Place for a snack near Place des Artes?
I am arriving for my Montreal vacation on Saturday (early afternoon) and have tickets to see Brad Mehldau at the jazz festival at 6pm. I have a dinner reservation for after the show, but I'm sure that I'll want to get something light to eat beforehand. Can anyone recommend somewhere near the Place des Artes for something light (or even appetizers) in the late afternoon/early evening? Thanks!
I don't know if you like to walk a lot of not. I agree with Blork that the area around Place des Arts will be a zoo. Kpzoo's chinatown suggestion is excellent, and the thought of BBQ pork buns always makes me smile. Patisserie Harmony is very good, as is MM Legende down the steet, also on de la Gauchetiere.
Myself, I'd probably head up to Plateau or Mile End and do snacks up there. St. Laurent street has tonnes of yummy spots to eat, including the famous Schwartz's smoked meat, Coco Rico for rotisserie chicken, tamales/pupusas/Central American hot meals at Supermarche Andes. If you want something more upscale, Pinxtos for tapas is nice (although you'd have to check if they are open early enough for you). Prato does a nice pizza. There are lots of other places in that area, and it depends on what kind of food you are looking for. You can then walk to Places Des Arts from these places within 20-30 minutes, it is a fun people-watching walk, plus you don't have to try to park near your concert. Anyhow, if that appeals, and you have preferences about what you want to eat, feel free to ask!
Personally, I would head to Chinatown and get some BBQ duck or pork on rice... or whatever else strikes your fancy. Recommend Hong Kong on St-Laurent & La Gauchetiere for BBQ duck/pork. Or if you're in the mood for something sweet, head to the Harmonie bakery on La Gauchetiere & St. Urbain and eat your goodies (HK-style milk tea with paper-cup cake - yum!) in the little park on La Gauchetiere & Clark if weather permits. Have fun!
BTW, Chinatown's about a 5-10-min. walk south from Place des Arts. If it's pouring rain, you can even do most of the walk underground. Just follow the signs for the Place d'Armes metro and get out at the La Gauchetiere street exit in Complexe Guy-Favreau. Slightly circuitous, but there are plenty of security guards in the Guy-Favreau federal bldg. to ask for directions should you get lost.
Keep in mind that the area around Place des Arts will be awash with thousands of festival goers. It will be like being at Disneyworld on the 4th of July. Correspondingly, there will be plenty of kiosks for overpriced, underquality, "festival approved" snacks in the area.
Or you can walk a couple of blocks in any direction and you'll pass dozens of middle-of-the-road snack bars, restaurants, bars, etc.
If you're looking for something a bit nicer, and slightly away from the crush of humanity (but still just a few minutes' walk from Place des Arts) then walk up rue Bleury to Sherbrooke street. On the south-west corner there's a cafe, whose name I forget, that serves up a variety of interesting light fare. There's also a newish cafe on the south-east side, but I've never gone in, so I can't vouch for it.
If you cross the street, Bleury becomes Ave. du Parc. A few doors up on the west side, past the art supplies store and the stationary store, is a wine bar called Pullman that has an interesting menu of light fare. It gets mixed reviews, but I sometimes think that those who give negative reviews might be setting the bar too high. To be fair, I've only been there a few times, but my experiences have always been good.
From Pullman, it's probably about a six minute walk to Place des Arts, so you're still in the 'hood, but away from most of the crowds. Keep in mind, however, that it's still close enough to be jammed with people, as it's the only wine bar in the area (that I'm aware of). Also keep in mind that some of the complaints about the place have been about the service. Given that it's the weekend of the Jazz Fest, be prepared for the place to be crowded and the service to be slow.