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many suggestions for film festival week in Montreal needed

We are heading up from NY to Montreal for the film festival next Thursday-Tuesday (31 August – 5 September.) We will be staying at the Hyatt on Jeanne Mance (festival headquarters, right near the museum of modern art.) Neil and I are going, and we will be with (but not joined at the hip to) four other friends. We are unquestionably the chow hounds of the group; the others are somewhat more limited in both funds and adventurous taste buds, though only one is truly cautious. So far, we have only booked two dinners – Friday night at Brunoise for the two of us and Sunday night for all six at Au Pied de Cochon. We have been to both before and loved them. (PDC was a place we found via Chowhound, so thanks!) So that leaves room for 3 other dinners, 5 brunch/lunch outings and an unknown amount of cocktails/wine/coffee/bubble tea/ice cream, etc. etc. We are looking for:

1) An inexpensive, casual place near the hotel for Thursday night. Pizza or the like would be great. Basically, after the trip we doubt people will want to make any sort of production out of dinner, but we also don’t want to wind up eating lousy food court food.

2) A place or two for dim sum. Based on previous Chowhound recs we have tried Ruby Rouge before, and quite enjoyed it, especially the baby squid and salt shrimp, but we’re up for someplace new if there are other suggestions. We also went to (I think) Kam Fung once, but I think we were there too early, before the carts really got going en masse. So that might be worth a retry.

3) A place for lunch in the Old City, as we will probably spend an afternoon there. I saw the recommendation for Olive et Gourmando so that may be our choice there, but other recs are welcome.

4) Suggestions for a quick but tasty lunch in Jean Talon for Tuesday, when we will load up at Fromagerie Hamel before heading home. In the past we have just picked up this or that in the market and that has been fine, but we’re open to suggestions in case we’re missing something cool.

5) Suggestions for pre-dinner drinks, ideally not far from the hotel, or near the restaurant for that night. We would prefer that it not be a sports bar kind of place. We are all in our 30’s and drink choices range from a teetotaler to a homebrewer, the woman who only drinks Merlot to the couple with 50 cases of wine in the basement. If there is a place w/ drinks and good food, all the better.

6) Tapas or tapas-style food, fairly inexpensive if possible, so we can hopefully take advantage of the larger group to try 25 different things.

7) A good but not daring place for the rest of the group to go where we are at Brunoise. A good steak place, for instance, would probably be great.

8) Breakfast/brunch suggestions in the area, other than dim sum. (The guys really wanted to try a crepe place but we have never seen any, and I just read on here that they are passé.)

9) Places we might stop in mid-afternoon to sit for a bit during a break between movies (café, ice cream, bubble tea, etc.)

10) Any other places we’ll kick ourselves for missing!

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  1. 1)Amelio's a good pizza place about 15 mins walk fromt he hotel. Or Sur Bleury on Bleury south of René-Lévesque less than 10 mins from the hotel for soup and really good sandwiches.

    3)Olive et Gourmando is a very good option so is Chez l'Épicier or Garde Manger but I think that the latter is not open for lunch. Not sure.

    4)I'd say Petit Alep on Jean-Talon diagonal (to the east) from Hamel for syrian food of good quality a very reasonable price. or head to William J. Walter on the market for good euro sausage dog.

    5)Pullman is a wine bar on Parc just north of Sherbrooke that might satisfy everyone. A little bit further, on St-Laurent north of Laurier, Bu is probably Montreal's best wine bar with good apps.

    6)Pinxto would probably fit the bill.

    1. 3. Olive et Gourmando, Titanic, Cluny Art Bar

      4. I second Le Petit Alep, otherwise I'd suggest simply grazing at the market itself.

      5. Me, I'd just have drinks at APdC. Get the Cochonailles platter to go with. Don't tell your friends that there's pickled deer's tongue on the plate, just let em try it. ;)

      6. Tapeo, Ail Y'ail Y'ail, Pinxtos, La Sala Rosa

      7. I never thought I'd ever recommend Gibby's, but your less adventurous friends might like it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rcianci

        Actually, on my visit to APdC, pickled deer's tongue (yummy) was a separate appetizer. The cochonailles, as suggested by the name, were all pork-based. (And also yummy.)

        1. re: Mr F

          >>The cochonailles, as suggested by the name, were all pork-based.<<

          No doubt true when you were there but definitely not always the case. I've had cochonailles platters with deer tongue and chicken livers, among other non-porcine delights.

      2. 2) Kam Fung is pretty reliable for dim sum, but in my experience Ruby Rouge has a wider selection of dishes, at least on weekends. On a weekday, I'd take Kam Fung every time. There's also Lotte Furama on Clark St. and another place whose name always escapes me east of St-Laurent on de La Gauchetière. Only went once, and not very recently, so I can't say how it is.

        4) Jean Talon is still good for grazing, in fact probably better this year than last.

        And speaking of crepes, there is a crepe stand in the market. Not for breakfast, I know, but it's there.

        5) Cocktails for varied tastes: Café Méliès (3540 St-Laurent). Interesting by-the-glass wine options, various beers, full range of cocktails. Somewhat off your path, but not extremely so. The room is divided between lounge and resto. The resto is fairly highly regarded, though I haven't eaten there in a couple of years. Admittedly the decor is kind of pretentious-looking, but it's a good place to lounge over a drink.

        6)Tapas options abound, both classic Spanish-style and more adventurous, cheap eats to haute cuisine. Here I have to give you the infamous "do a search!" line.

        7) Make 'em line up at Schwartz's. They'll love you for it.

        1. 1) Café Lola Rosa (545 Milton) just a quick walk from your hotel in the McGill ghetto. Very tasty worlbeat food, some vegetarian dishes also. Nothing complicated, good healthy cheap eats.

          2) I like Kam Fung, but find Dim Sum in Montreal generally disapointing compared to Toronto or Vancouver...

          3) Olive & Gourmando (but be careful it is closed Sundays and Mondays) and I would also recommend Le Cartet on Mcgill College near Wellington.

          5) Definitely Pullman or if you want to try some interesting French Wines you could also try POP bar à vin on Pine Avenue and Laval. Both serve food but are wine bars.

          6) I still find the best authentic tapas are at Sala Rossa (a spanish club) but if you want something more refined and a little bit pricier try Pintxos on Roy and Laval.

          7) A french bistro like L'Express or Laloux would probably fit the bill. Both serve steak frites. I prefer the atmosphere at Laloux because I find the staff at L'Express a little too "Parisian attitude" (if you know what I mean...)

          9) Gelato at Pagliacci on Prince Arthur and if you want to treck up to the Mile End, I find the best gelato is at "Mile End gelati comme il faut" on Park avenue corner St-Viateur. The real deal italian gelateria, looks like nothing, has the worst name but tastes divine!

          10) Jolifou on Beaubien and Cartier. L'atelier On St-Laurent near Maguire. Both restauarnts are favorites of mine. Great food & atmosphere.

          1. Your message should be a lesson to posters who bemoan the fac that random "where should I eat when I'm in town" don`t get any responses. Thanks for doing your research first and asking specific questions! Now this is what chowhound should be about :-)

            Now for some specifics:

            2) I like Kam Fung for dim sum too. Perhaps it is worth another try!

            3) I will heartily endorse O&G for lunch in Old MOntreal. Chez L'épicier would be another good option.

            4) The suggestion for Le Petit Alep is a great one, but the market grazing often distracts me!

            5) A few posters have suggested wine bars - not sure if that responds to your request though. I agree that drinks at APdC is probably your best bet. As for the reccos, I'm not particularly a fan of either Pullman or POP. However, a visit to the Bu wine bar would be a great idea to add to your list.

            6) Comments on tapas places above: Tapeo (great food and atmosphere, a bit of an "in" place among francophone foodies at the moment), Ail Y'ail Y'ail (more casual portugese/brazilian/tabas - see comments elsewhere on the board), Pinxtos (basque-based, some chowhounds have found it a touch pricy, but I haven't been), La Sala Rossa (the cheapest option of the bunch - decor nothing to write home about, but the best value for money of the bunch - crowd is combination of Plateau hipsters on their way to a show in the hall upstairs, and spanish grandmothers settling in for the night with a deck of cards). Also - Le CLub Espagnol (again not strong on decor, but good vaalue for money, has a rooftop terrace in the back if it is warm enough, heavier on meat-based dishes than Sala Rossa)

            8) Yeah, I know you wanted in the area, but do try one day to hop in a cab and try Café Art Java on Mount Royal just east of St. Denis. Best coffee in the city, and lovely breakfast dishes as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam Ottawa

              I'd put Sala Rosa (Rossa is upstairs), Club Espagnol and Ail Y'Ail Y'Ail in the same league price-wise, with perhaps a slight edge to the Club because of the generally larger portions. All three can be a very affordable night out, and all three can also turn expensive (Ail Y'Ail Y'Ail most easily). None will really please the wine-os in the group; if that's a concern, the somewhat pricier Casa Tapas should be on the list.

              I mostly agree with the descriptions, and would add: Club Espagnol is truly "old school" in every respect; Sala Rosa is a bit more adventurous food-wise but still firmly Spanish; Ail Y'Ail Y'Ail almost denies the existence of rules, and also has the most unconventional decor, and by far the smallest space, of the bunch.

              If you literally do want to try 25 different things, then definitely go with Sala Rosa, which has the combination of menu length and portion size to make that feasible for a group of 6. If you'd be happy with 2-3 selections per person, any of the places mentioned will do.

            2. Oh, I want to cry.

              I just wrote a really long, detailed response thanking everyone and commenting on the suggestions with my own thoughts and as I was spell checking my Word program suddenly keeled over and died.

              I will try again later – in the meantime, thanks!

              1. I'd just like to put in a vote for the tapas at Pintxo. The tapas range from 3 to 6 dollars so it would be easy to have 25 or more with a group of six. They are small so it is worth having one each. There's also the option of having four tapas of the day with a main course for $28. Great ambiance, good service, interesting and chic tapas.

                If you've already been to Ruby Red for dimsum you could try Furama. Or try the delicious Szechuan food at Niu Kee on Clark above Rene Levesque, super hot and sour soup and very inexpensive. Vietnamese food is also very good in this city compared to many other places and we like to have the beef Pho at Pho Bang on St-Laurent, not far from Ruby Red.

                For a great lunch in Old Montreal you could head to Cluny Artbar during the week. Very hip design/decor and very nice roasted vegetable salad. Or on the Plateau, not far from Jeanne-Mance on Duluth you could go to Reservoir and have a great lunch.

                When you are La Brunoise you could send your friends to La Banquise to try some poutine. It's an easy walk from one to the other and at least they'll have something interesting to talk about!

                There's a good place for pupusas from El Salvador that is a quick walk from Jean Talon market, Los Planes at 531 Belanger Est.

                1. Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions! Here is what I’ve written up so far to take with us – obviously a lot will be decided more last-minute but I wanted to get reservations in advance for at least our Fri-Sun dinners. I started putting down websites/addresses but I need to finish up a project at work before we go, so I’m leaving my husband with the rest of the work. I’ll write again after our trip (or maybe during, if we have time) to give our impressions.

                  Incidentally, no one here recommended Bieres et Compagnie but I think that’s what our companions have in mind for Friday while we’re Brunoise-ing.

                  Thursday dinner:
                  ? casual


                  Neil and I: Brunoise 8:30PM 3807 St. Andre http://www.brunoise.ca/
                  Others: ? Bieres et Compagnie


                  Salla Rosa 8:30 PM 4848 St. Laurent http://www.casadelpopolo.com/salarest...


                  Au Pied de Cochon 8:30 PM 536 Avenue Duluth E. http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca


                  ? Pintxo (Basque – entrees disappointing so stick to the pintxos) 256 Roy E.


                  Petit Alep (Jean Talon, Syrian) 191 Jean Talon E.

                  Casual dining ideas:
                  Ruby Rouge (dim sum - better on weekend
                  )Kam Fung (dim sum)
                  Lotte Furama (dim sum)
                  Amelio’s (pizza, not too far from hotel)
                  Sur Bleury - good soup, sandwiches
                  Olive et Gourmando (Old City - possibly overpriced? Not open Sun. or Mon.)
                  Cluny Art Bar (Old City - very good roast veggie salad)
                  Chez L’Epicier (Old City)
                  Café Lola Rosa (worldbeat, good vegetarian) 545 Milton
                  Niu Kee (Szechuan)
                  Pho Bang (Vietnamese - beef pho)
                  La Banquise (poutine, not far from Brunoise)
                  Los Planes (El Salvadorean, near Jean Talon) 531 Belanger E.

                  Other possibilities:
                  L'express (French Bistro)
                  Chu Chai

                  More tapas:
                  Ail Y’ail Y’ail (adventurous)
                  La Club Espagnol (traditional - has a rooftop terrace)

                  Café Art Java (a little far, great breakfast/coffee)
                  Juliette et Chocolat (crepes)

                  Mile End Gelati Comme Il Faut (the best)
                  Havre au Glaces (Jean Talon)

                  Bu (highly recommended - good apps)
                  Café Méliès – has a resto as well - 3540 St-Laurent
                  POP bar à vin

                  Dieu du Ciel www.dieuduciel.com
                  Le Cheval Blanc www.lechevalblanc.ca
                  L'Amère à boire www.amereaboire.com

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: meg944

                    La Banquise is a great place to hit late at night, though it's probably at its busiest then.

                    I am not a big fan of Amelio's pizza. I don't really get why some people are so mad for it. The 5 cheese pizza is pretty amazing, but I can't imagine eating more than one slice and everything else was cheap (iceberg lettuce and shredded carrot is not what I expect for salad these days) and boring (several other types of pizza).

                    Lotte Furama is my favourite dim sum place. Get the tofu pudding with the jasmine syrup at the end of your meal!

                    As I mentioned in another thread, I love Caffe Art Java. Juliette et Chocolat is not really a breakfast place. I've never tried to go in the morning, so they may be open, but I don't think of it as a b'fast place at all.

                    1. re: eoj

                      Thanks for the tip on Juliette et Chocolat. I think for most of us, “breakfast” on vacation tends to be more of a 10:30-11:00 brunch thing, but I will look into their hours. I am not a big hot chocolate fan but the stuff I read about theirs has me eager to try it.

                      Since I have been spoiled by the wonderful NYC-style pizza we can get around here, pizza would not normally be my choice anywhere else anyway. But I think it might be a good choice for our group. Do you have another pizza place in the area you would recommend? If we do wind up going there for lunch or a casual dinner, I will be sure to lobby for the 5 cheese.

                      1. re: meg944

                        When I've had pizza out it's usually on the "I'm super hungry, let's just grab a 99cent pizza slice" end, which I wouldn't really recommend as a gastronomic experience. I recall having reasonably nice thin-crust pizzas at Prato. If you're not stuck on pizza, but you want something basic, you might try La Paryse for burgers.

                  2. Since this is the third time that Olive et Gourmando and "overpriced" have been mentioned together in a posting, I might as well put in that I don't agree with that assessment. Sure O+G basically sells soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods, but the quality of their products is well above hundreds of bakery/sandwich shops I've visited in the States. Personally, I don't mind paying a little more if I know I'm getting the good stuff.

                    1. I appreciate the comment – I got a lot of recommendations for the place, but also some comments that it was overly pricey. Neil and I, like you, are willing to pay more when it is worthwhile, but as we are traveling w/ some companions I wanted to note it – it may be an issue for them.

                      1. At the Jean-Talon Market, one of my pleasures has been grabbing a merguez sandwich or two from the little place on the West(?) periphery with the tables outside. A simple affair, but put together lovingly and very tasty. Along the same row is a gourmet goodies market (forgot what it's called, it's next to a Saucisserie, I think) that has a cheese department you might want to check out, especially if you love hard cheeses. Their selection of aged Quebec cheddars was better than Hamel's, as I recall.

                        A place in Old Montreal that no Montrealer will probably ever recommend, but I enjoy, is Le Petit Moulinsart, a Belgian Restaurant/Lounge at 139 Saint-Paul West street. It's total Tintin kitsch, and the food isn't so good, but has a great selection of Belgian and local microbrewery beers at an attractive bar and is a shrine for Hergé fans. I believe it only opens at 3:00, but it's great for a late afternoon beer and a munchie (decent moules, indifferent frites) They also have a patio in the back.

                        Along the same lines, you and your more adventurous friends might want to check out Frites Alors! It's a chain, but how many fast food chains do you know that offer cheval tartare (along with some great frites)?


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Gary Soup

                          As far as I know, the only worthy "Frites Alors!" is the one on Parc Avenue, but YMMV.

                          1. re: Maximilien

                            Parc is generally the best. I've also had good fries at the Laurier East location. Some hounds have good things to say about St-Laurent (an anti-boulevardier, I've never been) Rachel and Old Port are to be avoided at all costs. And even at Parc, it depends to some extent on who's in front of the frier. But when they're good, they're great.