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Sep 8, 2008 09:12 AM

know of any family-owned small intimate french bistro/restaurnts in montreal?

We went to Montreal for our anniversary last weekend and had a great time. we had asked someone at the tourist information service for the same recommendation. We wanted something small, informal, and family owned and we ended up at Boris' Bistro on mcgill. It was too high end for what we wanted. Does anybody know of something that offers french, casual, more peasant/rustic style, food of which I speak for future reference? We may go to Montreal in the future and I would love to get recommendations for the downtown, university,old montreal area.

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  1. Small, informal and family-owned restaurants are not normally found in the downtown, university, or Old Montreal areas. You would be more likely to find what you're looking for in Plateau or Villeray, but I'm not really clear on exactly what sort of food you're looking for - perhaps Pied de Cochon might be closest, but it's not exactly small - although it's not huge - and while there are many lovely little bistros around, I'm not sure that style of food is what you're looking for either. Could you be a little more specific as to what "peasant/rustic style food" might encompass?

    1 Reply
    1. re: cherylmtl

      I get a feeling that if Boris was too high end then APDC is definitely too expensive.

    2. I think what you're looking for is more the type of bistro one would find in France and not among the ersatz bistros of Montreal. Montreal bistros tend to more high-end than their French counterparts, because they cater to a more affluent crowd. They feel more like fancy brasseries than actual bistros. Even a moderate, non-pretentious place like Le Margaux would be way fancier than what you're looking for.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SnackHappy

        we have a small10-15 table restaurant owned by a couple here in jersey city and it is fantastic. they feature buckwheat crepes filled with lamb sausage spinach and creme fraiche, pork with an apple brandy sauce, seafood dishes,escargot appetizers, roasted chicken etc... we were hoping to find something more along the lines of that type of food and atmosphere while in montreal. alas i guess next time we go we will need to go outside of the city.
        thank you for your help.

      2. The closer to what you are describing is perhaps some of the small bring your own wine restaurants (please do a board search if you are interested, there are many recommendations). Still, at most of these places, the mains will be at higher 20s and with some appetizers and a dessert you will end up paying $50 and upwards per person, not to mention this doesn't include price of the wine you are bringing. And food is fancier, albeit sometimes being interpretations of rustic fare.

        I am still not sure what you refer to as high end though. If the price is not an issue, and you are just referring the atmosphere, some of the small BYOB places might satisfy you. Or even Au 5eme Peche (not BYOB though), which is owned and operated by a family and is tiny. But then again, I've never been to Boris Bistro so I cannot interpret your situation well.

        However, I think Pied de Cochon is completely the opposite of family owned/small/ intimate. It is not excessively big, but it is loud, fast and out of control. There is nothing bad about it, but it is a totally different animal.

        3 Replies
        1. re: emerilcantcook

          The only other clarification I can make is that what we were looking for is a small casual french restaurant owned by a husband and wife, that serves homecooked, fresh country style french food. When I say high end, I don't mean price i mean style of food as opposed to more casual homecooked fare, you know, like someone's grandma was in the back preparing the food

          1. re: Bengaliwife

            The BYOB restaurant Le P'tit Plateau is run by a husband and wife team. The husband, the chef, learned his craft at his grandmother's knee in Bordeaux. That said, he's a modern and inventive cook and has a sense of style. Still, southwest French cuisine is by nature somewhat rustic and a certain homeyness continues to inform his cooking.

            As SnackHappy mentions, Le Margaux is run by a French couple. Though not ultra-fancy, I wouldn't describe their cooking as rustic.

            At Le Jolifou, hubby and sous-chefs man the stoves, while wife looks after the front of house. The cooking is basically French but incorporates Latin American ingredients and flavours.

            For more refined and expensive but still run by a French couple, head to La Porte on St-Laurent.

            If you can get past the husband-and-wife thing:

            Le Jurançon shares many of LPP's attributes, though it's slightly less expensive and not a BYOB.

            Au Cinquième Péché is owned and operated by two families and the kitchen pulls off the impressive trick of balancing rustic and elegant, earthy and ethereal, down-home and sophisticated.

            1. re: Bengaliwife

              I'm not sure about the husband/wife, mom&pop aspect but,
              perhaps Le Paris Beurre 1226 Van Horne at Querbes or Outremont ave
              (514) 271-7502
              Once upon a time, there was the husband/wife/daughter at Au Bistro Gourmet 2100 rue Saint-Mathieu (514) 846-1553 but haven't been in years.

          2. Howdy!

            Not quite French, but heavy on the family, casual and rustic... you might want to check out Ange & Ricky, 195 Jarry E. (514) 385-6094. Le Roi du Plateau, 51 Rachel West (514) 844-8393 and Le Jolifou 1840 Beaubien, (514) 722-2175.

            1 Reply
            1. re: zekesgallery

              thank you all for your responses. These sound just like what I am looking for.
              next time I go I will report back.

            2. The little neighbourhood bistro Caf et Bouffe, described on the Villeray thread, might have the type of vibe you are looking for. It is not strictly "Français de France", the food is sort of Italianish and sort of Québécois, but it is not too far from the kind of flavour profile you are seeking.