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one week in the Plateau ...

  • b

So, I'm staying in the Plateau for a week in August, and am ready to do some eating! I've only been to Montreal once, and did not do a very good job planning my meals, so this time I'm coming prepared. I've begun reading the boards and keeping a list, but would love some feedback on the list and advice about both the neighborhood and any other neighborhoods worth exploring.

The list so far:

Au Pied de Cochon
St Viateur
Petit Treehouse
Frites Alors



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  1. A visit to Jean Talon Market, especially on the weekend, should be on your list. Easily accessible from the Plateau by metro, bus or car. And since you'll be in the hood, schedule some time for the many food boutiques and cafés along Laurier East between St-Hubert and Papineau.

    As for your resto list, bistros and BYOs, arguably the city's best deals, seem conspicuous in their absence. Personally, I'd choose Jun I over Petit Treehouse. Gastronomically, Moishe's won't provide you with anything you wouldn't get at a good steakhouse in any other major city in North America. Frite Alors!, yes, but head to either the Laurier East or Park Ave. outlets; my last two visits to the Rachel Street store have been disasters.

    1. If I am not mistaken Petit Treehouse has closed its' doors.

      1 Reply
      1. re: eat2much

        You boulevardier. ;o) I should get out more. When did that happen?

        1. I just returned yesterday from Montreal. We stayed at a wonderful B&B on the Plateau, and we ate at Au Pied de Cochon and yes, it was everything we were hoping and then some. Mr. Oddcouple is a chef and we got to sit right in front of the kitchen so he could see everything. We ended up with 4 of the foie gras dishes, and I think my fave was the foie gras poutine! Mr. ordered the Pied de Cochon stuffed w foie gras- we took a picture of it, since it was so huge!

          La Banquise is 24 hr poutine- it is up Rachel in the direction opposite from Frites Alors. It is right across from the police station. Delicious! And try a merguez hot dog "all dressed"...

          Let's see... we always stop at Biere et Compagnie for a beer (pick from about 100) and moules (about 30 different ways)- always delicious- on St. Denis and Marie Anne (I think)...

          Sunday we tried Ouzeri, which is Greek food up on St. Denis and Gifford I think. Everything was soooooo good. Don't bother ordering the grilled veggies that they will try to sell to you- there is plenty with the main course!

          1. check out Psarotaverna Du Symposium on Du Parc between Fairmount and St-Viateur across from Milos. It is TO DIE FOR.

            2 Replies
            1. re: celfie

              Have you try the Symposium on Saint-Denis? I go there a lot, only been once to the one on Parc, but prefered the one on St-Denis. But maybe it was only one so-so experience out of many outsanding ones... was just wondering if you had compared the two!

              1. re: celfie

                Don't forget Lezvos, 1227-A Mont-Royal East, 514 523-4222. Excellent octopus salad, too, if not quite at the sublime level of Milos's.

              2. I suggest checking out one or more Portuguese places, as this ethnic group is very well represented in the area. As the notes below imply, grilled chicken is a big deal in these places, but don't ignore other specialties such as grilled everything else and pork Alentejana (pork tenderloin with clams). In the lower-end places, most seafood (especially fish) seems to arrive over-cooked, though squid, mussels and sardines usually come out just right.

                Recommended: Romados (115 Rachel E.) for lunch (the chicken is fabulous, but I try to avoid the sauces), or various dinner options such as Casa Minhota (3959 St-Laurent, next door to Moishes) or Jano (a couple of doors south of Schwartz's).

                Many people swear by Chez Doval (150 Marie-Anne E.), but I always found the service ranged from indifferent to hostile, as if the guys wished the damn tourists (including non-Portuguese locals) would give back their social club. If you go anyway, expect long lines and long waits, possibly even if you have a reservation.

                Chez Le Portugais (4134 St-Laurent) is a relative newcomer, and looks to be relatively high end. Have not tried it yet, but it has received some good reviews. It's focused on petiscos, aka Portuguese tapas.

                Le Roi du Plateau (51 Rachel W.) has its fans, and while the chicken is still very good I can't recommend it as details such as salads and veggies were quite sad last time I went (a month or two ago). Still, it's a friendly, lively joint and it seems there's always a long table with 15-20 people celebrating something.

                On the opposite corner is Portugalia. It too has many fans, but I have never been because, frankly, it looks from the outside as though sanitation is not a priority. Appearances can be deceiving and the place may well be spotless where it counts, but I have better things to do than find out first hand.

                Another place, often overlooked, with lots of Portuguese influences but a more North American-style menu is La Cabane (3872 St-Laurent). Here, you can sit quietly in air-conditioned comfort sipping a cold beverage and enjoying your meal as you watch the Schwartz's lineup inch slowly forward.

                For Greek, my fave is Philinos (www.philinos.com), though I can't comment on the others mentioned here (Symposium, Ouzeri). If you pick Philinos, standouts include the grilled Charlevoix veal chop, the moussaka (veg or meat options), deep-fried calamari, garlic mussels and, above all, truly divine grilled octopus.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Mr F

                  Mr. F, you'd be making am istake of judging a book by its cover if you'd never go to Portugalia. I know it doesn't look like much from the outside et even from the inside but it is clean and the chicken is AMAZING!!!

                  1. re: Campofiorin

                    I might give Portugalia a try, Campofiorin, next time I'm in the mood for that kind of food.

                    I've also heard they don't put chicken on the grill without receiving an order, meaning that all orders take 45 minutes or more. Is that true?

                    1. re: Mr F

                      Yep, you should actually call in advance to make sure you get the chicken for the time you want it. Last time I called, the wait was about 2 hours. Can be annoying but I really don't mind.

                      1. re: Campofiorin

                        Hmmm...I can walk into Romados during the lunchtime rush and wait perhaps 10 minutes while the line moves to the order window, and walk away with spectacular grilled chicken. (Here, they put plenty of birds on the grill in anticipation that as many people will walk in today as walked in yesterday.)

                        Is Portugalia really *so* much better that it's worth calling ahead two hours in advance?

                        I suppose I will have to find out sooner or later, but I'm skeptical.

                  2. re: Mr F

                    Well, you can strike La Cabane from my list of recs, except maybe as a place to stop in for a drink. Not sure if the problem is slippage on their part, or growth on mine. :)

                  3. I don't know if the two symposiums are related at all. The one on Parc has a new owner with quite the pedigree. The food is drop dead amazing and anyone ive ever taken has returned gleefully in large numbers.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: celfie

                      well they have the exact same logo and name...would be weird if they werent related..

                    2. Les Heritiers is a good choice for a nice but not too expensive dinner out. It is a small byob with consistently good food. A bit of a walk from the heart of the Plateau, but on a nice summer evening....

                      5091 de Lanaudière. Laurier métro.

                      1. Treehouse is CLOSED... i think that place was more for the image and less for the food.... (eeek didn't mean to offend anyone, but i would say be a bit weary of some of the restaurants in that area. but if pretty ladies are what you're after then thats where you want to be)

                        But if you head down to old montreal for lunch, (not sunday) Try Olive and Gourmando.

                        In the plateau i also suggest Restaurant Yo Yo on Marquette. Its a nice french BYOW place. Reservations necessary

                        Lemeac on Laurier after 10pm on the weekdays the Table d'Hote is only 20 dollars or so.

                        Enjoy and btw. St. Viateur is just bagels. Excellent bagels however, but its not really a restaurant.

                        1. At Au Pied du Couchon--don't miss the maple syrup pie. Foie gras on poutine is a favorite. Yum yum. Be sure to reserve or get there early.

                          Personally, I'd skip Schwartz's, unless you like that smoked beef (I don't). Instead, I'd lunch or have a late lite dinner at Jano's, or maybe try another Portuguese place down the street--grilled chicken, pork, pommes frites, nice beer--see the above post on Portuguese restaurants. And for a taste of Jewish Montreal, though it's more breakfast/diner oriented, I'd instead recommend Beautys on Mt-Royal, not too far from the park if you are going up the hill; you can catch a bus from the Mt-Royal Metro stop to Beauty's if you are not a walker. Mishmosh omelet, Montreal bagels, smoothie. Come early esp weekends to avoid brunch crowds.

                          Also, much closer to the Metro stop, I'd recommend L'Avenue (no credit cards) for a real French Montreal breakfast.

                          And I recommend the Premier Moison chain for a pick-me-up, coffee/pastry breakfast, maybe a sandwich--the one on Sherbrooke is esp classy, cafe au lait in a bowl, wonderful croissants and other pastry items. Nice pate sandwiches for lunch.

                          And I second Jean Talon Market, it's great fun (and much nicer than Atwater Market, though that isn't too bad either!)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Wanda

                            Schwartz's alone is reason enough to visit Montreal. Order your smoked meat medium-fatty.

                          2. I suggest Café Locale (cool stuff on the menu), Rumi (Afghani/Moroccan), Arahova (Greek), Café Republique (great sandwiches), Fusée (a great chicken place), La Grande-Mere Poule (especially for breakfast), and Zorba's Remezzo (Greek/Canadian).


                            1. noone mentions chilenita
                              this is one of the best restaurants in the plateau and a new one is about to open up on the main at st-viateur

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: celfie

                                You're right, Chilenita is excellent cheap eats for lunch, early dinner or snacks. But it's not really in a class with the "best restaurants"; more like great fast food.

                                In a somewhat similar vein, Chez José (173 Duluth E.) is a nice breakfast/lunch spot, especially on Friday and Saturday, when they serve a terrific seafood soup.