where to buy knives in Montreal
I am looking to get my first knife "set"- I wont be buying a ready made set as per what I've read I only really need a few basic ones. What shops are good downtown or in the Plateau? Are there any restaurant supply stores?
Monas and La Soupiere is where I'd check now. (The La Soupiere down on St-Catherine always seems to have the Henckels on sale.) But honestly, the set of knives we have is mostly from The Bay and I'd happily recommend it.
For a first set of knives, I'd suggest a large chef's knife, a slicer, and a paring knife, plus a bread knife. We still have the 3-piece Henckels set that my husband bought when he went to university (I think it came from the Bay in Toronto) and it had the first 3 of these knives. I believe it cost about $125 at the time. They are still great more than 10 years later and we'll probably always have them. I don't think you need to spend anywhere near $500 to get a high quality set of basic knives. You're paying for more than functionality if you spend that much.
The bread knife we have is also Henckels, but a super cheap plastic-handled one from Cdn Tire (I think it was $20). However, we've had it for a good many years (6+) and it's still going strong, so don't overspend on the bread knife. We've found with 2 of us cooking that buying a second paring knife was worth it (and it's probably also partly why we like having both the chef's knife and the slicing knife, since I'm happy to use the latter if the chef's knife is in use already).
Cuisine Gourmet on Monkland has 40% off Wusthof right now! I lucked out as I went there today just to look at the Wusthofs and today just happened to be the first day of the sale. Wound up grabbing a Wusthof "Classic" 8 inch (wide version) shef's knife. regular $185 for $110!! this knife feels like it'll be a pleasure to use. Up until now I have been using a cheap spanish-made henkels set.
Thanks for all the recs everyone!
I am definitely going to check out some of the stores (I've bought from Pauls Finest in the past, but knives are def something I want to get a tactile feel for)
I am looking to spend about $500 - what essentials should I be looking for? I dont currently own any knives save for some Ikea ones.
All you need is a chef's knife, a paring knife and a bread knife. Start with those and if later on you really feel like you need a boning, fileting or fruit knife you can always get them then. But I would start out with just the three at first. You'll also need a honing steel and maybe a magnetic knife holder which is tons more convenient than a block and let's you look at your beautiful cutlery.
Everything at the Bay is always on sale. Whether it's 15%, 20% or 25% off, I think that if you do a bit of sleuthing you'll find that the Bay's sale prices are about equivalent to the regular prices at Zeller's and Home Outfitters / Déco Découverte for the same items.
The bottom line being that the Bay's sales are not real sales. They 're just manipulating the prices to make you think you're saving money. It's not as blatant as what they do at Benix or Le Rouet, but it doesn't really inspire trust AFAIC.
This is now OT for "Quebec and region" so I'm not sure if the mods are going to bump the thread, but anyway:
$500 will be more than sufficient for everything you need.
Cooks Illustrated released a knife guide a couple years ago, for what to look for, that can be found here - http://www.cooksillustrated.com/images/document/howto/JA06_KitchenKnives.pdf - it's a great basic guide for people getting into knives, I think.
Some Comparisons, also from CI:
Paring knives: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment/overview.asp?docid=10588
Serrated knives: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment/overview.asp?docid=12388
Chef knives: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equip...
Like SnackHappy says, a chef's knife, paring knife and bread knife are really all you need - I'd add a less expensive carving knife and fillet knife to the equation too, depending on how much meat you're cutting into at home. Not exactly a knife, but buying a decent "speed peeler" really helps out in the kitchen too, if you don't have one.
I use these at home...
Chef knife: Global 8" chef knife ($99 on amazon), Victorinox 10" chef knife ($27 on amazon), Rada 7" chef knife ($20 at farmer's market
)Paring Knife: Victorinox 3 1/4" paring knife ($6 on amazon)
Bread knife: Victorinox 10 1/4" bread knife ($29 on amazon)
Even the "best" paring knife won't set you back a lot, and even the more expensive chef knives shouldn't set you back more than $200 even if you're paying steep prices. Put the rest of the money towards a nice butcher block, a honing steel, a whet stone, a holder and still have some leftover for some new pans and groceries :)
Out of curiosity, does anyone know if someone is selling Rada knives here? These were my go-to knives to pick up for people that obviously need better knives when I was living in Alberta, but for someone who doesn't really give a damn either way. $13 for an 8" chef knife made of surgical steel and brushed aluminum, surprisingly easy to take care of and resharpen and cuts like, well, surgical steel (a carrot-cutting scalpel.) You can order online, but it's nice to be able to head into a shop and pick things up.
Consumer Reports rated kitchen knives. Here they are from the best to the surprisingly worst.
Henckels Twin Select
Henckels Twin Professional "S"
Wüsthof Culinar 8907
Wüsthof Trident Classic #8418
Henckels Four Star
Tramontina Professional L-400/03
Messermeister Meridian Elite
Porsche Chroma Type 301
Chef's Choice Trizor Professional
Henckels Miyabi D
Wüsthof Grand Prix II 8226
Mercer Genesis by Mercer M0 30768
Kershaw Shun Classic DMS300
Calphalon Kantana Series KNS08V
Oxo Good Grip Professional
Chicago Cutlery Metropolitan
Wüsthof Emeril Professional
Wüsthof Le Cordon Bleu #9845
Henckels Twin Signature
Henckels Twin Five Star
Henckels Twin Gourmet
Mundial Future 4100-10
Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition
Chicago Cutlery Insignia
Calphalon Contemporary KNS15C
Lamsonsharp Silver Block 6 Pc Set 39967
Rachel Ray Furi Gusto-Grip
Scanpan Classic 9900
Culinary Institute of America Master Collection Hyde Park
Scanpan Damastahl 0700
Solicut First Class
Forschner Forged #48890
Kershaw 9900 Series
Sabatier Loire (Pakkawood) 14 Piece 7098014
Hampton Forge Contempo (Target)
KitchenAid Professional Series KA1SB16TN
Paula Deen 51484
Chicago Cutlery Fusion
Farberware Pro Forged FPF14N
Cooks Elite (JCPenny)
Martha Stewart Collection Triple Riveted
49 <- ha-ha, so much for the queen of the household!
This is probably not a good test. Some very very good brands of knives don't come fully sharpened out of the box. Also, you would have to use a knife for a long time and re-sharpen it a few times to get a good sense for how good it is. Also, the grip is a very personal thing. All in all, I think it's safe to dismiss many of these recommendations.
There are some brands on there rated WAY lower than they should be from experience. Ginsu above Shun? That more or less invalidates this study. It's like like trusting the pallet of someone who rates Thai Express over Bangkok...
Monas on Park is a good bet - that's where they send the new ITHQ students to get their first knife kit.
Also, if you don't mind waiting a bit, as per another thread, Cuisine Gourmet might be having a 40%+ off sale soon so that might be a good time to get some good knives on the cheap...
Agree that La Soupiere is a good option if you're only going to buy a few essentials, they have a good selection of Globals, and you can likely negotiate about 10% off if you pay cash. Deco Decouverte is good if you're looking for Wusthof, I saw the 9-inch chef's, serrated bread, and paring knives recently... and FYI, costco.ca currently has a very tempting offer of a 10-pc set of Henckels for $225 that I'm considering, probably can't do better than that for the price.
You're definitely correct in assuming that building your own set is better than buying a "box" one, I think. I find its cheaper to buy knives online, even with shipping and handling, than anywhere I've found in Montreal - but unless you get a feel for the knife in person, it's hard to decide what to buy for yourself. Any of the decent kitchen supply stores will carry the Forschner/Victorinox knives, which are excellent and inexpensive for someone who has never bought knives before. I normally go to Mona's on Parc and Mount-Royalish, but mostly because of proximity than anything. Tzanet is where a lot of cooking schools buy their knives from, and they definitely do have a wide selection. Those would be my two recs, having never really extensively visited anything beyond that.
A couple of years ago I bought a set of Henckels knives as a housewarming gift. Monas had the best everyday prices (about 10% less than elsewhere), though I ended up making my purchase at the Bay during their Boxing Day sale (15% off, IIRC). The Bay also carries Wurstoff and TV chef brand knives.
In addition to the above-mentioned places, you could check out La Soupière on Ste-Catherine west of Guy and Paul's Finest, which has an impressive selection of European and Asian knives at good prices. www.paulsfinest.com
Yes, yes, yes to Paul's Finest. He carries a large selection of knives from various suppliers (Wusthoff, various Japanese brands), and even though I am in Ontario, I've always had excellent experience dealing with his company. Very customer-satisfaction based, and as everyone above has stated, Paul is able to help tailor your order to your culinary needs.
The only bad thing about this store is that you can't hold the knife before you buy it. I was interested in buying one of the more exotic Japanese hand made knives but decided against it in the end simply because I would never be able to evaluate how the knife felt in my hands before I purchased it (and it was going to be a CONSIDERABLE purchase). I don't think that this is much of an issue if you are going with well known German and Japanese brands, but for something more exotic, I would be remiss not to at least SEE the knife in person before spending hundreds of dollars.
I e-mailed the owner to see if it was possible to come and take a look, unfortunately, he declined.
That being said, he has the best selection and prices of knives that I have seen ANYWHERE.
I bought from Paul's Finest and was happy with the price/quality. I don't mean to steer this thread away, but does anyone have an opinion on electric knife sharpeners? Specifically the Chef's Choice 120 (at Costco for $129). I bought a manual set-up (Spyderco) and just can't get it to work very well.
This might seem out of left field, but if I had to buy new knives, I would try to find a store in North America that sells handmade Japanese knives and get a honking big chef's knife. Most places in Montreal have pretty similar stuff--the major brands. (Ares and Depres Laporte in Laval and Les Touilleurs would be the places I would visit) I love my Globals but think there is a lot to be said for cheaper knives with softer steel that you just sharpen daily. L'Academie Culinaire was selling knives with rubberized green handles that fit that bill. Name escapes me.
There's probably a "Cuisinerie" of some sort on Mont-Royal blvd. (as far as I remember).
Other more expensive options are "Les Touilleurs" and "La Maison D'emilie" both on Laurier St. (former is more east of Park , later is West of Park, both are walking distance of each other) for "designer" knives.
And both of the above are at walking distance of Monas (as stated in the other post). for "restaurant" class knives.