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Bday dinner with my parents - lowww key

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I'm a big foodie and don't mind splurging once in a while on a 5 star meal.
My parents, on the other end, know what good food is about but don't like to pay more than $20 on a main.

My dad pays too much attention to the "bang for the buck" concept, i.e. he's not into paying $13 for one scallopt like at Club Chasse & Pêche ;-) which is too bad I think, he doesn't know what he's missing.

It's my birthday dinner and they want to take me out, I'd like to have a very nice meal but the prices have to ba fair, my mom's into anyhting but my dad is more of a carnivorous.
They do not like fancy settings or anything intimidating or superficial. Just honest food, and a relaxed/cozy ambiance.

Any suggestions?.... Right now I cannot think of anything.

thank you so much.

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  1. You're probably going to laugh and/or make a dismissive snorting sound, but seriously, if you have never been to Chalet BBQ, it's like trip waaaay back in time, and the chicken is very, very good. It certainly meets the relaxed/cozy/fair criteria.
    Not much in the way of selection beyond white or dark meat, but it's really fun to see a very low key neighbourhood joint survive for 60 years.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bomobob

      ROFLMAO - I think it's a first - where CCP and Chalet BBQ were mentioned in the same thread. I agree about the Chalet, but I don't think it's exactly a great setting for a birthday meal.

      Now this is just a personal suggestion, but I LOVE Lemeac. I have a very high superficial/pretention radar, and neither goes off there. It's just good food, prepared well, in a very unintimidating atmosphere. If your dad really wants to save $$, go after 10:00 and get the special. It can't be beat!

      Happy Birthday!!!

      1. re: maisonbistro

        first off happy birthday to you. Now, for sure I must start by saying having eaten Chalet every week my entire adult life I am extremely biased in favour of a retro birthday at the NDG institution. However if ski chalet decor is not for you consider Pasta Cassericia (sp) also in NDG on Sherbrooke. Both offer good value wich in my opinion is always in style. Another solid special choice for our family is Moishe steak house on the main. Good solid steak house fare that can be budget minded if you watch what you order and forgo the appetizers in favour of huge steaks. Those are my picks so best birthday to you!!

    2. Among bistros, Au Petit Extra probably delivers the biggest bang for the buck.

      Le Jolifou and Le Bouchon de Liège offer strong QPR.

      Au Cinquième Péché's mains run from $18 to nearly $30 but add $10 and you get your pick of dessert and either a fancy soup or fancy salad, which makes it a pretty good buy.

      1. To cater to the carnivorous low-key eater, I think Gibby's is a great place to go... it seems pricey, but you definitely get your money's worth. If you've never been, chances are you'll be stuffed before you get to your main dish! An appetizer and salad is so satisfying I find it hard to even eat my steak :o

        For just something sort of low-key and budget conscious, l'Express on St. Denis is a nice little place with decent French food for the money, complete with free gherkins and bread.

        1. It might not be the atmosphere you're loking for, but Chez Anas in Verdun has a little something for everyone. (pricewise that is.) They have a burger & fries for under $10 or you can get the rabbit in mustard sauce for about $20. They have more expensive daily specials (usually some type of game meat) that are a bit pricier. Plus it's a byob, which always saves money.


          There's also always APDC for a meaty good time, the price/portion ratio is incredibly good if you ask me.

          Lastly, but not least, Khyber Pass Afghan. Between 15$-$30 per person, great food. (also a BYOB)

          1. I don't know if BYOB was what you were looking for, but Bistro L'entrepont is a very low key place with good food. The table d'hote will run each person about $30-40 and includes soup, appetizer, main course, Trou Normand and dessert. The servings are huge, the food is good and honest, the atmosphere is very homey, and you won't have to pay crazy amounts for alcohol because it is BYOB. Lots of great meat choices for your dad. It's less pretentious than the other restaurants run by the same group (A L'os, Au Thym, etc.).

            7 Replies
            1. re: moh

              "It's less pretentious than the other restaurants run by the same group (A L'os, Au Thym, etc.)."

              Isn't it owned by the same people who own Les Héritiers? Isn't the À l'os group limited to À l'os, O'Thym and Les infidèles?

              1. re: carswell

                My understanding is the same group runs all those restaurants. I've eaten at A L'os, O'Thym, Les Infideles and Bistro L'Entrepont, but I haven't eaten at Les Heritiers, so I can't comment on that restaurant. When I said it was less pretentious, I just mean that the restaurant itself feels more cozy than the other restaurants of that group (at least of the ones I've tried). It would be my choice of the four if I wanted to take parents who didn't like fancy intimidating places.

                Mind you, the reason I thought all these restaurants were run by the same group is because if you go to any of the restaurants, they have the cards for all the other restaurants at the door. And I seem to recall reading that A L'Os was being opened by the same group of people who ran Bistro L'entrepont....However, I may very well be mistaken.

                1. re: moh

                  Get meat-tastic at Jano or Chez Doval. Everyone will be stuffed on a reasonable budget, the food will be honest, and the atmosphere will be busy and convivial...perfect for a birthday.

                  1. re: moh

                    My info may be out of date. And now that you mention it, I do recall seeing a business card for L'Entrepont at À l'os. In any case, when Les Héritiers first opened, there was definitely a L'Entrepont connection; they even switched chefs from time to time.

                    Googling L'Entrepont and Les Héritiers confirms that, in the past at least, they were owned by the same people. A fairly recent post on Crus et Saveurs claims that all five restos are related. Who knew?

                    Was disappointed with my last meals at O'Thym and À l'os. Not that they were bad, just that they seemed routine, lacking in imagination and coherence, and thus overpriced. Haven't been to L'Entrepont in years. Couldn't stand the air pollution before the smoking ban and had begun to find the cooking too laden with cream and butter. A disastrous meal on a Monday evening when it was the only BYOB that could seat us made me swear it off. Good to hear that it's back on form.

                    1. re: carswell

                      I understand what you are saying about being disappointed by your last meals at O'Thym and A L'os. I do find that all 5 restos tend to rest on their laurels, and I don't go to them expecting new and original dishes. But at Bistro L'entrepont, the food is honest and filling and is so great with wine. I'm familiar with the menu, and so I feel comfortable knowing what to expect. That's why I like bringing wine there. I can bring some really great bottles and not be worried that they'll have some strong tasting ingredient that will shoot the wine down. When I want to drink a really special bottle, I often find that the food has to be a bit understated so as not to draw attention away from the wine. The menu at BL has a nice balance between flavor and classic preparation that makes it very easy for wine tasting.

                      Given your recent experiences with the other two places, I dont know that I would recommend you go and give BL another try. I fear you may be disappointed again for the same reasons. But I still like going there, I find it very comfortable. And I am very grateful for the smoking ban, because it is a small space....

                      1. re: carswell

                        Well if you base it on business cards, then La Prunelle, Le Bleu Raisin and Le Calin would also be part of that group. That would make it a rather big group.

                        1. re: carswell

                          Was your last meal at O'Thym the evening we all went? I thought it was good, but not as great as I was expecting.

                          Of course, my opinion could be coloured by the attack of gastro that occurred a few hours after I got home.

                  2. What about Le Margaux, on Parc near Laurier? Their site seems to be wonky today (maybe it's just me?) but here you go: http://www.lemargaux.com/

                    It's been reviewed in the Mirror and the Hour.

                    Though not a byow, it's quite affordable. The atmosphere is sophisticated but unpretentious, and the foie gras crème brulée is exquisite. We had a really lovely time there about a month and a half ago.

                    Edit to add: the portions are quite large, and there are many meat-rich options like rabbit, duck, and cassoulet.

                    1. I think Brasserie Brunoise (www.brunoise.ca) is a good place to be treated by price-conscious parents (we did just that a few weeks ago! although it was a bit awkward at the end when my European FIL wrote up a tiny tip on his credit card. I was dying when I saw the waitress' face - we corrected things before leaving the resto and she gave us holiday wishes but it was quite uncomfortable as we were getting dressed!


                      Anyway, most mains but a few are under 20$, and the desserts are yummy.

                      1. My recommendation would be Liverpool House. Fits what you're looking for. Au Petit Extra would be another option. Then again, Chalet BBQ does have its merits...

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: cherylmtl

                          Thank you all for your recds.

                          I've been to Lemeac, Chalet BBQ, Pasta Caseracia, etc etc etc. never been to Liverpool house tho, sounds interesting. I heard the service was bad though, correct me if I'm wrong.
                          We go to bistros most of the time so I was looking for something different I guess.

                          Also, I was in the mood for some seafood (calamari) or some Mexican food, but since we're in Mtl I guess I'll scratch that one off.

                          Please advise.

                          1. re: atoz

                            Maria Bonita is a lovely place for Mexican. Low-key atmosphere, friendly service, and regional Mexican food so good that it had my Mexican friend very, very happy when we dined there. And not too expensive, though the dishes are smaller than average so you may need to order a few per person.

                            5269 Casgrain - 514 807-4377


                            1. re: atoz

                              You know, I tried Casa de Mateo in Old Montreal by accident (we were trying to get into a resto down the road, not successful). It was a bit cheesy (they have a live mariachi band), but the tortillas are made fresh, the salsa also seems to be made in house, and my tamale was delicious. Hubbie had the fajitas, and they were also tasty. And the servings are huge, so no one leaves hungry. I was pleasantly surprised. And if you happen to like mariachi bands, then you are in luck.

                              If you want seafood/calamari, we have always been very happy with Philinos (sp?) on Park. Greek food. Some of the prices of the mains are a bit above the limit of $20 per main, but if you choose carefully, you can eat quite well there. And the servings are also huge, I find we often order way too much food than we can eat. Good calamari, good food, and fairly casual.

                              1. re: moh

                                thank you folks, all recds are very appreciated.

                                tried casa de mateo, was looking forward to try some new pleace.
                                Been to Philipinos (?) as well and was satisfied.

                                1. re: atoz

                                  For real tasty and honest Mexican food, you should try La Guadalupe Mexicaine on Ontario East. It's not fancy, but the atmosphere is relaxed and QPR is really good. Everything I've had there has been great and the portions are generous. The service can be a bit slow on busy nights. The Tempiquena plate is great if you have a big appetite.

                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                    thanks! I will check it out online

                                    1. re: SnackHappy

                                      The best kept secret for good Mexican is Le coin Mexique on jean Talon and Iberville. Their Tacos al Pastor, the Tortilla soup, and the Sopes are excellent. Although I would like to petition their decision to no longer include the small piece of Chicheron in the soup.

                                      Amante on Monkland is also preparing some very authentic and good mexican, although they have a limited menu. I for one would rather have few selections prepared well, than many that are poorly made.

                                      1. re: fedelst1

                                        what's Amante address? where on Monkland street? can't find tit online


                                        1. re: atoz

                                          It's actually called Amaranto - 5974, Monkland 514-510-1225

                                          In the same block as Gryphon d'Or.

                                        2. re: fedelst1

                                          Yeah, had a bit of a scare at the Coin two weeks ago. We were craving it for lunch when we were in the area on Saturday, and were shocked to see it was closed! It was hard to tell, but it looks as if they're moving to a big space across the street...possibly with a very subtle name change. I kinda liked the old digs.

                                    2. re: moh

                                      The salsa at Casa De Mateo is fantastic, fresh and made to order. The rest of the place though, I could do without. I find it overpriced and bland. I'll have to give Guadalupe Mexicaine a try now!

                                      1. re: phedre

                                        yeah nothing impressed me at Casa de Meteo. Not terrible but not anything special either.

                                        1. re: atoz

                                          Well, I did say I was pleasantly surprised by Casa de Mateo. I was expecting something along the lines of Taco Bell or Chi Chi's. So my expectations were low to start.

                                          BTW did you end up finding a nice place to go with your parents?

                                          1. re: moh

                                            thanks for asking, I'm actually thinking of trying ail y'ail y'ail

                                            I will try those mexican plaes on my own on some week night.

                                            1. re: atoz

                                              Awesome! Have a great birthday!