There are no ifs ands or buts about it, Tavern on the Square – or Tavern as locals call it – is one of the best restaurants in Montreal, delivering amazing food time-and-time again. Occupying a prominent space on the ground floor of Westmount Square, the landmark building designed by famed architect Mies van der Rohe, Tavern on the Square is the reference point for casual fine dining in Westmount. This is Chef and owner Stephen Leslie’s “middle-child” restaurant, with Monkland Tavern preceding it and Le Sieur d’Iberville opening just over a year ago.
I would describe the décor of Tavern on the Square as elegant; white table cloths, glass enclosed wine cellar, banquet seating and floral centerpieces. However, the mood is in no way overly grandiose; you can dress up or arrive casual-chic. In the summer months, Tavern has a gorgeous and sprawling outdoor terrace. And, better yet, it is partially hidden behind lush greenery, letting you forget you’re just a stone’s throw away from busy Sainte Catherine street.
On pretty much any given night the restaurant is bustling with a mix of regular diners: families enjoying an evening out, couples on a date night, colleagues grabbing an after-work bite and girls celebrating a ladies’ night. Tavern on the Square can host it all!
Stephen Leslie has created a menu that is a combination of both upscale bistro and market Italian, with seasonal specials and market-fresh ingredients. Meals range from classic salmon tartar with avocado to braised beef short rib served with coleslaw, carrots and Brussel sprouts, to handmade ravioli stuffed with ricotta and topped with truffles. The food is always excellent – I promise you really can’t make a bad choice. What I really like about Tavern on the Square is that your dining experience can range from a casual bite with a glass of vino to a fancy 5-course tasting menu coupled with a lavish bottle of wine. It’s really up to you. Last fun fact is that they have recently created a late-night menu: 28$ for a main and appetizer – Ahhhmazing!
Staff and service are accommodating, doting and friendly; and with every meal enjoyed at Tavern, you come to think of each visit like coming home. For me, a typical night at Tavern on the Square can go down in two ways: sitting on a banquet with a gaggle of girlfriends and being cared for by waiter extraordinaire, Paul Taylor. Or dinner for two at the bar, soaking in the awesomeness of Jon Cercone, manager and all around hilarious guy. Along with being an ardent reader of the Westmount Independent (#coolstorybro), Jon is also really passionate about his curated wine selection. He will enthusiastically find you something tailored to your pallet if you put him to the test – so definitely take him up on his recommendations!
What else can I say, Tavern on the Square is a Montreal staple. It’s always really busy and always really good. So check out DINR to see if they have a reservation available for tonight.
Dinner service is available from 6:00 pm Monday to Friday, and from 5:30 pm on Saturday.