Just like every year, enRoute magazine has just announced its list of Top New Restaurants in Canada. Last year, one of the top 10 winners on that list – and deservedly so – was Van Horne restaurant.
This tiny 40-seat restaurant on Van Horne street in the heart of the Outremont neighbourhood in Montreal packs a really big punch. I had been invited to its opening and knew back then that it was something special. It took me a while to make my way back there but I finally manage to do so on a hot and rainy night a few weeks ago.
Van Horne’s decor is simple, choosing instead to focus on the amazing art pieces adorning its walls, notably some silkscreened plates by Roy Lichtenstein and an intricate artifact from Expo 67. The massive totem pole at the back of the small space separates the main dining room from the bar area at the rear of which is the opening to the minuscule kitchen. On any given night, chef Eloi Dion is busily working his tiny kitchen and putting together plates that are as beautiful and as fine as the art on the walls.
The menu at Van Horne is market-driven and consists of 4 appetizers and 4 main courses. It was the height of tomato season when I visited and my appetizer of heirloom tomatoes and sunflowers was bursting with flavour and absolutely delicious. The complementary dish of snow crab, cucumber, yogurt and lime that the chef sent to our table was an exquisite and refreshing surprise on a hot and humid night.
It was dark in the restaurant and my pictures do not do justice to the fine plates we were served. Every dish was exquisitely plated, in bursts of colours, flavours and textures, all perfectly balanced. The main meals are generous yet will not weigh you down. The chef’s light touch is felt in every dish, including the desserts, some of which are deliciously whimsical, like the strawberry verrine that arrives filled with chocolate “bubbles” that instantly fills you with wonder and makes you feel like a 4-year old.
I do believe that this little gem of a restaurant is one of the best fine dining establishments in Montreal these days and if you haven’t been yet, then hurry up and reserve your table. They are participating in TASTE MTL November 1st to 11th, and if you’re lucky, you may still snag a seat.
Van Horne Restaurant
1268 Van Horne Avenue
+1 514 508 0828
Tuesday – Saturday: 5pm – 10:30pm