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l'express, only something else

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I will be in Montreal for a long weekened and am in need of some good chowhounder recs please. I had dinner at l'express last time I went and thought it was solid food with a nice but upbeat atmosphere. I am in town with a few friends and we are looking for three restaurants:

1. something like l'express - good vibe, very competent food and nothing too fancy.

2. french bistro, american, italian or fusion that is very hip with a great scene and high energy.

I also want to keep my dress casual - dark jeans and dress shirt. Any help/recommndations would be greatly appreciated. Without alcohol, I would like to keep it to $75 per person with tax and tip. If possible, also looking to keep it within a 10-15 minute drive from the downtown/business district.

Also, any suggestions for a good lunch spot with a great BEER selection would be really helpful too! Thanks everyone.

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  1. 99% of restaurants in MTL allow for jeans and dressed shirt.

    Couple of suggestion:
    Lemeac and Chez Leveque (both on Laurier St.)
    M Sur Masson (on Masson st.)
    3 Petits Bouchons, Chez Justine (both on St-Denis St.)
    La Montée (downtown)
    Cuisine/Dépendance or Robin Des Bois (both on St-Laurent blvd)

    1. I really like the atmosphere at Holder. It's kind of boisterous and energetic. The food is also quite good and they have a nice bar. It's on McGill Street in Old Montreal.

      1. The great thing about Montreal is that dark jeans and a dress shirt is dressy enough for essentially *everywhere* - and you will always find people who are more or less dressed up than you.

        Express but not : Au Petit Extra on Ontario, Lemeac, Holder (but the food is really hit or miss, unfortunately.. mostly hit, but sometimes a real miss). And even though it's not L'express at all, the Burgundy Lion is all kinds of fun and has a decent menu. (its sibling, McKiernan's, could be a good lunch option for you as well...)

        fusion/ scene/ energy : Koko is the current hot spot in terms of supper clubs, bar none. You can do it for $75 a person - no alcohol. Trinity is #2 but as you will easily find on here, the service/food/ experience can easily be a real disaster and ends up quite pricey.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Abendschein

          What is the link between McKiernan's and Burgundy Lion?

          1. re: SnackHappy

            There is no link between Burgundy Lion and McKiernan's. McKiernan's is part of the Joe Beef/Liverpool family but is primarily a lunch place (open for dinner Thursdays and Fridays, brunch on Saturdays). Joe Beef and Liverpool are good options for exactly what you are looking for. Great vibe, no pretense. Burgundy Lion is a good pub, but the food can be very hit and miss. It's best for after dinner, if you want to keep the party going and loosen up.

            1. re: jagbbq

              Hmm my bad! Someone had told me that... or maybe I dreamt it ? lol either way, sorry for the bad intell...