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Boston hounds need help for Montreal visit

Hello Montreal CHounds! We are visiting in August, and are looking for some recs for meals. We are vegetarians, but eat fish/seafood as well. We'd prefer to keep the price point down, but are interested in local favorites....any French that has many veg/fish options? We're staying on Rue Sherbrooke Est., but we'll have a car. A trip to the Botanical Garden will be in the plans, so something in that area would be nice as well. A few ideas I had so far are:

Le Commensal
Fuschia
Coloniale
Holder
Olive & Gourmando's
Fairmont Bagels

I would certainly appreciate feedback on these places, and any other suggestions you might have. We'd also love to hit a couple of top bakeries and chocolatiers!

Much thanks!

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  1. Since I am also from Boston, also visiting in August and staying on Rue Sherbrooke Est and will have a car, I'm jumping on to this thread too! We're just going for a long weekend, but I'm excited because I have only been to Montreal once and that was during winter. I'd like to try some local specialties and casual places, but have one or two nice lunches or dinners. (Also, are there any jazz clubs or similar nightspots that have good food?)

    Here are some of the things I was thinking, based on posts from this board:

    - Lunch at Jean Talon market (including ice cream from Havre aux Glace)
    - Bagels from both Fairmount and St. Viateur, so we can do a taste test
    - Poutine from Patati Patata
    - Croissants from Patisserie Gascogne
    - Pastries from Le Fromentier
    - Lunch at Santropol
    - Dinner at Europea

    Science Chick, I hope you don't mind me hopping on to your thread. Also, you have to check out this post where lots of Montreal hounds posted their own chow tours! http://www.chowhound.com/topics/528662

    6 Replies
    1. re: Pia

      Hi Pia, sounds like you have some good plans already - you might also want to check out these threads:

      Quintessential Montreal?
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/399473

      Best of Montreal?
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/464435

      Cheap and Delicious
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/404453

      Montreal Locals - What do you consider the best small hole in the wall resto?
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/411132

      If you do make it to Santropol, I have two tips: (1) be *sure* to go on a day when you can eat outside, and get a seat in the garden, and (2) be in the mood for basic soup & salad fare, or just go for drinks and dessert. The place is a Montreal legend (I even did a semester-long analysis of it in university!) but the food can lean towards bland and could be a disappointment unless you know what you're in for. The service can also be hit or miss.

      Edit - note to Science Chick - Santropol has lots of vegetarian options, including seitan pie and many of the sandwiches.

      re: jazz clubs w/food, I know Upstairs serves dinner, but I've never eaten there so I can't comment - http://www.upstairsjazz.com

      Have a fab trip!

      1. re: kpzoo

        Re: jazz clubs with food .. (after a quick consultation with jazz musician), your best bet is to eat somewhere suggested here and then head to Upstairs for the second set and have drinks. Or have a nice meal at the vegetarian Thai restaurant Chuch or tapas at Pintxo and go to Diese Onze on St-Denis afterwards. Here's a site to tell you what is playing:
        http://www.sortiesjazznights.com/

        I've heard the tapas at Sala Rossa are good too, which is also a music venue.
        http://www.casadelpopolo.com/casa/

        1. re: Plateaumaman

          Excellent, thanks for all the tips and jazz club suggestions! (Carswell too.) My trip isn't for a while, but I'll be sure to report back.

      2. re: Pia

        Pia, Re: croissant: I live very near a Patisserie Gascogne and I love it, but the croissant is very good but not the best. It is convenient, and acceptable, but my favorite croissant is at Fous Desserts. The regular croissant is a thing of beauty, the pear and chocolate croissant is heavenly, and I finally tried the almond croissant - covered in toasty almonds on the outside, rich with almond paste on the inside, almond extravaganza! You gotta go!!!!

        1. re: moh

          Best Croissants thread
          www.chowhound.com/topics/515622

          Best Almond Croissants thread
          www.chowhound.com/topics/476648

          Best Chocolatines (and indirectly croissants) thread
          www.chowhound.com/topics/315477

        2. re: Pia

          The food at Upstairs is passable. In my experience, you go there for the music, not the food.

          Pop!, the wine bar connected to the upscale Laloux bistro, has very good to excellent food. They also have or had live muisc, including jazz, on Thursday, Friday and sometimes Saturday nights. There's no mention of a current schedule on their website, however, so you might want to call to inquire. www.popbaravin.com

        3. Haven't been to Le Commensal for some times, was ok, but it's a bit on the expensive side, you pay by weight, it's a vegetarian buffet, so potatoes and rice and stuff like that can add up very fast.

          Don't know a thing about "Fushia" or "Coloniale" .

          if you go to the Botanical Garden, you can try some of the new restaraunts on Masson St. ( "M Sur Masson", "Madre", and probably a couple more ) or maybe there are one or two on Ontario St. ( anyone ?? it's not my 'hood)

          I suggest you do a little "search" on this forum, there are a few posts with ample suggestions for you to peruse.

          1. I'd skip Le Commensal. Mediocre, expensive food, IMO. Instead, why not check out Aux Vivres (4631 St–Laurent) or Lola Rosa (545 Milton) , two veg. restaurants with very good food.

            If you eat eggs, check out Byblos (1499, Laurier E.) for a delicious Persian brunch. Bombay Mahal (1001 rue Jean-Talon W. at l'Acadie) has great Southern Indian at reasonable prices, it's also a BYOB and has lots of veggie options. Recommend the masala dosa (spicy potato in a giant "pancake") and channa samosa (veggie samosa smothered in chickpea curry) Go for lunch or early eve for best service.

            http://www.chow.com/tour/2178
            http://www.montrealmirror.com/ARCHIVE...

            For bakeries, check out these threads:

            Best Patisseries and Boulangeries in Old Montreal
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/522858
            - particularly Moh's Mile-End bakery tour

            Best boulangerie / patisseries in Montreal/Quebec City?
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/511711

            The best baguette
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/424434

            Croissants
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/515622

            The Great Montreal Bakery Hunt 2007
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/433260

            Cocoa Locale cakes?
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/404732
            - incredible cupcakes & cakes -> must-try!

            For chocolates (and other chocolatey things) see:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/482543
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/499739

            Have a great trip!

            1. I, too, would avoid Le Commensal. It's more an overpriced salad bar than anything else. Haven't checked out Fuschia yet, but it's on my list to-do this week, so I'll get back to you! Worst case scenario you got a table d'hote for 10 bucks. Fairmount bagel is a must-try imo... make sure to get a bozo bagel!

              1. Oh yeah, about this part: "any French that has many veg/fish options"

                The short answer is: your choices are pretty limited there. The French scene here is heavily meat-oriented, which is why I rarely eat it. There are a few threads that discuss some options:

                Montreal - 4 star vegetarian? vegetarian poutine?
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/501625

                High End and Veg Friendly
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/405475

                Veggie/Fish Tasting menu Montreal ?
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/453397

                If you do find something, we would all appreciate it if you reported back on your experience, for the benefit of your fellow vegetarians visiting Montreal in the future!