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Top 5 (or 10) must eats for 1 week in Montreal

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My girlfriend and I be in Montreal for one week next August for the Rogers Cup tennis tournament and we're looking for tips on must eats. L’Express, Au Pied de Cochon, Schwartz’s are already on the list, as is Toque for our splurge dinner, but we'd greatly appreciate any recommendations. We’re open to all cuisines and we love good street food as much as a 4-star tasting menu. We’ll be staying either around Sq. St. Louis or up around the Laurier/Mont Royal metro stations (haven’t decided yet – any advice?). Thanks.

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  1. Something to read (and no, I don't work for the Gazette)
    http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/f...
    (some friends of mine really like Jolifou

    )

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/i...

    A search on this board will tell you that Toqué has lost its shine but I haven't been so I cannot comment.

    1. And if you want to try a BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) here are 5 great sugestions:
      http://www.lesleychesterman.com/resta...

      1. Here's a list of some of my favoirite MTL restaurants and dives that I use to dazzle any visiting tourist/potential mate:

        If you guys are into sushi, I would suggest Tri Express at the end of Laurier east (near corner papineau) - Superstar Chef Tri Du(of Treehouse fame) puts together a beautiful tasting menu of unforgettable pieces of edible art in this eclectic little spot furnished by refurbished antiques. Share the 40$ Omakase and split the Sushi Pizza(Salmon, Tuna or Lobster options at the same price - by far the BEST I've ever had) Also, taxes are included in the price, so it's actually a lot more reasonable than at first glance..

        For breakfast, I would recommend either Cosmo's Snack Bar(a Montreal greasy-spoon establishment...truly an experience to be had) on sherbrooke west, or if you're into something a little trendier and cleaner, I'd suggest L'Avenue on Mount Royal. For L'Avenue, which is a stone's throw from where you're staying, I'd suggest going relatively early on weekends(before 11) since the lineup can get pretty long. Also, their club sandwich is my benchmark for club sandwiches anywhere.

        Lemeac is a fantastic French restaurant on Laurier with a bistro menu special after 10pm (22$ for appetizer and main...just as good-if not better-than L'Express and more reasonably priced past 10)--> my favourite place to bring out-of-towners for a late dinner(but don't let that discourage you from going earlier)! Also has a very delicious fancy breakfast on weekends. Reservations recommended. Show up before midnight. Very, very extensive wine list. Also, they mix a lychee martini strong enough for a man, but delicate enough for a girlfriend ;)

        If you're going to splurge, I'd suggest going to Cavalli, but only if I were pressed to splurge. The decor is realyy sexy, food&service damn good, the hottest italian sports cars always parked out front...you know the type. If you're in for the tennis tournament, however, I'd suggest making reservations sooner than later...Stay *away* from the trendy restaurants on the St Laurent strip, but if you must, Primadonna has a damn good seafood linguini.

        For street food, I'd have to say Boustan on Crescent for lebanese chicken pitas (the off-the-menu 'creation' will satisfy your drunchies for 5$) any Frites Alors! or La Belle Province(save the one on St Laurent) is a safe bet for very decent poutine, as they only use fresh-cut fries and real cheese curds. As for pizza by the slice, well, save that for a future NYC trip.

        Up in little Italy on Dante street, there's a wood-burning pizzeria called pizzeria napolitana. Pretty much the best personal-size pizza in town..they bake the sauce on top of the cheese(go figure). For the price and the tastiness of their pizzas and baked pastas, *and* the fact that it's BYOB, you can't go wrong. Also, I think it's a little closer to the tennis courts than the other places, so it'd be a great way to start/end the afternoon.

        Hope it helps; cause now I'm damn starving :p

        Enjoy your stay!

        2 Replies
        1. re: meninthekitchendotca

          i'm sorry to disagree, but I would stay away from l'Avenue. The food is okay, but it is quite expensive for what you get. I mean, it is eggs and bacon..! not as if they were using exceptional ingredients or being creative.
          maybe i am just crabby because i do not understand why it is always so busy!

          1. re: alixium

            I mean, I'm not gonna argue with that.
            The prices have gone up a tad, and the line is really long, but if you go early enough (like I said), and don't mind shelling out the extra 3-4 bucks for breakfast, it's worth it. They use really good ingredients, coffee is excellent, everything is cooked to perfection, and the atmosphere and ambiance is really cool(have you seen those bathrooms??).

            What's more is that it's literally down the street from where they're staying, and it's definitely worth poking your head in, at the very least.

            I would, however, suggest staying away from Beauty's....Don't even get me started.

            p.s. Go and have the club sandwich...It will spoil you forever.

        2. Go to Boustan on Crescent for Lebanese. Mmmmmm, Boustan.

          1. Went to Montreal in August 2006 and truly enjoyed both Globe, at 3455 St. Laurent, and Chez L'epicier (the Grocer) at 311 rue Saint-Paul Est. Both meals were knockouts (even with terrible seasonal allergies while at L'epicier). Completely different vibes at each - Globe is (was?) more trendy and L'epicier was more traditional (although food was very cutting edge). Hope your trip & eating goes well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: David.Spawn

              do you remember what you had at Globe? I was once disappointed, but am contemplating returning (due to repeat invitations). Perhaps you can steer me in the right direction!

            2. You're in luck as the stadium is located less than 10 mins walk from Tapeo, one of the best tapas restaurants of the city. You're also really within 10 mins of Marché Jean-Talon if you're into farmers market and this one will be in full swing at that time of the year. There's also a skywalk near the stadium that leads to Parc Extension where great indian food is to be had. I'm sure you know that but some of the better matches are played at night during the tournament.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Campofiorin

                Yes find the "Indian Food" thread for some mom and pop Indian cooking just blocks away from the stadium. Also, enjoy a Greek Gyro at Village Grec (the best in the city) on Jean Talon, again near the stadium. As for the tennis, yes the better matches are reserved for the night session but take it from me and go during the 11am sessions especially on Mon-Wed when they are playing Rounds 1 & 2, forget about the center court match unless you have very good tickets and go to the much smaller side courts where the players are literally in your face and you'll be sitting next to the coaches who are usually yelling and swearing in some other language. These side courts only have about 6 or 7 "bench" rows. Not very comfortable but well worth the proximity of the action.

              2. I was in the middle of making a list for some friends of mine of some affordable restaurants in Montreal. Since you said you already had choosen your splurge dinner, I thought you might enjoy these more easy on the wallet options.

                Medium:
                Le Petit Alep
                191 Jean Talon Est (near the Jean Talon Market, not far from Jarry Park)
                Syrian

                Restaurant Thailande
                88 Bernard W.
                Thai

                Soy
                5258 St Laurent
                Chinese

                Inexpensive:
                Coin du Mexique
                2474 Jean-Talon Est (corner Iberville), 514 509-7165
                Mexican

                Restaurant La Paryse
                302 Rue Ontario E,
                Burgers and fries

                Restaurant Bangkok
                In the Faubourg, a food court located at 1616 Ste-Catherine W
                Thai

                Oh, and I vote for Square Saint Louis - I live there and it is more central than the Laurier area, you can walk downtown and to Old Montreal, and it is still still close to a metro for you to go up to Jarry park for the Rogers Cup. Beautiful in the summer too!

                1. My recommendations/comments:
                  Bistro: Leméac, L'express.
                  In August, go for seafood/fish at the Pied de Cochon... might not be the best time for a poutine au foie gras. But then again...

                  For the nth time, I was recently very happy with a dinner at the Club Chasse & Pêche. I believe Claude Pelletier is doing his best work since he opened this restaurant. This would be on my list, more than Toqué.

                  Another I would not miss is MAS Cusine, Michel Ross' new restaurant in Verdun. Been many times, always impressed at what he can do for the price. The winelist is also impressive for the variety for a 28 place restaurant. The wine prices are also something nice - I wish other restaurants would follow this trend. No 2.5-3x markup here.

                  L'Épicier - no longer on my list. First time was not impressive, 2nd time was pretty good, 3rd was OK and the 4th was terrible. Not a good batting average. All four visit were foursomes and everyone pretty much agrees (issues with the service on our last visit made it a painful experience).

                  Place to avoid at all costs: Garcon on Sherbrooke. On the top of my list of all time worst meals and all around experience. Really - *ever*. Ouch.

                  Brontë: been 4-5 times, always a pleasant evening but a bit expensive for what it is.

                  Keep an eye out on this board and on http://lesleychesterman.com/

                  Welcome to Montreal !

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Syrah_Lover

                    Funny how people's experiences differ at the same restaurants. Based upon two dinners and a few brunches at Garcon, and one dinner at CC&P (albeit all a couple of years ago), i would be inclined to return to Garcon, but not to CC&P. Garcon served me perfectly-cooked (braised) sweetbreads; CC&P destroyed the creamy texture of sweetbreads by deep-frying them. Garcon served me almost perfectly cooked lobster; CC&P served me tough lobster. CC&P served me chorizo with fresh oysters; the chorizo completely masked the taste of the oysters. Garcon served me foie gras au torchon that was better then Europea's, and Europea's is no slouch.

                    I just mentioned CC&P to my wife, and she shuddered !

                    Don't get me started on Bronte - the worst I have ever had. And yes, defintiely over-priced.