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Montreal, two questions (tourtiere & Laval)

Esteemed chowhounds. I've been enjoying all your posts while doing my research for my upcoming long weekend in Montreal. And, thanks to the advice I've received so far, I've made dinner reservations at Au Pied de Cochon. Also, I plan to try some smoked meat while in town (and have been reading the Great Best Smoked Meat Debate thread.) And, I'll make sure to try a Montreal-style bagel.

I am very excited!

In an article someone linked about APdC and poutine, they also mentioned tourtiere as being a Christmas specialty in Quebec. I did a search on tourtiere, but didn't come up with much much that was recent. La Binerie came up more than once--is that the place to go?Or, is this something the Quebecois (is that the right term?) only eat in their homes?

Also, I will be in Laval for a couple of nights. I probably will be tired from working and traveling and, sadly, won't have the energy to hop a cab over to Montreal to eat (I know, I'm a sad excuse for a 'hound.) Are there a few places in Laval you recommend that I can just hop in a taxi from my hotel to get to? I'm open to all kinds of cuisines. EDIT: Now that I think about it a bit more, I can't get French food easily at home, so, if there's a casual French restaurant in Laval that's comfortable for dinner for a single diner whose French is very bad, that would be perfect.

Thank you muchly!


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  1. I've never eaten a tourtiere - normal spelling, can have an accent - in a restaurant that impressed me. My wife's family recipe is great. There's great controversy about the origin of the name and the pie. Claims are that it was originally pigeon pie, or cooked in a turtle-shaped baker by an open fire try to account for the name.

    The basic pie is ground/chopped meat, often beef and pork, spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. That makes it seem like a fairly old recipe. Potatoes and onions can appear.

    So, as with Scots bridies, Cornish pasties, and the like, it's a matter of whether the spicing suits your palate. And I can't recommend any place, sorry.

    My favorite place in Montreal is actually a fondue place called Fonduementale - http://www.fonduementale.com/ It's on St. Denis near the Plateau. I love the Plateau for dinner, in summer (which this isn't) we'll just go up there and wander around until we see something we like. Lots of BYO restaurants there, and an SAQ outlet with lots of good wines.

    3 Replies
    1. re: HenryT

      Thank you Henry T. I've corrected the spelling of tourtiere in my post, although, I still don't know how to make the accent appear. Maybe that's part of the problem I had with searching...I was only dredging up old posts with spelling as poor as mine.

      The fondue place sounds fun! I shall put that on the list. Fondue at least sounds...warm. :)


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I am not crazy about Fondumentale, but I've only been once so perhaps I caught it on an off night.

        Things I liked about it: It's in an old house on St. Denis so the downstairs has nice ambiance. It's fun if you are in a large group and try a variety of things. They offer a wide selection of wild game and the seafood was good.

        Didn't like: The cheese fondue was just average and the dipping sauces that came with the meat didn't add much. Overall I didn't find it to be a great value. Our service was painfully slow (by the time they remembered to inquire about our dessert course they'd run out of the maple creme fondue).


        Alternate suggestions for French food or a Montreal-esqe experience: Les Heritiers, Au Petit Extra....

        1. re: maviris

          I've been to Fondumentale and that other place on Rachel. I think fondue and Raclette can be great fun, but it's never a great culinary experience. I also think that you don't get much for your money at Fondumentale.

          I remember a Burt Wolf show about Quebec where they visited the restaurant at the Loews Le Concorde hotel in Quebec City. The chef there was making some fancy schmancy version of tourtière. It was individualy sized and very vertical.

          If you really want Tourtière you might be able to find a decent ready-to-eat one and have it at your hotel.

          Laval is a desolate wasteland of chain restaurants and gringofied ethnic food. You might also find that it's quicker to go to Montreal from your hotel than to a lot of places in Laval, because the city is so huge and spread out.

    2. A little off the food topic, but - Google has smart accent matching in search, "e" matches accented e. There are at least three different ways for getting accents into web posting content, for example you can use & eacute ; and & egrave ; but with no spaces like this:


      or you can, on a Windows machine, use the charmap tool - copy/paste from it or the numeric keypad, alt-0232 is è and alt-0233 is é

      The entity method is usually the most reliable, as the others can mutate erratically, depending on a bunch of server settings. I have no preview button, so this may be mangled itself... Looks like Chowhound supports the alt- method but not the entities.

      1. Hi, here's what I found on the TOURTIERE.


        Also I remember a story told to me that tourtiere was made with meat from a bird called tourterelle (turtledove, looks like a smaller pigeon). It can be folklore. You know how stories change with time.

        I know there's the commercial tourtiere (meat pie) that you find at your local dinner or supermarket. But theres the huge and thick one called tourtiere du Lac St-Jean. Wich consists on a different type of meats, potatoes, etc.

        I never saw a tourtiere du Lac in a restaurant's menu.

        As for Laval the city has evolved to more than your local food chains. There's a few Italian restaurants with BYOW (bring your own wine or beer) on St-Martin Boulvard.

        One I tried lately is called OCTAVIO if my memory is wright. My pasta dish all pesto was very good. But the calamary wgere bathing in oil. Over all it was a okay meal. Very nice looking reataurant. And the waitresses reminded me of a seinfeld episode. The one with the big breasts!!!!

        You have also in laval a vast multicultural background.

        I'm thinking of the armenian pizza called AROUCHE (not sure spelling


        The typical Lebanese spot FREIHA (spelling) that only serves falafel. That was an amazing experence for sandwishes at this joint.

        Of course the greek restaurants.

        that's al I'm thinking of for now.

        3 Replies
        1. re: maj54us

          Great ideas! I couldn't find any info on the Octavio, but here's some info on the other two. These sound very appealing! I don't think we have much Lebanese or Ameninian food where I live at home, so, these might be good spots to try. You mention "of course" the Greek restaurants. Does Laval have a big Greek community? Those might be good restaurants for me to try, too, then.

          Falafel Freiha
          3858, boulevard Pérron coin Curé-Labelle
          LAVAL, Québec
          H7V 1P7 Chomedey Tél.: 450.686.2446

          Arouch Lahmajoun: Pizza Armenienne
          3467, Boul. St-Martin Ouest
          Laval, QC H7T 1A2
          (450) 686-1092


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            the greek restos put out a good spread. basic foods like brochettes, rice, gyros, greek salads and spanakopita, but the portions are always big, and tasty. at the least have a Montreal-style souvlaki pita.

            The Lebanese fast food in this city is also better than average. You must have a shish taouk pita or falafel while you're here. BOUSTAN on Crescent street downtown is a fast-foody but excellent Lebanese joint.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Drive-through lahmajoun!

              Wonders will never cease.

          2. I haven't personally been, but I've heard that some of the best french restaurants are now in Laval(not just in Montreal). Anyone with comments on the Phare du Nord restaurant(a seafood grill restaurant)? They do heavy advertising on Montreal television(not many independent restaurants can afford to buy advertising on television). Anyone with comments on the Blakks Steakhouse on St. Martin West in Laval(well known in Laval, & they will soon open a downtown Montreal location)?

            5 Replies
            1. re: BLM

              IMO ALL montreal (and suburbs) restaurants that advertise are not chowhound worthy. They are mostly style over substance.

              Check out the other threads, for restaurants that are packed because of the quality, not the advertising.

              There are some great restaurants in Laval, there are some threads you can look up, just not the ones that advertise. (or or St-Martin for that matter) :)

              1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                When I searched on Laval on this forum I only got 1 or 2 hits on Laval and they were quite old. One linked to a website and the link didn't work. Maybe I'm not searching correctly because I don't know the geography well enough, perhaps?

                In any case, if you have any links to the threads that mention that quality restaurants in Laval, I would appreciate it.


              2. re: BLM

                Blakks is actually quite good. I think it is overlooked because it's not on a main street. The prices are comparable to Baton Rouge but the food is a little better and the atmosphere is more sophisticated.

                1. re: hungryann

                  Here's the info I found:
                  Resto Bar Blakks Steakhouse à Laval
                  1695 Boulevard De L'Avenir
                  coin Boul. St. Martin O
                  LAVAL, Québec
                  H7S 2N5 Chomedey

                2. re: BLM

                  Seafood can be interesting! I wonder if anyone has been here yet?

                  Phare du Nord
                  1639, Boul de l'Avenir coin Boul St-Martin
                  LAVAL, Québec
                  H7S 2N5 Vimont


                3. Thanks, everyone. It seems like I've asked a couple of questions with some not-very-easy answers. If there's a microwave or something in my hotel room, maybe I can pick up a tourtiere at a grocery.


                  1. Haven't had the Binerie's tourtière but their other dishes are fairly authentic. (Not saying whether that's a good or bad thing.) You'll also find tourtière at various bakeries, which are probably better bets than the grocery store. Jean-Talon Market is likely to have the most options in close proximity (Au Pain Doré, Première Moisson, Prince Noir, Le Boucher du Marché and Les Saveurs du Marché might all be places to look).

                    As for Laval restos, the 2007 edition of Phaneuf's *Guide du vin* recommends three (none of them sound particularly cheap): Derrière les Fagots (166 boulevard Sainte-Rose, 450 622-2522), Le Mitoyen (652 Place publique, 450 689-2977) and Le St-Christophe (94 boulevard Sainte-Rose, 450 622-7963). Have dined at none of them (in fact, I don't think I've ever eaten in Laval period) but the guy's reccos for Montreal are pretty much spot-on.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: carswell

                      Derrière les Fagots was one of the restaurants that I did get a hit on when I searched Chowhound for Laval, so, that sounds encouraging, in the sense that it's probably a lovely place.

                      If you google Le Mitoyen, you get a link to the James Beard foundation, which, again, probably means the food is quite good, assuming the same chef is there.

                      I didn't find any obvious hits to Le St-Christophe in google, but I'm sure my hotel can send me.

                      My guess is, these places are probably a little too upscale for my one-night solo diner experience. But, if I have a lot of energy, maybe I'll try one of them. :)

                      Thank you!


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        By the way, what does Derrière les Fagots translate to in English? All I could get was something to do with aged wine...

                        Thank you!


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Literally, French "fagot" is the same as English fagot, "bundle of sticks." In the French expression, "behind the fagots" is a reference to the best wine, presumably stashed behind the woodpile or in the most remote part of the cellar.

                          Per Le Petit Robert:

                          "Vin, bouteille de derrière les fagots : le meilleur vin, vieilli à la cave (derrière les fagots)."

                          "Wine, bottle from behind the fagots: the best wine, aged in the cellar (behind the fagots)."

                    2. The tourtiere at La Binerie is rather specific - very dry filling, good flaky crust. I prefer their chicken pie. But you do have the advantage of being able to have a hot slice served to you and you can try some other Quebecois specialties like creton and pea soup. St-Hubert nearby probably also serves tourtiere. This is the kind of country cuisine you can get at sugar shacks - there must be some other options in the city! I had very good tourtiere in Val David, for example.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Plateaumaman

                        La Binerie sounds interesting.

                        I've never heard of creton, but, here's what wikipedia says:


                        What is a sugar shack, if I might ask?

                        Binerie of Mount-Royal in Montreal
                        367, Mount-Royal Is, Saint-Denis corner
                        Mount-Royal subway - Tel.: (514) 285-9078


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          "what is a sugar shack?" It's generically where you make maple syrup - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup - but also many "sugar bushes" offer dining and a tourist experience. The usual fare is pancakes and sugar pie but can be more substantial, to tourtiere. Sugar season is late winter/early spring - February/March/April. Look for signs saying "erabliere" or "sucrerie" and take note for a seasonal trip. If you scroll down on http://www.out-there.com/tpq00trm.htm you'll find twenty or so big ones listed. I see from the links that some are offering Christmas activities - and at least one offers "Tourtière de la beauceronne". Now, these are not in-town locations, they're out between towns.

                          P.S. in that list there's at least one "ringer", a producer of beet sugar!

                          1. re: HenryT

                            That is so interesting. We weren't planning on renting a car--are there any that are reasonable to take a taxi-ride to? Or, is that just crazy?


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Most Sugar Shacks are only open for a few weeks in the spring, but there are more tourist oriented places that are open year round.

                              The one that all the French tourists go to is Sucrerie de la Montagne in Rigaud.


                              You could get there by train/taxi combo.

                              I've never been, though, so I can't speak to the quality of the place.

                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                Interesting, indeed. Maybe we'll see if we can't fit this in somehow.

                                Thank you again!


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  If you want to find maple products, you could visit a store in old Montreal which the name escapes me where all they cook is made with maple sugar.

                                  1. re: Campofiorin

                                    There's Les Delices de L'Érable on Saint-Paul...


                                    ...And Sucreries de L'Érable in Jean-Talon Market.


                                    The maple syrup pie at Sucreries de L'Érable is highly regarded by many. Personally, I don't like their dough.

                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                            A sugar shack is what we call here in french an érablière. It's where the maple sirup and all other maple products are made and processed. It's obviously built in the woods surrounded by maple trees. During the maple season (roughly march and april), you can go there and eat traditionnal québécois food like pea soup, christ's ears (fried stips of lard), scrambled eggs in sirup , pancakes and other things.

                            As for Laval, my girlfriend works there and with her coworkers, shoe sometimes goes to this place : http://www.lesmenusplaisirs.ca/. She told me it was quite good.

                        2. St-Hubert does not serve Tourtière and neither do sugar shacks. Even though it is not the most sophisticated, Quebecois cuisine is slightly more diverse than that.

                          TDQ, I'm sure you could find a good Tourtière at Marché Jean Talon, especially this time of year.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SnackHappy

                            Marché Jean Talon sounds like a good option.


                            Jean-Talon market adress:
                            7070, Henri-Julien st., south of Jean-Talon st.


                          2. I've had tourtiere at sugar shacks, sheesh. Apparently you can get good tourtiere (or sea pie/six pie/ - google that dudes) at Boris Bistro. It sounds like a good bet, as it has a variety of game meat which is quite authentic:


                            I thought St-Hubert offered tourtiere at Christmas time, my mistake.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Plateaumaman

                              Boris Bistro sounds interesting!

                              Boris Bistro, 465 rue McGill, phone 514/848-9575, www.borisbistro.com


                            2. Actually, tourtière is meat pie whereas Tourtière du Lac St-Jean is closer to cipaille, the only difference being that the whole stew is wrapped in a crust instead of having layers of dough alternated with meat and potatoes.

                              As for the original poster, by all means, do not reheat it in a microwave. You should rather buy a whole one and bring it home and reheat in the oven. That way, the crust won't harden and will remain flaky. Also, a lot of people love it with a little ketchup.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Campofiorin

                                Oh, sorry, I misunderstood about the reheating. Some chowhound I am! Yes, that makes sense to reheat it at HOME, not in my hotel.


                              2. "ketchup maison"(a tomato/fruit preserve that is delicious) for the full experience.

                                I'm sure at Jean Talon market you can find a decent tourtiere and ketchup maison.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: C70

                                  Okay, so, I have to buy a tourtierre and ketchup maison to have the true experience! Very helpful, thank you!


                                2. DQ - Here's a link for Derriere les Fagots in Laval (I have read good reviews about it). There should be menu details:

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: morebubbles

                                    Excellent, morebubbles, thank you. Have you been there? Is it a place a single diner, who doesn't speak much French, could feel comfortable in?


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      I haven't been there, sorry. I wouldn't worry too much about being a single diner, I've had good experiences dining alone in nice restaurants. If the menu is in French only you can check some items with the server who'll explain them to you. Enjoy, DQ!

                                  2. The only good thing about tourtière is the Ketchup, even the good ol'Heinz ketchup.

                                    I dislike most/all tourtière whether it was made by my mother, grand mothers and aunts who are all wonderful cooks or from a vendor at JTM or from a supermarket.

                                    1. Just reporting back on this and my visit to Montreal; I ended up not eating in Laval, so, my apologies, that I was never able to follow-up on any of your recommendations. There's always next time, though!

                                      RE: the tourtière, I tried two during my stay in Montreal. One at the Cafe St. Paul in Old Montreal and one from Marché Jean Talon that I heated up in the oven in my hotel room.

                                      The one at the Cafe St. Paul was adequate; it was part of a "Christmas" special lunch that included turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, tourtière, and meatballs with gravy. Salad (or soup), dessert and coffee was also included. It was an incredibly good value. The tourtière itself tasted to me like a ground beef pie. It was probably heated in a microwave, so the crust wasn't as flaky as it should have been.

                                      My traveling companion had a smoked meat sandwich at Cafe St. Paul which, was not nearly as good as the one we had at Schwartz's (not even in the same league, really, we LOVED the smoked meat sandwich we had at Schwartz's and regret not having bought some smoked meat spices while we were there), but, again, was a good value. The service was friendly and attentive and the location was convenient (we had been at the Musee d'Acheologie Pointy a Calliere, which I highly recommend.)

                                      The tourtière that I picked up at one of the shops (sorry, I cannot remember which) in Marché Jean Talon was fabulous. The crust was nice and flaky and the filling was a lovely blend of meats and potatoes and such.

                                      In fact, my visit to Marché Jean Talon was one of the highlights of my visit to Montreal. I was astonished by the concentration and wide-variety of shops packed into a single location. The spices, cheeses, baked goods, produce, as well as the wide-variety of ethnic cuisines (numerous Middle Eastern markets, for instance) represented was incredible. I would love to have a market this exceptional back home. It even, in my opinion, outshines the market at San Francisco's Ferry Building in terms of variety.

                                      I especially loved the delicate and intricate chocolate Christmas balls, many painted with a shiny, red glaze, for sale at Premiere Moisson. (They had touriere, too, as well as wonderful jellies and honeys and syrups and such.) I wish I had a way to get those chocolate balls home, but they were just too delicate to transport. Does anyone know what those chocolate balls are called and if they are uniquely Quebecois? They were so beautiful.

                                      Thank you again for your recommendations. Obviously, I couldn't try everything, but I'm sure I will return in the future and try some more.


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Taking advantage of Chowhound's new photo feature, here are some photos:

                                        #1 Of a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's
                                        #2 Of the beautiful pastry case at Premiere Moisson
                                        #3 Of the grande boule at Premiere Moisson (sorry, this photo isn't that great...)
                                        #4 Of the tourtiere at St. Paul Cafe


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Also, we went to the cutest little snack shop/cafe when we were walking about Mont Royale--it's not amazing or anything, just a nice little stop for a coffee or a bowl of soup if you need to warm up on a cold day. Here's a picture of the sign in case you happen by:


                                      2. Glad you got to try a good tourtiere. Re APdC mentioned in your OP, did you get a chance to go, and if so, how was it? I haven't been yet but intend to go soon, so I'd like your impressions.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: morebubbles

                                          We did, indeed, go to APdC--I posted some impressions here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                          We really wanted BOTH the foie gras poutine and duck in a can, because we'd read so much about both, so that's what we ordered (to share between two of us). Obviously, this was extremely rich, which meant we were really too full to try anything else, like dessert.

                                          The presentation of the duck in a can is very dramatic--they bring the can, sealed, and open and plate it in front of you. Now, I love duck, but after the poutine and with foie gras in both dishes, we ended up not being able to finish the duck.

                                          If I had the opportunity to go back multiple times, I might not order two such incredibly decadent dishes at the same time--I might instead just order one or the other, along with something more moderate--so that I might try some of the other things, desserts, etc.

                                          We also asked the waiter to recommend some wine and I thought he did a terrific job of recommending something that wasn't going to be too rich, given what we'd ordered for our meals. My dining companion ordered the house beer, which he thought was fine, although nothing extraordinary.

                                          But, I don't regret ordering both the duck and the poutine since I don't know when I might be back in Montreal again.

                                          Have fun!


                                        2. I ran a search on the internet and it seems that tourtière is a rather generic term. In and around Montreal it's used to describe a plain and simple meat pie. In Lac St-Jean, where i'm from, it's more of a complete meal and it's basically kind of a stew comprised of what we call tourtière meat (a ground preparation of beef, pork and veal. during hunt season it can be moose, hare, partridge), cubed potatoes, onions and different broths depending on the family recipe. all this wrapped in dough and cooked several hours. It's really difficult to find it here and around montreal other than if you know someone from lac st-jean. there a restaurant though that has a pretty decent one, from saguenay though which is a close recipe the difference being the meat is cubes and not ground, and the restaurant is Chez Clo on Ontario street. I don't know if they're serving it throughout the year though.