, eggs, black pepper Marusan — Nikujaga Teishoku: A bowl of steamed rice, miso soup, ganmo tofu patte, onsen porched egg with dashi, Japnaese beef and potato stew Amer

Time Out Market Montréal is a versatile place, good for as many quick drop-ins for meals as it is for dancing the night away with a couple of cocktails, but the one thing that's central to this food hall: Gathering together to enjoy a meal. That's what makes the arrival of the eatery Mezzmiz so important: This pop-up's menu is all about the mezze experience, loading the table up with dishes both traditional and inspired from the culinary tapestry that is Lebanese cuisine. Coming from the cofounders Rony Zibara and Nadim Hammoud, it's an idea that was born in Beirut and modified for North America, pulling from the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe for its dishes. When Mezzmiz started to mix things up Mezzmiz is a pandemic ghost kitchen project that's blown past the expectations of local Middle Eastern communities here, thanks in part to uncompromising quality in the kitchen, but that's not where it really started out in the city. “We were in the process of creating a proper sit-down restaurant (back when the pandemic started)," Zibara explains, nodding to the ghost kitchen they opted to run out of the Q-ZN facilities in Saint-Laurent. "The team behind the concept comes from six top-notch restaurants in Beirut doing Beirut cuisine. It’s quite different from Lebanese food in that Beirut is very cosmopolitan, a different take on the classics; you don’t go to Beirut to just eat the classics, so you need to put in the effort to stand out.” It's that Beirut style, that penchant

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  • Things to do

Looking for things to do during Valentine's Day in Montreal? We've got just the thing: Tell that special someone you love them by eternalizing them in poetry—you know, the most romantic form of word combinations ever invented? Get a lovey-dovey, ooey-gooey poem written for yourself or as a gift for someone else, or maybe have it written about your pet or that nice neighbour of yours who helped you shovel out your parking spot that one time. Love knows no boundaries, especially on Valentine's Day! The poets of the Montreal-based yolk will be at Time Out Market Montréal to write you poems from 12pm to 7pm on February 14th to type out some poetic masterpieces for the low, low price of completely FREE! View this post on Instagram A post shared by yolk. (@yolkliterary) Last year, Time Out Market Montréal was host to one of the best events to happen in a tough year: The Montreal-based arts and culture not-for-profit organization yolk set up an English and French poetry pop-up for one day, where they wrote free poems about anything anyone wanted for fun, no strings attached. Thing is, they've returned time and time again because of the good vibes (and poetry!) they bring to the place. So come by for a custom type-written poem, some yolk merch, and some food and drink from some of Montreal’s best eateries—all in one place. Photograph: JF Galipeau

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

After years of standing out on the Montreal restaurant scene with the fresh pasta of Nora Gray and sourdough with Elena, the team behind two of Montreal's must-visit Italian restaurants have just launched a third project: Gia Vin & Grill. Ryan Gray and Emma Cardarelli, along with five other team members—Marley Sniatowsky, chef Janice Tiefenbach, Lawrence Fiset and Julio Mendy—have set their sights on the art of grilling with an Italian style. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Gia Vin & Grill (@giagiagiamtl) Located not far from Elena in a former garage near the historic RCA building in Saint-Henri, Gia will take advantage of its outdoor space (see: a massive terrasse) and the location a little removed from the main roads to practice charcoal grilling in  both summers and winters. Meat will be a dominant element on the menu, but true to the group's habits, there will be an omnipresence of grilled vegetables, as well as some authentic fresh pasta dishes from Tuscany. Used to drinking natural as much as possible at Nora Gray as at Elena, Montrealers will be able to take advantage of Gia Vin & Grill's "classic" wine offerings with a little more body, all of which can be drunk perfectly with meat. That said, it will still be possible to drink naturals selected by the somms. Gia can accommodate more than 70 people, including about 15 at the bar, as well as a private area for about 30 people inside the wine cellar, the latter without reservation.   Gia

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