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VenusSavvy

Montreal Restaurant Recommendations

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Just checking in as I plan my eating for my three days in Montreal - actually four.  I haven't been to town for a while, need to hit up Joe Beef (personal reasons) and am staying right downtown with no transport except le Metro.  I want good European food and I'm on a budget (budgets are for breaking, right?).

Since you mention your budget, you may not mind stepping a few levels down in ambiance while keeping the food excellent. If so, I suggest the small French bistro L'Express, which is near the Sherbrooke Métro.
Also, any recommendations for good lunch spots near Place Bonaventure as I'll be dining and dashing in the middle of the day?

I can't speak for it personally, but La Queue de Cheval appears to be within walking distance of Place Bonaventure and is recommended in this thread on Montréal restaurants.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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Don't waste your time with Queue de Cheval. It's an overpriced steakhouse with a criminally overpriced wine list. If you're in that area, try Decca77 or Europea. Great prix fixe lunches, way more bang for your buck. If you really want the steakhouse experience, go to Moishe's on the Plateau.


Edited by rcianci (log)

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Hi all,

I'm reporting back after my all-too-brief visit to Montreal. What a fabulous city! Those of you who live there are truly fortunate! Thank you to all of you for your recommendations -I didn't get to everything, but your recommendations were excellent!

I don't remember just when I saw the Quebec episode of Tony Bourdain's show, but it made me immediately think "I need to go there NOW!" - then I bought the APdC album and watched the DVD, and it was clear that it needed to happen very, very soon.

I arrived Wednesday about 1 PM - my room at Auberge de la Fontaine wouldn't be ready until about 2, so I took a walk. It was a gorgeous day, actually hot, and the parc was really green, lots of daffodils, people enjoying the day. I wanted to see how far it was from the auberge to APdC, so I walked across the parc to Duluth E. I walked all the way down to st Denis without seeing APdC, then walked back. I'd forgotten - though I had heard it somewhere, that there's no sign. Well, it didn't much matter, because halfway back down the street, there was this fellow with wild hair and a couple of days growth of beard unloading stuff from his car - I said "Bonjour" and he smiled back and said "Bonjour!" - and I had, obviously, found APdC! That was fun.

I'd had a big (big) breakfast in the morning at the excellent Libby's Blue Line Diner in Colchester, Vermont - if you're dwn that way, don't miss it! I pointedly did not eat lunch. I had a cup of coffee and a slice of tea bread at the auberge when I parked my car. I walked around a bit more, and then checked in. It is a lovely inn, and I was on the third floor, with a view of the parc. I took a short nap and a shower, then changed and went to dinner.

Au Pied du Cochon is not a quiet restaurant. The windows in the front were open to the street, and it was clear from better than a block away that a lot of people were having a really good time. I spoke to the very nice hostess, but there was a problem with my reservation - likely because of my less-than-perfect French. She said "just a moment" and literally two minutes later showed my to a nice table in the middle of the room, with a good view of the kitchen. Chef Martin was everywhere, greeting people.

I've never seen a staff so earnest in the best possible way, and cheerful, so genuinely helpful, so clearly aware of the value of what they are doing. Great people!

First experience - that great bread. I had to be careful not to devour the whole bowl at once.

I started with a foie gras cromesquis. Foie for $3.50? had to be a good idea.

Wow!

I was drinking a mug of the fine house draft, and my waiter brought a little cork trivet with a small white china dish holding a single dark-brown cube. He gave me specific instructions on how to eat it. Now, I'm not a big fan of eating instructions, but this is the clear exception. Without instruction, you would either burn your face off, or spurt molten foie all over the table, or more likely, both. If you do follow the instructions, though, you do indeed get an "explosion" of foie inside your mouth, one of the best food ideas EVER.

Wow.

(Did I say that already?)

Extraordinary.

Next I had the apple and blue cheese salad, which was just terrific - a very large portion of greens, julienned apple, tons of fantastic blue cheese, walnuts, a simple vinaigrette. Simple and perfect.

Phillipe, who was aparently everywhere in the restaurant at the same time, brought me another APdC draft.

Ah, the main event! Foie gras poutine! Truly a crazed and wonderful idea, one that makes total sense to me in a sort of demented way. (hmmm) It is indeed delicious, and feels so wantonly decadent. The portion, I must say, is not as immense as I'd feared. I wouldn't want it with a lot of other course, for sure. I'd been anticipating it for months, and it met all of my expectations.

I had the poached pear with vanilla ice cream for dessert, and it was very good, but I think I'd rather have had another (small!) savory course.

A tremendously great meal, and a very good time indeed.

I spoke to the hostess on the way out and made a reservation for 9 PM the next night, and thanked her for a wonderful evening.

(to be continued...)


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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So on Thursday, I got reasonably early. had the good and healthy continental breakfast at the auberge, and went down to Vieux Montreal. I went to the Basilica Notre Dame,. which was quite fascinating, and the Pont Calliere museum, which I found less so. I walked up to Place Jacques Cartier - nice and sunny, lots of people, didn't look too promising for food. I took the metro back to Sherbrooke and walked over to Maestro SVP, where I had a nice glass of Sancerre, a dozen Beau Soleils from New Brunswick, and 6 others - 3 from Nova Scotia, 3 others from New Brunswick. I stopped at les Chocolats de Chloe and bought the triple box - some for me, some for friends - as well as a brownie to eat on the spot. It was really fudgy, with pecans and caramel flavors, just delicious.

I took a nap before getting ready for dinner, and watched some of the playoff game (yes, I did get Habs souvenirs - go Habs!!!). The night before, when it was so hot, it really looked like storms, and I was a bit worried about getting caught in a storm walking to or from dinner. I needn't have worried - it did storm after I got to dinner, and stopped when I got out. Very considerate!

Thursday night was really nice, a bit cooler.

When I checked in with the hostess, she led me to - YES! - the bar stool with the antlers! Too much fun! What a great place to sit - you can see everything. I switched to red wine, and had two different glasses in the evening, both excellent. I decided on two cromesquis, and the waitress again explained how to eat them. They are one of the very best things I've ever eaten, just an inspired idea.

I asked about specials, and was intrigued by the "pattes de rattes" - a fabulously rich, smooth, potato puree on a crouton, with flaked sweet codfish - was it really salt cod? - and a delicious, creamy sauce - finnan haddie on steroids, utterly simple, beautiful!

I had already decided that I needed to try the "duck in a can" so ordered that WITH the PDC mashed potatoes. The chef standing right there ( a little older than most of the crew, with glasses) asked if I knew what I was getting into - I laughed and said I wasn't sure. I'd never had celeriac before, but the puree that goes on the crouton (have to love a place that uses croutons this often!) is delicious. The opening of the can is both dramatic and homey in the best way - the fragrance is terrific! And al of that duck-and cabbage goodness upended on the plate! It is extremely rich, but stunningly good. Again, just a great idea, totally unique, made perfect sense.

No, I did not finish the duck or the wonderful, coma-inducing PDC mashed spuds, but they DID make a spectacular breakfats warmed up the next morning! Yum!

I'm frankly in love with the whole experience. I've been in many, many of the top restaurants in the US, and APdC is so much better in so many ways than lots of really expensive, swanky, snooty joints that ooze attitude. Its warmth and cheerfulness, generosity, conviviality are the greatest I've ever seen in any restaurant, and the food is perfect, completely straightforward, thoughtfully imagined and executed with extreme care.

I think that the album is a great introduction - looking at it, you'd either get it or not. If you didn't get it, if your expectations were for a conventional dining experience, it wouldn't be the right place. If you DO get it, you need to get there as soon as possible.

Thanks to the entire lovely, wacky, beautiful operation!

I was leaving on Friday, and really wanted to visit the Jean Talon market. After my substantial breakfast of duck, foie, cabbage and potatoes, I walked up to Mont-Royal station and took the metro to Jean-Talon. What an amazing place! The variety, the richness, the quality are all superb. There were lots of veggie, herb and flower seedlings, beautiful fish, meats, cheeses...and of course, the splendid Havre aux Glaces. I enjoyed a cup with grapefruit and blood orange sorbet while walking around the market, and it was wonderful. (Sadly, I didn't make it to Bilboquet - but I'll be there for my next trip!) It would be a delight to spend a full day at the market, but I needed to get on the road. I took the metro back to Sherbrooke, walked up St Denis, got a gorgeous and not very expensive picnic hamper at Arthur Quentin (NICE store!), then on to La Banquaise for a last dose of poutine. I strongly recomment the poutine with BACON - what a good idea! It was perfect.

It was hard to leave this beautiful city with all of its amazing food, I will be back SOON! Thanks to all for your recommendations- all worked out well!


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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It was hard to leave this beautiful city with all of its amazing food, I will be back SOON! Thanks to all for your recommendations- all worked out well!

Sounds like a lovely time. You make me want to go back to APdC again soon!


"Bells will ring, ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting.... the bell... bing... 'moray" -John Daker

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Sunday evening I had dinner at a chain place called Les 3 Brasseurs (maybe translates to "The three brewers"?). It was a microbrew-pub sort of place. The choucroute platter was acceptable and reasonably priced, and the beers were surprisingly good. Maybe not a place to take a date, but after a nine hour drive I was not feeling adventurous, I just needed food. If you find yourself in the same position, you could do worse.

I had dinner Monday night at l'Express and it was very good, so add my recommendation if you are looking for the "French bistro" thing while in Montréal. In particular the steak frites was excellent (very, very beefy-tasting beef, flank steak in this case, I believe). I thought the Baba au Rhum was a bit dry (before dipping in the sauce, of course), but a decent Scotch list made up for this flaw, in my mind :smile:. It was jam-packed, and very noisy, but as long as you know what to expect, not offensively so. Beware the fact that the only signage is the tilework on the sidewalk at the entrance, so make sure you know their address if you are new to the area. This was not an inexpensive meal, so be aware that if you're looking for a bargain, this isn't it :smile:.

On Tuesday I went to Café du Nouveau Monde. I was not terribly hungry so my wife and I split a fondue/charcuterie plate, which was a bit uninspired, and the cheese was grainy. The taste was good, though, and it was cheap (which was the point---after l'Express my wallet needed a break before launching into ADdC). For dessert I had an apple tart of some kind that was good, and again, reasonably priced. This is probably a worthless recommendation since I didn't try any main dishes, but for the price, the quality and service were reasonable.

Wednesday was Au Pied de Cochon, which of course needs no further recommendation...


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I am thinking of a quick trip to Montreal and would love some suggestions. I have heard good things about the food but I don't know any details. To give you an idea of what I like here I some places I love in NYC: Jean-Georges (my fav), Casa Mono, Bar Room at the Modern, Blue Hill, WD-50. Are there similar types of places in Montreal or does it have more of a formal French style?

THanks in advance.

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Then here are some places you must do in MTL.

Bronte

Chasse et Peche

Au Pied du cochon

Brunoise Brasserie

Liverpool house

Joe Beef

i here DNA is also intresting haven't been yet.

For good food and fun (champange after 12:00) party style

Buonanotte

Globe

Rosalie

Cavalli

Garde Manger


Edited by Culatello (log)

Con il melone si mangia , beve e si lava la facia

My Nonno Vincenzo 1921-1994

I'm craving the perfct Gateau Foret Noire .

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Then here are some places you must do in MTL.

Bronte

Chasse et Peche

Au Pied du cochon

Brunoise Brasserie

Liverpool house

Joe Beef

i here DNA is also intresting haven't been yet.

For good food and fun (champange after 12:00) party style

Buonanotte

Globe

Rosalie

Cavalli

Garde Manger

No offense but Buona Notte and Globe and good food really don't belong in the same sentence. These are places for seen and be seen and the food is ok at best as overpriced as it is and would never recommend it to our NYC friend considering the list provided.

Au Pied de Cochon is a good bet so is Le Club Chasse et Pêche. Joe Beef and Liverpool House get lots of good reviews. Toqué is arguably the city's top resto. Garde Manger is hip and food is good. Also in the Old City, there's Aszu as well as Le Local and Chez l'Épicier and Graziella (one of the best italian).

For more of a wine bar feel Les Trois Petits Bouchons, Comptoir à vin Bouchonné and Bü are your top choices.

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Hoping to spend a couple of nights in Montreal and have a couple of questions.

1) Lots of great info in this topic. Anybody have anything to add? Given that that I'll be traveling with a slightly teenager and an exchange-rate battered wallet, should I just stop worrying and make a reservation at APdC? Anything similarly priced that's less touristy or just better? Also, an inexpensive cafe with reasonably priced wine and good people-watching would be appreciated.

2) Language: should I make reservations in my adequate-at-best French or politely inquire if the person on the other end of the line speaks English? I have been told that the Quebecoise can be prickly on this matter but I have no firsthand experience.

3) If anyone has a recommendation for a nice dirt-cheap hotel -- and we'll sleep anyplace without an active insect infestation or tranny hookers in the lobby -- we'd be grateful.

4) Going through customs back to the U.S. -- what can one bring through? We're headed towards a friend in a beautiful but culinarily-deficient region of New England and would like to pay for our visit in shellfish, cheeses etc, but have no desire to be strip-searched and arrested based on an illegal lobster.

Thanks.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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1. APdC is awesome, not really that expensive. You can eat there for 25-30, without drinks.

2. Make your reservation online, on their website. Or Gaelle will take them over the phone, and she speaks perfect English. Try to sit at the kitchen bar-you get a great view.

3. Inexpensive cafe: Here is a lunch time place in Old Montreal that I loved. Tomate Farcie was a complete lunch; tomatoes stuffed with a light veal, on a bed of great greens-with dessert etc. 13 bucks. In old Montreal:

Marché de la Villette

324 rue Saint-Paul Ouest

Montréal, QC H2Y 2A3, Canada

(514) 807-

Hoping to spend a couple of nights in Montreal and have a couple of questions.

1) Lots of great info in this topic.  Anybody have anything to add? Given that that I'll be traveling with a slightly teenager and an exchange-rate battered wallet, should I just stop worrying and make a reservation at APdC?  Anything similarly priced that's less touristy or just better?  Also, an inexpensive cafe with reasonably priced wine and good people-watching would be appreciated.

2) Language: should I make reservations in my adequate-at-best French or politely inquire if the person on the other end of the line speaks English?  I have been told that the Quebecoise can be prickly on this matter but I have no firsthand experience.

3) If anyone has a recommendation for a nice dirt-cheap hotel -- and we'll sleep anyplace without an active insect infestation or tranny hookers in the lobby -- we'd be grateful.

4) Going through customs back to the U.S. -- what can one bring through?  We're headed towards a friend in a beautiful but culinarily-deficient region of New England and would like to pay for our visit in shellfish, cheeses etc, but have no desire to be strip-searched and arrested based on an illegal lobster. 

Thanks.


Edited by roger desmond (log)

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I'm planning a trip, a casual long weekend, in late July. Montreal looks to have a food scene that can make even a Chicagoan like myself pretty happy, with a lot more good possibilities than I can take advantage of in a few days.

I'm looking for some feedback on two partially related, partially independent issues. My soon-to-be wife is a lacto-ovo vegitarian (meaning she loves dairy and eggs, but no, she won't pick meat out of a dish, or eat broth or things cooked in lard, and no, she doesn't eat fish/shellfish, and no chicken (or foie gras) isn't "vegetarian" :smile: ) And luckily for me, she isn't into the texturized vegetable protien "tofurky" scene or the "mashed yeast on brown rice with over-cooked carrots" self-punishment version of not eating meat. We're in agreement that two of the best meals we've had were at Green Zebra, Shawn McClain's mostly-veg restaurant here in Chicago. (The NYT review couldn't help dropping a vague reference/comparison to The French Laundry.) We recently had our first, and potentially only, visit to Charlie Trotter's, and while it was interesting and I'm glad we went, neither of us were blown away.

The first issue is that the menus I'm seeing on Montreal restaurant websites seem "negotiable" for a vegetarian, but most don't seem to have solid (or exciting) veg entrees, or many non-meat/fish options in general. (Hey, look, another mushroom/asparagus risotto, amazing.) We've got great ethnic restaurants here in Chicago (Albanian, Andalusian, African, Algerian, Bahamian, Belgian, Burmese, on and on...), so while "ethnic" can be a great solution, it would be nice to get some uniquely Montreal/Quebec restaurants in. The future Mrs. has determined that the famous poutine place has veg options, so we're very well set on that. We'd love some suggestions on non-splurge lunches and dinners around town.

The other issue is that she has said that she'll allot me one semi-crazy foodie dinner, even if it isn't very veggie friendly. I know that this means Au Pied or the Cabine for everyone here, but I just don't know if I'm really excited about that pork-o-rific/gout-inducing experience, particularly in July (and I'm not a big fan of non-sushi seafood).

I'm getting a little excited seeing stuff about some of the "tweezer wielding/foam spraying"* restaurants in town! Specifically Laloux and Raza (and possibly DNA). Laloux seems to be doing some pretty appealing things (not to mention the pot de creme). I've really enjoyed Chicago's latin/french specialists Mexique, so Raza seems to have some potential (plus, they have an anti-griddle!*). I haven't been able to find too much on DNA. MAS Cuisine also looks interesting (but it may be cheap enough to not use up my "big night out" card.) Anyone have feedback on these places?

My guess is that if I reserve well in advance for their tasting menus, they would be willing/able to do a veggie version for my better half - it's fine if that means pulling elements off their normal menu, plus, it's July - peak produce season. Does that sound reasonable?

After not being super excited by Trotter's, I'm hesitant about Toque - that restaurant which has been the "best place in town" for years, and may be still plugging away in the same vein. And XO (?) really doesn't seem like my style at all. Plus, it would be nice to spend less than that...

(*I'm actually making fun of myself and my excitement about this, but I don't think I can explain exactly how...)

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