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Terraces; the good, the bad, the food, the drinks...


Now that the "Montreal summer" is officially here :-) I think it would be appropriate to compile a list of terraces, along with your preferences about them...

To start things off (in no particular order)
1. Victoria Pub. Good for drinks and concrete
2. Aszu. Small and romantic
3. Saint Elizabeth. Cheap beer, vines and university students
4. Nelligan. Expensive, with a roof top view
5. Boris. Extremely nice terrace - horrible food.
6. Bâton Rouge. Nice pit stop downtown.
7. Taverne Sur Le Square. Swank
8. Narcisse. Pretty gosh darn kick-ass

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  1. One of my favourite things is a burger on the roof of the Nelligan on a beautiful summer day. They make a mean white sangria as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eat2much

      Version Laurent Godbout has a beautiful terrasse, gorgeous decor, very comfortable seating and off course the food is great

    2. Plan B has a fun little terrasse in the back. They also feature hors-d'œuvre type foods from the kitchen of Le Continental.

      Casa Del Popolo has a nice terrasse, some really good sandwiches, and a few McAuslan beers on tap at reasonable prices.

      Is there such a thing as a smoke free terrasse in this town?

      1. A sad note for those of us who were looking forward to the wider sidewalks and visual improvements of St-Laurent aka the Main - as the almost two-year-long makeover of the street is almost finished (new "street furniture" such as benches and bicycle racks, and tree and flower planting is about all remaining, as well as a second coat of asphalt) Gaz Métropolitain wants to rip up the new street in almost 40 places! Although the city had implored ALL utilities to make their needed repairs at the same swoop as the big dig - Bell and Videotron did, don't know about Hydro-Québec. This can be a real blow to restaurants, cafés, bars and food shops (and non-food-related businesses) along the street, and a royal pain for Montréalais and tourists...

        After that rant, zeke, I confess I don't know where all your places are.

        I do enjoy the tiny terrasse at Petit Alep, but you have to be quick.

        I've never been to the terrasse of Casa del Popolo - just inside. Must make up for that!

        4 Replies
        1. re: lagatta


          I was glad to get off of Saint Laurent when I had a chance.

          As for the terraces... My list now with addresses.

          1. Victoria Pub 698 rue Notre-Dame Ouest
          2. Aszu 212 rue Notre-Dame Ouest
          3. Saint Elizabeth 412 Ste-Elizabeth
          4. Nelligan 106 rue Saint-Paul Ouest
          5. Boris 465 rue McGill
          6. Bâton Rouge 180 Ste-Catherine Ouest
          7. Taverne Sur Le Square 1 Westmount Square
          8. Narcisse 93 rue de la Commune Est

          1. re: zekesgallery


            Can you give us some more information about Narcisse? What sort of food? Are the wine-bar wine and food offerings all available on the terrace too?

            1. re: Fritzy


              Sorry I have no recollection of the food, and if I remember correctly the beer that they served wasn't cold either :-) However a small rooftop terrace that is unpretentious, in Old Montreal and overlooking the river can't be beat on a summer day (doubled if you are there with your sweetie after skipping out on work early).

          2. re: lagatta

            La Presse reported that the Gaz Métro construction should be finished by May, so hopefully there will still be three or four months of terrace season left on the Main...

          3. There's McKibbin's, but its more of a deck...it's outback and open most months of the year....quieter than inside for sure. Drinks are standard, food is pub grub, but tasty.

            1. Terraces I enjoy are:

              Jardin de Panos, average greek food, wonderful terrace.

              Santropol, very good sandwiches, tea and milkshakes, great terrace.

              13 Replies
              1. re: MCMM

                I don't like the food at Santropol that much. While it is pretty acceptable, and most of the times better than what most of my friends cook, it is too crunchy granola for me. But that terrace... it is amazing. You get the relaxation that is equivalent to a weeklong trip to the Caribbean, by just sitting on that terrace in sundown.

                1. re: emerilcantcook

                  How are soups, salads and sandwiches "granola"? You must be referring to some pre-conceived notion you hold in your mind...

                  Also, how do you see the sun at all in that completely overgrown and fenced in terrace? And even if the sundown to the west weren't totally blocked by the wood fence, the mountain and the building across the street would take care of that.

                  I think you are confusing the place perhaps? :)

                  1. re: bopuc

                    To enjoy the sundown, you do not necessarily need to see the "sun". It is about the light, the air and the atmosphere. The shades of the trees, the smell of the just falling night...

                    And if vegetarian chili, tofu sandwiches, hummus, tisanes, thick sliced grain bread, and fruit drinks isn't crunchy granola, I bet Au Pied de Cochon is...

                    I think you are confusing the adjectives perhaps?

                    1. re: bopuc

                      You're quite the contrarian, aren't you?

                      Come on! Santropol is like the granola Mecca. The places reeks of hippie almost as much as Aux Vivres.

                      1. re: SnackHappy

                        I have to agree with you SnackHappy--it's a total hippie paradise.

                        1. re: Aspiring Foodie

                          Not that there's anything wrong with that :)

                          1. re: mainsqueeze

                            Of course not! A person's personal hygiene choices are completely his own.

                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              Or lack thereof, correct? :P

                              But let me say this: granola or not, Santropol is a good place for a first date as it's fun, slow, quiet, the lighting is good and the food can be shared. In fact, my husband and I had our first date there and then three years later that's where he proposed.

                              Which reminds me...on our first date we also went to Reservoir which has a very small but very awesome terrace and their blanche is delicious.

                              1. re: Aspiring Foodie

                                Reservoir does have a great terrace. The only problem is that it seems to be closed more often than not!

                                1. re: KT MTL

                                  It's always open in the evenings, weather permitting. I don't remember if it's open for weekday lunch, but the upstairs is never open for weekend brunch.

                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                    Yeah, it sucks not being able to sit on the terrace during the brunch. Though they have been opening up the windows to make the place more airy.

                                    This reminds me of... which Plateau restaurants with terrace have decent brunch? Must serve food good enough to cheat on Reservoir...

                                    1. re: emerilcantcook

                                      Well it's in Outremont, but Lemeac has a lovely terrasse and a great brunch. Just as good if not better than Reservoir, albeit at a different price point.

                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                        Different price point is right! But I love that terrrace at Lemeac, and such lovely food. Plus their wine list is just so much fun...

                2. OK, now that you mention Baton Rouge, and please, forgive the tangent! But has anyone else noticed a serious downward shift in rib quality recently? I noticed it about a year ago, thinking they were having an off night, but since then it has not improved.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Aspiring Foodie

                    I dunno. I never thought Baton Rouge's ribs were very good. Way too sweet for my liking. Like something from a Kraft commercial.

                    1. re: Aspiring Foodie

                      I would agree and the size has gotten smaller as well.

                      1. re: Aspiring Foodie

                        I find it all realy depends on the actual Baton Rouge location you go to.

                        De la Montagne has always been horrible...service and food. St. John's on the West Island has always been excellent in all respects.

                        Strange, but...

                        1. re: davidpg


                          Are there terraces at the other locations?

                          1. re: zekesgallery

                            The only other Baton Rouge with a Terrasse that i know of is the one at Complexe Desjardins

                            The one in Greenfield Park (South shore) doesnt, neither does the one at Carrefour Laval

                      2. Here are a few suggestions for nice terraces in the greater Mile End area:

                        Le Dépanneur Café, Bernard/Esplanade: You wouldn't know it from the street, but there's a gorgeous garden tucked away behind this place. It's quiet, cool in the summer and perfect if you're looking for a bit of tranquility. It's like having coffee in a particularly nice backyard.

                        Social Club, St. Viateur/Esplanade: I prefer this terrace over the one at Olimpico because it's more comfortable (movable seats and chairs rather than benches) and it has a nice tree for shade. Unlike Olimpico, Social Club also has beer and some great sandwiches.

                        Café Local, St. Viateur/Esplanade: Right across from Social Club, a pleasant terrace with lots of flowers and great people-watching. The food (vaguely West Coast in inspiration) has been satisfying each time I've visited.

                        Caffè in Gamba, Park/Fairmount: Montreal's newest third-wave coffee house with a fine attention to detail. The terrace is sidewalk-level with ample space. Like all of the terraces on the east side of Park, it's sunny all afternoon, which means it is too hot during the day in mid-summer but perfect in the spring and on summer evenings.

                        La Croissanterie Figaro, Hutchison/Fairmount: Pretty much a classic. It's the ambiance of the streetcorner that gives this terrace such appeal. It's also open pretty late, until 1am.

                        Vices et Versa, St. Laurent/St. Zotique: Nice bar with a great (if slightly expensive) selection of beers from La Barberie, plus some passable things to munch on. The rear terrace is pretty conventional --- but that just means it's perfectly pleasant.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: KT MTL

                          Unfortunately, Cafe Local has some of the worst service in town. I think they are perpetually understaffed.

                          1. re: montrealwaitress

                            It's been more than a year since I last visited. I vaguely remember bad service at one brunch, but on the previous two or three times I visited it was fine, but that was shortly after it opened.

                        2. Now I have a question: can anyone recommend a good restaurant, café or bar with a nice *waterfront* terrace somewhere in the Montreal area?

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: KT MTL

                            How far are you willing to go? There are some nice waterfront views from various cafés & restos along the main street in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.

                            1. re: KT MTL


                              Off the top of my head, for a "waterfront terrace" I'd suggest sandwiches and a six-pack from Benny's (aka Benjamino & cie on McGill) a nice blanket, and then find the most secluded place in the old port that you can. Around the clock tower or the locks (extreme eastern edge or western edge of the port) are my suggestions.

                              You can also do something similar from the Atwater Market.

                              And then you might want to check the board (and elsewhere) for opinions on the restaurant at the Casino, the restaurant at Pointe-à-Callière and various yacht clubs.

                              1. re: zekesgallery

                                That's a great suggestion, but I was thinking in particular of something that feels like a getaway without being more than ~45 minutes from downtown. Out-of-town-but-in-town, you know?

                                Anywhere in the Montreal area is good: Lachine, the West Island lakeshore, Ste. Anne, anything along the back river, Laval, North Shore. I'd be willing to go as far as, say, Chambly to the south, Repentigny to the east, Terrebonne to the north and Ste. Anne to the west.

                              2. re: KT MTL

                                Does St. Ambroise serve food? Because they definitely have a terrasse and serve beer on the canal.

                                1. re: montrealwaitress

                                  I am not sure about food at St. Ambroise.

                                  however, your suggestion got me thinking about restaurant l'ambroisie in the Chateau St-Ambroise. They definitely have a water view terrace and serve food and drinks.


                                  1. re: Em24

                                    Are any of the Old Montreal hotel rooftop terraces open yet?

                                    1. re: jellybelly25

                                      Sky, at the Nelligan, was still not open on Thursday.

                                      1. re: jellybelly25


                                        I made some phone calls yesterday, and Narcisse was open for drinks yesterday, while all the others that I phoned said that they were going to open up this coming Thursday the 24th.

                                    2. re: montrealwaitress

                                      Yes, they serve simple fare like hamburgers, sandwiches, sausages and green salads.

                                  2. I can't say enough about sitting out on the front porch of El Meson (Mexican) in Lachine, or out in their back garden.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: bomobob

                                      Hey Bomobob, that resto is near the bike path, and seems like it might be a nice bike destination. But how formal is it? Will they mind a couple of sweaty bikers with helmet hair sucking back a Margherita on their porch?

                                      1. re: moh

                                        Am surprised at all the El Meson love of late. My single visit was less than inspiring. www.chowhound.com/topics/441684#2949170 Don't know if we hit them on an off night or whether my standards are higher (much of my youth was spent within spitting distance of the Mexican border). It wasn't so bad that I wouldn't be willing to give it another shot; maybe bomobob can suggest some dishes he thinks are winners. In any case, it's way informal. We biked out on a warm June day and, sweaty and wearing t-shirts and bike shorts, were given prime seats on the back patio.

                                        1. re: moh

                                          It's very, very informal. Low key, relaxed. We do exactly what you describe, slug back too many Margs after 6 hours of biking, and just watch the funny old world go by.
                                          Carswell, maybe you had bad luck. I'd never heard of El Meson till about 9 years ago when a Mexican guy I worked with told me all about it. El Meson and Coin Mexicaine on Jean-Talon were his two Mexican culinary saving graces, living so far from home. He felt El Meson was as close to the "real" thing as he could find anywhere, and we all went there for an office lunch one day. After that, I became a regular. The mole is amazing. Quite sweet, but I'm assured that's the way it's supposed to be. My friend kept telling me about their seafood, but it wasn't till a couple of years ago that I tried it. Both the fish ans shrimp are simply fantastic.
                                          I like that for them "nachos" means plain chips, some salsa, and maybe some incredible guacamole, and not those crazy, heaped, three-ring circuses of stuff nachos usually consists of. Which is not to say I don't like those too, but simplicity is nice.

                                          1. re: bomobob

                                            Thanks Bomobob! This is just the kind for motivation I need to go for a bike ride right now. Yesterday's ride was tough after a long inactive winter full of zeppole and hot chocolate...

                                            1. re: bomobob

                                              Do they have fish tacos? I"ve had a craving for these lately.

                                              1. re: hungryann

                                                Does any place in Montreal have decent fish tacos? Hard to wrap my brain around the concept, so strongly do I associate them with Baja and southern California.

                                                1. re: carswell

                                                  I have never come across any either good or bad, hence my inquiry.

                                                  1. re: hungryann

                                                    They definitely have fish tacos as Mesa 14 on Bishop. I know because I made the mistake of ordering them once. They are terrrrrrible. I was so sad that day. I guess I should not have expected anything from that place. I don't intend on ever going back.

                                                  2. re: carswell

                                                    Yeah, I just make my own, with the fresh tacos from Popocatepetl http://www.chowhound.com/topics/447040

                                                    I've never seen them anywhere in Montréal.

                                                  3. re: hungryann

                                                    Oooooh, I think maybe, just maybe, I recall Coin Mexicaine having fish tacos...but I may be mistaken.

                                                    1. re: bomobob

                                                      Hmm. I was just there last week for the first time and I don't recall seeing fish tacos on the menu - nor are they on the little flyer I took home, which does mention chicken and pork tacos. (The green-sauce chicken enchiladas I had were fantastic, though.) I'll ask my Mexican-born friend if she knows of any in Mtl.

                                                      1. re: kpzoo

                                                        I think they are very regional in Mexico - along coasts, obviously. I have two Mexican friends/colleagues but they are both from DF (Mexico City) and they have never mentioned fish tacos among foods from home.

                                                  4. re: bomobob

                                                    Allright, the minute I read the mole, I was sold. Craving... so bad..

                                              2. A few no one's mentioned:

                                                - Terrasse Lafaytette (Villeneuve and Jeanne-Mance) for affordable, honest Greek grilled meat and fried foods and very good piklia. Pitas and rolls are house-made. BYOB. Wine glasses are tiny tumblers but they don't object if you BYOS (bring your own stemware).

                                                - Aux Rites Berbères (Villeneuve and de Bullion). BYOB couscouserie with one of the most pleasant terraces in town.

                                                - La Petite Ardoise (Laurier and Esplanade). So-so food, pleasant backyard terrace.

                                                - Le Pégase (Gilford east of Papineau). Upscalish BYOB with a tiny backyard terrace.

                                                - Librairie Oliveri (Côte des Neiges a block and a half north of Queen Mary). Decent bistro food, mediocre wine list, pretty good weekend brunch. A little pricey for what you get but there's not a lot of competition in the 'hood. Popular with UdeM types. The terrace is the best thing about the place.

                                                - Rumi (Fairmount and Hutchison). Sufi-inspired food and pretty good desserts (the best are made by Cocoa Locale). Not particularly spacious or elegant but the surroundings are nice enough that it doesn't matter.

                                                - Da Emma (Old Montreal).

                                                There's also a long list of decent places whose terraces I refuse to sit on because of street traffic: Le Margaux, Chuch, Café Mélies, Philinos, etc.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: carswell

                                                  I definitely second Rumi. That is such a gorgeous corner. A nice crisp early summer evening there with a nice dessert would be pretty much perfect, and it could be followed with a walk along Fairmount and up Outremont to that cute little park with the pond. That's definitely a great date idea right there.

                                                  1. re: carswell

                                                    Thanks for noting the BYOBs on your list of recs, carswell. I'm actually looking for a BYOB with terrasse for dinner on Wednesday (if anyone remembers whether the other restos mentioned are BYOB...)

                                                    1. re: Vincci

                                                      One I remember years ago was La Raclette, the terrasse is pleasant as it is at the corner of streets that are not too busy. But it might still be a bit cool to eat outdoors in the evening this week. I don't know how La Raclette food is currently.

                                                      1. re: lagatta

                                                        I must admit that the thought of raclette in the summer has less appeal for me. I don't think of it as a terrasse cuisine.

                                                        1. re: moh

                                                          La Raclette is a Swiss restaurant; it serves many other dishes. We certainly didn't eat raclette there in the summertime - it was good when we did, but that was years ago so I can't vouch for the current quality. I'm pointing it out here because it is at the corner of Gilford and Christophe-Colomb, a fairly quiet corner and a pleasant place for an evening.

                                                  2. Just noticed this announcement on the Club Chasse et Pêche website:

                                                    Inauguration de notre nouvelle terrasse !!!

                                                    Il nous fait grand plaisir d’annoncer que nous reprendrons l’opération du jardin-terrasse du Château Ramezay situé juste en face du Club Chasse et Pêche, de l’autre côté de la rue. En effet, c’est à partir du 1er mai que les lunchs y seront servis du lundi au vendredi. Il sera également possible d’y recevoir notre clientèle en soirée pour tous types d’événements privés, du dîner pour 50 convives jusqu’au cocktail pour 120 invités.

                                                    [We are pleased to announce that we are taking over operation of Château Ramesy's garden terrace, located just across from Club Chasse et Pêche, on the other side of the street. Effective May 1, lunch will be served from Monday to Friday. Our customers will also be able to reserve the space for evening events of every type, from dinner for 50 to receptions for 120.]


                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: carswell

                                                      Joe Beef will have a 20 person non-smoking (yay!!!) terrasse

                                                      1. re: mangermtl2

                                                        Will they be serving food? In previous years, it was drinks only.

                                                        Non-smoking is good. One of the unforeseen side effects of the indoor smoking ban was to turn terraces (not to mention entrance ways) into stinky, blue-hazy spaces. The effects of secondhand smoke are as nefarious outdoors as in. Here's hoping more resto/bar owners follow JB's example.