Chef & Social Media Star Laurent Dagenais on Montreal’s Best Eats

Laurent Dagenais’ new cookbook is called Always Hungry — and you might be, too, if you ate as well as he does. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Dagenais was immersed in the world of fine dining from a very young age. His father studied cooking in France when Dagenais was growing up, so he visited the country almost every year, a budding gourmand rubbing elbows with the bon vivant.

When asked about his formative food experiences, Dagenais always comes back to one memory: he’s 12-years-old, eating with his father and brother at a restaurant near Pont d’Avignon in southern France. The dish? Cassoulet de lapin, cooked with mustard, in a pot with french fries. The entire sensory experience — the presentation, the smell, and the taste alongside the elegant French cart service and the incredible view of the bridge — lit up his brain and remains seared into his memory.

“I love the whole French manner of serving, with tableside service and all the old traditions and etiquette. It’s very close to my heart.”

Laurent Dagenais

“It might be out-of-date to say, but a well-made French classic is hard to beat,” says Dagenais. “And I love the whole French manner of serving, with tableside service and all the old traditions and etiquette. It’s very close to my heart.”

An up-and-coming star in the Canadian culinary world, Dagenais became a social media sensation during the early days of the pandemic thanks to his fast-paced and visually dynamic videos on TikTok. In fact, one of his first viral TikToks was inspired by this earlier childhood memory — and saw him cooking a dish called Lapin à la moutarde.

“We filmed it at a cottage in the woods where there was this beautiful wood oven,” he says. “It was two whole radishes, mustard, and some wild mushrooms that we picked in the forest just before.” The scene is illustrative of why Laurent’s videos have been so popular; the settings are ever-changing and always gorgeous, whether rustic cottages or rooftops in Paris, and he invites you along for the entire prep and cooking process (sometimes even the harvest), condensing the whole experience into highly digestible bites.

Dagenais says that his main objectives as a chef are to share what he has learned in the kitchen and to incentivize others to cook more for themselves. With almost two million followers on Instagram alone, he’s accomplishing just that. And the new cookbook, which is called Toujours Faim in French, looks set to inspire even more ravenous fans.

Where Laurent Dagenais Dines In Montreal

Where does Chef Dagenais eat when he’s not jet-setting around the globe? Here, we ask for his top hometown recommendations; the best mouth-watering, must-visit spots in Montreal. From authentic Thai food to fresh pasta, he knows the ins and outs of Montreal’s bustling food scene.


Pichai restauant table full of authentic dishes

Pichai has real, authentic Thai food. Great heat level, proper ingredients. We had a fried softshell crab – I had a bite and it was almost that moment from Ratatouille: suddenly I was in a back alley in Bangkok, sweating and enjoying life. We also had some scallop crudo which was excellent, and a whole fried fish. There’s a very good wine selection, and the server was very knowledgeable about pairing. As for dessert, we ordered the Nam Kang Said, which was like a cherry snow cone with meringue on top. Absolutely delicious.


Stellin restaurant serves food on a white plate

Stellina makes the best pasta in Montreal, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a hip new spot from the same group that operates the restaurant Fiorellino. Their menu is seasonal and that’s part of the reason the food is so good. They make a ton of beautiful fresh pasta every day, and they’re always cooking with the best ingredients, like fresh eggs from the country and high-quality flour. It’s all Italian chefs, and they do it right. You could close your eyes and think you’re in Italy.

Vin Mon Lapin

a chef at Mon Lapin

One of the best restaurants in the world, period, is Vin Mon Lapin. It has a terrific space on a corner in Little Italy, with a nice little patio in the summer. The service is super friendly, and they’ll help recommend the best possible food within your budget. They have a scallop sandwich, which is basically like grilled cheese but with mashed scallops in the middle. It’s amazing. They also do gnudi, which is gnocchi stuffed with ricotta. It’s like pillows of cheese, and so, so good. The chef, Marc-Olivier Frappier, used to be at Joe Beef for a long time, which is another great place that I want to shout out.

Park Restaurant

A table at Park Restaurant full of food

Park Restaurant has the best sushi in Montreal, by far. Antonio Park is an absolute legend in the city, and his place has been there for a long time. He’s basically the sushi don. He’s one of the only people who knows how to break down a complete 300 lb bluefin tuna. It’s amazing to watch. The food is a fusion of Japanese and Korean cuisines, and it’s always the best. He’s got fresh fish flying in nearly every day from Japan. The absolute boss!