Montreal, Québec is a popular tourist destination in Canada for one main reason: it’s a vibe. The city’s countless annual festivals, eclectic nightlife, and beautiful mix of old and new architecture have given this city its reputation as one of Canada’s cultural capitals.
On top of it all, Montreal is also an amazing city for foodies. Its bagels, poutine, and smoked meat sandwiches are famous the world over – and for a good reason – but the selection of restaurants from the African diaspora in Montreal is mind-blowing. There is so much innovation in the food scene, and with many Black-owned businesses combining cosmopolitan tastes with traditional techniques, Québec’s largest city is a force to be reckoned with.
Start your culinary tour of La Belle Province in Montreal with these Black-owned businesses!
Duo de Chef – 12545 Av. Fernand-Gauthier
A trip to Montreal isn’t complete without making time for great Haitian food, and Duo de Chef is a must-visit. Menu highlights include some of the best mac and cheese the city has to offer and succulent shrimp that complement any of their generously portioned mains. First-timers will get a tasty introduction to Haitian food with their griot, which is a serving of marinated fried pork, pikliz – a spicy and tangy slaw – and twice-fried plantains.
The team at Duo de Chef has an undeniable passion for their work that comes through not only in the taste of their food but in their impeccable service that has customers feeling like part of the family.
Mokili – 93 Rue de Castlenau
If you’re a gourmand looking for a new food experience, put Mokili at the top of your list. With a menu featuring creative spins on classic dishes from across the continent, this new restaurant highlights the diversity of African street foods with a touch of fine dining flair.
From Senegalese mafe to Ghanaian kelewele and Congolese mayebo, Mokili — which means “the world” in Congolese Lingala — offers a tasty exploration of the African continent. Their menu has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options too, meaning that everyone can explore the diaspora at this beautiful hotspot in Villeray. The owners have a strong passion for African cuisine and have put great care into the presentation of their food, creating a treat for all the senses. In addition to great mains, the restaurant also offers hearty stews and unique African spices and sauces for foodies to use at home. Give their pili pili sauce a try – it’s fire!
Lloydie’s – multiple locations
As a food supplier that’s been sharing patties with Montreal’s Caribbean restaurants for decades, this family-owned business is a Montreal institution. In the past few years, Lloydie’s has opened two restaurant locations in the city that serve all the greatest hits. They’ve got amazing jerk chicken that tastes like home and a zingy Bajan pepper sauce with a mustard base that sets it apart from other traditional sauces.
Lloydie’s takes their homage to Caribbean culture one step further through the décor of their restaurants. The interiors are inspired by an old-school Caribbean home, complete with floral prints and plastic-covered couches. This cool, nostalgic feel coupled with their delicious food is truly the perfect celebration of island culture.
Le Virunga – 851 Rue Rachel E
Le Virunga — named after a UNESCO-protected national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — offers a unique fine-dining experience featuring a fusion of Pan-African flavours. Customers can expect a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the cozy little restaurant run by a mother-daughter duo, who will go the extra mile to make their guests feel at home.
Using both locally-grown ingredients and African produce sourced by a local West African farmer, Le Virunga pays tribute to the flavours of Québec while also showcasing the diversity of African cuisine. Their food is a love letter to the owners’ extensive travels across the continent and patrons will taste and feel this expert collision of culinary worlds. It’s a food experience unlike any other in Montreal that will take your tastebuds on an exciting journey. Read more about Le Virunga here.
Kamúy – 1485 Jeanne Mance St.
In the heart of downtown Montreal, Kamúy treats its guests to a festival of Caribbean flavours. This trendy restaurant is inspired by traditional Caribbean markets and is hosted in an eclectic shipping container with glass sides. Everything about this place, from the décor and music to the food, evokes the vibe of the islands.
Kamúy has a great selection of cocktails, small plate items like fritay – a variety of fried Haitian appetizers – and main dishes that truly explore the depth and breadth of Caribbean cuisine. The seasonal menu changes regularly, so every visit is an exciting opportunity to try something new. The team works hard to use locally sourced and sustainable ingredients as well as spices and vegetables from across the islands.
Its central location makes it the perfect spot for a date night or a night on the town with friends, but don’t forget to make a reservation – this place gets booked quickly!
When it comes to food, Montreal is a city that keeps on giving and the list above is only a sample of the outstanding restaurants, bakeries, and cafes on offer. Make Montreal your next food destination to discover some new flavours – and support Black-owned businesses while you’re at it!
To explore all that Canada has to offer, visit www.forglowinghearts.ca for guides, resources, and travel tips.
Photos by Jodianne Beckford