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Montreal, 3 requests not recently covered elsewhere

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I've been reading the excellent posts in the threads of the other hounds visits to Montreal. I'm seeking a few things not recently discussed.

1. Artisan chocolate shops & good chocolat chaud places (not necessarily in the same location). I'm thinking similar to (if familiar) Marie Belle or M. Cluizel in Manhattan, with a touch of Li-Lac. Not gimmicky like Torres, or Prada-for-the-tongue like Richart (although they have their charms). Not flown in from Europe, nor Godiva, Leonides, Teuscher, LMC, Neuhaus, or some other chain I can find in NYC.
2. A neighborhood-ish place (not downtown) to sip good coffee on Sunday morning, langorously read the paper, have a bite of lovely omelette or fresh salad, and a bit of gentil people-watching - preferably outside, or with bright windows. Not noisy or hectic; not touristy. I’m sure there are a bunch – please say why you like yours!
3. fFne dining ($40 and up pp for 3 courses) of any cuisine that also focuses on organic/sustainable/locally-grown ingredients. BYO fine. Friendly and comfortable a plus – i.e., not pretentious about the ideology. Not “health food.” Do people still like Toque, Brunoise, and Les Chevres? What are some of the more recent additions to this slate?

I'll be staying in the Hotel Centre-Ville on blvd Rene-Levecque. Will willingly Metro myself great distances for interesting places (no car).

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  1. They did a rundown in the Saturday's Gazette a while back about my favourite topic ~chocolate~ I think i still might have the article somwhere around here.

    From what I remember and perhaps someone else on this board would know w/c artisan chocolate shops I'm talking about, there's Chocolats de Chloe and a chocolate shop/cafe (i think it's called suite 88 on St.denis) that serves all kinds of chocolate drinks and makes their own chocolates as well. Mind you I haven't yet been to these places. Just trying to recall some of those places in the article. Sorry so sketchy about the info but i'm sure someone will have much more detailed and correct info on this board. HTH

    1. Thanks for the chocolate tips Yummy. I am excited about my visit.

      So far the only firm piece of the food agenda is to hit Jean-Talon when I arrive late Saturday morning.

      Does anyone have thoughts on these -

      Breakfast Sunday and Monday. I can't eat bread or pastry, I like natural light and I like to linger over my newspaper with a few coffee refills - debating on the following short list:

      Caffe ArtJava ou
      Byblos ou
      La Petite Marche,
      Julia,
      Roumy,
      Réservoir.....

      And for the 3 dinners:
      Saturday - plan is Club Chasse et Peche, second choice either Anise or P'tit Plateau
      Sunday - La Montee de Lait, or Au Pied de Cochon if I don't have CCP on Saturday, or Lemeac or Brunoise. They all sound so good.
      Monday - Les Chevres or Le Bleu Raisin. Wish I could do both!

      So many restos, so little tummy. I mean time. Does anyone have a few thoughts before I leave Saturday morning (at the crack of dawn.) Thanks!

      2 Replies
      1. re: stjenkins

        Brunoise and Les Chévres are closed Sundays and Mondays. www.brunoise.ca/eng/contact.html
        www.leschevres.com/en/where_to.html
        I believe Le Bleu Raisin is too, though their website doesn't say. You can always call and ask (514 271-2333).

        For Sunday breakfast/brunch, Byblos best fits your criteria. ArtJava can be crowded on the weekend; Monday morning would probably be a different story.

        1. re: carswell

          Being at Byblos pretty much every weekend, I would advise to go early (it opens at 9) since it can get pretty crowded between 10:30 and 1, especially on sunday. We waited outside in the rain last sunday.

      2. I have the article that Lesley Chesterman wrote from the Montreal Gazette of February 2006(it actually from the wednesday Gazette, not saturday) where she reviewed 8 chocolate shops making their own products(among other things she gave pros & cons of each shop reviewed). No shop to her eyes made perfect chocolates. The highest rated by her was probably Chocolats de Chloe. Suite 88 didn't get lots of praise by her(maybe the lowest rated of the 8 places). The two others that got high praise from her were Pattiserie Rolland in Longueuil & Les Bouchees Gourmands in Old Montreal. If you want anymore information from the article just ask.

        1. everything you described can be found north-south between laurier and st-viateur and east-west between st-laurent and du parc - "mile end". it's not a very big area and it is worth exploring on foot - you wont have too much of a difficult time finding everything you could possibly want plus you get the satisfaction of exploration and adventure.

          1. Juliette et Chocolat is my favourite for chocolat chaud. Order the "Grandma-style" ("à l'ancienne" on the French menu) for the thickest chocolate drink you've ever had. They also have many different "vintages" of chocolate to try with various overtones and flavours. I've had a couple and they're good fun because they're served in a snifter with a chocolate on the side.

            They also have many tasty crepes (sweet or savoury) and other desserts to accompany your chocolat chaud.

            1. For chocolate, you could try Geneviève Grandbois http://www.chocolatsgg.com/

              She has a small booth at Atwater Market, but her "store" is on St-Viateur in mile end, close to many coffee "spots".

              For coffee sipping, light breakfast etc. you could try the Croissanterie Figaro on the corner of Fairmount & Hutchison (across the street from Rumi) It can get quite busy on weekends, so either go early before the crowds set in, or try on a weekday if you're looking for quiet. People watching would, of course, be a little bit more interesting on the weekend. A few blocks away, you have a few other café/ breakfast places worth trying: La Gascogne (french café/pasrty shop) on Laurier and Toi, Moi et Café (across from Gascogne) which has a nice people watching terrasse on the street. And if you walk up to St-Viateur there are also the Club Social, and Olympico (open da night) cafés. Enjoy!

              High-end dining options are abound in the neighbourhood. Milos, Anise, Raza, Chronique, are all solid options, however I'm at a loss as to which would respond best to your request of "focuses on organic/sustainable/locally-grown ingredients".

              1. Thanks for asking specific questions! Here are some specific answers:

                1. Artisan chocolate shops & good chocolat chaud places (not necessarily in the same location): The Gazette article referred to above is at the address below - but unfortunately the link doesn't seem to include the list, so I have pasted a list of shops below. My favourites are Maison Cakao, and Les Chocolats de Chloe.

                http://www.canada.com/topics/lifestyl...

                Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois
                La chocolaterie Gourmet Privilège
                La Maison Cakao
                Les Bouchées Gourmandes
                Les chocolats de Chloé
                Pâtisserie de Gascogne
                Pâtisserie Rolland
                Suite 88 Chocolatier

                2. A neighborhood-ish place (not downtown) to sip good coffee on Sunday morning, langorously read the paper...
                Caffe ArtJava - yes. Lovely coffee and food. Big windows if you can get a seat at the front from which to people-watch on the always interesting rue Mont-Royal. Definitely a neighbourhood place.
                La Petite Marche - not so leasurely. A few tables outside, but nothing much to look at as on a fairly out of the way corner. Big breakfasts with lots of fruit and veggies, huge so usually no wait, frequented by the "plateau" crowd nursing their hangovers from the night before. Might not be what you are looking for.

                3. fFne dining ($40 and up pp for 3 courses) of any cuisine that also focuses on organic/sustainable/locally-grown ingredients. BYO fine. Friendly and comfortable a plus – i.e., not pretentious about the ideology. Not “health food.” Do people still like Toque, Brunoise, and Les Chevres? What are some of the more recent additions to this slate?

                Brunoise is still and always will be one of my favourites. Check their menu at www.brunoise.ca. Their food is fantastic, and the service outstanding.

                Chez l'Épicier, in Old Montreal, is also good, and often focuses on interesting local (or at least Quebec) products. I also like that their wine-list is well-selected.

                Others will be able to provide better comments than I on Toqué (it has been a while). You might also want to conside Chasse et Pêche. As for market based BYOW, I'm a fan of La Colombe (french, but north-african influenced), but I know that others on the board rate the more classically franch byos higher.

                1. For chocolate, try Chocolantara on rue Mont-Royal near the corner of ave de l'Hotel-de-Ville ... Turn left as you exit Mon-Royal metro, walk across rue St-Denis and it's just a short couple of blocks down on your right. It's a one-woman operation, she studied chocolate-making in Paris ... quite nice. You'll walk by one of my favorite bars, Bily Kun, too.

                  For casually enjoying your coffee, try Les Entretiens at 1577 rue Laurier near the Laurier metro station ... sunny, friendly, neighborhoody, and veggie to boot!

                  Both of these are in the Plateau neighborhood - low on tourists, high on living!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bobierto

                    A little late but must make another vote for Chocolantara. We happened on the place during a recent trip and totally enjoyed her products. A nice little shop with some unusual flavors as well as standards. I remember the curry flavor.

                  2. Everyone - thanks for all the great insights! Have a res at Cafe Chasse et Peche for Saturday. I am printing this to add to my dossier for study at the airport tomorrow. Feeling fully armed, except perhaps for the possiblity that my flight is canceled by this declining weather! At Newark the slightest fluff of air and you have a 2 hour delay. (Hopefully making a dinner reservation at 7pm is not being optimistic.)

                    A bientot - Susan

                    1. Definitely P'tit Plateau (a BYO) .. but so small, be sure to make a reservation...only two seatings per evening.
                      For chocolate...Claude Postel in Old Montreal!
                      Enjoy Montreal!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: shopgirl

                        Second the motion on P'tit Plateau, great spot. AND La Colombe - one of my all time favorite restaurants.

                        1. re: Bobierto

                          Excellent choice le P'tit Plateau. You have to try it is a BYOW and you have to reserve