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Jul 11, 2007 10:30 AM

More potentially annoying Montreal questions...

I’m bringing the wife to Montreal for her 30th birthday for a long weekend (this weekend) and I think I’ve done a pretty good job going through the board to avoid asking repeat questions. That said, we’re staying at the Omni Mont-Royal and, more than likely, we’ll walk ALL over the city. We’re walkers. I don’t know how far we’ll stray, but we’ll be in Old Montreal and various shopping areas across the city (which is not to say if someone has a ‘can’t miss’ place in the underground city we don’t want to hear about it).

I’m looking for a few “reasonable” places for lunch and dinners (the expensive ones are covered very well on this board), I’d ideally like to find a few places that serve some sort of simple fare (preferably French, preferably with non/redmeat options) for around $10/$20 (take your pick US/Canadian at this point) for dinner (oops, almost said entrée). Also, looking for good sandwich/salad places for lunch or simple dinner, less than $10 ideally.

I know that Vietnamese or Chinese is very good in Montreal, but we’ve lived in Boston and Philadelphia where we can get very good examples of both.

I would, however, like to try some great Lebanese food. I’ve only been to one Lebanese restaurant in my life and it was really, really great. It appears to be well-covered in Montreal.
Any recommendations there would be very much appreciated.

Also, could someone please describe to me the top 3 or so places to get an almond croissant and/or a chocolate almond croissant? Preferably around our hotel? Or good breakfast pastry places in that area in general?

Thank you in advance. The next time any of you are in Philadelphia allow me to point you towards some places that elevate the art of sandwich making to poetry.

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  1. I just had dinner at a fine Bistro, L'Express, on Saint Denis this past weekend. Wonderful Risotto with Lobster. Great salad. Check out its reviews on the 'net including the NY Times review on dining in Montreal.

    1. Not too far from your hotel Cafe Artjava has excellent sandwiches and wonderful coffee.

      Restaurant Sur Bleury in the Quartier International has excellent sandwiches and light lunch fare.

      I love the sandwiches at Casa Del Popolo. Their terasse is very nice, too. It's a vegetarian restaurant/bar/music venue.

      And speaking of vegetarian, vegan restaurant Aux Vivres make some excellent sandwiches. Thay also make their own chapati.

      That should keep you in sanwiches and salads for a few days.

      Caffe ArtJava
      645 Avenue Du President-Kennedy, Montreal, QC H3A, CA

      Sur Bleury
      1067 Rue De Bleury, Montreal, QC H2Z1N1, CA

      Casa del Popolo
      4871 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R6, CA

      Aux Vivres
      4631 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R2, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: SnackHappy

        Oh, I forgot about Titanic. It's not mentionned very often, but it's one of my favourite lunch spots in Old-Montreal. Everything there is fresh-fresh-fresh, and tasty. It's not cheap though. Count 20+$ per person for lunch. The owners also operate Cluny Artbar, wich has a similar menu.

        In the same league is Le Cartet. Their food is somewhat Frenchish, but more like comfort food. It's also a gourmet shop and sells some good pastry.

        On the plateau, for a really cheap yummy Polish food, I love Mazurka. It's about the only place on Prince-Arthur that'S worth a try.

        Further up Saint-Laurent, you'll find Mex-I, probably the best taqueria in town.

        Even further up and east is La Chilenita. They make good chilean empanadas, good Barros Luco and Completo and a killer Burritto.

        More chilean empanadas and salds can be had Sandwichmania on St-Laurent near Rachel.

        And on the corner of Rachel and St-Laurent is Papati-Patata, one of the best and unique snack bars in town.

        We should just have a sticky for this or write a restaurant guide and make some money with this.

        445 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montreal, QC H2Y2M8, CA

        257 Rue Prince, Montreal, QC H3C2N4, CA

        Le Cartet
        106 Rue McGill, Montreal, QC H2Y, CA

        Mexi-I Mfg & Trading Ltd
        3820 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1X6, CA

        La Chilenita
        152 Rue Napoleon, Montreal, QC H2W, CA

        4120 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1Y8, CA

        Patati Patata friterie de luxe
        4177 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1Y7, CA

      2. The only way you're going to find decent French (especially downtown) at those kinds of prices is by going for lunch. Sorry, but it's a fact of life. Leméac's $22 post-10 pm menu (app, main and coffee/tea) is about as close as you'll come both price and location-wise.

        Almond croissants: Again, downtown limits your choices. And I'm hardly an expert. You might try MBCo on Stanley, Au Pain Doré on Peel and Première Moisson in the underground passageway between Central Station and Place Ville Marie. If I'm not mistaken, Caffè ArtJava also offers them. In Old Montreal, try Claude Postel and, I believe, Olive & Gourmando. On Park Ave. Between Sherbrooke and Milton, there's Patisserie Belge (probably not world-class but I have a soft spot for them since they were my first ever ACs). Don't recall seeing a chocolate-almond croissant anywhere.

        Lebanese/Syrian: Le Petit Alep or fancier Alep, a stone's throw from the Jean Talon market, are your best bets. Boustan, downtown on Crescent north of de Maisonneuve, has a lot of fans on this board; I agree that their chicken shawarma (aka shish taouk) sandwhich is excellent though nothing else I've tried has been better than run of the mill and the place is in serious need of steam-cleaning. Aux Lilas on Park Ave. north of St-Viateur turns out some fine homestyle Lebanese cooking (or used to; haven't been in quite a while). Further afield are the two Daou locations (519 Faillon East in the Villeray district and 2373 Marcel Laurin in Saint-Laurent) and excellent Lebanese pastry shops. See:

        Lunch: In addition to SnackHappy's excellent suggestions, Café Rumy in the basement of the Ogilvy complex (Ste-Catherine and de la Montaigne), Cuisine Bangkok in the Faubourg Ste-Catherine (Ste-Catherine west of Guy) and, in Old Montreal, Olive + Gourmando.

        17 Replies
        1. re: carswell

          "Don't recall seeing a chocolate-almond croissant anywhere."

          The OP probably means chocolatine aux amandes, which may or may not be a croissant, strictly speaking (they certainly lack the eponymous shape). I have them at Autour d'un Pain occasionally but they're nothing special.

          1. re: carswell

            Chocolate almond can actually be found on Laurier East at Fromentier as well as les Saveur du Plateau, the latter being the best IMHO. Both are located on Laurier Est between De Lanaudière and Fabre.

            1. re: carswell

              Ok, removing the qualifier of 'near our hotel', where would you say the best almond croissant is?

              1. re: joypirate

                As I said, I'm not an expert. Were I on a quest, places I'd check would include, first, Fous desserts followed by Duc de Lorraine, Olive & Gourmando (assuming they make them), Claude Postel, Le Paltoquet, Lescurier Tradition Gourmande and the aforementioned Les saveurs du Plateau and Fromentier. Don't know what Pâtisserie St-Louis de France is up to these days, but I might drop by there too. There are bound to be others. Maybe somebody who knows will chime in.

                1. re: carswell

                  The best almond croissant and chocolatine I've tried are at Les Co'Pains d'Abord on Mont-Royal, just west of de Lorimier. Those at le Fromentier are too hit and miss, and should be overlooked in favour of their other offerings (my personal favourites are their chocolate basque and l'agrumier). Les Saveurs du Plateau's AC suffered from humid weather, I suspect, when I tried it, so my experience was not typical, and I've yet to try Fous Desserts for anything besides their admittedly delicious cakes. Olive et Gourmando's almond croissant was very good, but there was too little of it to justify the 3 dollar price tag. That said, I would readily fork out my soul for their chocolate banana brioche or my heart for their palmier (haven't had the time to try anything else). Near your hotel, however, I would rate Premiere Moisson as your best bet.

                  1. re: JQReid

                    are the premiere moissons different from each other? Inspired by this thread i stopped by the one on sherbrook and (almost) cote des neiges to get an almond chocolatine, but i took one look at the ones they had on offer and changed my mind. They were way over baked (dark brown), and the fillings had run out of the chocolatine and were charred. I don't know about you guys, but chocolate burnt black is not something i like to eat.

                    I had previously gotten a cake from the one in Marche atwater and it was a huge dissapointment. Very pretty to look at, just don't try eating it.

                    1. re: hala

                      Don't know about PM but big sellers (regular baguettes, for example, tho' not the 36 heures baguettes) are delivered half-baked to some Au pain doré outlets and finished on site. I wonder if that's what's going on here.

                      As a rule, the pastries -- as opposed to the breads -- at both chains look better than they taste.

                      1. re: carswell

                        I believe that the principle at Premiere Moisson is that every bakery is run by an artisan-baker following corporate specifications. Most if not all items are baked on-site, so there is a variation between outlets. The items found in grocery stores are made in a factory.

                        1. re: SnackHappy

                          Interesting. The bread, croissants and chocolatines (+apricot pastries whatever they're called)at the PM in Central Station are excellent, I've never seen any burnt ones(!). However, the dough pastry is tough on the millefeuilles & fruit tarts/fruit pies, though the fillings are pretty good. I've also bought plain croissants at the Atwater market chain & they were good. PM wouldn't be a place I'd pick up cakes really.
                          PM at Central Station offers grilled baguettes with butter &/or many other toppings (jams, cheeses etc) in the morning - very good! They also have omelettes.

                          1. re: SnackHappy

                            We did end up getting an almond croissant at the Premiere Moisson on Ave du Mont Royal and it was very good, but not as much sugar in the almond-paste filling as you get in France. More of a straight-ahead almond taste which probably suits many people just fine. Surprisingly, Olive et Gourmando's was very weak, little no almond paste filling, more an almond-extract semi-paste worked into the dough.

                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              To my surprise I recently discovered PM breads at my local Dominion's here in Toronto's Little Italy. I've only tried the baguette but it was fine - nice golden brown crust and the mie was what would expect from a good baguette. Must try some of the other available loaves.

                              1. re: mrbozo

                                i tried a bread at an aunt's house and it was good, so, i tried a couple more breads :)

                                and, yesterday at a potluck, someone brought a cake from there (didint' think to ask which PM they got it from) and it was good. It was a white cake with fruit on top. I think i might get that again but i still don't think i will ever try another of their chocolate cakes. The last one was heartbreaking.

                                a few more potlucks and i might even gather the courage to try the croissants if they aren't burnt at the atwater location:(

                            2. re: carswell

                              "As a rule, the pastries -- as opposed to the breads -- at both chains look better than they taste."

                              That's what exactly Lesley Chesterman, Julian Armstrong & Ed Behr(in The Art of Eating 'Montreal' issue around 3 years ago) says. More specifically PM pastries.

                    2. re: carswell

                      I think that is Cafe Romy (!) at Ogilvy's.

                      I think you mentioned that Benelo's has their kitchen up and running and was pretty good if I recall your post properly.

                      Nocochi’s at 2156 MacKay for Persian pastries is pleasant.

                      1. re: Fritzy

                        "I think that is Cafe Romy (!) at Ogilvy's."

                        You're right, as well as the only other person I know besides me who eats there.
                        I've spelled it correctly in earlier posts -- e.g. -- and blame this brainfart on overwork and interference from Rumi. ;)

                        Will be hitting Benelo soon since I'm due for a haircut. Will report back on how the café's getting along.

                        1. re: carswell

                          I had Cafe Romy's tomato and basil quiche twice for take-out last week: delicious!

                      2. re: carswell


                        I think that is Cafe Romy (!) at Ogilvy's.

                        I think you mentioned that Benelo's (2145 Crescent) has their kitchen up and running and was pretty good if I recall your post properly.

                        Nocochi’s at 2156 MacKay for Persian pastries is pleasant (downtown).

                      3. The best Lebanese, hands down, is Daou. There are two locations - one on Faillon just off of St. Denis (which I prefer), the other in on Marcel Laurin in Ville St. Laurent. Neither are even remotely within walking distance of your hotel, however, but are reasonably easy to get to by cab. As for pastry, there's a Premiere Moisson on Sherbrooke about 4 blocks west of your hotel, where you can pick up something to go, or eat there (they even have a tiny outdoor terrasse). However (and you've no doubt read this already many times on this board) do head to Old Montreal and have breakfast (and/or lunch) at Olive et Gourmando. As for dinners, Au Petit Extra is around $20-ish per person (not including wine), or Lemeac (their after 10 pm menu), both basic decent bistro. Or Holder (in Old Montreal). Around $10 for dinner might be a little difficult to find, if you want French.

                        I'm sure others can add to this, or improve on my recommendations.

                        Restaurant Daou
                        519 Rue Faillon E, Montreal, QC H2R1L6, CA

                        Restaurant Daou
                        Boulevard Marcel-Laurin, Saint-Laurent, QC, Canada

                        1. Olive et Gourmando is the place to go for breakfast or lunch. Great coffee, cool atmosphere, and a wicked Cuban panini for luch. Coffee is among the best in the city, and most of the baked goodies are fresh and fantastic.