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Best (Restaurant/Food) of Montreal

Hey all! So, I'm visiting Montreal for the first time this fall for a few days and while I'm there, I want to sample the best that Montreal has to offer. With that in mind, I also want to try (at least one of) the most progressive cuisine/restaurants there. So therefore, any recommendations? In other words, if money isn't an issue, where would YOU go for a culinary adventure?

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  1. Europea

    Au Pied de Cochon

    1. I have to say I have had some memorable evenings at Bronte on Sherbrooke. I have eaten twice at Joe Beef on Notre Dame. During the period I was dating my husband we ate at Milos for special evenings. None of those restuarants are very progressive just honest good food. I don't like fussy cuisine but come to think of it we did eat at Toque when it was at its old location and found it to be a little more elaborate than we were used to and thoroughly loved it.

        1. So far all good suggestions!

          Would add La Chronique, and Club Chasse et Peche, although there have been some recent reports of service issues at Club Chasse et Peche.

          I also have a soft spot for Bouchonne, especially if you like wine.

          1. This is my first post, and I am by no means an expert, but I would recommend Club Chasse et Peche; the flavours and aromas almost made me cry.

            Toqué was very nice, but I was there years ago at the old location during the Montreal Highlights festival, so there was a guest chef in the kitchen. I had the tasting menu which was presented by the servers in such a way to make each dish feel like an event, with a full explanation of each dish and the accompanying wine.

            On the weekend I ate at Le Bleu Raisin (on the recommendation of some from this site). Not quite the decor and ambiance of CCetP, but the food was spectacular (I had the new "menu dégustation")!

            Au Pied de Cochon is great, but so rich that I literally found it hard to digest. It's fun, but a bit of a novelty to me (maybe my palate is not quite up to the challenge).

            17 Replies
            1. re: robvh

              "Au Pied de Cochon is great, but so rich that I literally found it hard to digest. It's fun, but a bit of a novelty to me (maybe my palate is not quite up to the challenge)."

              Hee Hee! Robvh, I'm not sure it is the palate as much as you need to have a cast iron stomach! I love Au Pied de Cochon, and I can usually eat very large quantities of fat and food, but even I find APdC a bit much at times. I have never been able to finish an appetizer, main and dessert there. And I always end up with a gigantic take home baggie of food. It is rich stuff they serve. But no question, it is a uniquely Montreal place to eat.

              Out of curiosity, what was on the new menu at Le Bleu Raisin? The chef there seems very interested in experimentation, I like his attitude very much, and like that he is willing to take risks with his food. Very friendly guy.

              1. re: moh

                I can give you a little resumé of the tasting menu. There were 6 courses, $59 per person, and the menu is for 2. It changes about once a month, apparently:

                The entrée was halibut cheeks "boucanée" on a bed of garbanzo and green olive tapenade and arugula. I thought the smokiness of the halibut married well with the bitterness of the olives and the tenderness of the halibut contrasted nicely with the firmness of the beans. The delicate aftertaste was all halibut.

                The next course was foie gras en torchon served with a "fig carpacio" (a thinly sliced fig arranged in a fan above the foie gras) with a "filet" of strawberry coulis. At least I remember it to be strawberry. My wife says raspberry. Also, I can't be sure that it was a coulis or a reduction. Again, that darned palate!

                The next course was the trou normand. Cidre de glace with a ball of red grapefruit sorbet. There was a distinct taste of maple syrup in there too. It was just great.

                The main course was veal (rib chop?). One cut to be shared by the two diners served on the same plate. On top of the veal were little griottes which were delectable. The veal was medium rare, which was perfect for us. On either side of the veal were big wedges of portobello mushroom that had little shrimps on top with a tiny bit of melted cheese. I understood the cheese to be Sauvageau cheese, but I am probably wrong. Anyway, on the outside of the mushroom was an arrangement of zucchini and red pepper and pesto.

                Every part of this dish was outstanding.

                After this was a cheese plate of black chèvre cheese. It has the texture of cheddar but it is distinctly chèvre. Chopped chives over the top and some kind of sauce that I cannot describe because I don't remember the details anymore (getting to the bottom of the wine at that point).

                Finally there was the dessert: A wedge of dense chocolate cake. Really dense and rich. I love chocolate, and this put me in heaven.

                A couple of notes on presentation: With the exception of the foie gras and obviously the trou normand, each course was served on a single narrow rectangular plate. One end of the plate was a mirror image of the other. I liked that, but it would have been a drag to be sitting next to the person you were sharing with because the effect would be lost.

                Service: I found the service friendly and casual, which is fine. I would have preferred a bit of communication like when they dropped off the little toasts for the foie gras, we forgot it was coming, so we ate some of them with butter without thinking. It would have been helpful to us, the barbarians, to have been told that they were for the foie gras.

                Also, I like to be told what I am eating as it is presented. I'm there for the food, and my memory sucks.

                The last thing is I would have liked a serrated knife for the veal. It would have made it easier to get through.

                We were drinking Côte-de-Nuits-Villages Bertand Ambroise 2005, which, surprisingly (to me, anyway) stood up very well to every dish.

                1. re: robvh

                  Thanks for the summary Robvh! Sounds like a very nice meal. Yummm, Halibut cheeks, my favorite part of the fish!

                  1. re: robvh

                    O...M...G...

                    Thanks for the play-by-play Robvh! That sounded like an amazing meal.

                    1. re: itoNYoshi22

                      Where is Au Pied du Cochon and what should I order? I think I saw this place on an episode of No Reservations - Anthony Bourdain, correct?

                      1. re: caitlink

                        Hi there,

                        536 Duluth Est
                        http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca/

                        Yes, it was featured in the Quebec episode of No Reservations, the over-the-top pig-fest pig-out scene.

                        For what to order, see this thread:

                        APDC what must I order?
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/525938

                        Have fun!

                        1. re: caitlink

                          I was in need of my PDC fix, so I drove up to Montreal for dinner yesterday. Had cauliflower soup with snow crab, cod cheeks and chantrelle mushrooms; maple cured and smoked mackerel with a green bean, confited tomato, and potato salad; and roast squab for my main. There was a snow crab tart going around that looked damned good as well as deep fried squash blossoms with homemade mayo. Gotta love the specials at PDC.

                          If you like foie gras, you can't go wrong with the Plogue à Champlain: buckwheat pancake, potatoes, thick-cut bacon, aged cheddar, and seared foie gras all covered with a maple syrup sauce and garnished with eggs poached in maple syrup. A real food orgasm if there ever was one.

                          1. re: rcianci

                            The Plogue à Champlain sounds SWEET ! That combination sounds all wrong, starting with cheddar and foie gras together. I love poached eggs, but just cannot see them topping that combination. Sounds like a chef gone wild.

                            1. re: souschef

                              The Plogue sounds all wrong, but it truly is greater than the sum of its parts. It is insanely good, but almost a meal unto itself...

                              1. re: moh

                                "[...]almost a meal unto itself..."

                                It looks more like breakfast, lunch and dinner all on one plate.

                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                  Brilliant summary Snackhappy! As I have said before, we are not worthy :)

                                2. re: moh

                                  Okay, moh, since it is you recommending it, I will give it a try the next time I am there (after my usual 6 cromesquis). I am not a fan of maple syrup at the best of times (too sweet), but if I survived (read "loved") their "pouding chomeur", this is worth a shot. I have yet to make to make the pouding from their recipe book (gift from my wife the last time we were there).

                                  BTW on one occasion when I was eating at the counter i was talking to one of the chefs about why my version of cromesquis failed (I have a recipe from a book), and he steered me in the right direction. To be fair (to me) they modified the recipe so it works. I love to eat at that counter, especially when I get to taste stuff !

                                  1. re: souschef

                                    Souschef, if you manage to eat the cromequis, plogue and a main course, hats off to you! That is a lot of food. Perhaps share the plogue?

                                    Re: Sweetness, the maple syrup is not overwhelming, and is such a lovely match for the fois. And of course the bacon is A-1. I am such a sucker for bacon. I would say that I have had many preparations of fois in other restos where the accompaniments have been much sweeter than the plogue.

                                    1. re: moh

                                      I have a copy of the English version of the cookbook and from that I learn that the sauce for the Plogue is not 100% maple syrup, but a maple and duck stock reduction mounted with a mustard vinaigrette at the end. Also the sharp cheddar counterbalances any remaining sweetness. This may explain why the Plogue worked with the dry red I was drinking at the time.

                                      1. re: moh

                                        moh, I thought the plogue was a main. I would stop after the cromesquis and plogue as I have been caught before ordering too much food there. Well...I do like the tomato tart, and have been known to order 2 appetizers instead of an appetizer and a main.

                                        I love bacon too - if there is no pancetta around.

                                  2. re: souschef

                                    Eggs poached in maple syrup are not like your basic runny poached eggs. They're more like a cross between scrambled eggs and a custard.

                                    I agree with moh. The Plogue sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does, brilliantly. And it goes down surprisingly light for something so nutritionally dense.

                                    1. re: rcianci

                                      I should mention that it is Boulevard or Avenue du Mt. Royal, not on the mountain. (see following review below)

                      2. Au Cinquième Péché on Mt. Royal. Went to Montreal for the first time last week and had a great experience. I think I read they are closed from the end of August till middle of Sept., I don't know when you're planning your trip...

                        Nice bistro feel, crowded but welcoming. Staff was warm, friendly, and completely unpretentious. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd call it progressive as much as interesting, exciting and inventive (is that progressive?).

                        For appetizers, my wife (vegetarian) had an heirloom tomato salad with chevre noir and a couple of other things that I don't remember because I was too occupied with my duo of seal. A piece of smoked seal carpaccio and a piece of beautifully cooked seal loin, served with an herb salad and a touch of garlic cream. I've never had seal before, so I have no point of reference, but I truly enjoyed it. A little stronger flavor than say, lamb, incredibly moist and delicious.

                        For our main plates, she had a sweet potato gnocchi with spinach, oyster mushrooms, and I believe tomato, while I had sweetbreads with celeriac puree', brunoise chorizo, and snow peas. The sharpness of the chorizo, the lightness of the puree', the crisp snow peas, and the rich sweetbreads contrasted and complimented each other perfectly.

                        Dessert was a pine nut, goat cheese nougat ice cream topped with basil granita and served over a tomato "gremolata", which was really a sort of tomato jam. I don't know if it sounds good (we were immediately intrigued), but we loved it. My wife used her finger to lick the bowl clean.

                        We went to Montreal to get away for a long weekend and had a pretty amazing time. Beautiful city with lots of good food, and that night was the highlight of the trip for me. I've actually been looking forward to sharing this experience seeing as how I "discovered" the place on Chowhound.

                        Good luck!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jwk2

                          I went to Cinquieme Peche for the first time recently and loved everything about it as you did...I also had the duo of seal, not quite like anything I ever had, loved
                          the carpaccio part the best...service was as good as it gets...delicious wines by
                          the glass...can't wait to go back (well,after they come back from vacation sept.11)

                          1. re: jwk2

                            I have to second the seal duo as well! I had never had seal before, but it was great-- well prepared and delicious! Our server told us that 5e Peche was the only place in town currently serving seal. I didn't see it on any other menu, either. (I was there in the beginning of July, btw)

                          2. As I wrote a week ago (Aug. 16), I'd certainly try L'atelier. Wonderful and inventive cooking, the freshest ingredients, and a pleasant, easy atmosphere.
                            judysh