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Best French Bistro in Montreal

Hello! I did not get too many responses from my last post, so I will try again. Can you tell me your favorite bistros in Montreal? We will be there in December and I am looking forward to going back to L'Express, but I need some other suggestions for lunch and dinner places. French food being our top pick!

Thanks!

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  1. Leméac is my favourrite, although I haven't tried all of them. The menu is not as long as the one at L'Express, but the food is a cut above. It's also very consistant. The after 10pm deal is the best food bargain in town.

    http://www.restaurantlemeac.com/en-CA...

    Chez L'Évèque across the street is not as good, but has a very loyal clientele. They also have a 21$ after 9pm menu which I wasn't aware of until I looked up their website.

    http://www.chezleveque.ca/

    Bistro Bienville had been getting good write-ups. I've never been though.

    http://www.bistrobienville.com/

    Altough it's not a bistro but more of a brasserie, Holder on McGill in old Montreal serves up delicious french fare in a vibrant setting. It's one of my fav picks.

    Holder Restaurant Bar
    407 RUE MCGILL, MONTRÉAL, QC H2Y 2G3
    (514) 849-0333

    1. Howdy!

      I would have to disagree with SnackHappy on Leméac and Holder.

      We went twice to Leméac and both times were served substandard fare in a blah place. Holder was even less appealing.

      However, I would whole heatedly rave and rant about how wonderful, amazing, delicious and cheap Le Valois is. Four people, two bottles of wine (or actually one bottle and a bunch of beers) with tip was $210.

      Le Valois (Bistro)
      25 Place Simon-Valois
      (Ontario and Valois, 3811 Ontario Est.) 514.528.0202

      1. To SnackHappy's fine list, you can add:
        - Au Petit Extra, a bustling, affordable east end bistro with good food and a great vibe
        - Cocagne, a slightly edgier, more modern bistro located in Toqué!'s old digs across the street from L'Express www.bistro-cocagne.com
        - Continental, in new and presumably temporary quarters following a devastating fire www.lecontinental.ca
        - Bazaar, the reincarnated Anise, which now serves up bistro fare with a Middle Eastern twist www.lebazaar.ca
        - Ferreira, the great Portuguese bistro located downtown www.ferreiracafe.com

        There are also a number of small, chef-owned restos often referred to collectively as neighbourhood bistros. For example:
        - Au Cinquième Péché, modern bistro-ish fare with Picard (the chef's from Lille) and even the occasional Latino influence; one of my favourite places in the city www.aucinquiemepeche.com
        - La Montée de Lait www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx?iIDArticle...
        - Le Bouchon de Liège www.lebouchondeliege.ca
        - Truffert, Bistro à Christophe www.truffertbistro.com
        - Les 3 Petits Bouchons http://troispetitsbouchons.com/

        And don't forget our BYOBs. At a group dinner yesterday at O Thym, the organizer mentioned that, enjoyable as our meal was, he regretted that he hadn't been able to snag a table at Le P'tit Plateau (330 Marie Anne East, corner Drolet, 514 282-6342), with its more consistent food (Southwest French) and more affordable prices. I couldn't agree more. Other worthwhile BYOB options include Le Bleu Raisin www.lebleuraisin.com and Apollo (6389 Saint-Laurent, 514 274-0153), though both are also more expensive than Le P'tit Plateau.

        Edit: For what it's worth, I've been to Leméac dozens of times and it's the kind of place that makes me glad I call Montreal home. There's absolutely nothing substandard about it. Holder's dandy too.

        1. My favorite one is Le continental. Their bavette de boeuf is by far one of the best in Montreal. The other place where it is as good is Le zeste de folie. They sometimes vary with a bison one there. Le continental is way better than L'express. They are also nicer at Le continental, even if the service is not the reason why you go back. You go back for their food and their reasonable prices.

          1. WOW!! Thanks everyone!! Can't wait for the trip!! Do you think we should try Au Pied de Cochon (Spelling..sorry)..last time we were there, it was too busy, so we did not go. Should we go? I like foie gras, but not in every dish, should I stay away? thanks

            6 Replies
            1. re: Angelina

              Contrary to what you might think, Au Pied De Cochon doesn't put foie gras in everything. You can check the menu out on their website and you should definitely make a reservation.

              http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.c...

              You could also search this board for opinions and recomendations as the place is often discussed here.

              1. re: Angelina

                Au Pied de Cochon is great. Friends I bring there are always thrilled by the experience. While they don't have foie in every dish, most of the dishes served are extremely rich and hearty particularly now that we're heading towards winter. Assuming your stay in Montreal is long enough to allow it, and that your system is robust enough to recover from a massive infusion of calories, I would recommend eating at APDC in addition to rather than instead of the very cool neighborhood bistros mentioned on this thread.

                1. re: rcianci

                  I've been dissapointed with Leméac over the last few visits. There's just no "wow" factor anymore.

                  I was pleasantly surprised with Chez Lévèque last time I tried it. A little less pretentious than Leméac and I thought the value for $$ was higher.

                  You should also consider le Petit Extra on Ontario & Papineau and Le Paris on St Catherine and St Matieu. Le Paris is kind of old school, but the food is simple and reminds me of home cooked meals my mom used to make.

                  L'Express is still #1 in my book though.

                  1. re: YUL PHL

                    Lémeac is one of my favorite restaurants in Montreal and one of its best run establishments. I really find it incomprehensible to call it “pretentious.” I do have brunch at Chez Lévesque from time to time for the sake of variety. It does have its own very unique and entertaining vibe: Do they still play Gregorian chant in the restrooms?

                    1. re: Fritzy

                      Yes they do.....I always find it creepy when I go there but the food is good. Their steak tartar is very good. My aunt had the red snapper the last time we were there and it was incredible. I am having that the next time I am going!

                      1. re: cricri7

                        au pied du cochon is wonderful. one tip: even if you think you have no room after all the foie gras, etc. you MUST try the sugar pie. it's heavenly.
                        also, i quite like le continental.

              2. my favourite is Le Margaux (on Park ave near Laurier).after multiple visits, I still am very
                impressed with the quality of the food and the "rapport quality/prix". one wonderful dish
                is the trout with foie gras :two slightly crispy filets with a niece little piece of seared foie
                in between and all this on top of a mound of sweet potato puree...it makes it difficult to
                order other dishes the next time...I also love the white asparagus with a poached egg
                first course...the wines are very well priced, by the glass,the bottle or the carafe,last
                time I went with a friend, our meal with a bottle of wine came to $50 each, hard to
                find a better deal...

                1 Reply
                1. re: papilles

                  They also do a nice lunch which is even more reasonable. You choose your main course, and they include a soup or salad as well as a dessert. I had the bavette, which was a little tough but flavourful, and the frites were great (of course served with mayonaise). The salad was a quail confit on top of mesclun with a reduced brown sauce that had a hint of vinegar but also clearly included delicious reduced meat flavours. I could have jus t eaten the salad. But of course I always have room for dessest, and they served a floating island (meringue floating on an island of custard, dotted with almonds). It was simple, light and very enjoyable. The whole thing cost me about $20-25 (with tax and tip) which is very reasonable given the quailty and quantity of food.

                2. Had a nice dinner at Lemeac on Sunday, thanks to the Chowhounds who have been recommending it. My meal (the mediterranean fish soup and the smoked salmon & spinach salad) was fine, but I was wondering if any of you have any particular dishes you would recommend for future visit.

                  Thanks in advance!

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: phoenikia

                    I'm a big fan of their salmon pot-au-feu.

                    1. re: phoenikia

                      The blood pudding could very well be the best in town. The short rib is very good also.

                      1. re: phoenikia

                        the scallops were seared perfectly over a buttery, creamy cauliflower mousseline

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          I have a very hard time passing up their grilled veal in morel sauce whenever it is on the menu. Yummmy!

                          1. re: phoenikia

                            Their foie gras apps are sinfully delicious and well worth the price. The venison is tender and exquisite, and the short ribs are second to none.

                            Desserts also wowed me (and I'm hard to please when it comes to dessert) - I also don't often order a fruity dessert, but I went with grilled pineapple with sorbet (menu says star anise, but I switched it to vanilla bean, and the whole plate was just incredible.

                            Have I mentioned I love this place.

                            I also have quite an acute "pretention" meter, and I would never in a million years characterize this place as pretentious. I always feel comfortable and treated with respect and well, I love it.

                            1. re: maisonbistro

                              What are the "short ribs" like at Lemeac? Besides being good, are they different than most other places?

                              1. re: Fritzy

                                It's a braised short rib served on a bed of barley. I don't remember the details but it's pretty awesome. There's a picture of it on the Lemeac site.

                                http://www.restaurantlemeac.com/en-CA...

                                1. re: Fritzy

                                  Sorry - I did answer you, but for some reason it got yanked (yeah, what else is new).

                                  The jus/reduction/sauce is outstanding.

                              2. re: phoenikia

                                I am a sucker for the chevre appetizer. And be sure to ask if they have special dessert of the week. They once gave us a chocolate trilogy that was amazing. Top notch stuff.

                                1. Thank you all for your input!! I have printed this page out with love!!! Our flight leaves tomorrow..Thursday, and I cannot wait!!!!

                                  Happy Holidays!!!