NYer's Montreal Itinerary
Hello! I will be in Montreal from Thursday evening through Sunday morning (7/3-6), with three other adults (mid-30s) and a two year old. This is my itinerary:
Thurs night: Au Pied de Cochon
Fri. lunch: Chez L'Epicier
Fri. Dinner: Le Club Chasse et Peche
Sat. lunch: L'Express
Sat. dinner: Lemeac
Sunday lunch: at JT Market
(Toque was booked, so couldn't get a reservation there at all).
I also plan to fit in the following:
Bagels taste-testing between Fairmont & st. Viateur
Poutine at La Banquise
Bilboquet for ice cream
Olive & Gourmando for breakfast or snacking
Maybe Schwartz's, depending on time and appetite constraints
Harvey's for a burger (seriously)
Beauty's for breakfast (for sentimental reasons)
Any thoughts on my plans? Does it seem like my choices are varied enough? Should I replace dinner at Lemeac with one at Chez L'Epicier, then do lunch at Lemeac (or some other place) instead? Is Orange Julep worth checking out over L'Express, since we will have a child with us?
Also, we're staying at the Hyatt, and I'm not familiar with the layout of Montreal (although I have been to Montreal before), so maybe it makes sense to change certain things around to make it easier to get to the places?
I'm really looking forward to coming to your beautiful city. I really appreciate any feedback. Thanks for any advice you can give me!
Holy Moley Cjk5! That is a lot of French food! Hope you are packing your Cholesterol meds...
If you are focusing on French Cuisine, then this is a great line-up. You are hitting a lot of high notes. Personally, I find lunch at L'Express followed by dinner at Lemeac a little redundant, as they are both French bistros, but that being said, they are both great places to eat, and so typically Montreal.
As for the rest of the list, the bagel tasting is a must. Poutine, also worth trying, although if you get the fois gras poutine at Au Pied du Cochon, that might cover it. You may want to see how the rest of the list goes, as thinking about all the food you will be eating is making me full... Those are pretty rich meals you are talking about!
WOW! You will not go hungry, let me say that. ;-)
"Is Orange Julep worth checking out over L'Express, since we will have a child with us?"
These two are completely different animals. Orange Julep is an outdoor snack bar with picnic tables, serving hot dogs, fries, etc. along with the venerable orange julep drink. Definitely cool to go with a kid, but a world away from the bistro L'Express! OJ is worth checking out if you want to see a Montreal landmark (it's a giant orange) but not if you're looking for top-notch food.
I agree with Moh that you've planned an enormous amount of heavy French meals, and you may want to consider swapping one or two of the lunches with some lighter fare, like perhaps a brunch at Byblos (see recent Bostonian post) on Laurier East or either Le Cartet or Olive & Gourmando (closed Sun.), both in Old Montreal.
"Also, we're staying at the Hyatt, and I'm not familiar with the layout of Montreal (although I have been to Montreal before), so maybe it makes sense to change certain things around to make it easier to get to the places?"
I don't think you need to worry at all. Montreal's a fairly small city, being contained on an island as we are. Nothing is usually more than a 30-45 min. drive away from anything else (except in rush hour, of course) , and much is walkable or easily reached by metro and/or bus. Have a fantastic trip!
Leméac makes a fabulous chopped salad topped with grilled shrimp, that's a light option; they also have brunch on sundays. The outdoor seating there would make me pick that place over l'Express, if you must omit one of the two.
You've omitted italian food, is that intentional ?
I personally would skip the Julep , it's out of the way and would waste precious time you could stroll on the various streets surrounding your dining places after your meals.
Maybe replace L'express or Lemeac by either Bazaar (middle-east influence), Jolifou (mexican/south-american influence), Madre, Raza (mexican/south-american -ish) or "M Sur Masson" ?
Have to join the Avoid-the-Julep chorus unless you're a huge fan of kitsch architecture. Not only is it way out of the way, the immediate surroundings are absolutely soulless, a wasteland given over to automobile culture. I'd also suggest dropping Harvey's; it ain't what it used to be and, in fact, is pretty vile.
As for ice cream, aside from sociology (great place to study the bourgeois Outremont street scene) and a few flavours (the currently unavailable maple taffy and the enjoyable strawberry cup made with OK strawberry ice cream and fresh strawberries), there's nothing particularly noteworthy about it. A decade or two ago it was arguably the city's best ice cream parlour but its expansion and the arrival of superior competitors mean that's no longer true. Not saying it's bad, just nothing special. See the ice cream thread for better (more interesting flavours, better ingredients, smaller batches) options. www.chowhound.com/topics/518157
While your restaurant list is heavy on the French, the establishments you've chosen are actually quite varied: APDC is over-the-top home-style Québécois; Chez L'Éplicier is postmodern market French with a terminally cute fondness for semi-deconstructionism; LCC&P is contemporary French/Italian/American; L'Express and Leméac are both bistros. And these various styles of French are, after all, what this city does best. What you're missing, IMHO, are the places I, as a resident, find most interesting: the small, neighbourhood restos and the BYOs. To Max's list of the former, I'd add Bistro Bienville, Au Cinquième Péché, Bouchon de Liège and La Chronique. My favourite BYO remains Le P'tit Plateau.
And to add a reason not to go to Bilbouqet, they serve it in the passageway between Complex Dejardins and Place des Artes- basically the "mall" under the Hyatt.
Not sure how you intend to do all of this with a two year old... The kid area at FIJM is great but the magic only lasts so long...
I agree with others about Orange Julep and Bilboquet. They're really not worth the trip. And as for Harveys, it's quite possibly the worst burger in this burger desert of a town. Why anyone who's ever had a good buger in their life would ever eat there is beyond me. If you insist on eating chain burgers you could do much better with A&W.