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Aug 1, 2010 11:43 AM

Any crab shacks in the greater Montreal region?

Does anybody know if there exists any crab shack type restaurants in the Montreal region? Something similar to Joe's Crab Shacks in the States?

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  1. In a
    I always wax poetic about a place on Parc called La Crabe au Folie (my poor French might have the spelling off). It was at the location of present-day Philinos. They had spider crab, vancouver crab, blue crab, giant 30-35lb Australian crab, queen crab and king crab as well as other specialties such as grilled live shrimp.
    It was crab heaven.
    They have since closed and I haven't seen anything like it since. Most places only offer king or queen (snow) crab legs.
    Vancouver crab is common in Chinatown, and blue crab somewhat less. Good, but its not the same as the crab shacks down south.
    I share your pain.

    Philinos Restaurant Bar
    4806 Av Du Parc, Montreal, QC H2V4E6, CA

    8 Replies
    1. re: porker

      No we don't have any place that has a almost crab only menu. My understanding is that many species are seasonal. Also we aren't a fisherman's town so i guess that affects the quantity of seafood only places we have.

      1. re: SourberryLily

        Well, if Montreal can't be considered a "fisherman's town", then I'd like to know how Joe's Crab Shack manages to have franchises in such landlocked inland states as Colorado, Missouri and Kansas, to name only a few. In this day when produce is kept on ice and flown by air, having to be located near a pier isn't really a viable excuse anymore.

        I'm a life-long Montrealer and as much as this city likes to think of itself as a culinary epicenter, in many way's it's very much a backwater.

        If you want Italian, Greek, Chinese or Lebanese food, you can find restos and grocery stores a-plenty. But should you ever desire to find something outside those four demographics, forget it. You'll have to hunt and ask around and 9 times out of 10 you still won't find what you're looking for.

        1. re: Haggisboy

          I agree wholeheartedly. For all the hype Montreal gets for its food, there are simply way too many things that you cannot get here. Even Ottawa has us beat for some cuisine.. :(

          1. re: Haggisboy

            I don't think I want to compare "Joe's Crab Shack" with a _real_ crab shack (or at least what the OP was referering to) if you want to, please compare it to "Red Lobster" (and chains like that).

            Good shack need fresh LOCAL produces to keep the prices low (and the menus usually are very limited, and that's what you want anyway),

            The further away you are from your sources, the higher the costs to have fresh produces, and that costs money no many restaurants can do that everyday (most days) of the week (think Milos).

            Places like Au Pied de Cochon bring in fresh sea food near daily during the summer, and it's not a cheap place, you have to pay for that, and other high-end do more or less the same thing (or have access to the prime selection of what the distributors bring in)

            Anyway, Me think that not every city should have everything ... for example try to get good sushi in Paris or in Barcelona it's near impossible (just read the France and Spanish boards)

            1. re: Maximilien

              Agreed upon 3.
              I don't think Montreal has a market for crab in general. Even Chinatown seems to have toned down its blue crab offerings over the years. Sure its somewhat seasonal, but also highly perishable. You keep throwing out more than you sell, you begin questioning why you're listing it to begin with.
              The few times I've been in Toronto, their Chinatown always showed blue crab a-plenty, and thats somewhat further from the source than Montreal...

              Seems most folks in these parts like their crab no-muss no-fuss - big, already-sliced-open-legs to simply fork the meat out. Whats the fun in that? Gimme a crab or crawdad boil, eat the roe, suck the head, slurp the juice, and work that hammer!

              1. re: porker

                While I agree that a chain like Joe's Crab Shack isn't the best example, I fail to understand why one lone entrepreneur can't open up a simple crab joint, no frills, where the steamed crabs are dumped on tables covered with brown butcher paper, and the customers go to work with their mallets and dipping sauces, as they do in some places in the States.

                Look, if a no-frills hole-in-the-wall like Don's Fish and Chips in Brockville (of all places) can become so renowned that customers drive there from Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Buffalo to what's basically a shed that serves two types of deep fried fish, pogos, fries, and soft drinks, then I fail to see why somebody can't do likewise with crab here in Montreal. Too often people seeking to open a restaurant here think they either have to go high end (i.e. pricey) or become a franchisee in a chain.


                1. re: Haggisboy

                  maybe it's more an "anglo" than a "franco" thing ?

                  1. re: Haggisboy

                    Hey Haggis, I hear you.
                    Like I said, there WAS such a joint.
                    OK, not a crab-shack setting (something that I really like as well), but they really came through on the dump-the-crab-on-the-table concept. They offered different types of crab, some cheaper than others.
                    Seems to me business simply wasn't there (although I was, weekly) and they dropped out.

                    I was in the restaurant business and yes, a large segment of people going in think franchise or high-end.
                    IMO many of these people are using economics as their driving force - they could easily open a hardware store, convenience store, or copy center - its all the same as long as the business provides an income stream. Food service is simply a means to an end.There are others who do open personal or family-run operations and the food is front and center.

                    From what I see in Montreal, whether I like it or not, a no-frills crab joint probably won't work.
                    Same as real BBQ (or major league baseball). Sure theres a segment out there, but in general it seems tough to make a real go of it...
                    Just my 2c.

        2. There's this place on a particular day in the week
          I've never had their crab. Only their chowder, which was very thick but good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jptimbaud

            I really like the oyster shack - they have an interesting fries&gravy where the gravy is New England clam chowder. Great snacks and sometimes interesting nightly specials.
            They are not, however, similar to a crab shack, Joe's or otherwise.