Nice Saturday Night Restaurant for group of 10 with vegeterian, downtown Montreal
So I have been scouring the posts and found some possible options, but there always seems to be some variable that eliminates a particular restaurant. (For example, L'Express sounded good, but they wouldn't take a reservation before 11:00 for a group our size, or other places that don't seem to have too many vegetarian options)
I am coming up this weekend 8/20/10 with a group of 9 for a bachelor party. Most of us live in either Washington DC or New York City, so have an eye and a stomach for good food. The bachelor himself is a vegetarian/pescatarian so we definitely want to accomodate for that (if it wasn't the bachelor we'd just say, tough, and go to Moishe's). Ideally we'd like to find some authentic French cuisine. We'd like Saturday night to be a nice meal, good food, good wine, slightly upscale. Although we are a single (half of us) 20-something group, we are not too rowdy of a bunch so don't let that deter any options, but it does mean we are looking for a prime experience. It's a celebration so we want it to feel that way (meaning not just any other famly restaurant or dive bar).
We are staying at the Hyatt downtown I believe, but I presume most places are accessible.
I know this is a request on short notice but any advice is helpful. And please provide at least a brief explanation of your suggestion, not just a name I have to go and google.
3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA
there's a surprisingly amazing Lebanese resto that opens into the lobby of of the Best Western at the corner of Peel and Sherbrooke, just west of McGill campus. I had the Lebanese Pique-Tout, which was entirely vegetarian, and it knocked my socks off. I have never had such delicious felafel, ever. And they had Lebanese wine! A revelation! OK, mine's not the most refined of palates, but, wowsers. Full range of shwarmas and suchlike for all the carnivores.
I really hate to be a downer about this, but given the short notice (<48 hours) it will be tough to find space in most of the usual recommendations that would offer "a prime experience". And those that do have space may try to seat you really early (i.e. 5:30) or late (after 10:30). Coming from DC/NYC, I'm sure you can appreciate the busy-ness of good restos on saturdays in the summer.
However, some places that might have space, and serve good french-ish food:
Kitchenette - Great food, nice interior, and spectacular staff (though maybe not in the traditional bachelor party sense). This place is, IMO, hugely underrated. It serves creative dishes, many of which are seafood focused, but they usually has a veg option or 2 as well. Not french in the l'express sense, but still good... It is a short distance from the hyatt no matter how you're traveling.
Newtown - I've never been, but the new chef is of quality french-bistro pedigree and the place is large enough that they might be able to fit you in. Its in the heart of the usual bachelor party jurisdiction and I think you'd feel like its a good place to celebrate. Others would know better a) the frenchiness of its menu and b) the likelihood of nabbing a large table tomorrow.
Chien Fumant: This is a really small place, but i think they have a table or two that could fit 9. However, they are likely booked for most of the night, so I'd suggest that you try to get a table for a REALLY late dinner (they're open till 2 or so and have a stocked bar). I know eating at midnight seems not so ideal, but its my favourite way to eat in Montreal and it would certainly be memorable. The food here is mostly great - similar to kitchenette - leaning towards market-driven french, and the wine list is a good size+price. If you want to head out after dinner, theres plenty of great bars not far away on Mont royal and St. Denis.
Really, thats all I can think of given the constraints. It would take me 10 times longer to find/write additional info about these restos than it would for you to google them so I'm going to leave it at that despite your final request. Good luck!
Choice is definitely limited as reservations will be difficult at this point.
One restaurant to consider is DNA which features sophisticated cuisine with an artisanal treatment of ingredients. Another is Europea which is consistently good in their creativity and could probably structure a tasting menu around your friends constraints. Also, if you thought that L'Express sounded good than Lemeac is better, though neither offer more than a few seafood options.