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Best High End Gourmet Restaurant in Montreal?

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Hello,

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.

Cheers!

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  1. I would think Toque best fits the bill.

    1. Personally, my favorite all time really high end restaurant is Queue de Cheval, it is where my husband is taking me for my forthieth birthday that is for sure.

      http://www.queuedecheval.com/QdC_3.0/

      Think about it, way expensive, but so worth it! And celebrities go there too.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.
          www.montrealenlumiere.com/indexEn.php

          1. 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.

            1. I hear Bronte is amazing and was once voted best resto in Montreal. It would fit in terms of price and ambiance. I would have to negate the Queue de Cheval and support the idea of Toque, but as Carswell mentions, the ambiance is not as stellar as the food.

              Side note, if you loved Lumiere, consider going to Decca77, since the executive chef there used to be Feenie's sous chef.

              And I think the idea of waiting until the Highlights is good, except that then you'll be eating meals by invited chefs from Toronto (Susur is President this year) and this won't necessarily be a reflection of what Montreal alone has to offer.

              16 Replies
              1. re: swissfoodie

                "you'll be eating meals by invited chefs from Toronto"

                Damn. I'd forgotten Toronto was the theme for 2008. Well, the subtheme is Chile, so it might still be worth waiting until the program is released before making a decision.

                "as Carswell mentions, the ambiance is not as stellar as the food"

                Just to be clear, I'm not a big fan of the food at Toqué! either. Can't say I've ever left the place feeling high on its buzz or like I wanted to try to recreate one of its dishes. The fact that both things happen fairly regularly at other less spendy and pretentious restaurants is the main reason I don't often darken Toqué!'s doorway and haven't been in at least a couple of years. As I said, I respect it -- or rather its historical role and avowed mission -- and I'm not claiming the emperor has no clothes, but I don't particularly enjoy it -- the food, service and especially, these days, the decor leave me cold -- and I don't look forward to returning for any reason other than to satisfy my curiosity.

                1. re: carswell

                  Amen to that! One of the most expensive, non-thrilling meals I've ever had, left hungry and disappointed. It is beautiful, lovely interior, beautiful service and platings but the food was not even close to being worth the price.

                  1. re: carswell

                    i belive highlights festival this year is japan

                  2. re: swissfoodie

                    While I agree that the Queue de Cheval is not the summum of fine gastronomy, I am taking issue to the awful reputation that posters here are giving it. It is a steakhouse whose meat was much better once upon a time, true. But, it is also a place that serves fresh, high-end seafood that no other restaurant offers. The wine selection is superior to most high-end restaurants in Montreal. And the setting, although not for everyone is interesting.

                    To put things into perspective. The majority of posters here claim that Brunoise is a wonderful restaurant. I would politely disagree. First of all, the setting is really not conducive to setting the stage for a fine dining experience ie It looks like a cafeteria with white tablecloths in daylight. The food choices are extremely limited. And the last time I went, the chef salted everything blindfolded I think. Salmon on a bed of ratatouille is not what I call "food to remember." I would much rather have a seafood platter of jumbo shrimp and Malpeque oysters followed by a grilled rock lobster tail accompanied by garlic mash and portobello mushrooms than the less than memorable meal I had at Brunoise...

                    However, I will agree that the only restaurant that comes close to the type of restaurant that medicinejar is after is Toque! But, Montreal being Montreal, there is nothing that comes close to being an "El Bulli" in the becoming.

                    1. re: 1Marlowe1

                      No one can deny that Queue is a "high end" restaurant but it is certainly not what a serious foodie is looking for when asking for "high end gourmet". If the OP had asked for a recommendation for a high end steakhouse then Queue might have been just the ticket. As to their wine list, I can only say that with an average markup of 300 to 400 percent they can afford to buy lots of wine for the cellar.

                      1. re: 1Marlowe1

                        Welcome to Chowhound, 1Marlowe1. Divergent opinions are always welcome.

                        Can't agree 'bout QdC, though. First, as you admit, it's a steakhouse that falls short on its raison d'être: providing great steaks. The seafood's never struck me as better in selection or quality than what you can get at, say, Milos, Ferreira, Joe Beef or, in season, APDC, though you may know more about that than I do.

                        The wine list is way blingy, reads like it was selected with Wine Spectator awards, not connoisseurs, in mind. Nor is it particulary well filled out; some depth but little breadth, especially with respect to European wines (and some amazing holes, like no Portuguese dry reds, no dry reds or whites from the Loire, a single Alsatian, next to nothing from the Languedoc-Roussillion or Provence, etc., etc.). What's more, the exorbitant markups mean only high-rollers get to drink well. For example, the 2005 Big House Red sells for $18 at the SAQ, the 2002 for $75 at QdC, and that's one of the cheapest bottles on the list, one of the few under three digits. (Actually, I bet the list contains more four-digit wines than two-digit ones.) There are plenty of other higher-end restaurants, and even some more affordable ones, with less flashy but far smarter lists.

                        You also don't mention the smarmy staff, the artful attempt to squeeze every last penny out of you, the obsession with BIG (big-name big wines, "biggest lobster in town!!!", "largest shrimp you have ever seen", the 10-ounce "petit mignon", the smallest steak on the menu) or the fact that there's nothing particularly *montréalais* about the place, no attempt to feature local ingredients, hardly a nod toward local culinary traditions or trends (take away the French on the menus and you could be in Chicago).

                        For me, the nail in the coffin is the management. Have you seen the "Rich Bitches" and "Trinkets and Toys for Uber Rich Boys" cover of the lastest issue of their magazine? Maybe it says something about their target market but it also says a lot about their values. Not that those were in doubt. Even I, far from Lesley Chesterman's biggest fan, was disgusted at the bounty they recently placed on her head (offering big bucks for a photo of her) as revenge for a less-than-glowing (and quite accurate) review she gave them.

                        Me, even if I were a rich bitch or uber rich boy, I'd take Brunoise over Queue any day.

                        1. re: carswell

                          Hear Hear - well said.

                          Went once - will never, never go again. No reason to. Nothing was outstanding, the service bordered on neurotic and the prices were just ridiculous. Every once in a while I don't mind spending the big bucks to eat well, but all we did there was spend the big bucks.

                          Best bucks I ever spent were on a 1997 Sassicaia at Le Latini a few years ago, now THAT was memorable.

                          1. re: maisonbistro

                            The only think I remember about QdC was that when I asked the waiter to point me to the bathroom, he walked me all the way there. I don't know if he wanted a tip for that or what, but I found it absolutely over the top.

                          2. re: carswell

                            Carswell, having read several of your posts, I have come to respect your opinion. However, in QdC's case, I feel you are missing the point.

                            I completely agree about the bling, the haughtiness, and the exorbitant prices. However, are we not here to discuss food?

                            In terms of the quality of produce used (except, ironically, for the meat, changed supplier about 5 years ago if I recall correctly), QdC is way up there. As for seafood specifically, I disagree that Ferreira (one of my favorites), Milos, and Joe Beef, come anywhere close to offering the same quality. No, there is nothing revolutionary. Yes, everything is interpreted with a relative lack of inspiration. But you know what, there is a large chunk of the population (that would consider themselves foodies) that is after that high-end restaurant devoid of "unnecessary" artistry. And for that segment of the population, I think QdC does it right.

                            Just to make clear once more. QdC is not fine gastronomy. QdC is what it is meant to be: high-end "meat and potatoes." In its genre, it delivers. To draw a parallel, Toque claims to be fine gastronomy, but, in its genre, it fails miserably (just came back from Barcelona with stops at Cinc Sentits, Alkimia, and Girona). If the majority here prefers to promote restaurants that are more accessible to everyone and that offer local market-type cuisine, that is its right. But, it has no business putting down QdC and the such, in the process.

                            In the end, I feel that most of you are criticizing QdC for its genre rather than for how it fares within that genre.

                            P.S. Let us all agree not to cite Lesley Chesterman in example...

                            1. re: 1Marlowe1

                              The Q is perfectly"accessible" to me, I just don't eat there anymore because it is so boring. Plus I don't see the point of eating in a formula restaurant in a city known for its cuisine au terroir. If I want high end meat and potatoes, I'll eat at Joe Beef or Pied de Cochon. If I want steak house I'll stay right here in the States and eat at Morton's or Sparks or anyplace that doesn't kiss my ass quite so hard or pick my pocket via the wine list quite so much as QdC.

                              And let's agree not to use the "it's successful and you're just jealous because you can't afford to eat there" argument anymore. It's cheap and has no place in a serious discussion of food.

                              1. re: rcianci

                                I am chagrined to find someone jumping on the defensive and implying that I invoked jealousy in my comment. That accusation is baseless and has no place here. It would be equivalent to me responding to your post in the following way:

                                If you find QdC boring, bring more interesting company... A city known for its "cuisine du terroir" means nothing really as it simply invokes the usage of local produce in the cuisine. Montreal being the multicultural city that it is, I would hope that its culinary identity is not restricted to "cuisine DU terroir" and it is not... Montreal is not in the States so Morton's and Sparks are not readily available to us, believe it or not... Montreal is known for its all-around high wine mark-ups: Da Emma, Latini, Toque, Milos, and all other establishments of that genre have nothing to envy QdC.

                                But clearly, I am here to discuss food as objectively as I can and will not embark in such trivial jousts. Please have the kindness to limit such disobliging insinuations in the future.

                                1. re: 1Marlowe1

                                  Nice try, but I don't snub so easily.:) With chefs like Martin Picard and Normand Laprise bringing world attention to Quebec gastronomy, saying cusine au terroir means nothing is a peculiar comment at the very least. I look forward to more of your "objective" pronouncements on food. ta.

                              2. re: 1Marlowe1

                                I completely agree that there are many people who consider themselves foodies who love QdC. I have many friends whom I respect very much who fall into the category Marlowe described very well. If they love the food, the atmosphere and the whole experience, who am I to tell them that it's just not refined enough for a true foodie? I once sent my dad and his Ontario boss to CCP, and while they enjoyed the food and ambience, the portions were not at all what they were used to. They spent the whole evening cracking up every time the waiter brought something to the table, be it the single pat of butter for 4 people or the 8$ veg. side which consisted of 2 tiny carrot pieces and a little mound of pureed cauliflower. Good thing they laughed it off. Not that I would try to dissuade anyone from going there; it's all about expectations.

                                1. re: Venusia

                                  Can we agree that we (or some part of us) will never agree on what constitue a High-End gourmet in Montréal ?

                                  I think from now on, the rest of the discussion on that subject will be sterile.

                              3. re: carswell

                                Well said, as usual, Carswell. I have been twice, underwhelmed both times.

                                On the subject of wine, while our absurd luxury taxes are not QdC's fault, it makes their rampant overcharging even worse. Consider that Big House Red is available across the border for close to $10. It is inflated to $18 at the SAQ, marked up 300% at QdC, on top of which you will be charged an additional 14% in sales taxes and the server will expect to be paid (and is apparently taxed upon the basis of) a 15% gratuity (for twisting off the screw cap, I suppose). I wonder how the average Vermonter feels spending $92 on something he could buy in a supermarket for $10.

                                1. re: Artichoq

                                  No need to wonder. I'm a Vermonter, Big House Red is $8.99 at my Coop, and this won't be the first time I've compared the Q's wine prices to robbery.

                          3. Thanks very much for everyone's suggestions and I am glad I posted early as this give me time to ponder! I am particularly intrigued by the Montreal High Lights festival. I was able to find last year's line up of international chefs doing "fine tables"at local restaurants but I could not find anything as to what was offered in terms of a menu and the cost - I know it will vary year to year but I would be curious to know the relative price range.

                            In terms of Toque, my question would be how high end is the food itself? I certainly don't have a problem with a relaxed atmosphere provided the service still good for such an atmosphere. But what I am looking for is the high end of food. Personally, I think food at any price level can be fantastic but the experience of a high end restaurant that is on its game food wise, is, for me, unbelievable. I fancy myself a good cook but anytime I leave a place like Lumiere or Daniel (the first time! - Second time was very good but not quite as amazing) I know that no matter what my budget and no matter how hard I try I cannot do what these restaurants do. Its food on a grand scale where food becomes a work of art in terms of taste and presentation.

                            Thanks again for all the suggestions and for anyone that can take a stab at these questions!

                            Cheers

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: medicinejar

                              After having eaten quite a bit of Montreal, I would say that Toque probably offers best for what you are looking for. There are other places with maybe more innovative or more interesting food, but I think Toque still does rank up there in preparation, quality of ingredients and care it puts into its food. Maybe things have changed in the last year or so that I haven't been there, but the last time I checked, it was still very good. I still like Toque at its old St-Denis location when it seemed more serious about providing innovation and good food, than it does now, seemingly catering to a business crowd. Some may say it's not worth the price, but I don't think Montreal has any other restaurant in that category. A Pied de Cochon stuffed with foie gras is not a replacement for a Schwartz smoked meat sandwich. I love both equally. And nobody can ever say any dish must be 10x better than a smoked meat sandwich just because it is 10x more expensive. It will never be. IMHO, Toque is still the best of its kind.

                              If you're looking for gastronomy without necessarily looking for a NYC luxurious-type setting, Club Chasse et Peche, Joe Beer, La Chronique and Au pied de cochon all have a lot to offer and to show off Quebec's food culture.

                              I have been to Lumiere, Daniel, Per Se, Susur, Fat Duck and Arpege. Toque doesn't rank that high among the best of NYC and Europe, but personally, I don't think it loses very much if any at all to Lumiere and Susur. It comes down to personal preference. If anything, I have found Lumiere to be over-salted on many occasions.

                              On the subject of the Q... For all those that consider Q to be gastronomy, it's not. It may be an interesting dining experience, and maybe the best meat and potato place in Montreal, but it's definately more of a place to spend your money to be served, to see and be seen kind of place. I am not a fan of that place at all, however, their food isn't bad either. It is certainly not a place I would bring visitors hoping to show them what Quebec gastronomy is all about. Cost isn't the issue. Their steaks are priced about right for any high end steakhouse, but their wine prices are another matter. I love a good red wine with my steak, but everytime I'm there, I can't bear to spend it on their 4x markup. It's gouging at its finest. I don't mind paying $300 for a good Cote Rotie at home, but spending $150 for a mediocre cru bourgeois is just wrong. I'm just ranting... Fact is, we just have to agree to disagree on controversies like the Q.

                              1. re: jbbank

                                Another interesting option: Europea

                            2. My recommendation would be Restaurant Le Club Chasse et Peche, right around the corner from Chez L'epicier on Rue St-Claude. The atmosphere is somewhat quirky -- dark and club-like, but the food, wine and service are all first rate.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: rcianci

                                I second this.

                                1. re: eoj

                                  and I third it. Memorable food, knowledgeable staff, and yes, the room is interesting :-)

                                  I doubt you'd disappointed with Toqué - based on your past experiences, this also fits the bill.

                                  do not spend your $ at Queue de Cheval - not high-end, touristy.

                                  n

                                  1. re: fullabeans

                                    ...and I fourth it!

                                    you will not be disappointed, I promise you. Vive le Club Chasse et Peche!

                                    1. re: atoz

                                      i don't think you can go wrong with Club Chasse et Peche or Toque.

                                      1. re: cookatlarge

                                        i sixth! CC&P is the spot in town right now... though I am a big Bronte lover too...
                                        If you want the top experience in town Club Chasse et Peche is your spot.

                                    2. re: fullabeans

                                      I agree wholeheartedly! We were there last month and had one of the boest meals of our lives. Both service and food were amazing! I still dream about the risotto with foie slivers. I cannot wait to go back.

                                  2. re: rcianci

                                    Finally made it to CC&P! so glad for all the good words on this board, it pushed me to go, and it was excellent.

                                    I started with the seared scallops, fennel puree and lemon confit sauce. They were absolutely perfectly cooked, tender, juicy, flavourful. One of my friends is from Digby Nova Scotia, home of the Digby scallop, and he said he had never had scallops as good as the ones he had in Digby until last night... The fennel puree was silky smooth, and the lemon confit was bright but not overpowering. I can see why they are known for their scallop dish!

                                    Then I had Kurobuta pork tenderloin, with smoked pork and farro wrapped in a cabbage leaf on the side. There was a wonderful sauce on the side (unfortunately I can't remember what was in it) and a fruit compote, again, not too sweet or overpowering. The pork was to die for! The vegetable sides were original and delicious: caramelized roasted cippolini onions, pureed parsnips topped with roasted chestnut, a cold rapini salad with shaved cheese and bacon, and cauliflower in a cheese sauce.

                                    I was a little disappointed with the dessert. It was a blood orange sorbet ( this part was delicious) on a phyllo tuile (tasty but a bit heavy) sitting on top of a glass with rice pudding (creamy but taseless), pieces of blood orange (fine) and a honey mousse (again, lacking taste). The nice thing was that the dessert was not sickly sweet, it ha a very pleasant tartness. But it lacked flavour depth. It seemed pretty light, but I suspect it is loaded with calories. Sigh. I don't mind, but if I have to have the calories, at least let it be Roman Empire decadent... I probably would have been better off having the cheese course, the cheese looked wonderful.

                                    The wine conseiller was informed and helpful. We had a lovely white Rhone and a 2000 Barbaresco which was divine! I like their list. It is interesting, and the prices are fair for a restaurant.

                                    Portions are not huge, which I think is a good thing. But if you have a huge appetite, you might leave there a little disappointed, or may have to pay a large amount!

                                    The chef and the team are very skilled. They source wonderful ingredients, and are very creative in their preparation and presentation. They pay attention to all the fine details, and they know how to balance flavours and textures very well.

                                    Will have to start saving up for another visit there! As always, it is the wine that makes it expensive. But their list is interesting enough that I think you could still have some nice wine without breaking the bank. The calorie bank though, that's another story...

                                    1. re: moh

                                      My experience there with the dessert was similar... it just wasn't up to the standard of the rest of the meal.

                                      1. re: eoj

                                        We'll stick to cheese next time then! The plate looked wonderful.

                                  3. It comes down to Toque or CC&P. They are very different restaurants. I worry with Toque that the setting overwhelms the food. It is a very corporate, large, and cold space. It's hard to fall in love with that sort of environment no matter how good the food is. Despite this, I think that the food at Toque is beyond reproach. I would actually rank my meal at Toque as the second best I've ever had behind Taillevent and ahead of places like Citronelle, WD-50 and, for a Canadian example, Splendido. It is well above Susur. Interestingly, I had the Montreal food scene conversation the other week with the Maitre d' at a new, trendy NYC restaurant who had been to almost all the top restaurants in NYC and Montreal. He rated Toque above Daniel and Jean Georges but a few levels below Per Se.

                                    CC&P is, from a food perspective, the second or third best restaurant in Montreal. The experience there is beyond reproach. It is laid back and energetic all at once. There is an excitement in the air that few restaurants have. To best enjoy it, pick one or two dishes that you want to try and leave the rest in the hands of the house. Every meal I've had there that I've let them decide the wine and food pairings has been better than the times I've ordered myself.

                                    I'll stay out of the QdC debate other than to say that it's a big, loud, trendy, steakhouse. I doubt that is the kind of experience you're looking for.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Adrian3891

                                      I was at Toque tonight. This was my second visit in the past year. After my first meal there about 8 months ago , I was in complete agreement with all the raves here. Tonight, however, it erased all my good impressions. The service was a bit annoying...very military-like. We were a group of 20 people and they were very rigid about where people should sit. All the food courses had this sweet/savoury thing going but it did not work at all: eg. foie gras with caramelized syrup, scallops with a frothy sugary mousse, etc. Completely forgettable! I was glad I wasn't the one paying for such a subpar experience.

                                      1. re: Adrian3891

                                        There is no way that I would say Toque was better than Susur. Having eaten a tasting menu at each in the past year, I can say unequivically, that Susur was the far superior experience. The food at Toque was delicious, but a bit pedestrian for a tasting menu. There was nothing unusual about being served magret de canard, for example. It was a nice 5-course meal, but there was only one dish that really seemed worthy of a tasting menu (a scallop with granny smith apple). The atmosphere at Toque is also a weak point, as you mentioned.

                                        1. re: eoj

                                          I've been to both, and I think it's hard to compare the two. Susur does asian/french fusion, while Toque leans more towards nouveau french using fresh market products. Being asian, Susur's flavors are not that innovative to me. Those combinations are either a hit or miss. Sometimes, it almost seems like he's trying too hard to meld French and Asian together. Toque may not be better than Susur, but I don't think the quality Normand's cuisine is lower than Susur's. It comes down to preference and what we like in a meal. I don't think Toque is about the most interesting food available, rather, just fresh ingredients, very well done.

                                          Or maybe I've just been away from Toque for too long... and things have seriously declined.

                                          The atmosphere, I agree... Too clinical. It was so much better at St-Denis. It has lost so much of its character.

                                          1. re: eoj

                                            Couldn't disagree more. I've had both (albeit in the last year and a half) and my meal at Toque was unequivocally better. The food at Susur was a bit muddled and overwrought. Although the composition of many of the dishes was interesting, none of them had a clear focus. Ingredients were average. Also, I am not a fan of the "reverse" tasting menu or the dessert tower at the end. The reverse aspect tires one slightly by presenting bigger flavors earlier in the meal and the desert tower is a lot of tasty, but ultimately unmemorable bites. Surprisingly, there was very little modern about the cooking in terms of technique. I don’t mean to sound overly negative; Susur is still a very good restaurant, but it’s not even the best in TO.

                                            At Toque, the menu as a whole was more focused, more technically interesting, and the ingredients were better. Each dish had a central component that was enhanced by surrounding elements. Those surrounding elements were often prepared in a modern, technically precise way – a reworking of a fruit salad into ‘chips’ for a textural contrast to foie gras, a deeply flavored bacon foam to go with pork belly and cilantro, and other surprising elements were on almost every plate. This is not to say that Toque is like WD-50 or other avant-garde restaurants. It’s not. But it’s unafraid to accent a high end market cuisine with modern touches. Granted, in a couple weeks time I may change my mind on all this after a trip to Toque. We’ll see.

                                        2. Just did Club Chasse et Pêche this past Saturday night - I was blown away....in my top-5 restaurant experiences ever - they just 'get it' The food is tremendous, the service very professional yet friendly and the wine list will blow your mind - very well constructed.

                                          1. As it turns out, I am now heading to New York and will do my birthday celebration there.

                                            However, I do get to Montreal a few times each year and will take the recommendations made here to heart! I am going to go to Au Pied du Cochon in March and go on foie gras overload! My gf won't be with me that night but hopefully her and I will make it back sometime in the not too distant future for Club Chasse et Pêche.

                                            cheers!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: medicinejar

                                              Have a great time in the Big Apple and thanks for this thread.

                                              I happen to be going to Montreal for a few nights next week, and was looking for pretty much the same type of resto as the OP. Toque seemed to fit the bill, alas they are closed from the 22nd until sometime in January. :(

                                              I'd love to find a place that has a tasting menu (does CC&P?) and emphasizes local ingredients.

                                              1. re: medicinejar

                                                you just names my 2 favorites resto in montreal.....au pied de cochon and le club chasse et peche......very good choices....

                                                 
                                              2. we eat out at least every second day and are always looking for new and tasty places in the montreal area, i have found that most italian restaurants are lacking in flavour that i'm always longing for, also not too fond of pasta now matter how it's prepared. other restaurants we always avoid are french restaurants. huge plates, next to nothing on it along with crazy prices and waiters acting like they are doing you a favour. some of my favourites in montreal and area, RIB AND REEF, MOISHES, LE MILSA, BENI HANA, THE KEG in old montreal, GIBBY'S, any good thai, or east indian restaurant of which there are many in montreal. these are just a few for now, also on the west island, 40 WEST, THE TOWN HALL, THE WILLOWS, MON VILLAGE, RUBE'S. i really don't care about prices but the food has to be tasty and as you'll find out, just about all of the great and popular places in montreal are not french restaurants. the best place for ribs so far? FIRESIDE on van horne, tried FIREGRILL restaurant the other night and was totally disappointed even though they advertise it a lot. or how about the VIEUX KITZBUHEL in ile perrot? LE BIFTEC in montreal, cheap prices and the food is not too bad at times. i often wish that i would not be so fussy about my food but at least one thing for sure, when i tell you it's good, you can take my word for it. i spend a lot on restaurants and constantly looking for better ones

                                                1. You can't go to Monteral without eating at Toque! I was actually a bit hesitant about going because my girlfriend told me its a 3 hr experience (it is) but I'm glad I went. We both had the 7 course tasting menu and it was the best meal I've ever had. Period. If you go, just get the 7 course tasting menu. I guarantee every course will be delicious and an explosion of textures, flavors, and experiences for your mouth. What made the experience even better was Fabian, one of the head waiters allowed us to visit the beautiful kitchen and showcased each station - pastry, frying, vegetables, meat - and even the lockers were an entire suckling pig was hanging from the ceiling. Afterwards, he led us down to the 7,000 bottle wine cellar. The wine menu changes each week as they add / rotate wines in and out of the cellar when they are ready. Truly an amazing experience and I can't wait to go back.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: guillaumeballard

                                                    I have to agree that Alonzos creations at Pintxos are inventive, beautifully presented and just goddamn tasty but is it a "High end" restaurant? What is a "High end" restaurant exactly? If it's about stuffy overdone decor, stiff waiters and big leather bound menus, give me great food over that any time!
                                                    I am curious to see what High End Laloux will be like under Eric Gonzalez. I went after his first week there and he seemed to still be trying to find his place there, the menu wasn't adventurous and a couple of dishes on the tasting menu were just not up to scruff... Desserts on the other hand were as amazing as Patrice's, Michelle is a real pro!

                                                    1. re: nanbread

                                                      I went to Laloux in early June and it was fabulous.

                                                  2. if your a fan of tasting menus i would advise you to go to Europea, you wont be dissapointed! also stay away from Queue de Cheval, unless boaring overpriced steak house eats are you thing, which from the sounds of things is not.