23. Le Vin Papillon
When this wine bar opened seven years ago, its vegetable-focused cookery was a daring culinary statement. Not so nowadays, with kale juice and vegan salad bars commonplace, but Le Vin Papillon remains refreshingly different, its take on vegetable cookery still exceptional. This is not a vegetarian restaurant, so excellent fresh seafood and select meats are showcased just like other products from Quebec and across Canada. House-cured jambon blanc with beurre noisette and shavings of P.E.I. cheddar is a signature dish—along with local whelks, fish roe, grilled cauliflower and gnocchi fritti. Some key founding personnel (notably Sommelier Vanya Filipovic and her husband, Chef Marc-Olivier Frappier) departed in 2019, but Vin Papillon’s ever-evolving list of vins naturels remains stellar, and Jesse Grasso helms an imaginative kitchen. In the summer, the terrace bustles with foodies (and, occasionally, visiting culinary luminaries like Massimo Bottura, Ruth Reichl and Martha Stewart). In the winter, the cozy decor—including furniture salvaged from a convent near Rimouski—makes it feel like home. The open kitchen and loud music contribute to its addictive ambience.
Photos: MATT PERRIN