Running out of restaurants (that I know of)
My parents are coming to visit me in 3 weeks. I'm a student so I never eat out unless they come here, in which case, I take advantage of the opportunity, and take them to the best restaurants I can think of. I need 3 dinners and 2 lunches, at some new places. We have been to:
Au Pied du Cochon
Au Petit Extra
Le Club Chasse et Peche
Les Caprices de Nicolas
Le Mas Des Oliviers
Tsirco (It's no longer there I believe)
that's all I can think of off the top of my head. I don't want to go to a steak house, as we are from Alberta, and they get great steak back home.
I was thinking maybe Aix Cuisine du Terroir and Anise for two dinners. What do you think? Any other suggestions? What is XO like? Cassis? Area?
Area is very recommended although I haven't been there. It's french fusion food.
Ail Y'ail Y'ail
By all accounts Anise is a great choice. Looking forward to trying it soon.
Joe Beef is great in my limited experience, though there have been some dissenting reports. Plan on about $100/person.
Le Bleu Raisin is solid by all accounts (three visits for me, loved it all three times). $50-60/person + whatever wine you bring.
À l'Os is also a solid BYO, though maybe a little close to steakhouse for your needs. $60+/person + your wine.
Café Via Dante might be an interesting Italian option. Haven't been in a while, but I've heard the quality's still high despite some changes in format. Similar vein to Lucca, but not quite as upscale...except the sometimes-insane wine markups. About $60/person (if you're careful with the wine).
Niu Kee is delightful Szechuan. $20-25/person if you're an incorrigible glutton.
Garde Manger has been getting raves lately, haven't tried it yet. No idea of price, but I'd expect APdC/Joe Beef range, maybe a little lower.
We just got back from Montreal. Garde Manger is fun and very loud after about 9 pm (cranked up bad music from the 80's). The shellfish platters looked amazing. We did have some very fresh and delicious oysters and a steak frites plate. On our second night there we sat at the bar and ate very good garlic shrimp and a salad. Make reservations especially on the weekend.
We also ate at Lemeac. This is in Outremont and a classic bistro. We thought the food was good not great.(We're from the SF Bay Area so do have a rather spoiled view). It would be a good parent restaurant.
Another fantastic restaurant in the Outremont area is Orexi, on the North side of Bernard across from the Second Cup. Probably the best Greek food I've had in Montreal. The value for the food is amazing, with grilled octopus being my favourite, but the wine is quite pricey. If you want to try the best porc souvlaki in the city, ask the waiter if the chef would be willing to make you a souvlaki PITA, which is not on the menu. Rivals those found in Greece.
The best place you could eat out for one evening is La Montée de Lait, the best food and wine place I have been to in Mtl. What I would recommend you is to ge there and order food as for the wine let the waiter get you a selection of wines by the glass to go with each plate.
You should also try Robin des Bois on St-Laurent. It is a non-profit restaurant where the chef is great so the food is great and the service is very friendly. The ambiance is very bistro.
Add my vote for two restaurants already mentioned, Cafe Via Dante and Le Margaux.
Cafe Via Dante has always been our choice for an Italian meal. Service is always great, and the food excellent. Not your normal Italian fare, at least, not what I can find at home in Pennsylvania!!!!
Le Margaux is run by a young couple who previously owned Le Petite Margaux. They left Montreal for a while, and opened Le Margaux about 9 months ago +/-. I've been there three times, and enjoyed it greatly each time. The prices are very reasonable and they bend over backwards to please. (http://www.lemargaux.com)
I didn't see Laloux on the list, which I really enjoy as a great French restaurant. Has an upscale French bistro kind of ambience. They blend their own teas (unusually) and have an interesting selection. Also, their creme brulee is great. Their prices are a little high, but from your selection above, you don't seem concerned with that.
For a little out of the way, there is a great French resto in Rosemont on Masson called M sur Masson (across from the church around St Michel). Excellent food with great service. However, the resto is quite small - and the bathroom is literally a closet. For weekends, reservations are pretty essential for a party of more than two. I had some great quail there last time I went, and the first time I had an amazing seared tuna on garlic mashed potatoes on a bed of crab. I can't stop raving about the place. Their prices are more reasonable than Laloux.
I love go to the Primadonna on Saint-Laurent Street. This is my classic.
On Du Parc, Pullman is worth every penny for its culinary and wine tasting experience. A french twist on the tapas with special reserve wines.
For a BYO with extraordinary food, go to the Prunelles on Duluth. They serve a maple sirup cheese cake like you never taste one before - it is made with saint-honore cheese. And their appetizers and entrees are as elegant and delicious.