Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
May 12, 2009 08:51 AM

Visit to Montreal(from NYC) - help w/ neighbourhoods & french food


Four of us (late 20s) are visiting Montreal this weekend (Sat afternoon to Mon afternoon).Staying in rue Ontario st (a block away from rue st.denis).This is our 2nd visit but first was 5 years ago.

We want to experience different neighbourhoods and get a good sample of the food scene.We will have a car.

1) Sat: drinks (?) , dinner (good french food)
2) Sun: We are considering a drive up to Quebec City ( good crepe places?). Also late night eats back in Montreal.
3) Mon: Lunch?

Is Liverpool House/Joe Beef recommended?
Would love to get some oysters and soft shell crabs.
Is there anything non-touristy in Old Montreal?
What neighbourhoods should we hang out in (we love williamsburg in NYC for those familiar)?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For French cuisine, I would give "La Porte" on st-Laurent a try, been there when they openned, and it was good; and many places around for drinks.

    IMO, I would not go to Quebec for 1 day (about 3 hours of boring highways); a waste of time and gaz (don't get me wrong, Québec is a fine city and has good restaurants, but for just a day trip out of montreal, it's just too far away).

    7 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien

      We had heard that the trip was pretty scenic? That was the main reason for the trip..

      1. re: suetibu

        The trip is very scenic indeed if you take the old road "Le Chemin du roi", but it will take you at least twice as long as either autoroute. This site is in English too. As for autoroutes, I find the northern route less ugly than the southern one, but not particularly interesting.

        1. re: lagatta

          I wouldn't say the drive along the autoroute from Mtl to Qc City is scenic. If you want a scenic day trip, I'd go somewhere in the Laurentians (maybe a special place like L'Eau à la Bouche or La Table des Jardins Sauvages) or in the Eastern Townships instead. Driving to Qc City for just the day is also pretty tiring. It's at least a 2+ hr drive each way (if you take the autoroute), and the place is *packed* with tourists. Not very relaxing....

          1. re: kpzoo

            Thank you for clarifying. Will change plans accordingly. Any suggestions for what to do in the city on Sunday?

            1. re: suetibu

              If you want a real Montreal experience, you could go shopping at Jean-Talon Market for goodies, then head to the base of Mont-Royal to experience the "tam-tams" (corner Mont-Royal & Parc), have a picnic, and walk up the mountain! (we call it a mountain but it's really a hill...) Or you could just hang out at Jean-Talon Market and Little Italy, lots of shopping & eating to be had up there.

              1. re: kpzoo

                Not as spectacular a park (mostly playing fields and other athletic facilities) but there are some treed areas with picnic benches at Jarry Park, a short walk north of Jean-Talon Market. There are also a couple of small parks with picnic benches in Little Italy (Dante Park is extremely close to the market), if you want a picnic. You are allowed to consume wine or beer with your meal in Montréal IF you are eating, and at a picnic bench.

    2. If you'd like Williamsburg (or what that kind of culture has been morphed into in this city, including the symbiosis between Hasidic Jews and hipsters), your best bet is Mile End. Lots of small restaurants (some gems, some duds), good boutiques and people watching. You can have some bagels at St-Viateur, get coffee at Olympico, get cupcakes or brownies from Cocoa Locale, have a glass of wine and nibbles at Bouchonne or Buvette Chez Simone (also good bets for late night eating).

      3 Replies
      1. re: emerilcantcook

        Perfect.. Just added Bouchonne to my list.

        Here are some of my other choices :
        Garde Manger (oysters, if we find ourselves walking in that neighbourhood)
        Le P'tit Plateau, Montreal (BYOB, this looks like a great choice for Sat night)
        L'express/ Lemeac (open late)
        au pied de cochon (for my husband - do you think they will have any decent choices for a pescatarian like me?)

        Also is Plateau mont-royal a neighbourhood worth checking?

        1. re: suetibu

          Plateau and Mile End are adjacent hoods, with not a clearly defined boundary. I'd suggest a walk from your hotel, through Plateau and Mile End. A really nice walk would be St Denis (towards N), then Duluth (towards W), then St Laurent (towards N), then Mont Royal (towards W). You can then do a rest stop at the Park Jeanne Mance and even walk to the top of Mont Royal. Then you can go up Parc (towards N). Stop at Cocoa Locale (you can also do this before your climb up the Park and come back, not too much extra walk), walk towards east on Fairmont, and then zigzag the streets up to Bernard (between St Laurent and Parc). Stopping at bagel and coffee shops and other gems. Also check, moh's tour of Mile End bakeries:

          I wish I could draw this, hard to explain this way.

          Do check with Bouchonne to see if they are open for sure, I think they are about to move to bigger digs, nearby.

          There is a recent thread about APDC and pescaterians. Verdict: it is good during the fish season, which is about to come.

          1. re: emerilcantcook

            Thank you for the 'mapping'. Will definitely check it out..

      2. I like Joe Beef. But I like Mas Cuisine in Verdun better.

        15 Replies
        1. re: bigfellow

          Noted. Any non-touristy creperies (especially those serving buckwheat savory crepes) ?

          1. re: suetibu

            There's a thread here somewhere on creperies, but recommendations would be the little stand in Jean-Talon market, or Juliette et Chocolat (one on St. Denis below Sherbrooke, another on Laurier just west of Parc) - there have been reports of uneven service at Juliette, but I've never had any problems with them.

          2. re: bigfellow

            Hi - Joe Beef rocks - consistently the best oysters outside the Grand Central Oyster Bar (at more than twice the price in NYC, of course) - oystermen must respect the world champion shucker who also works the bar (!!) there, I think - otherwise I can't understand why they get such absolute gem-quality product for such a tiny place.

            I'm dying to know if there is a link to Mas Cuisine - bigfellow?

              1. re: cherylmtl

                To repeat: Wonderful place, GREAT chef!

                1. re: bigfellow

                  I just made dinner reservations for Le P'tit Plateau for Sat night. I understand that this is French rustic food. In case we do not feel like Au Pied du Cochon on Sun night (2 members of our group do not eat pork or duck), is there another French restaurant suggestion - not rustic but a little more fancy but still within the 20s pricepoint for plats?

                  1. re: suetibu

                    Au Pied du Cochon serves a lot more than just pork and duck on any given day, they have at least 1 or 2 chicken and fish plates on their regular menu. Also, the seafood season just started, so they will have a lot of variety of that and fish as well.
                    Other more fancy French restaurants (but not too expensive)... I'd go to Lemeac.

                    1. re: suetibu

                      Non-pork and non-duck options abound at APDC, especially this time of year. Don't believe any rumours to the contrary.

                      The food at LPP is actually quite refined. As befits its southwest French leanings, some of the dishes are substantial (cassoulet, for example), but I never leave the restaurant feeling like I've overindulged.

                      Sundays aren't great for affordable French. The big bistros are good bets. My choice would be Leméac or the more affordable Au Petit Extra in the east end. L'Express is very popular, especially with out-of-towners looking for a Paris-like experience. If you're willing to venture out of the core tourist areas, Le Jolifou (French with some Latin American flavours) is a sure bet.

                      1. re: carswell

                        Merci idenon and carswell. Much appreciated and noted.

                        on to my next couple questions:
                        Any good beer places (not college crowd) with a lot of variety in drafts and a decent atmosphere in Plateau/ Mile End.

                        Also, we are planning on revisiting hurley's irish pub for their live celtic music unless someone has a better idea? Not too keen on being on Crescent st. but love celtic music.

                        Also, any croissants/baguettes I should try and may even bring back to NYC?

                        1. re: suetibu

                          See this subthread for a fairly up-to-date rundown of your microbrewery options:
                          Dieu du Ciel sounds like what you're looking for.

                          Can't help on the Celtic music front.

                          Baguettes, croissants and bagels are the subject of endless debate. For baguettes, I like the Rétrodor found at various bakeries around the city, including Autour d'un pain and Mamie Clafoutis, and Au Pain Doré's 36 heures. Première Moisson's baguettes have many fans. My hardly exhaustive shortlist for crossants would be topped by Le Paltoquet and Fous Desserts and also include Les Saveurs du Plateau, Duc de Lorraine, Mamie Clafoutis and Lescurier. While nearly everyone agrees that St-Viateur and Fairmount are the city's best bagelries, opinions are sharply divided as to which takes the crown (astoundingly, given the obvious superiority of St-Viateur). For more addresses and discussions, plug the relevant word into the search box at the top of the page.

                          1. re: suetibu

                            For beer, see:

                            Beer Spots in Montreal

                            For baked goods, see:


                            Best chocolatine in Montreal

                            Best boulangerie/patisseries in Montreal/Quebec City

                            Best Patisseries and Boulangeries in Old Montreal

                            Best almond croissants

                            The Ultimate Montreal Experience - see Moh's bakery tour 2nd post in thread

                            I don't think there's a huge range of Celtic music in Montreal, but you could take a look at the Hour's music listings or check out some of the other Irish pubs in Mtl:



                            1. re: kpzoo

                              I have looked for a Celtic music scene here since I moved back. It is very small and hard to find. There does not seem to be any place that features celtic music regularly that I've found.

                              1. re: bigfellow

                                Thank you all. Very much appreciated. I feel well armed.

                    2. re: cherylmtl

                      LOL!! I should have tried that obvious URL for Mas Cuisine myself of course! Thank you for that great tip - what a wonderful little menu I look forward to my visit in two weeks! :-)

                      1. re: Pigeage

                        You won't regret it at all. The food and atmosphere is superb.