Re authentic Indian/Pakistani in the 'immigrant neighbourhoods', I've had excellent, authentic food at Halal 786 Restaurant, at 768 Jean Talon West, tel.514-270-0786.
One of their specialties is 'Lahori fish fry' etc.,-all that I've had there has been very good. And usually you can specify when you order the level of heat you can handle!
For Middle Eastern, your list should include:
- Le Petit Alep (191 Jean-Talon East, 514 270-9361) for lunch and informal dining and next-door big brother Alep (199 Jean-Talon East, 514 270-6396) for a somewhat more formal dinner experience. Delicious Syrian/Armenian fare, friendly service, smart decor and proximity to the Jean-Talon Market are all points in their favour.
- Aux Lilas (5570 du Parc, 514 271-1453), arguably the best Lebanese resto in town. Plus you can combine it with a visit to the St-Viateur bagel factory.
- Rumi www.restaurantrumi.com for Sufi cooking full of Turkish, Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian influences.
- Chez Benny (5071 Queen Mary next to the Snowdon metro station, 514 735-1836) for the best falafel in the centre city. Other kosher (including Chinese!) specialties. Closes for shabbat.
I wonder if Anise wouldn't fit the bill for the anniversary dinner. Hitches would be that it may be closed Monday, and it may be too late to get a table. Their website seems to have no info on hours, but there is a phone number and menu: www.anise.ca
Forget about Mexican in Montreal. Tiny Mexican population = nothing like the USA. Indian is not much of a strong point either. To get anything remotely authentic you'll have to go far from downtown to the immigrant neighbourhoods. (I'm not familiar with what's good these days, so someone else will have to pick up on that.)
Thai, like most Asian, is also weakly represented. However, there's an interesting Chinese place called Niu Kee. It's excellent and not the middling Cantonese-style fare found in most places. (514) 227-0464 / 1163 Clark
If you like Middle Eastern, I'd suggest grabbing breakfast at Café Byblos, an iranian place on Laurier East in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood. The food is good, the atmosphere is laid back as you can eat while gazing at people wlaking by through the large windows that are usually open weather permitting. Plus it's pretty cheap and there's plenty of good walking to be done in the neighborhood through the pretty little streets and on Mont-Royal avenue where you can shop up to St-Denis where more shopping can be done.
A good, and nice, Indian restaurant downtown (a walk from your hotel) is Le Taj, 2077 Stanley Street, Tel.514-845-9015(closed Sat.). You may want to check it out first at lunchtime, in which the meal is served as a buffet and is a great value. British beer on tap is available!
Enjoy your stay in Montreal!
Thanks for the responses.
I guess the breadth of my question is due to the fact we're both pretty adventurous eaters. Open to almost anything.
If I had to nail it down,I'd say our top 3 would be Indian, Thai and Mexican. I also love middle eastern.
Wine isn't a big deal, my wife is not a drinker, and I like beer.
As for the anniversarry spot I guess I'm looking for a combo of the 2, nice atmosphere and good food.
I will also certainly check out your 2 suggestions winefiend
Joe Beef and Ferreira are my two favourites,but Joe beef may be difficult to get a reservation since there are only 25 seats....and it's not a beef Restaurant..as the name might imply...Joe Beef was a colourful character in Montreal's history.
Ferreira is Portuguese, great food and atmosphere.
I suspect the lack of responses is related to the extreme breadth of your question.
What cuisines do you like? What kind of cooking do you like? (haute, bistro, rustic...) What is your price range? Is wine a big deal to you, and are you thinking of bringing some from your cellar?
As for appropriate anniversary spots, it would be helpful to know if you're looking for classic formality/"romantic atmosphere", or if the food trumps that (since the best food is not necessarily served in a hushed, traditionally romantic setting).
Whatever you do, you'd better be reserving soon.
(BTW, I don't mean this to sound harsh, in case it comes across that way.)