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Lesser known Montreal institutions

I'm relatively new here (well, 3 years this month) and am mostly only familiar with Montreal institutions in the plateau, downtown and old port. We're in the process of a move and stopped by Ikea this weekend to check out some new furnishings, and on the way back, since we were at the cote vertu metro, I had a hunch that Decarie Hot Dog was nearby... so I walked a bit up the street and there it was, so we checked it out. It got me thinking that this was the only place I know that isn't in a certain downtown core that I've really heard that much about.

So my question is, what other Montreal restaurants, that are still open, would be considered "institutions" in the areas less or untouched by tourism? Everyone knows of the bagels and the smoked meat and the star chefs, but what else is out there that's stood the test of time?

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  1. Lived in NDG for 10 years, still head back regularly for a dose of the following:

    La Louisianne - http://www.lalouisiane.ca/
    - don't miss the hushpuppies, and my staple dish is the Chicken Panné
    If you are in a boozy mood the Bayou Brew is a nice stiff Bourbon Sangria

    Taverne on Monkland
    while I hate the crowd here, the music is awesome and these 2 dishis I cannot live without:
    Best salmon tartar in town
    Warm spinach salad - indescribably yummy!

    1. Here's a list off the top of my head. I wouldn't say that all of these places serve great food, but they could certainly be considered institutions.

      Dillalo Burger
      Casa Napoli
      Nouveau Système
      Snowdon Deli
      Chien Chaud Victoire
      Dic Ann's
      Patisserie Gaumond
      Jardin Tiki
      Gibeau Orange Julep

      5 Replies
      1. re: SnackHappy

        I thought Patisserie Gaumond had closed(about 3 years ago).

        1. re: BLM

          I knew that, but had forgotten it completely. I blame my mom for serving us pastries from Marché des Gourmands in Chateauguay and telling us they are from Gaumond. MDG used to sell Gaumond cakes and pastries when it was still open.

        2. re: SnackHappy

          What about Cosmo? I'd call that an institution...And don't forget Chalet BBQ and Laurier BBQ.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            DiMenna certainly is an institution in the east end of Montreal. I have been going there with, or without, my parents for 35 years...yikes! Their pizza is still the best in town for me.

            I would say L'Eveque on Laurier also. I go there at least once a year and am rarely disappointed. I have not been to Laurier BBQ in ages. We used to go there with my family when I was younger because my grandmother was a fan of the place. I still remember their lemon pie! We stopped going because we thought it was expensive for BBQ chicken.

            1. re: SnackHappy

              That's the stuff. I haven't even *heard* of some of these places :)

            2. I would have to say that DicAnn's and Chez Matante would fall into the Montreal institutions category. My husband hates the flat burgers while I think they're great. As for Chez Matante, you can't go wrong with their steamies.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mtlmaven

                Where's Chez Matante? Dic Ann's the Montreal locals would probably know, but people from out-of-town probably wouldn't.

                1. re: BLM

                  Chez Matante is on Fleury E. at the corner of St-Michel. It's certainly an institution in the east end.

              2. This is a great thread, if you haven't seen it:

                Montrea Locals - What do you consider the best small hole in the wall resto?

                1. for some reason, and though it's a chain, i always have the original Arahova's location in my head.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gerbera

                    Agreed - but has it not the best souvlaki and - oh, wow - tzatziki in town?!

                    (And it's across the road from St Viateur Bagels; win-win)

                  2. I'm surprised Willensky's never made the list...

                    1 Reply
                    1. No one mentions it but La Paryse is definitely worth checking out.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Battle Cat

                        Oh, right. They've been around since '81 or so, I think? I like La Paryse :)

                      2. I had to re-read through the thread since I assumed Montreal Pool Room would have been mentioned (apparently going the way of the dodo soon).

                        Never ate there, probably older than I am, Le Piemontais.

                        There was a place (fry/hot dog joint) on Notre Dame (near Guy?) that made their own spruce beer. They wouldn't sell you a bottle unless you drank it on the premises or promised to drive RIGHT home (bottles would explode if they got too warm). It was an institution, but rent got too high. I THINK they moved around the corner somewhere, but haven't spotted them yet.

                        Dilalo Burger?

                        Magnon's (which brings to mind a bunch of tavern-turned-brass joints Like Dominion Pub, etc).

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: porker

                          Well, the OP asked for places outside of the central neighbourhoods so that's why some of the obvious places didn't get mentionned.

                          I heard somewhere that Montreal Pool Room will be moving to another location.

                          The casse-croute on Notre-Dame was Émile Bertrand. They're closed for good, now. The spruce beer at Paul Patate is said to be made from the same recipe.

                          Dillalo and Magnan were both mentioned in my first post.

                          1. re: SnackHappy

                            According to this article in the Metro, the Pool Room would move temporarily during the construction of the high-rise and move back into the new building.


                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              ...And here's an article on Paul Patates, Émile Bertrand and the spruce beer connection.


                              1. Most are covered, but I don't see Boustan here...who hasn't done the 3am shish-taouk when they were younger?

                                I have to secong Chalet BBQ...any good NDGer has eaten his share.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: buzz_sapien

                                  re: Boustan. The OP was specificallly looking for places outside the downtown/Plateau/Old Mtl. tourist areas. I don't think Crescent qualifies. ;-)

                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                    And anyway, has Boustan been around long enough to qualify as an institution?

                                  2. re: buzz_sapien

                                    "...who hasn't done the 3am shish-taouk when they were younger?"

                                    Or last night even... =D

                                  3. Momesso's on Upper Lachine for their wonderful sausage subs!

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: westaust

                                      Sadly, my last visit to Momesso a few months back was highly disappointing. I'm hoping it was just a bad day for them, but the steak sub was truly ordinary (instead of ethereal, as it usually is). Bread was different, sub was bland... Has anyone been lately?

                                      1. re: cherylmtl

                                        Cherylmtl, I was there a few weeks ago and I must echo your sentiments. I ordered takeout (the usual for me ... chicken burger and pizza sausage with onions all spicy). The chicken burger came on a soggy hamburger bun instead of the usual crusty rosette and the chicken seemed to be leftover scraps instead of the usual nice breast. The pizza was sub par as well. Even as a long time patron of this joint, I have to question my loyalty if they continue to serve this slop. I hope they were having a bad day!

                                        1. re: cherylmtl

                                          Inspired by this thread, I went to Momesso for the first time today. I had the chicken sub and it was great - bread fresh (though not anything special), chicken-breast filling zesty. Hubby enjoyed his sausage sub. We both got ours with hot sauce and peppers and they had a nice spicy kick. Onion rings were nothing out of the ordinary, but tasty. Hubby said his capuccino was very good.

                                          I'm glad to have another sub option that's closer than my usual standby, Manzo's in LaSalle, but Manzo's subs win overall - their homemade bread, pulled chicken, and dressing are a notch above, IMO.

                                          NDG Bakery further up on Upper Lachine was sadly lacking cannolis for dessert, but we have two lobster-tail pastries in the fridge waiting to be consumed later.

                                          1. re: cherylmtl

                                            I suggest you give them another try. Two months ago, I ordered my usual 14' steak supreme sub at Momesso, & was totally underwhelmed. Thinking they might had gone downhill & giving them another chance, I tried their 14' steak supreme sub two days later, & it was excellent as usual. Just a guess, it might have to do who's doing the cooking(the sub-par steak sub I had, was made by someone I didn't immediately recognize).

                                            1. re: BLM

                                              BLM, I wonder if we were there on the same day? I will definitely give them another chance, because they have (or at least had) my favourite sub in Montreal...

                                              1. re: cherylmtl

                                                When you go to Momesso, you usually get their steak sub & have it spicy?

                                                1. re: BLM

                                                  That would indeed be my usual order. And it's normally wonderful. Hopefully will be next time I go back...

                                                    1. re: BLM

                                                      A 14-inch sub would be enough for both lunch and dinner, for me! Even hubby only orders the 7-inch subs there.

                                                    2. re: cherylmtl

                                                      Did you ever tried the spicy Italian sausage subs from Agostini restaurant? They had been for years, located just on the opposite side of the street(they have since relocated to Somerled). I found their Italian sausage subs to be very good(not quite as good as Momesso. but close).

                                          2. This thread remained dormant for almost the first 24 hours after posting it so I figured I wouldn't get many comments - and now I don't know where to begin. Woe is me ;)

                                            1. In Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (southeastern Montréal) Chez Clo is a true "institution" - 3199 rue Ontario Est. Big breakfasts, poutine, that sort of thing. Not a style of food I like, but certainly an institution - they also serve a big Christmas breakfast to homeless people every year.

                                              Another old standby which has updated considerably more is Ma-a-a-m Bolduc, in eastern Plateau Mont-Royal (Marie-Anne and de Lorimier). It has been around for decades, and while they also serve poutine, as well as tourtière and other old-fashioned (and heavy) urban Québécois foods, their menu has changed more to adapt to contemporary tastes.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                Of course I should forget to mention Chez Clo since it's right up the street from me and I pass it every time I walk to the metro. I am made of dumb.