The latest trend on the Montreal restaurant scene is the takeover of Japanese Izakayas. But what exactly is an izakaya? It’s a Japanese pub that serves tapas style dishes, and Montreal has plenty to choose from. Kampai!
Kyo Bar Japonais
Kyo Bar Japonais hasn’t been around long but it has quickly become a popular haunt in Old Montreal,located In the Place D’Armes Hotel. Stocked with the largest selection of sakes in the city, they’re open for both lunch and dinner, equipped with plenty of booze and food. Kyo‘s sushi rolls are creative and delicious, the bento box is perfect for lunch, and the yuzu donuts are a must-have for dessert. And don’t forget about Kyo‘s Cherry Bomb Fridays! They are open Monday to Saturday from 11:30am to 11:00pm or midnight.
Kyozon is one of the most recent izakayas to grace the Montreal restaurant scene. Located on Crescent Street, they threw a splashy grand opening party. The two-floor space is large, the bar is impressive, and the second floor is home to a kaitan belt, a conveyor belt that delivers the food to you! Kyozon is home to fun cocktails and the shrimp tempura is not to be missed. They’re open every day from 11:30am until 1:00 or 3:00am.
1458 Rue Crescent, Montréal, Québec H3G 2B7
Kazu is a popular little cheap-eats spot on St. Catherine Street. They don’t take reservations and there is always a line-up outside, no matter the weather. The wait is worth it! The service is quick, the turn-around is quicker, and the food delicious. You’ll find the menu on white paper pinned to the walls, hand written, and messy. We loved the pork cheeks and the BBQ chicken tortilla, and their tartares are delicious and perfectly fresh. Try their shrimp burger for something different and their 48-hour pork bowl too. Kazu is open from noon to 9:00 or 9:30pm every day except Tuesdays.
1862 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montréal, Québec H3H 1M1
When I say sake, you say bomb – SAKE – BOMB! Welcome to Imadake! We adore this izakaya and bar with fun dishes like chicken skin, deep fried goat cheese,and their chicken with wasabi mayonnaise. For a real treat, you have to order their takoyaki, a type of Japanese street food, which are fried octopus balls. Reno the manager always makes you feel at home. Imadake is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays until 10:30pm and late on weekends until 1:00am, especially for Sake Bombs!
4006 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Westmount, Québec H3Z 1P2
If you like house music, look no further than Flyjin. This popular izakaya is reminiscent of an underground speakeasy, complete with a partially hidden entrance and minimal phone reception. The cocktails are refreshing and the food is on point too. We fell in love with the miso black cod, but try their various tatakis and sashimis too. Flyjin is open for dinner and cocktails on Wednesdays to Saturdays from 7:00pm until 3:00am.
417 Rue St Pierre, Montreal, QC H2Y 2M4
Big in Japan Restaurant
Big in Japan Restaurant is down the street from its wildly popular bar of the same name on Saint Laurent. Simple and delicious, their pork steam buns alone are worth the trip. You have to try their okonomiyaki, a type of Japanese pancake, and their tuna tataki. Some main dishes on the menu are seasonal, so if something makes your stomach grumble, order it right away before it’s gone. Open seven days a week until 3:00am, Big in Japan Restaurant is one of our favourite izakayas in Montreal.
3723 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2V7
Kinoya underwent recent renovations to their St. Denis space but the food remains delicious. Their tartares and carpaccios are must haves, as is their octopus. Their salmon onigiri rice ball is comparative to those found in the 7-Elevens in Asia. They have plenty of vegetarian options too, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try Kinoya’s mocha ice cream in red bean paste or sesame flavours. They are open Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 10:00 or 11:00pm.
4250 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2J 2K8