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L'Academie on St. Denis

We're thinking of taking a large (12) group to l'Academie, the St. Denis location on the long weekend in September. They accepted a reservation but rather reluctantly which is rather discouraging.
Since all of us are 'out of towners', it is difficult to know whether the staff will be reliable about keeping the reservation open on a Saturday night.

With (apparently) 3 floors of dining area, you'd think it would a great place to go for groups. The menu looks interesting and certainly reasonable.

What do the chowhounds have to say about this place? Besides that it is related to a cooking school and the food is "okay" (according to an old thread on cheap eats in the Plateau).

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  1. The place is a tourist trap. The food is mediocre. The service is rushed. I'm sure they don't like groups because groups tend to linger and they like to serve as many people as they can in one night. There are so many better places to eat in this town. You can do better.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy

      I have phoned a number of places (my 'phone bill will be awful) and have found *no one* else willing to seat groups larger than 6 or at a pinch 8, on a Saturday night unless we come ridiculously early.
      Khyber Pass wanted us to come at 4 pm!
      Bazaar Anise wanted to seat us in their mezzanine but said it would cost $1800 (yes!) to eat there as a group.
      Cassis is also too small and Lemeac is too expensive because we won't be going at 10 pm. And so it goes.

      We have eaten in some wonderful places on other other visits but there were just 4 or sometimes 6 of us and price wasn't as important.
      With this group, the mains costing over $25 will be seen as expensive, although I know one can avoid ordering from the entrees to keep the costs reasonable. I was aiming for a total of around $25 a person.
      We'll be staying near Le Plateau so there are lots of choices.... until you try to reserve a large group!

      So what do you suggest?

      1. re: Paphos.SK

        I would try Bu. They usually have a long center table for larger groups. Their menu is small, but very good and their by the glass wine selection can't be beat. Well, they are a wine bar after all :)

        I find the atmosphere extremely comfortable and engaging. As a bonus, they're now offering a 5a7 special: three appetizers for $15. Add in a glass of wine, and you have a nice meal in my opinion!

    2. We just visited Montreal 2 weeks ago and found restaurant prices to be a bit higher than expected. If you are having difficulty finding a place and would consider something that's a bit more casual/nontrendy Terrasse Lafayette Pizza had excellent pizza, salad, apps and other Greek dishes - and it's BYOB. There was a group of 8 celebrating a?bday when we were there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: steeltowngrl

        Terrasse Lafayette is very good - I wind up there all the time with friends in that area, just as they wind up at Le Petit Alep in mine - though the latter has no room for groups.

        It is NOT an impressive space - just a notch over a greasy spoon, very plain casual dining room, though there is also a pleasant but unassuming terrasse. Lots of groups of families and co-workers go there to celebrate birthdays, office parties and other events. They are very friendly - it is a Greek place, and the fried calamari is usually excellent.

        It is indeed BYOW, and the nearby SAQ on Laurier has an excellent selection, while the SAQ Express on Mont-Royal is open until 10 pm but has a more limited selection.

        Perhaps others can recommend a slightly tonier place that also caters to groups that size.

      2. You could try Holder - they're pretty good about accommodating groups (they have a slightly shorter menu on offer for groups of more than 8 people, I believe). Au Petit Extra is also great for groups, as long as you reserve enough in advance to ensure they have place for you - their prices are a little closer to what you're looking to spend. Both places are large enough to easily accommodate a group of 12 on a Saturday.

        4 Replies
        1. re: cherylmtl

          Their prices would be much higher than they are willing to spend. The person is talking about 25$ per person and BYOW. Le petit extra and Holder are much more expensive than that.
          L'Academie is not a very good restaurant. It is a tourist trap indeed. You will wait in line outside and not be sure that they will take you.
          There is a greek place on Villeneuve called Le jardin de Puis(or puits) and it was quite good a couple of years ago. It was good food and BYOW. You could check this one out.
          Prices have gone up a bit in the BYOW's lately.
          I tried a restaurant a couple of months ago that I quite liked on St-Zotique street. It is called Da Enrico and it is a BYOW and it is Italian..not too expensive and quite good!

          1. re: cricri7

            Perhaps you read something that I didn't, but I didn't see it specified that it had to be BYOW, and none of the other restaurants he or she mentioned were - the criteria seemed to be a reasonable restaurant that could accommodate a group of 12. And Au Petit Extra will most certainly be under $25 pp for their prix fixe menu- unless they've raised their prices dramatically in the past few weeks since I was last there...

            1. re: cherylmtl

              It was not specified but if you want reasonable, the wine will make sure that you don't get a reasonable bill:( You rarely find bottles under 35$ and glasses under 10$ nowadays in Montreal. She was talking about 25$ per person and I know that when you go to restaurants like Le petit extra, or others, it is difficult to manage this.

              It is hard to get out of a restaurant now for under 60$, with tax and tips, so that is why I thought that BYOW was a solution and she was talking about L'Académie which is BYOW.

              I am sorry if you felt that I was knocking your recommandations. I just wanted to specify that the prices would be much higher than L'Academie. Sorry!

              1. re: cherylmtl

                Everyone has been really helpful making suggestions and it is really appreciated. Thanks!

                FYI, the price per person that I suggested as a target total was only for food (around 25$). I figure if someone in the group wants to have wine with their dinner, then BYOW is probably the best alternative but I wouldn't limit the restaurant choice on that basis.

                I am definitely put off L'Academie! It is good to have your insights, people, because there's definitely a valuable consensus here. Back to the telephone today. I'm going to check out Au Petit Extra and il Piatto Pieno and maybe Holder, if it is not too far from where we are all staying.

          2. You might want to consider il Piatto Pieno. ( www.piattopieno.com ) Although the food isn't great, but it is good. (I hope that makes sense) I haven't been in a while but I remember it being a really great place for large groups and is right in your price range.

            edit: It is a BYOW if I remember correctly.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Moosemeat

              Both Piatto Pieno and Da Enrico are BYOW, and both are rather old-fashioned red-sauce Italian - not bad, though - much better than L'Académie. Both seem to accomodate a lot of groups from offices, family parties and such. I think Piatto Pieno has a little more room than Da Enrico.

              1. re: lagatta

                I ate at Piatto Pieno last week, and for 25$, you get an appetizer, an entree, a coffee (espresso) and a desert. You get more than you pay for. I would definitely go back. They have a separate menu for large groups (basically, a shortened version of their regular menu).

            2. What about Le jardin de Panos on Duluth? It's a large Greek brochetterie, BYOW, and well within your price range.