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Steakhouse in Montreal?

I'm taking a relatively large non-foodie crowd out for dinner in Montreal, and I've been ordered that we must do steak (of course, I would much prefer French, but these folks are not gastronomes). Anyhoo, does anyone have any suggestions for a fun, large group-accessible steakhouse that won't break the bank? I know, I know, I'm embarrassed to be asking . . .

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  1. Le Steak Frites St-Paul could do the trick.

    The one on St-Antoine is pretty big and easily accessible. Plus they are BYOW.


    4 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy

      A bit of a tangent, but do steakhouses in Montreal really use "Montreal steak seasoning"?

      1. re: Bill on Capitol Hill

        Not as a matter of course. I'm pretty sure I've encountered it locally only in delis, which would make sense since it's reportedly related to the spice blend used for smoked meat. In fact, it seems to be more popular in the States than here; US-based McCormick -- not a big name in Quebec -- appears to be the main manufacturer and none of my foodie friends, even the grill fiends, has a bottle in his or her pantry.

        Barry Lazar's interesting article on Montreal steak seasoning (aka Montreal steak spice), originally published in his book *Taste of Montreal : Tracking Down the Foods of the World*, is available online at www.montrealfood.com/mtlsteak.html

        1. re: carswell

          Montreal steak spice have seen mostly locally in smoked meat delis, but I've seen it on a rare occasion at Montreal steakhouses. Although at the Montreal steakhouses that have it(Moishes I believe from memory), I'm not sure they call it 'Montreal steak spice.' They might just call it 'steak spice.' From what I hear(not sure it's true), Montreal steak spice was originally developed for Schwartz's

          1. re: carswell

            Montreal Steak Spice is also really popular in western Canada (Alberta). It seems to have been elevated to the same status as ranch dressing in that some people put it on anything savory they eat.

      2. I'm reading the write-up in Voir, and if there are any non-red-meat eaters in your bunch, they can find cuisses de canard confites (confit of duck legs) or salmon. Vegetarians would have to make do with the salads and sides including green beans, a brochette of grilled veg or sautéed mushrooms.

        Actually steak-frites is very French; not all people on the other side of the pond are fins gastronomes...

        1. Maybe you could ask your group to take a look at the menu at Lemeac. With items like Hanger steak, Braised short rib, Grilled veal chop, Rack of lamb and Angus filet mignon your fancy food weary diners might find somerthing to their liking. Also Lemeac is a bistro so it's not at all intimidating or really that fancy. Then you could get your French food and they could get their meat and potatoes.


          3 Replies
          1. re: SnackHappy

            Yes, one of the classic bistros -- Holder, L'Express, Le Continental in addition to Leméac -- would be a good compromise. They always have steak in one form or another as well as plenty of options for the more adventurous. Of course, if what the group wants is a steakhouse atmosphere and all the trimmings (creamed spinach, baked potato with sour cream and chives, etc.) that you'll find on every steakhouse menu from Petaluma to Peoria, then a bistro won't fill the bill and one of the less unaffordable local steak palaces (Le Keg?) will have to do.

            1. re: carswell

              Matty, can you give us more feedback as to the type of group (business meeting, other), budget constraints etc? I suspect you want something that can be easily costed per person, but who knows, could be wrong about that (I've had to take part in organising such things in the past, with the complication of guests from several continents).

              I've never heard about creamed spinach at steak places; is that a US idea? That is not what I'd serve creamed spinach with...

              1. re: lagatta

                Yeah, creamed spinach is pretty much a U.S. steakhouse standard. Never cared for it myself.

          2. At the same time I'd assume this is a kind of business, association or corporate dinner, and understand the need to keep it simple. There are possible alternatives for non-steak eaters, and people with health concerns or taste preferences can substitute vegetables (at a slight surcharge) for the frites.

            I don't know if one is allowed to bring a vinier (bag-in-box) to a byow restaurant, when it is obviously for a large group of people and not for a couple getting horrifically sloshed. If not, there are wine logistics to work out. But it is a big saving. I'm sure St-Paul has hosted many such events.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lagatta

              I've seen viniers in BYOWs. Not at fancy restaurants, but i've seen them.

              1. re: SnackHappy

                Creamed spinach is a traditional side at Peter Luger's

            2. Depending on your tastes, Magnan's can fill the bill for fun and kitsch, groups and budget.

              1. Thanks for all the feedback so far. I basically need (i) an inexpensive, broadly appealing place that (ii) someone like me (or you) wouldn't be horrified by. So far, I would gather that Le Steak Frites-St. Paul or even Le Keg would fit the bill (I dislike chains as much as the next foodie, but I've never been and it seems reasonable; Hey - I've had good meals at Ruths Chris and Del Friscos). As this is a bachelor party weekend, BYOW would be a huge bonus . . .

                5 Replies
                1. re: Matty7

                  > Le Keg would fit the bill

                  I've been to Le Keg and personally wouldn't call it "inexpensive" (in fact it was pretty pricey) though the food was decent. They also didn't seem to take reservations (according to the person who tried in vain to book our party at the branch in Old Montreal) and my group had to wait almost 2 hours to be seated - so maybe it's not a practical idea for your event!

                  I've never been to Magnan's but why not check out the Web site or scout it out in advance (or send a local) to see if it feels right? It's a legendary place that's been around since the 30's, just a short drive or cab ride from downtown if you're planning on hitting the bars after dinner.

                  Wish I had other practical recs for ya but since I don't eat red meat I'm probably not the best person to give advice here. ;-)


                  Magnan Restaurant et Taverne
                  2602 Rue St-Patrick, Montreal, QC H3K, CA

                  1. re: kpzoo

                    If it is a bachelor party, I'd think St-Paul would save you money being byob and "keeping it simple, stupid" as the saying goes. Although simple, the menu doesn't sound dreadful (there are options for non-red-meat eaters).

                    I presume you have discussed non-driving ways for anyone who has overindulged to get home safely...

                    1. re: kpzoo

                      I know the Keg downtown (Place Ville Marie) takes reservations.

                    2. re: Matty7

                      I've eaten at both St-Paul and the Keg (in TO, yes, but I'm pretty sure the experience is the same). They're both very good, with pretty distinct pros and cons. The Keg will offer you more choice, in terms of cut, sauces and sides. Conversely, S-P will allow you, as lagatta says, to keep it simple: your choices are limited to entrees, and there might be a seafood (maybe even a poultry, don't fully remember) dish besides the eponymous steak-frites. As I said, they're both very good, but a case can be made for the Keg being higher quality, or at least the more upscale experience. No surprise, then, especially with the BYO situation, that St-Paul is cheaper. You also get unlimited (and they're quite good!) fries. But that's as far as vegetables go.

                      1. re: JQReid

                        I looked at the write-up in VOIR (local arts and entertainment weekly), and there was a choice of duck or salmon, and for a small surcharge the fries can be changed for vegetables (green beans, a brochette of grilled veg, sautéed mushrooms). But it is very much a K.I.S.S. menu.

                        Steaks and other things served with a choice of three sauces: Dijonaise, poivre vert (green peppercorns) or mushroom and madiera. Starters such as escargots, grilled shrimp, smoked salmon or a "generous" portion of fried squid. It is a "French" type steakhouse (steak-frites); none of the dishes mentioned on the thread such as creamed spinach - by the way that can be an excellent dish, made with crème fraîche, but googling has left me with some rather frightening steakhouse recipes incorporating tinned soup or cream cheese)...

                        Will try to think of other places for you - I'm not really a red-meat eater, except under duress from Argentine friends (I'd survive on starters and salad at that resto, quite happily).

                    3. I don't know if anyone has mentioned Moishe's Steak House or, for that matter, if it's still there. I know, however, that every time I was in Montreal I couldn't wait to get my full dose of not only great steak but also the garlic and ambience that came along with it :)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: DrBehavior

                        The original poster asked for somewhere "that won't break the bank". I don't know about you, but I would place Moishe's in the bank breaking category.

                        1. re: SnackHappy

                          It's all relative, what may break one's bank would be pocket change to another.
                          I can't see Moishe's as the place for a group just looking to have fun and kick back. I love the food myself, but the atmosphere for such an occasion...not so much. First anniversary dinner, maybe.

                        2. re: DrBehavior

                          Dr - My vote is the same MOISHE's is true Montreal!!!

                          1. re: DrBehavior

                            If by "ambience" you mean bright lighting and quick service (you're in and out of there in an hour) then I guess there is ambience. For a reasonable restuarant for a bachelor party weekend, it's one of the last places I would recommend. Stick with Le St Paul or Magnan's, or even Keg. There's even Le Biftheque, although I hesitate to even mention it (it wouldn't be my first choice, but it just might fit the bill here)...

                          2. Well this is an old thread, but I thought I'd put my two cents in...

                            Steak Frites St. Paul: Ate at the Laurier one, and it was very good! Very reasonable steak, good fries, and I love the fact that is is BYOB. Really makes it easier on the wallet, as I have a lot of wines that are great with steaks, and I hate that most steakhouses are a major ripoff for wine (200-300% markup...)

                            Re: Magnan: I have eaten there a number o times after a game of ultimate. The atmosphere is casual and fun, the food is very good and reasonably priced. I think it would fit the bill of "a fun, large group-accessible steakhouse that won't break the bank". I would have no problem suggesting it as a casual place to go for a good steak. Wine list wasn't thrilling though. Still, you don't need much to go with a good steak... I also recall the prime rib being quite yummy!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: moh

                              Moishe's.....although expensive is THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              1. re: MISTER_C

                                Oh I like Moishe's a lot! But it might break a bank or two. Especially if you want a nice wine to go with your meal, well, then 3 banks.

                                The other two suggestions (Magnan and Steak Frites St. Paul) will be easier on the wallet, but still provide a nice steak dinner.