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Brunoise or Toque

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Two SF hounds heading to Montreal and hope to sample great food including "menus marche". Of these two which do you consider the better for our "grande" dinner?

We are also considering for dinners:
Au Petit Express
Cafe Ferreira
Joe Beef

Feedback will be much appreciated. We think the Plateau area sounds pretty interesting. Any hidden gems we should know about there?


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  1. Brunoise and Toqué! are in 2 different categories.

    either you go the Brunoise way and compare it to Cocagne, Lemeac or maybe "Le Club Chasse et Pêche"

    or you go the Toqué! way and compare it to Anise or La Chronique.

    1. By looking at the menu, Toque seems less classically French" than Le Chronique. Is this true?

      We have reservations at Toque(I made them after posting). Brunoise will probably be done on our way back through Montreal after being in QC.

      Would you describe the different"ways" of which you speak?
      Lemeac is on our "long list" as is Le Club C et P.

      We live in the SF Bay area(California) and are big fans of Chez Panisse, the upstairs cafe of which is relatively more casual than downstairs but with fabulous food as well. Can you make a comparison with Chez Panisse and the above, if that helps.

      1. Arguably, Toque is at the vanguard of using local ingredients in dishes and is perhaps the most inventive restaurant in Montreal. In this way, it resembles Chez Panisse. Brunoise while a fine restaurant and an excellent value for the money have less lofty goals.

        If you are looking for restaurants unique to Montreal or that does not have counterparts in other cities, I would add Au Pied de Cochon and Anise.

        1. Don't know when you'll be staying in Montreal, but Joe Beef is closed during August. Also I assume you mean Au Petit Extra rather than Au Petit Express. I recommend it as a wonderful, charming, reasonably priced bistro. Skip L'Express and go there instead.

          Brunoise is more relaxed and informal than Toque. Though it is sleek and modern looking, you experience Brunoise as a warm, friendly neighborhood resto that also serves fabulous food. Toque is more the formal temple of haute cuisine. And while both are market driven restos, Toque is more focused on sourcing and showcasing local ingredients.

          I second the suggestions of Au Pied de Cochon and Anise for two very different, yet "only in Montreal" experiences.

          1. I did mean Au Petit Extra..it looks wonderful. Thank you.

            1. People will think I repeat myself, they will be right :), but I would skip Toque if I were you. We went there for an anniversary. We were a group of 5 who spent at least 150$ per person and were given attitude by the waiter. We are people who go out often, so it is not like we were eating with our hands!! I had a spider in my soup and did not make a big fuss out of it. The waiter did not even apologize to me. They charged me everything and did not offer me a drink or not charge the soup. A friend of mine who works in a nice restaurant said that was unforgivable. She said that my whole dinner would have been free in her restaurant. I would go to La chronique or Anise or le club chasse et pêche. However, I am beginning to tire paying those enormous prices for food. At the end of the dinner, it stays meat and vegetables.

              If you were going for l'express on St-Denis, I would consider Le Continental a couple of doors up north. It is better and a bit less expensive. The service is spotty at both places.