For many visitors, Montreal’s Underground City might bring to mind something akin to Paris’ catacombs instead of the series of malls and mostly sad food courts that lies beneath the downtown core. That’s all changed since last fall, when three new gourmet food halls brought much-needed light to the ends of these tunnels.
Le Central kicked things off on the eastern edge of downtown and is home to well-known chefs along with plenty of attention-worthy newcomers looking to experiment. Time Out Market (the brand’s fifth outpost), quickly followed, creating a hungry buzz in a downtown mall – even on cold Sunday nights – where brand name chefs serve more casual versions of their high-end dishes. And finally, Le Cathcart Restaurants and Biergarten opened in January, bringing elegant trendiness to Place Ville Marie’s 650-square-metre glass-roofed pavilion, complete with a tropical motif and chic leather benches. The restos here are, by and large, Montreal success stories and downtown visitors now have access to some of the best this food-loving city has to offer.