Please Help Me Choose: Only 3 Nights in Montreal
I will be in Montreal in early Feb for a conference and I plan to eat my way through your beautiful city. I have a few foodie friends that I plan to bring along (drag if I must!) for these dining adventures. One drawback is that I will be in town on a Sun, Mon & Tues night and I know that many places are closed on Sun & Mon. For Sunday 8 Feb (my birthday), I want to go somewhere with a group of 6 friends that's special and has an air of excitement. I have become OCD with choosing restaurants and making reservations...I think I need an intervention. Below are the places I have narrowed it down to...please help me choose.
Sunday: Laloux or L'Express for my birthday
Monday: Ferreria or Europea. (I guess if I don't choose Laloux or L'Express on Sunday, that one could go here as they are both open on Monday).
Tuesday: Bonaparte, Toque, Raza or La Colombe
Any help-especially strong opinions-would be greatly appreciated. If I am off-base and there are other places (especially not so well known) that I should venture to, please advise. It would be great to learn about them. Many thanks!
Personally, I'd go for Laloux over L'Express, no question. Especially for your birthday. As for Ferreira or Europea, that's tougher. It would depend on what style of food you're looking for - but either would be worthwhile choices. For Tuesday, my vote would be Raza.
There are so many places worth trying in Montreal, it's hard to just pick a few - but you have made some good choices. Other suggestions would depend on your budget, whether you have any geographic restrictions, and if there are any types of cuisine in particular that you'd like to try,
I really enjoy Ferreira, but I think Europea edges it out a bit.. Also, Europea is great value for the money if you go with the table d'hote or the 9-course tasting menu; and I like the extra little courses they give you. If you go to Ferreira, don't miss their truffled potatoes or their hazelnut ice cream.
Stay away from Bonaparte. I went there once and was unimpressed by the stuffy old cuisine and the nondescript brown sauces.
I think you should tailor the decision based on how adventurous you and your friends want to be.
I also would think that Laloux might be preferable to L'Express.
Re: Ferriera vs. Europea, I cannot comment on Europea, as I haven't been. But the food is a little more experimental there than at Ferreira. At Ferreira, the food is expertly prepared, and if you have some conservative tastes in your group, this place would be great. Delicious food, but nothing terribly new or original. I would happily eat at Ferriera, but if you are looking for excitement and new-fangled, this may not be the best choice. The fish is wonderful, and the potatoes divine.
Another nice option: just had a fantastic meal at Pinxto, a Spanish tapas place, great wine, great tapas. They have a very reasonable $30 degustation option, 4 tapas chosen by the chef, and your choice of a main course. That being said, it is so much fun choosing about 5-6 tapas from their list. I had their wonderful bacalao, marinated sardine, beef cheeks, grilled vegetables, and this insanely delicious wild mushroom with snails and parsley oil dish. They had a lamb special that was also fabulous, and my friends fois gras with lentils was wonderful as well. And they also have a very rare Spanish white wine, a Txacoli, which you can get by the glass. It was superb with the cod and the marinated sardine. With the cod, this was a match made in heaven!! Great place.
I've only been once to each Tapeo and Pintxo, but I'd say I prefer Tapeo. I found Pintxo to be a little bit inconsistent (fantastic goat cheese ravioli in duck gizzard stew, but bland and uninteresting salpicón). Tapeo was generally lovely all around. The staff was nice and they helped us choose a really great wine. My only complaint was that the tortilla was a far cry from what I was expecting - guess I was spoilt in Spain.
can only speak on la colombe, but I can say it is the best meal i have ever had. Not sure i would consider myself a "foodie" but being from nyc i have tried my share of $100pp+ meals and none of them come close to colombe. fyi i got the venison but also tasted the bison, BOTH excellent but liked the venison better. both need to be rare as per kitchen, although i would have ordered it that way either way.