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If you had only one lunch in Montreal...

I have never been to Montreal and I will have only few hours in the city at lunch time between planes. Could you recommend a place that has fantastic food, a wonderful atmosphere, is open for lunch, and will leave me in love with your fantastic city. Am I correct in thinking that a bistro would be appropriate for my one and only meal?

Tremendous thanks for your help!

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  1. For Lunch, I would go for the classics, Lemeac, L'Express, or maybe one of the portugese on St-Laurent ( Jano's, ... )

    1. I'd go to the Jean Talon Market and graze. Or I'd go to Jano's too. Or I'd have a late breakfast at L'Avenue or Beauty's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Wanda

        I like the idea of going to Jean-Talon to graze. It might be logistically more feasible than most others, too. There's no need to rush your service or worry about lines or reservations, and the location is relatively convenient to Hwy. 40 (to and from the airport), vs. going through the heart of downtown or the Plateau and risking major traffic problems.

        Of course, this adventure does involve about $60-70 in taxis, no matter what the final choice...

      2. I second Lemeac. The Beauty's experience isn't what it used to be, nor is it particularly original to Montreal. Lemeac is solid through and through.

        1. L'express is good. La Chronique www.lachronique.qc.ca , one of Montreal's top five tables, has started serving lunch. That would be my first choice. Alternately, if it's in summer, I would definitely recommend some outdoor dining. There are a slew of very pretty patios on Bernard St. in Outremont. If I had time for just one, it might be La Moulerie (whose name is a sufficient description of what's on offer).

          1. Café Locale, on St-Viateur near Esplanade in the Plateau area, has a really yummy and interesting selection of meals. It's neither exotic nor run-of-the-mill.

            Actually, I recommend the whole Plateau/Outremont area for a great choice of places to eat.

            1. Tremendous thanks for these great suggestions! You guys are fantastic! I just wish I had more time in your city.

              1. Mas des Oliviers downtown would be a great choice for a weekday lunch. French Provencal cuisine. I usually have their veal dishes but I tried their Chilean Sea Bass a few days ago and it was superb! Their wait-saff is very helpful and efficient. Never had anything but excellent meals there.

                But cab fare from the airport to downtown is a flat rate of $35 plus tip each way. So count on something close to $80 roundtrip.


                1. I would go to Nation Burrito on Sherbrooke and get a big burrito for $6. The other suggestions are too pretentious for lunch.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: celfie

                    Celfie, did you miss the part where he is going to be on a layover between flights? I agree Burrito Nation is yummy, but I have to disagree that it belongs on a list of places that might be worth $60 + in taxi fares. Especially for an American traveller, who probably has better Mexican/Tex-Mex fare close to home than you and I can dream of.

                    1. re: celfie

                      >The other suggestions are too pretentious for lunch.<

                      Maybe for you. Obviously not for the hundreds of people who lunch every day at places like Milos, Leméac, Garçon!, La Chronique, Chez l'épicier, L'Express, Laloux, etc., etc., etc. And probably not for someone who said he was looking for "fantastic food" and a "wonderful atmosphere," an experience that would leave him in love with our fair city.

                      Personally, I find the idea of recommending Mexican restos to Montreal visitors mildly ludicrous. And, yes, I've tried the $6 burritos at Nation Burrito: possibly the best in the city these days but hardly worth going out of your way for.

                      1. re: carswell

                        didnt realize it was a layover
                        in that case there is a lunch counter in one of the buildings on stewart graham, one block over from the airport
                        he can have a poutine and grilled cheese sandwich

                        1. re: celfie

                          I'll bet carswell hasn't even tried the poutine at that place! :)

                          Seriously, celfie, please re-read the original post. This is clearly not a person looking for a simple lunch-counter meal.

                      1. re: Zabelle

                        I dont know...L'Express is more about the ambiance and the institution than actual GREAT food. I don't think that if you had ONE meal in the city, L'Express food would make you fall in love with Montreal...

                      2. true but, you could say that about many restaurants.