Best High End Gourmet Restaurant in Montreal?
For many years my gf and I have made it a habit of going to one of the best high end restaurants in a city we are visiting. We are thinking of going to Montreal and want to know what are the best high end restaurants in that city.
I can give you some background on us and our preferences.
Restaurants we have visited include Daniel in NYC, Lumiere in Vancouver, Susur (food was great - serviced was deplorable), Scaramouche and Splendido in Toronto.
For our birthdays we either link our birthday restaurant meal up with a holiday that is within a few months or we go to a local restaurant. We live in Ottawa and have gone for some very nice meals at Baccara at the Casino de Lac Lemay (very, very good meal) and to Beckta.
My personal best meal of my life was at De Karmeliet in Bruge in Belgium.
My birthday is coming up in January so we are thinking of going to Montreal for I night. I must say I have become a big fan of restaurants that do 7-10 course meals on a grand scale. Such a meal was particularly memorable at Lumiere. So I am curious to know if restaurants people recommend have such an option though I would obviously consider restaurants that do not.
Overall I like either French restaurants or restaurants that fuse French style cooking/ heavily influenced by French cooking.
We do a meal such as this 2-3 times a year and budget to spend somewhere between $400-$700 which includes drinks and a very nice bottle of wine (i.e. $100-$160). I should also add that we are not rich. We do well but neither of us is making 6 figures. Food is our key hobby but we always choose very carefully because we can only do it a few times a year.
We have been to Montreal many times but have tended not to spend too much with the exception of a meal at Chez L'epicier. The club sandwhich dessert was excellent but the rest of the meal was problematic. Our suspicion was that they we're having an off-night. I may go back in the future but that is one restaurant we probably would not go back.
Finally I should note that while I am billingual to a degree my gf is not and I would want to know if restaurants are reasonably billingual (its not necessarily a deal breaker but something her and I would need to discuss in advance).
2 restaurants that intrigue me are Duel and Au Pied du Cauchon but I would like to hear more about them or any other restaurants people recommend.
Anyway, I would very much appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks very much for reading and for any suggestions.
I second Toque, seems to be the type of dining you enjoy. I think Au Pied du Cochon would be too relaxed and not in the "fine" dining world... unbelievable food but not white table cloth action.
Have to agree with cherylmtl, though with the proviso that Toqué! is a restaurant I respect more than enjoy. La Chronique is slightly less fancy and considerably less full-of-itself and the food is often more interesting. Across the street, Raza serves up fancy nuevo Latino fare (too bad the wine list is short and almost exclusively South American). You might also keep an eye peeled for reports on the Montreal branch of Daniel Vézina's Laurie-Raphaël, slated to open in mid-November.
The thing is, Montreal has lots of great eats but not a very vibrant high-end scene. In fact, many of the pricier places cultivate a casual if not downright down-home kind of style -- take Au Pied de Cochon, Joe Beef, Garçon and even Ferreira for example. Montreal's more a city of bistros: highish-end Anise closed last February only to be reborn a few months later as Bazaar, a mid-range bistro.
Another thought: take a rain (snow?) check on your January trip, postponing it till late February, when the Montreal High Lights festival will be in full swing. This year's line-up of dinners and guest chefs won't be announced until mid-December, but there are always several worthwhile events that are about as high-end as this city gets.
Broken record here, but Toqué. My hubby and I are much like you and your gf--we like to visit fancy restos in cities we visit, and have been to a few of the mega-restos in the U.S. (French Laundry, Alinea, Charlie Trotters, etc), and several in Europe. As Carswell mentions, Montreal has tons of great food, but very few restaurants that compare to the high-end dining restos of other major cities. Toqué fits the bill for fancy--and the food is GOOD. Apparently the head chef has brought in an assistant who has apprenticed at el Bulli in Spain (which is now fully booked for 2008!), and I have not been since he is on board, but we will definitely be heading there soon with this wonderful addition to the staff.
Instead of blowing your budget on one grand meal, you might consider a Friday and Saturday night stay and hitting two restos. In which case, my suggestions would be l'Atelier, Halte Urbaine, or maybe Pinxto. None of them are super-fancy, but I have had excellent service at all three and wonderfully inventive food.