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Unbelievable rudeness at L'Express

I just got back from a trip to Montreal and had lots of good dining experiences (Bleu Raisin, Au Pied du Cochon among others), but had an absolutely horrendous experience with the host at L'Express. We arrived 5 minutes early for an 8:00 reservation and were kept waiting at the bar until about 20 after before getting seated -- no big deal, we used the time to look over the menu and were perfectly pleasant about it. We finished our main courses by around 9:15 or so and were thinking about desert when we noticed a group of women at the bar who kept looking in our direction. The host approached and asked whether we were planning on ordering anything else, since those women were waiting for our table -- he said if we wanted to order desert and coffee we should do it at the bar! Frankly, I was not inclined to move, but my companion felt sorry for the other party (who were not responsible for the poor floor management of the host) so we complied. The host did not help us relocate, apologize or offer us coffee or anything else for the inconvenience -- not that that would have made up for it, but it would have been gracious. The bartender was horrified and extremely apologetic, but I'll never go back there again. There are plenty of really good restaurants in Montreal and there is no reason to put up with that kind of inexcusable treatment.

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  1. ahah,sorry but it's a classic one at l'Express

    1 Reply
    1. re: wizpers

      yup...happened to almost all of us! ;-)

    2. I think they continue to do it because people expect them to! I went once and never went back because of that. Just a street away is Le continental. The service is not super, but at least they are not rude. It is just that they are not professional waiters and it shows, however the food is really good.

      1. I live in Vermont and go to L'Express everytime I'm in Montreal and have never had a problem with service or rudeness. The last time I showed up with my daughter on the wrong night so I didn't have a reservation, ugh! Right? No, they seated us anyway and served us very quickly. We vacated the table for the next couple and had our dessert at the bar. All in all they were great and the food was delicious. Sorry you had a bad experience, and there certainly plenty of other places to eat.

        1. That's shocking treatment. My experience with Montreal restaurants in general is that service is much higher than the American standard ... and I can't remember EVER feeling rushed to leave a table. In fact in a lot of the little restos there are only two seatings a night and they basically expect you to sit there for hours. I haven't eaten in L'Express in years, it's a place "see and be seen" but if I were treated like that, I would storm out and never go back!

          1. We also had a bad experience at L'Express a few months back. We were there early evening and the place was nearly empty but that didn't stop the waiter and staff from rushing us out of the place. They proceeded to clean everything off our table while I was still eating. The food was disappointing as well so I gladly let them take my last bites.