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August Vacation in Montreal/Quebec City

douglas525 Jul 25, 2008 04:32 AM

Bon jour,

Thank you for reading in English. My wife and I will be in Montreal and Quebec City next month. Can anyone recommend some must-eats in either of those cities (or anywhere along the way, for that matter). We're trying to stay on a budget, and the hostel where we're staying has a kitchen, so even grocery ideas would be appreciated. But mostly, we're looking for inexpensive hideaways that only the locals know about and therefore haven't made it into the tourist books. We might splurge once at a mid-high restaurant (average entree-$20-$30) if it's a place that will complete our Canadian experience.

Merci Beaucoup

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    Campofiorin RE: douglas525 Jul 25, 2008 06:54 AM

    It would really help if you let us know where you'll be staying, the type of food you like and such. But for Montreal, if you have access to a kitchen then I'd suggest hitting the public markets where you'll find a bounty of local produce especially at that time of the year. Marché Jean-Talon is, IMO, the better option and the most fun to visit. Corn will be in full swing just like tomatoes, peppers, brocoli and everything else. And the lovely Ontario stone fruits are gonna be there too such as the great peaches and the prunes. At the market, you'll find cheesemongers, a couple of sausage makers, butcher shops and fishmongers, an SAQ outlet (the provincial monopoly that sells spirits and wine, beer is sold everywhere though), an italian grocery and everything in between.

    1. d
      douglas525 RE: douglas525 Jul 26, 2008 04:39 AM

      We're staying at the YMCA Auberge just southeast of the Parc Mont-Royal near the junction of Ville Marie and Bonaventure. But we are walker/explorers and don't mind a little hike or metro ride to a great place. Merci.

      1. d
        douglas525 RE: douglas525 Jul 26, 2008 04:43 AM

        Sorry...that hotel was for Montreal. In Quebec City we're staying near the Latin Quarter. Merci again.

        1. k
          Keramel RE: douglas525 Jul 26, 2008 09:05 AM

          I think this thread will meet your needs.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Keramel
            kpzoo RE: Keramel Jul 26, 2008 10:06 AM

            A couple of other good threads:

            Montreal Locals - What do you consider the best small hole in the wall resto?

            Best of Montreal?

            Quintessential Montreal

            Hidden gems around Guy/Concordia

            Tapioca Thé?!

            Grocery-wise, I just looked up your hostel and it seems to be at the corner of Rene-Levesque & Crescent. If you walk up to Ste-Catherine and head west, you'll encounter a few supermarkets and Middle Eastern, Korean-Japanese, and other grocery stores in the vicinity.

            For Quebec City, there isn't a ton on this board, but of you use the search tool you'll find a number of recent threads with some recs. (And I just compiled a bunch of them in here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/54251...


            Have a great trip, and if you're looking for anything more specific, do feel free to ask - I'm sure you'll get more responses. :-)

          2. w
            wilmagrace RE: douglas525 Jul 31, 2008 10:23 AM

            Hi, i dont know if you are driving but we had a wonderful day in Quebec city on weekend, spent most of day sampling at the farmers boutiques in ile d'Orleans an island near Quebec city across from famous waterfalls and ski hills, very picturesque, we visited chocolate and candy shops, vineyards to sample local wines, farms to enjoy cheeses, currant farm to enjoy salad prepared with products, etc it was a lot of fun, the tasting stops are well documented (tourist centre is right after you cross the bridge and gives you easy to follow maps, to go the circumference of the island it takes an hour and a half but we spent the whole day eating and enjoying the wonderful pastoral views. We bought the local book on their produce/recipes that just won the best cookbook in the world 2008, local produce category, http://bangornews.com/news/t/lifestyle.aspx?articleid=167756&zoneid=14 and then we took in the creative, free laser slide show on the silos in old port of Quebec city that takes place every night at 22 hours, rain or shine, before heading home to Montreal. If you are in downtown Montreal and dont want to take time to return to lodgings to cook just head to chinatown below Complexe desjardins to share some cheap, nourishing meals eg bejing is reasonable restaurant, on various lists here. There are many prepared salads/meals in grocery stores that you can purchase when out sightseeing, they supply plastic utensils so you can eat well and cheaply without taking time to return to hotel, there is a provigo grocery store in the vicinity and many others downtown. Also head to st. viateur bagels, pick up 6 warm ones with a salmon spread from fridge and you are all set for a picnic! www.farmersinchefhats.com/

            1. d
              douglas525 RE: douglas525 Aug 27, 2008 07:03 PM

              OK, my wife and I just got back from Canada yesterday. Montreal, I'm sorry to say, was a tad disappointing. Modesty aside, we have a pretty good food vibe when it comes to NYC restaurants. But somehow, our sixth sense has fallen short on our two trips to Canada. But I digress. Montreal's Chinatown is more like a strip mall than an actual Chinatown. But we got a vibe on this place and went in only to have the worst Chinese meal of each of our lives. The Szechuan shrimp was, I honestly believe, straight from a can. It consisted of tiny shrimp in this pink gooey almost duck sauce. Disgusting. The beef chow mein and hot pot were edible, but bland. For the first time in my life, I put salt and pepper on Chinese food. We also got poutine, just cuz we had to, at this diner and it, along with the sandwich and soup/salad combo were fine, but eh. In Mont Royal, we traipsed around Little Italy, but were afraid to go in anywhere lest we spend money on something we wouldn't enjoy. We finally stumbled on a green market, which had some wonderful looking food kiosks. Unfortunately by then, we had given up on finding something appetizing and we'd already eaten some decent, but cheaply done, Italian.---On to Quebec City...much better. An Irish pub on St Jean in Old Town gave us a hearty and fine late dinner at the end of a long day of driving. Le Café du Clocher, as promised, delivered a dinner that rivals anything we've had in New York. The snow crab appetizer was exquisite. And Le Buffet de L'Antiquaire was a nice taste of simple brunch food, although the service was severely lacking. My advice to anyone traveling to Montreal is to stick to the boards. We relied on our foodie sense and hoped to stumble upon something. If you do this, you will likely be very disappointed. But Quebec City has some real gems that aren't so hard to find.

              8 Replies
              1. re: douglas525
                maisonbistro RE: douglas525 Aug 27, 2008 07:44 PM


                I don't mean to "criticize" your review, but I don't get it. It would seem that you didn't take any advice or follow any of the suggestions made to you on this board. There are endless threads on decent chinese/sezchuan restaurants, a million and one things to eat in and around little italy - and to not have found anything appetizing at the "green" market as you call it - which I believe was Jean Talon market is unheard of.

                I think you need to fine tune your vibe a little bit, as you seemed to have missed the "bateau" in Montreal.

                1. re: maisonbistro
                  douglas525 RE: maisonbistro Aug 27, 2008 08:17 PM

                  No, you're right. I didn't follow the threads in Montreal. We just decided to wing it, and that was our downfall. We were hoping to wander around the city in a casual manner and stumble into places. But as I confessed and you pointed out, our vibe was off. In Chinatown, we may have found the only bad restaurant, but man, was it bad. And by the time we made it to Little Italy, we had been burned a few times, so we were reticent to spend the money at the nicer places for fear of being disappointed again. And the green market had lots of appetizing-looking places. But as I said, we had already settled on a place for dinner, so we didn't try any. My wife and I both laughed at the fact that we hit a culinary Mecca, but we were full. I don't know what "bateau" is, but I'd probably agree with you that we missed it. In Quebec City we followed the tips here and got recommendations from hotel staff, and had great experiences.

                  1. re: douglas525
                    Campofiorin RE: douglas525 Aug 28, 2008 06:11 AM

                    Bateau is french for boat. That being said, I do believe you simply got unlucky in your attempt to stumble upon good places because there are a plenty in town. Funny as I have a completely different experience in NYC where I've alway been lucky with my guesses, except for Craftbar, but I to digress. About Chinatown, keep in mind that Montreal is much smaller than NYC so the Chinatown is sized accordingly.

                    1. re: Campofiorin
                      carswell RE: Campofiorin Aug 28, 2008 06:17 AM

                      «About Chinatown, keep in mind that Montreal is much smaller than NYC so the Chinatown is sized accordingly.»

                      And that various levels of government, most notably the Drapeau and Trudeau administrations, decimated it (intentionally, some claim) through projects like the Guy Favreau Complex, Complexe Desjardins, the convention centre and the Ville-Marie Expressway.

                      1. re: carswell
                        Campofiorin RE: carswell Aug 28, 2008 07:25 AM

                        Absolutely and don't get me started about the ugliness of the convention center.

                        1. re: Campofiorin
                          kpzoo RE: Campofiorin Aug 28, 2008 08:10 AM

                          What, you don't like the Lite Brite Centre as I like to call it? ;-)

                          1. re: kpzoo
                            Campofiorin RE: kpzoo Aug 28, 2008 09:44 AM

                            Awful only begins to describe what I think of it.

                      2. re: Campofiorin
                        douglas525 RE: Campofiorin Aug 28, 2008 12:52 PM

                        Fair enough.

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